Roll over, Frank Miller: or why the Occupy Wall Street kids are better than #$%! Spartans

A few days ago, the famous comic book writer and illustrator Frank Miller issued a howl of hatred toward the young people in the Occupy Wall Street movement.  Well, all right, that’s a bowdlerization. After reading even one randomly-chosen paragraph, I’m sure you’ll agree that  “howl” understates the red-hot fury and scatalogical spew of Miller’s lavishly expressed hate: “Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.

In fact, I need do nothing more — in order to reduce that individual’s public esteem — than simply point you all to his bile-drenched missive.  Please. If you must choose between reading that or my detailed, cogently-argued response (below), by all means let his words suffice!  I cede the floor. Let him express the maturity and thoughtfulness of his side.

Well, well. I’ve been fuming silently at Frank Miller for a years. The time’s come, so get ready for steam!  Because the screech that you just read – Miller’s attack on young citizens, clumsily feeling their way ahead toward saving their country – is only the latest example of Frank’s astonishing agenda. One that really needs exposure to light.

I’ll do it by dissecting – calmly and devastatingly – his most famous and lucrative piece of modern propaganda.  The comic book and movie tale about Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.

A tale called – “300.”

== Leni Riefenstahl would be proud==

Though I’m not best-known for graphic novels*, I’ve done a few. I’ve been sketching out a script about one of the greatest heroes of western civilization – Themistocles – the man who actually defeated Xerxes. the Persian emperor, during his brutal invasion of Greece, after the Spartans failed so miserably at Thermopylae.  In part, this would be an answer to Frank Miller’s “300″… a book and film that I find both visually stunning and morally disturbing.

For one thing, “300″ gave all credit to the Spartans, extolling them as role models and peerless examples of manhood. Adorably macho defenders of freedom.

Uh, right.  Freedom. Sorry, but the word bears a heavy burden of irony when shouted by Spartans, who maintained one of the worst slave-states ever, treating the vast majority of their people as cattle, routinely quenching their swords in the bodies of poor, brutalized helots… who are never mentioned, even glimpsed, in the romanticized book or movie. Indeed, the very same queen who Frank Miller portrayed as so-earthy, so-kind, was said to be quite brutal with a whip, in real life.

Miller’s Spartan warriors honestly and openly conveyed the contempt for civilians that was felt across the ages by all feudal warrior castes. An attitude in sharp contrast to American sympathies, which always used to be about Minuteman farmers and shopkeepers – citizen soldiers – the kind who bravely pick up arms to aid their country, adapting and training under fire. Alas, Frank Miller’s book and movie “300″ ridiculed that kind of soldier…

…even though the first invasion by Persia, ten years earlier – under Xerxes’s father – had been defeated by just such a militia army… from Athens… made up of farmers, clerks, tradesmen, artists and mathematicians. A rabble of ill-disciplined “brawlers” who, after waiting in vain for promised help from Sparta, finally decided to handle the problem alone.  On that fateful day that citizen militia leveled their spears and their thin blue line attacked a professional Persian force many times their number, slaughtering them to the last man on the legendary beach of Marathon.

== The inconvenient truth of Marathon

Think about that for a moment. Can you picture it? Damn. Please pause here and Wiki “Marathon.” Even better, watch it computer dramatized. Prepare to be amazed there were once such men.  Go on… I’ll wait!

BattleMarathon2Frank Miller rails against effete, pansy-boy militias of amateur, citizen soldiers. But funny thing, none of his Spartan characters ever mentions those events, just a decade earlier! How bakers, potters and poets from Athens – after vanquishing one giant invading army, then ran 26 miles in full armor to face down a second Persian horde and sent it packing, a feat of endurance that gave its name to the modern marathon race. A feat that goes unmatched today. Especially by Spartans.

That Athenian triumph deserves a movie! And believe me, it weighed heavily on the real life Leonidas, ten years later. “300″ author Frank Miller portrays the Spartans’ preening arrogance in the best possible light, as a kind of endearing tribal machismo. Miller never hints at the underlying reason for Leonidas’s rant, a deep current of smoldering shame over how Sparta sat out Marathon, leaving it to Athenian amateurs, like the playwright Aeschelus, to save all of Greece. The “shopkeepers” whom Leonidas outrageously and ungratefully despises in the film.

41lK4RKGI9L._SL500_AA300_With that shame over Marathon fresh in memory, Leonidas was eager to prove Spartan mettle when Persia invaded a second time, even though he could find just three hundred volunteers.  That much, “300″ gets right.  Alas, truth is rare in that book and film. Like the notion that Xerxes cared a whit about rustic Sparta in the first place.  Athens was always his chief target. It was the heart of the West.

Even when it comes to the Battle of Thermopylae itself, “300″ tells outright lies.  For example, 1,000 Artemesians refused to leave their comrades at the end. They stayed in the pass and died next to Leonidas’s 300 Spartans.  More shopkeepers. Their valor was inconvenient to Miller’s narrative, So he just wrote them out. Worse, he slandered them, depicting them running away.

Oh, remember those helots? As slavemasters, Spartans made the later Romans seem positively goody-two-shoes, by comparison. In his book and movie “300″ Frank Miller never shows the two thousand helot luggage-bearers who Leonidas’s gang of bullies whipped before them into the pass at Thermopylae, carrying their masters’ gear and food and wine and shields.

