The New York Times, and Zack Snyder, discover that people will find contemporary political analogies in most anything — even in the retelling of a 2,500-year-old clash of cultures.
At a recent press junket for 300, Snyder’s adaptation of Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s epic tale of the battle of Thermopylae, a reporter asked, “Is George Bush Leonidas or Xerxes?”
The questioner, by Mr. Snyder’s recollection, insisted that Mr. Bush was Xerxes, the Persian emperor who led his force against Greek’s city states in 480 B.C., unleashing an army on a small country guarded by fanatical guerilla fighters so he could finish a job his father had left undone. More likely, another reporter chimed in, Mr. Bush was Leonidas, the Spartan king who would defend freedom at any cost.
Mr. Snyder, who said he intended neither analogy when he set out to adapt the graphic novel created by Frank Miller with Lynn Varley in 1998, suddenly knew he had the contemporary version of a water-cooler movie on his hands. And it has turned out to be one that could be construed as a thinly veiled polemic against the Bush administration, or be seen by others as slyly supporting it.
To be fair, The Times points out, this isn’t the first time Bush has been compared to the Persian emperor. A quick Google search shows the connection being made as early as 2002, when the president delivered his “axis of evil” State of the Union Address.
300 opens nationwide on Friday.