Semi-Weekly Jack Kelly Bashing

Jack Kelly is a conservative columnist over at the Post-Gazette, and also the Toledo Blade.

This week he treats us to the movie 300, which is typical, because everyone is talking about 300. David Brooks also had a take on 300 that same Sunday.

Basically, it’s about a war the Greeks almost lost to the Persians, that many say determined world history. It is a fictionalization of one period during this war. Kelly gives a pretty fair summation of the movie, and of the history, before he tells us what to think.

But first, let’s read what syndicated sex advice columnist Dan Savage wrote about 300 last Wednesday:

Homophobic? It’s Ann Coulter on a meth binge.

The Persian army is an armed gay-pride parade, a threat to all things decent and, er, Greek. The king of the Spartans — among the most notorious boy-redacted’s in all of ancient history — dismisses Athenian Greeks as weak-willed “philosophers and boy lovers.” The Persian emperor? An 8-foot-tall black drag queen — mascara, painted-on eyebrows, pink lip-gloss. Emperor RuPaul is positively obsessed with men kneeling in front of him. Why gay up the Persians? So that straight boys in the theater can identify with the Spartan king and his 300 soldiers — all of whom appear to have been recruited from and outfitted by the International Male catalog.

What isn’t up for debate is the film’s politics. The only times the Persian army doesn’t look like a gay-pride parade in hell, it looks like a crowd of madly chanting Islamic militants. And if the Spartan king has to break the Spartan law to defend Spartan freedoms? Well, sometimes a king’s gotta do what a king’s gotta do. Because, as the queen of Sparta points out, freedom isn’t free. And, yes, she uses exactly those words. George Bush is going to redacted in his pants when he sees this movie.

As did Jack Kelly already.

Revelling in the bloodlust of the movie, and relying on our love of well-choreographed action scenes, Jack Kelly somehow asserts that the moral of story is that American liberals do not value their warriors enough. And if America doesn’t value its warriors, it will be defeated by those that do.

His suggestion that we should be more like the terrorists is unfortunate; his claim that American liberals don’t value warriors is balderdash.

He says:

“300” is soaked with the masculine virtues of courage, honor, patriotism and self-sacrifice, and the camaraderie that exists among fighting men who have been through a shared ordeal.

It is at least interesting to debate the celebration of the “masculine” virtues, if we can properly define them. Patriotism seems not to fit.

We need to rediscover these virtues. At once the most preposterous and the most dangerous of contemporary beliefs is “nothing was ever settled by violence.”

We disagree that this naivete is at all common among American liberals, at least very far outside of Code Pink.

Ironically, the story of that ancient war did not end there, as Jack Kelly readily admits. Those Greeks who fought savagely to the bitter end were ultimately defeated. It was years until another leader, one who valued the wisdom strategic withdrawal, eventually trapped the enemy at sea, which typically entails skilled diplomacy

All very like how Americans won the Revolutionary War. Thanks to the FRENCH!!

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