Where were those slaves during the battle? Why, in the front line! Handed spears but no armor, they slowed down the Persians with their bodies, then made the ground conveniently slippery with their blood. Huh, funny how that got left out! I’m sure it was just an oversight.

== Thermopylae: what was going on in plain view

But the worst slander of all is one of glaring, outrageous omission and tunnel vision. It is what “300″ might have shown happening just offstage, simply by turning the camera! Indeed, Leonidas could see it with his own eyes, in plain view throughout the fight, if only he chose to swivel his head.  (Alas, Frank Miller doesn’t let him turn, in the comic and film.)

The Athenian navy, hard-pressed and outnumbered, guarding his flank in the nearby Artemisium Straits.  Again, a citizen militia of fishermen, merchants, blacksmiths and philosophers, they too were at Thermopylae! A few miles out to sea, they battled odds no less desperate than Leonidas faced, without the convenient cliff and wall, against vastly superior Persian forces.  Only with this one important difference.

Where Leonidas failed to hold for more that a day or so, the Athenians kept firm!  They only retreated when the Spartans let them down!

The commander of that brave flotilla, Themistocles, is a hero far more in keeping with American traditions.  A Washington-like commander who makes good use of volunteers – plus new technology and brains – to stave off hordes of arrogant, professional conquerors. Less interested in pompous bragging and macho preening, he cared about his men, striving to achieve both victory and survival. He despised “bold gestures.” What mattered were results.  Saving his country. His civilization. His men.

And now that you know this, can you believe that Miller and his partners refused to let Leonidas turn his head and witness such a wonderful thing? And maybe give a brief, respectful nod to his allies’ epic courage? Don’t you feel cheated? You were.

Forced to give way when Leonidas failed to hold a narrow pass, the Athenians kept up a fighting retreat, survived the burning of their city, (where their courageous women handled a skillful evacuation)… till Themistocles finally drew the vast Persian navy into a trap at a little island called Salamis… glorious Salamis…

…where outnumbered Athenians – and their neighbors -  utterly crushed the invading armada, sending Xerxes fleeing for his life.  THAT was what saved Greece, not futile boasting and choreographed prancing on the bluffs of Thermopylae.  (And again, what a movie someone might make out of the true story!)

As for the later land battle at Platea – glorified by the book and film “300” – it was hard-fought tactically. But strategically it wasn’t much more than a mopping-up, slaughtering a demoralized and starving Persian force that Xerxes had already abandoned. And even at Platea, there were more men from Athens ( and Attican towns) than Spartans! And it was the Athenians who raced ahead and turned the Persians’ flank.

Oh, one more thing about Platea. At the exact moment that Frank Miller portrays the Spartan Dilios taunting and deriding his own allies before a desperate fight — (yeah, that’s likely) — it happens that simultaneously Themistocles and his fleet of volunteer sailors were also finishing off the rest of the Persian navy, at Mycale. Dig it, the Athenians fought two epic battles on that same, fateful day. The day the West triumphed and survived.  A day worthy of Tolkien and Peter Jackson!  And those are the facts. Live with it Miller.

Do the Spartans at least get credit for commanding Greek armies ashore?  A couple of years after Platea, repelled by Spartan arrogance and brutality, the Greek cities dumped Sparta from any further leadership role as they spent the next thirty years pushing Persia ever further back, expelling them entirely from Europe and liberating enslaved populations. Led by the democratic rabble from Athens.

In other words.  History wasn’t at all like the book, or the movie “300.” It was much, much better!

== Artistic license? Or goddam evil-batshit lying?

BattleMarathonLook, artists get a lot of leeway. At least in this society of freedom they do. (They sure didn’t get any slack in feudal times, dominated by warrior-caste bullies.) Miller and the makers of the 300 flick were entitled to emphasize the Spartans and their martial spirit, even though their brave “sacrifice” at Thermopylae accomplished absolutely nothing, except to make a fine tale of futile bravado. A three-day delay? We’re supposed to be impressed by a three-day delaying action?

Well, okay, that is about equal to Davy Crockett at the Alamo. I would be willing to give credit and always have been! But please.  This was a small “feat” at best.

(I’ll admit, it certainly offered a great excuse for ninety minutes of homoerotic prancing!  Hey, I can appreciate the aesthetics in abstract. In fact, 300 gets full marks as a lavishly choreographed dance number. And for terrific painted-on abs.)

But there comes a point when artistic emphasis turns into deliberate, malicious omission.  And then omission becomes blatant, outright-evil lying propaganda. “300″ not only crosses that line, it forges into territory that we haven’t seen since the propaganda machine of 1930s Germany. White is black.  Black is white. Good is defined by the triumph of will.

I might have just sat and glowered, if they simply omitted the Athenians.  But to sneer at them and call them effeminate cowards? After Athens’ citizen soldiers accomplished epic triumphs the Spartans never imagined and that they would never, ever come remotely close to equaling? At battles whose names still roll off our tongues today? Achieved by the same kind of “cincinnatus” militias that propelled both Republican Rome and the United States to unparalleled heights, during their time of vigor?

The kind of soldiers who make up our U.S. military today! Citizens-first, despite their vaunted professionalism.

(Historical note: Yes, the Athenians had their faults too! They owned slaves, though far more gently than Sparta. Women had few rights – though the legend of Lysistrata was born there. After they lost Great Pericles, their democracy fell into the kind of populist foolishness that we see in America today, idiotic foreign adventures and callousness toward neighbors. But all of that came later. And at their worst, they kept the basic virtues that are at-issue in this matter of “300″… and in my response. Fierce pride in citizenship.)

