March 12, 2007

Frank Miller: Conservative?

Let me first say, that I am not a Republican nor am I pro war.

But then again, neither is Frank Miller (necessarily).

My proof of this can be found in several essays the man has written against President George W. Bush AND the representation of Superman in his supremely bad ass graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Read that, then tell me Miller is pro anything.

Now I happen to be one of the few people on earth worthy of being called a fanboy—largely because I worked in a comic shop for the past four years and have read them for far longer. I know this about Frank Miller because I’ve read several of his stories. So for someone to tell me that this man has injected political propaganda into a work he created nearly a decade ago, well that person’s argument would have to stand up against quite a bit of force.

Such a person exists….my good Friend Valerie. Her Blog:

Is this a pro war movie? Yes, because #!$%^ those Persian son’s of bitches. However, I fail to see its parallel with the Iraq war other than the fact that they are both wars and one side is much more powerful than the other. She makes some interesting claims about the film, which I do not believe are completely wrong. Yet, there is a bit of knowledge she doesn’t thoroughly list about them.

Lets start with the history of why this was perhaps the most important war our culture has ever been through.

The Spartans were not like the other societies in the Roman Empire. They were in fact a warrior cult. These men lived and breathed strength because they felt they must always be stronger than their opponents, who sought to take away their freedoms and enslave them.

This was the case when a Persian Army messenger came to Sparta with a request to their king. Simply acknowledge that they were stronger than Sparta, and no harm would be done. To King Leonida, this sounded as if the dark skinned messenger was saying “admit that slavery is ok, and we’ll let you play the ‘freedom game’ a little longer.” So when given the choice of fighting now or fighting later, Leonidas chose now.

But there was a problem. To go to war, you needed to seek the approval of the oracle, which was a high priestess of sorts who could glimpse into the future.

Valerie’s blog says that there are Christian references in the film many times and I cannot deny that there is. However, Leonidas didn’t care for Religion. He is not a man who let a ideology passed down thru the ages get in the way of his own. Nothing was going to get in the way of preserving Freedom, not even the church.

And so Leonidas took 300 of his men to fight the Persians. He never officially went to war. I can draw a conclusion from her blog that would compare this to Bush’s initial invasion. I would do this, however, this is what is known to have happened in ancient time. It wasn’t made up because it proves a political point.

These 300 men, why are they so important? Because if you’ll consult several historians who specialize in studying this particular period, you’d find that this is where they attribute the start of Western Civilization as we know it. It is believed, by several of these historians, that had Leonidas not taken these men to battle the Persian army, all of Greece would have fallen to a surprise attack from the Persian army.

Free will, individuality, democracy, a free flow of information…this would have all been lost in the event of a Persian takeover.

This is why Frank Miller chose to tell the story of this particular battle and not others. If the director decided to use imagery that suggested Christian references, such as the one Valerie mentions during the end of the battle. (the arrows in Leonidas pierced his body in the same places as Jesus’ crucifixion) If this were to be the case, then the message would be that Religion is not worth freedom.

And eventually what took over Rome was not a large Asian army, but rather the ideology of a religion that would take the place of the existing ideology, which did not protect the free men.

This is not propaganda. This is the story of how we came to be what we are. It is pledged to those 300 men who knew they’d die so that we could preserve the idea of freedom, and tarnish those who wished to erase it.

Is war a good thing? I don’t think so. However, if this particular war meant we continued western civilization…well in my opinion, that would say something about war itself.


Anonymous said...

Frank Miller IS actually a conservative and a huge "fan" of the Iraq war and the War on Terror in general. You should listen to his NPR interview and read the comments he's written about Islam. If these critical essays against the Bush administrations handling of the Iraq war exist, it has to be about how relatively "easy" we were on Iraq. He's also labeled himself a "patriot" several times. If you've read any of his Sin City comics, it's obvious he's in love with Western/American culture.

Anonymous said...

Frank Miller is conservative about patriotism, the war in Iraq and the War on Terrorism. However Frank Miller is obviously liberal about art, nudity, violence, cursing in comics and on film. He depicts porn stars, prostitution, regularly glorifies nudity and sex in mainstream comics. Things the Christian conservative right-wing are obviously against. And Frank Miller has always been vocally against censorship. Frank Miller is against any kind of rating system or labeling of comic books.

Anonymous said...

Frank Miller neither completely liberal or conservative. Frank Miller doesn't fully agree with either side of the political spectrum.

Anonymous said...

He's a libertarian most likely.