I don’t know about you folks, but I have had it up to here with Hollywood using homosexuality as shorthand for evil. For those who don’t know, 300 is the big budget action adventure based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name that opened on Friday. 300 recounts the epic battle between the Spartans and Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. that some historians credit with preserving Western civilization as we know it. In an interview running in this week’s edition of Entertainment Weekly, 300 director Zack Snyder admits to doing exactly that. According to the article:
The director says that the film’s (homo)sexual undertones were intended to make young straight males in the audience uncomfortable, because “What’s more scary to a 20-year-old boy than a giant god-king who wants to have his way with you?”
Gee, where on earth do you think 20 year old straight guys get the notion that homosexuality is something to be afraid of? It didn’t hurt the box office any, however, as 300 hauled in $70 million which makes it the highest grossing March opening ever.
No doubt, Snyder’s homophobic comment will pass largely unnoticed by the mainstream press, but imagine if he had made his villain a hulking black man and said he’d done so because nothing scares white women like a giant black god-king who wants to have his way with you.
I suspect he’d get trashed for a bigot trading in ugly stereotypes which is exactly what he’s doing.
And this is from an earlier interview Snyder did with EW:
The movie, true to Miller’s vision, is also loaded with sweaty hunks running around in those tight leather Speedos and capes. None of this is played for gay appeal, but could induce snickering among some teens. Snyder shrugs it off. ”Some people have said to me, ’Your movie is homoerotic,’ and some have said, ’Your movie’s homophobic.’ In my mind, the movie is neither. But I don’t have a problem with people interpreting it the way they’d like to.” As long as they buy tickets first.
Why worry about people interpreting your movie as homophobic as long as you get $9 out of the audience, right Zack?
None of this comes as a surprise to us here at AfterElton. Last Monday we ran our article Frank Miller and 300’s Assault on the Gay Past which documented how Miller, upon whose graphic novel the film version of 300 was based, had previously used coded in homophobia in his work, and done so again in 300 while at the same time erasing gays from the historical record. Then we followed that up with our review of the movie by Brian Juergens which confirmed Hollywood was giving us yet another villain whose creepiness was amped up by making him seem gay. Now we’ve got Snyder confirming it was done to really freak out the 20 year old male demographic.
What an ass.
Just how egregious is 300’s offense? Well, given that graphic novel and movie are supposed to be “historical”, you wouldn’t think either would stray all that far from the historical record. You’d be wrong of course. Not only does the film do away with the Spartan’s known homosexual practices, but check out the difference between the actual King Xerxes (300’s villain) and the way he is portrayed in the movie. Here is an ancient stone carving of Xerxes:
And here is Miller and Snyder’s interpretation of him:
Add just in case the creepy, homoerotic subtext isn’t clear enough, how about this:
Yep, nothing says predatory, sinister, and creepy like an effeminate, hairless man dripping in jewlry. I’ll say this for Snyder: at least he admits to what he’s doing.
As for the gay men who can’t wait to see the movie for the eye candy, do yourself a favor and get your candy somewhere else. These people don’t deserve a cent for flinging more homophobic garbage like this at us.