No, this is not just artistic license. Expressed repeatedly – with the relentlessness of deliberate, moralizing indoctrination – “300″ idolizes the same arrogant contempt for citizenship that eventually ruined classical Greece and Republican Rome, and that might bring the same fate to America.

My own graphic novel “The Life Eaters” never sold as well as Miller’s. Heck, that’s not my expertise. With gorgeous art by Scott Hampton, “The Life Eaters” tells a vivid story of rebellion and resistance to a very Spartan-like oppression.

What I do suggest is this: use your own imagination! Picture an answer to “300,” told from the point of view of an escaped Spartan helot-slave serving aboard one of Themistocles’s ships, staring up at the frenetic death-prancing of his former masters on the cliff of Thermopylae, shaking his head over their futile, macho posturing, then turning to help the amateur fighters of Athens and Miletus and Corinth get on with the real job of saving civilization.

Doing it without boasting — or painted-on abs — but with wit, courage, comradeship, skill and the one thing that matters most. Something Leonidas never came close to achieving. The only truly indispensable accomplishment!

Something that is often best won by citizen soldiers -

- victory.

David Brin

http://www.davidbrin.com

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407 Comments

Filed under economy, history

407 responses to “Roll over, Frank Miller: or why the Occupy Wall Street kids are better than #$%! Spartans

  1. Thank you, David, for you passionate response and your paen celebrating the wonder of Athens, truly the saviour of Western civilization. And the Athenians, especially Aristophanes would have loved your description of 300, especially the choreographed Spartan dance routine. Fortunately there is some recent excellent works on the Battle of Marathon which celebrate the achievements of the citizen body of Athens defending the new wonder of democracy. The sad reality of the Spartan propaganda machine began with those Athenians who opposed democracy, and continues to this day, and yet our democracy is but a pale shadow to that which flourished in Athens for 2 centuries. And it is that legacy of citizen soldiers of the First and Second World Wars which allow Frank Miller to spew his loathsome bullshit, which has no connection to the reality of the Persian Wars, the victory of Greek civilization led by the wonders of Athens, a democracy willing to explore openly the joys, wonders and struggles of democracy. And I am excited by this project of yours, Themistocles whose life, including his ostracism and exile, was a witness to the Athenian democracy, thanks again!
    Sandy Ferguson

    • The wonder of the saviors of western civilization? Would that grand tradition include the Crusades? World Wars? Holocausts? Atomic bombs? Obama? If you were trying to compliment Athenians, you failed via wording.

      • Adam

        Yep. Putting the holocaust and the atomic bomb in a grouping with Obama certainly doesn’t paint you as a crazy person, Arka.

      • Something may be wonderful without being perfect. Unless, of course, you see the world only in absolutes – a tyranny of black & white with no room for shades of gray.

        I’d like to point out that the Crusades were hardly a democratic movement, but rather theocratic oppression & murder, which, to me, is something Western democratic humanists have been trying to do away with since, yes, Athens.

        Also, the causes of the 2 world wars weren’t wonderful expressions of democracy, they were imperialism & totalitarianism. As a matter of fact, the saviors of Western civilization – the democratic nations – played a major part in subduing the totalitarian regimes of the second World War.
        But, I’m sure, you know this. It’s obvious to anyone with a brain, just intentionally ignored by someone with an agenda.

        What puzzles me is the point you’re trying to make. Like Adam said, grouping the horrors of history with the presidency of Obama only serves to display your ridiculous and childish bias. If you strip away the noise of the polemicists and actually look at some facts, you’ll find that Obama is hardly the socialist reformer his opponents make him out to be, and is in quite a few cases further to the right of Reagan. That’s why many of his supporters from ’08 are unhappy with him.

      • Mr. Pointy

        High Arka,

        Really? You’re putting Barack Obama on the same level as the Crusades, the Holocaust, etc? Are you familiar with the phrase “batshit crazy”?

      • Ifty Zaidi

        Speaking as a non-member of western civilization, I think its as wrong-headed to only see its very worst manifestations as representative as its very best. At the same time, its clear from the post above that the commentator was celebrating some of western civilization’s greatest achievements, which is of course, as it should be.

  2. While I agree with you 100% and thank you this illuminating post (I never knew the “marathon” origin) there is a handy get-out in 300. It’s not supposed to be The Truth. It’s a story told by Dilios at Platea to get everyone stirred up. In other words it’s propaganda. Whether than excuses Miller and the idiot-boy Snyder I don’t know, but it does explain the prejudices and omissions in the narrative.

    • I don’t know, perhaps instead of excusing them it provides an unintentional window into their motivation. “Yes,” they seem to be saying, “all of this is propaganda and bullshit.”

    • Shim Shimuzu

      Except I don’t believe Mr Brin is right about the origin of the name of the Marathon race, which is troubling since he is writing a book about it.

      The name of the race created for the first Olympics in 1896 was inspired by the effort of the herald Pheidippides, who is said to have run the 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to carry news of the victory, uttering only the word “Nenikékamen” (“We have won”) before dying from exhaustion.

      Pheidippides run is probably only a legend – but I can find no confirmation of Mr Brin’s assertion that there were two battles at Marathon, with the Athenians running 26 miles between them in full armour, a feat “unmatched to this day.” But it does sound remarkably similar to the defense of England by King Harold in September 1066- when the English armies fought Harald Hardrada’s forces at Fulford on Sept20th, then marched 180 miles in four days to fight a second Norse army at Stamford Bridge. That’s 45 miles a day for 4 days, which would seem to easily match Mr Brin’s account of the accomplishment of the Athenians – which seems to appear nowhere else, including the writings on the topic by Herodotus.

      • Tyke, UK

        Fulford and Stamford Bridge are both neighbourhoods of the city of York. Harold Godwinson’s army won the battle at Stamford Bridge against Hardrada’s invading force, then marched to the south coast to meet the army of “Guillaume le batard”, William The Conqueror, near Hastings. York to Hastings is a good 180 miles, maybe more. The second battle was lost, and within 20 years, William had commissioned “The Domesday Book” to get the measure of his newly conquered lands.
        As for Greek history, Mr. Brin’s interpretation is closer to my reading of it than Miller’s. But we should all promise ourselves that we don’t treat Hollywood blockbusters as a history lesson. Artistic license is freely used there!

      • Shim Shimuzu

        Re – Marathon:

        I stand corrected on both points, thank you – and to correct the confusion I’ve entered into this thread myself: King Harold’s soldiers – but not Harold – fought the Norse at Fulford on Sept 20 1066. The same day, Harold and his main armies left London on their four day march to Stamford Bridge, where they fought Harald Hardrada on Sept 24. Just over two weeks later, on Oct 14, they were down south again to fight at Hastings.

      • You are busted

        He’s not talking about hollywood, he’s talking about a graphic novel, written by Frank Miller.

  3. Bill

    Wow! Nicely done. I think my knowledge of ancient history just doubled. (Sad statement regarding our educational system.) David, thank you for this post.

  4. Ross

    Great post! I knew about the battle of Marathon and some of Miller’s inaccuracies (like omitting the navy) but had no idea it was this bad.

  5. First we had the Tea Party, now we have the Flea Party.

    Despite normally being an analog kind of guy, I’ve got a pretty binary view about this. If the Flea Party folks are just speaking their mind…no matter how much I or anyobody else may disagree with them…then more power to ‘em. Freedom of speech, 1st Amendment, I believe in all that good stuff.

    But the second they cross over from speech to obstruction…keeping someone from going about their daily lives…or worse, to property damage, then there shoulg be a location change to Occupy Jail Cell.

    Free speech, yes.
    Disruption or destruction, no.

    In that sense (minus all of his surrounding bombast) Miller is right. We have been too polite with these folks. At least the disruptive and/or destructive elements in the batch.

    With any luck, global warming will produce a terribly cold winter, and they’ll freeze their little butts off before too long. Silliness.

    TCS

    • Brian S

      So speech should only be free as long as it doesn’t inconvenience anyone? No wonder you’re a Miller fan.

      • Totally illogical. I’m not a Miller fan…whoever Miller is. I was only discussing the Flea Party aspect of the conversation.

        And, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but “free” means without cost. So, yes, you don’t get to have “free” speech if you impose costs on others in the process.

      • Adam

        “In that sense (minus all of his surrounding bombast) Miller is right.”

        “I’m not a Miller fan…whoever Miller is.”

        Terry, I’m concerned about your sudden memory loss. Very quickly you need to try and raise your hands above your head, smile into a mirror and say a sentence. If you fail to be able to do any of these, you may be having a stroke.

      • More gratuitous insults. What an unnecessarily annoying, unpleasant approach to conversation. But, it goes beyond annoying to pathetic when coupled with blatant illogic.

        Miller made one point which I agree with, if narrowly construed. I am also no fan of Miller. Until this thread, I had never heard of him before. There’s no inconsistency in the two satements/positions of any kind.

        But if the point was merely to be insulting, rather than advance the conversation, then the illogic won’t matter to you.

      • Sean Young

        Free means freedom, as much and more than it means “gratis”. The no cost meaning of free is a very modern corruption, much like “franchise” used to have a meaning similar to “rights”, for instance one exercised ones franchise to vote, but now means little more than using a corporations logo and paying them money.

      • Yeah, this is a problem with the English language. We use the same word for ‘libre’ as ‘gratis:’ ‘freedom.’ Some find it confusing.

        And if you find the protesters’ activities more infuriating than the wholesale fraudulence that has corrupted the financial industry, and forestalled any political solution, then… well, that’s hard to describe in polite language. ‘Profoundly stupid’ is about the best I can do.

        I mean, if they break the law, throw them in jail. Fine. But please, spend more enforcing the laws the bankers broke. After all, they’ve done more damage.

        If, that is, they broke any. Remember, the law has been rewritten to let them do what they want. And if, by some luck, you can persuade the relevant authorities to enforce the law.

        Which brings us back around to what the OWS folks are protesting. Why would they piss you off more than the banker’s self-dealing games? Makes no sense to me at all.

      • You are busted

        Yet another example of deliberate lies and misrepresentation on the part of terry.

        “Free” in this case means, “Without restriction”

        Only a one percenter would chose the economic over the social definition when talking about rights.

        If free speech meant without cost, then campaign contribuitions wouldn’t be protected FREE speech.

    • Cece

      You gotta love a neo-conservative who’s past his prime. And by “love” in this case I mean flip him the bird and reiterate to him how frighteningly horrible “All Star Batman & Robin” was while reading him some reviews of “The Spirit”.

      Seriously though, this man dubs “Islamicism” his enemy and speaks at radical right-wing fundraisers. This story makes me love the Occupy movement even more. Thank you, Frank Miller.

      • You should at least strive to be accurate with your gratuitous insults. I am a paleocon, not a neocon!

        I am familiar with neither “All Star Batman & Robin”, nor “The Spirit.” But, as long as your snarky comment wasn’t actually meant for me, perhaps that doesn’t matter.

      • Terry, Cece’s comment was referring to Frank Miller, his beliefs, activities, and professional failures. Nothing to do with you.
        Cece, you are correct. ’300′ was entertaining, as was ‘Sin City’, but ‘The Spirit’ was completely unwatchable. Painful. Having heard some of his racists rants, his opinion of Occupy is not at all surprising.

      • My mistake, then. That wasn’t obvious.

        Thx,

        TCS

    • Free speech without inconvenience or disruption isn’t free.

      You want that sort of “free speech” go move to North Korea!

      • Speech is protected under the constitution, and should not be infringed.

        Disruption is not protected under the constitution, and is banned by numerous federal, state and local laws.

        There is no right to be disruptive, it’s against the law, and the law should be enforced.

        I don’t see what’s so hard about this…

      • Akira MacKenzie

        And of course, Terry get’s to decide what speech is “free speech” and which speech is “disruption.”

      • While I would be happy to take on that task for sufficient compensation, there’s no need for it. The mechanism for making the decision is already in place.

        There’s a law against disruption. Enforce it. If someone gets convicted and doesn’t like it, they can appeal it. The process works pretty well.

        So, while I’d be happy to take on the judiciary as a consulting client (Oh…that’s right…they WERE my last client!), they really have no need of my services in this context.

    • The original Tea Party chucked crates of tea into a harbor, an act which involved lot of property damage. John Hancock, whom you may remember from such works as his signing of the Declaration of Independence, was a smuggler. But there were people, during the first American Revolution, who opposed the mischief of the Sons of Liberty and others like them. Those people were Loyalists to the Crown, spies, and cowards. You would have liked them.

      • What John said. Free speech as we know it would not exist without people being disruptive, hell we’d still have whites only drinking fountains if there were no disruptive free speech. Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr were both “disruptive” and flouted the law.

        But maybe Terry likes his whites only drinking fountains…

      • New rule of engagement.

        I will simply not respond to anyone who engages in personal gratuitous insults. This response is solely for the purpose of notification of the change.

        So, if you like to insult people just to hear yourself passing gas, by all means, blast away. But if you have any honest intellectual interest in what I have to say, then don’t.

      • I might well have been a Loyalist to the Crown. In my science fiction universe, the Empire are the good guys. I certainly might well have liked a rational loyalist.

        Spies are an essential component of any combat. Sun Tzu said something like “Good spies are as important as good officers”. I might well have liked some spies…for either side, and I might not have known they were a spy, particularly if they were good.

        Cowards I’d be unlikely to like…on either side. If they were just scared, I might have felt sorry for them.

        I hated what the terrorists did on 911, quite possibly more than you do. But that doesn’t keep me from admiring the skill with which they pulled it off.

      • “But there were people, during the first American Revolution, who opposed the mischief of the Sons of Liberty and others like them. Those people were Loyalists to the Crown, spies, and cowards. You would have liked them.”

        Many of the Founding Fathers actively distanced themselves from the Boston Tea Party, and it was generally considered a shameful act of hooliganism and vandalism by the Revolutionary generation. Great 30-minute radio documentary on it by the BBC at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01724mf

      • Although I like the reference to 300 and I do believe in rebellion. I don’t think this Occupy thing is heroic. I think those kids are being used.

        http://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2011/11/20/topless-wall-street-protestors-we-are-at-war-and-public-eduction-built-the-soldiers/

        I think the Xerxes character (or characters) is not what the protestors are against, it’s what’s pushing them.

      • You are busted

        Terry, you do not have “A science fiction universe” You have a a science fiction book, which has sold over a dozen copies.

    • crow365

      I’ll agree that property destruction does nothing but set back any non-violent protest and is to be avoided at all costs (however, there are always *at least) one or two a-holes in any human grouping, so the odds are it’ll happen at some point, you just have to do what you can to keep the instances of it as low as possible). But non-disruption of daily life?

      Are you serious about that? Would you have said that to Martin Luther King or the other activists of the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s? “Go home, you’re inconveniencing all the nice people who don’t care that Colored folk are discriminated against!” To Gandhi and his fellow Indians? “Get out of the streets! You’re making the Brits late for the hard work of running a colonial empire.”

      The entire *point* of protest is to disrupt daily life. Because you know what? Injustices happen in *daily life*. If a protest is to be successful, it must garner the attention of the society at large and, sorry, but that generally involves disrupting someone’s day. Again, violence and property damage is to be avoided, since it’s the antithesis of “non-violent protest”, but sometimes the only way people are awakened to injustices happening in their midst is to have their nice little days inconvenienced.

      • All jurisdictions have formal processes for permitting marches, demonstrations, and the like. As a recovering libertarian, my general view is that each jurisdiction should decide what those processes are…permissive, restrictive, whatever…for themselves. If I don’t like the rules in the place where I live, I’ll vote with my feet. (Unless I can just get the law changed, which I’ve done on more than one occassion).

        But whatever the laws are in a given jurisdiction, they should be enforced. We should have a much smaller number of laws that are much more strictly enforced.

        All laws should be strictly enforced. Especially bad laws.

      • You are busted

        SO the answer is “Yes, I Terry C Savage, would have told the civil rights marchers to go home and stop being disruptive.”

        You could have said that in one sentence terry, insttead you rambled on with an answer that completely avoided defending your own position while attacking the poster.

    • crow365

      I’ll agree that property destruction does nothing but set back any non-violent protest and is to be avoided at all costs (however, there are always *at least) one or two a-holes in any human grouping, so the odds are it’ll happen at some point, you just have to do what you can to keep the instances of it as low as possible). But non-disruption of daily life?

      Are you serious about that? Would you have said that to Martin Luther King or the other activists of the Civil Rights Movement of the ’60s? “Go home, you’re inconveniencing all the nice people who don’t care that Colored folk are discriminated against!” To Gandhi and his fellow Indians? “Get out of the streets! You’re making the Brits late for the hard work of running a colonial empire.”

      The entire *point* of protest is to disrupt daily life. Because you know what? Injustices happen in *daily life*. If a protest is to be successful, it must garner the attention of the society at large and, sorry, but that generally involves disrupting someone’s day. Again, violence and property damage is to be avoided, since it’s the antithesis of “non-violent protest”, but sometimes the only way people are awakened to injustices happening in their midst is to have their nice little days inconvenienced.

      • You are busted

        So wait, your only citation is for a tv show produced by the BRITISH Broadcasting Service.

        Britain is the country who was the bad guy in the American Revolution. The BBC is ran by british who owe their allegeince to the several great grand child of the man that the Boston tea Party, and indeed the entire revolution, were protesting.
        Perhaps if you are going to produce only one citation to support your position it ought not be one with such a strong partisan alignment.

    • The_L

      Flea party? As a OWS supporter with a Master’s degree and a steady job, I am deeply offended.

      All we want is for everyone who is employable to actually have a job available to them. For EVERYONE, including the rich deadbeats out there, to actually pay their fair share in taxes (instead of just the working and middle classes, as it is today). For a college degree to mean something other than “immense, crippling debt for the rest of your life.” None of these ideas are in any way anti-American.

    • Dana

      “Free speech” means “free without cost to the speaker.” It doesn’t mean a thing about the cost to others.

      Think this through rationally. If this really were about the cost of Person A’s speech to Person B, we could have no First Amendment. Speech is limited in the first place because of its perceived cost to Person B. It is often illegal to speak out against political leaders because that speech is threatening to them.

      Do you really want to live in a nation where nobody can ever protest because it might bother someone? Be careful what you wish for.

      And you need to actually take some time and talk to some of the people involved in OWS. Because all you’ve got right now is stereotype born of physical and philosophical distance, same as Miller.

      My seven-year-old daughter is scared of woolly-bear caterpillars. She’s scared of them because her father grew up being told that those caterpillars are capable of stinging and, never having investigated the claim for himself, he passed that bit of folklore down to her. I had never heard of such a thing and thought it ridiculous; most caterpillars *don’t* sting or otherwise directly hurt people. One day, we found a woolly bear and I touched it, figuring the worst I would get was a rash.

      Nothing happened. Well, the caterpillar raised its head and looked around, but that was about it.

      You, sir, are the type who’d believe the caterpillar was poisonous. And all you have to do is reach out your hand. Shame on you. I know you’re capable of better.

      • So, do I understand correctly that you believe it’s OK for you to impose costs on others, against their will? If your actions (not speech, actions) harm someone, that’s OK, because…you think you have some right to do so? I don’t get this at all. You completely fail to track the essential distinction between speech and action.

        I thought I heard someone here say that they were involved in he occupations, so in that sense I’m talking to some of the people who are involved. If I’m wrong about that (ie, that tno one here is involved), feel free to point me to someone who is. But, as I said in an earlier post, when someone is shouting, it makes me less interested in what they have to say, not more.

        I always thought woolly bear caterpillers were cool. Of course, I found a baby copperhead once too, and I thought it was cool. Ditto giant snapping turtles. Your assessment of me is so completely and totally wrong, I don’t even know where to begin.

        I’m not AFRAID of the occupiers. Not in the slightest. To the extent that they are disruptive and/or destructive, AS DISTINCT FROM simply speaking, and they are allowed to do that, I find that permissiveness toward bad behavior annoying. How you read fear into that is a complete mystery to me. Are you afraid of a lot of things?

    • The sheer hypocrisy of someone who gets all high and mighty when insults are sent his way but starts his rant by calling his ideological opponents the “Flea Party folks” is nothing short of breathtaking!

    • You are busted

      Hmmm that was A pretty good summation of the Colonial Tories reaction to our founding fathers calling for the English king to treat Englishman in the colonies as human beings instead of an extractable resource to pay for the war with his cousin, the king of France..

      The Minutemen at Lexington and concord, and the civilians at the Boston Massacre, were also disobeying ” A lawful order to disperse”. Guess we all know which side of the PAtriots versus despots divide you are on.

      If you are opposed to OWS then you are opposed to the principles upon which America Severed itself from it’s rightful and legal government.

      Do everybody a favor, yourself included, and move back to whatever country your ancestors came from, where they undoubtable don’t believe in sissy things like questioning the Government, or demanding that it be held accountable to it’s citizens, not it’s campaign donations.

      • My European ancestors arrived in North America in 1608. One of my brothers actually located the crew manifest of the relevant ship.

        My ancestors on the native American side came over a good bit earlier than that…

        So, if someone gets to say “Go home, newcomer!”, it’s probably me!
        ;-)

        TCS

      • You are busted

        Nope, you’re still a tory just like your ancestors. If you don’t like the freedom to assemble and you think that obedience to authority is more important than The establishment executing the will of the people then you are just another monarchist and need to go back to England.

      • Sean Young

        I’m British and think what the OWS is doing is great. You’re tirade comes across as a little xenophobic.

      • You are busted

        Only to those who haven’t bothered to understand American History and how current events relate to them.

        The tools of the one percent are trying to say that the OWS is unpatriotic, because they are resisting the actions of the government. However The government, in allowing itself to serve the elite at the expense of the general populous has failed in it’s moral obligation to the governed.
        Colonial Tories said that the founding fathers and their supporters were seditionists because they resisted the actions of the crown. However the Crown, in allowing itself to serve the interests only of the elite in England, had failed in in it’s moral obligation to it’s subjects in the Colonies.
        Common justifications and lies spread by one percent supporters include: ” They deserved to be shot for disobeying a lawful order to disperse” , “The police were only doing their jobs and following orders”, “OWS is full of anarchists and socialists”, and “trust your government”
        Common justifications spread by the Colonial Tories include: ” They deserved to be shot for disobeying a lawful order to disperse” ( Boston Massacre), “the redcoats were only doing their jobs and following orders”, “the seperationists are all Anarchists and Heathens”, and ” Don’t question your sovereign, god chose him”
        The modern American government is disproportionally taxing the poor and middle class as compared to the elite, to pay for a long drawn out war. At the same time the government has made it easy for the Elite to bend the ear of the government, while restricting the access of the common people to their representatives.
        In colonial times the colonies were disproportionally taxed when compared to the nobles back in England, to pat for a long drawn out war with France. While at the same time the colonies were refused in representation in the Parliament.

        So as you can see it is not Xenophobia at all, but a legitimate analogy pointing out that the 1% and the government are taking many of the same actions as the Colonial Monarchists ( Also called Tories in American History) and King George III , and that the members of OWS are taking many of the same actions as our founding fathers, and voicing many of the same complaints. Thereby making it a hypocritical lie for the 1% to claim that they are patriotic and that the OWS is unpatriotic.

        It’s hardly Xenophobic to point out that King George III, a Hanoverian King, was evil and incompetent enough to justify our overthrowing our Government.

      • Sean Young

        No, the xenophobia comes in when you pass off England as being some sort of totalitarian regime now. In fact the tacit conceit in your earlier statements was that the US is the only country that understands and cherishes personal freedoms, when in actual fact there’s plenty of countries, especially in the western world, that do just as good if not better job with those things today. Your black and white view of the period is somewhat nationalist, but to be expected given that it’s basically your founding mythos I suppose.

        Still I understand American History quite well thank you. I also understand that someone who feels they need to open their argument with ad hominem attacks is usually trying to cover up for something.

      • You are busted

        As opposed to people that start their posts with personal atacks…..

        Your misconstruing of my statements to dismiss the Atrocities committed by the monarchy is a gross insult to free discussion.

        ANd the truth is Great Britain does not have the constitutionally enshrined rights of freedom of speech and assembly that America’s constitution has.

        You have two sets of laws. One for the commons and one for the Lords.

        In GB you are a SUBJECT of the crown.
        In America I am a CITIZEN.

      • Sean Young

        I’ve not consciously placed any personal insults directed at you in my words, I was talking about your argument, not you, though you’re last paragraph rather undoes your protestations.

        I didn’t misrepresent what you said. You clearly intimated that the US was some how special in it’s freedoms *today*, that is the meaning of what you wrote. IF that’s not what you meant, then fine, but it’s not what you said, I’m not going to hold myself responsible for your inability to communicate effectively.

        And finally we’re back to xenophobia. *Sigh* In Britain people can peaceably assemble without being attacked by the Police, apparently that’s a right the *subjects* of the British crown have, that the *citizens* of the US don’t currently enjoy, by your estimation of the situation.

        You claim Britain has no constitutional rights to freedoms of speech and assembly, you are wrong. Britain is a Constitutional Monarchy, as such Britain does have a constitution, the right to freedom of speech is enshrined in the English Bill of Rights and Common Law for instance. Further as a member nation the UK Government is subject to the EU Constitution, which includes the Rights to Freedom of Assembly and Speech.

        I can only assume you get this bizarre idea that Britain has two laws based on there being a House of Lords and a House of Commons, both of which form the legislature of the British Government. That’s roughly the same thing as me saying “America has two laws. one for the Congress and one for the Senators”, it’s not true.

        I await with bated breath what else you have to say about Britain. We all have either Dick Van Dyke cockney or Mary Poppins plummy accents perhaps? Maybe you could question the state of our teeth?

        You’re attacking people who are for the most part on your side, are you really that desperate for a fight?

      • You are busted

        Actually you called me xenophobic before I said anything to me. So by your logic ” You must be desperate for a fight”

        And England has a far worse record then the US in denying and disrupting attempts at free speech. The English definition of free speech has far more exception clauses then the American one.

        Perhaps you are just xenophobic against Americans.
        Especially since you completely ignored the body of my post, which is that there is a clear analogy between current events and neorevolutionary events.

        And the 1%ers are clearly analogous to the people who tried to prevent the revolution..

      • Sean Young

        Actually I said that your “tirade (what you had said) comes across as a little xenophobic”. I fail to see how anyone with a reasonable level of English language understanding could think I was talking about them and not what they had said. Like I said, I’m not going to hold my self accountable for your inability to communicate effectively. What amuses me, though, is that you feel you have a right to berate other people’s grasp of English when you can’t even understand the most basic of sentences.

        For the record I ignored much of what you said because I agreed with it, I merely wanted to say that you were in danger of harming your own position through stuff that was plain ignorant and xenophobic. In response you started acting like an angry, ignorant and xenophobic troll. You’ve made yourself look a fool, and I’d wager the only person who doesn’t realise it, is you.

        You’re clearly incapable of conversing on a reasonable adult level, so there seems to be no further point trying to engage with you at all. I’ve not called you xenophobic before this post, but it’s now clear to me you are one (that’s me calling you xenophobic BTW, since you clearly need these things pointed out).

        I leave you to scream threats at your monitor.

      • You are busted

        You are a very disingenuous writer, and likely a troll.

        My writing is all you know about me. So therefore saying that my writing appears to be xenophobic is a defacto accusation of xenophobia.
        And then I replied by showing you, in simple easy to understand terms, how in fact my analogy was exactly correct.

        You rhen ignore the point of my post and attack me because your country is being held analogous to the 1%s actions. When in fact the problem lies with the fact that your country did a horrible job at governing it’s colonies, and you taking offense at that truth.

        And then in everyone of your replies since then you have made insulting generalizations about Americans and tried to put opinions onto me that I don’t hold.

        The body of the evidence points towards YOU being a troll not me.

      • Sean Young

        Oh, and one other slight quibble:
        The British Nationality Act 1981 permanently removed the term “British Subject”. People are British Citizen’s now. You’re wrong on every count, well done.

      • You are busted

        Did you receive any of your human rights back when they changed the name?

        If no then that’s just a cosmetic change.

        A janitor is still a janitor even if human resources calls him or her a “Sanitation engineer”

        And if no, the fact that it took until a mere thirty years ago to make those changes shows just how counterprogressive your Monarchy is.

        It’s funny how the British think it’s ok to stereotype Americans, WHILE making a strawman attack at an American……

      • And on that note, I am declaring my involvement with this site to be an experimental error. I mean no offense of any kind to the poster I’m direclty responding to; your comment about ad homenim is right on.

        Some people choose to have their lives dominated by anger and hostility. I don’t know why people do this…it’s demonstrated to reduce lifespan, in addition to just not feeling very good…but there are people who do, and the fraction of the active posters here who appear to have made that choice is higher than I’m willing to have in my life.

        David–thank you for the opportunity to participate here. The experience has been very educational.

        Obviously anyone is free to respond to this post, but if you do, you should do so knowing that you are posting for the remaining audience, because I won’t see it.

        For the mob rule proponents who want to revel in your victory at having driven me off, you have my permission to do so.

      • You are busted

        How typical of 1% percent posters.

        People pointed out the fact that your support for your position is nothing more then attacking others. Then we point out that your analogies are false. Also we pointed out that you ignored the majority of the information in most posts to launch these assaults rather then participating in a discussion based on what people actually said.

        Then you leave.

        I noticed this pattern time and time again when you 1%ers show up on a forum.

        Judging by the pattern I’ve usually seen I expect that you will sign back on with a different handle and try to restart the cycle.

        The lesson here is to keep putting facts in their faces and calling them on it when they ignore the facts.

      • Until you acknowledge the essential distinction between (speech and/or assembly) and (disruption and/or destruction), you aren’t addressing anything I’ve said.

      • You are busted

        Nope, your anologies are false and nothing more then a red herring.
        Until you admit that Peaceable is the only clause to the right of assembly then you are nothing but a Propagandist supporting the undermining of the basic laws and freedoms of the US Constitution.

        Which makes YOU and the rest of the parasites totally unpatriotic.

      • You are busted

        CClassic “Strw man” defense terry.

        I never said ” Go home new comer”

        I said if you don’t like the freedoms that the American people, via the Constitution and Bill of Rights, have refused to cede to the government, you should return to whatever country your ancestors cam from, in which the government has probable taken those rights way.

        Could it be that you attacked a statement I never made because you can’t justify your opposition to my actual statement?

  6. Frank Miller is a full-time resident in his Graphic Novel universe. He looks so cute in his cape. ;D

  7. rexusdiablos

    Good rebuttal. Miller has lost A LOT of hardcore fans. I had no idea he was such a propaganda spewing shill. He can’t actually be that ignorant, right?

    • Yes, he can. If you look at his stuff over the years, you can see he was always a creep who favored might over right and only saw things in black and white.

      • rexusdiablos

        It’s sad if he truly believes in the precept of might over right. Any self-thinker appreciates that the said precept is favorable only so long as the advocate is the mightiest. Displace us on the food chain by one level (hypothetically let’s say a more advanced alien race) and let’s see how quickly such a precept falls apart. This is why I don’t eat flesh. Same principle. Golden rule. Might is not right.

      • Dana

        Eating meat has nothing to do with might. I eat animal because I will suffer malnutrition and remain chronically ill if I don’t. I can’t convert beta carotene to vitamin A well enough to rely on it as a vitamin A source and I didn’t find this out til my daughter was born with birth defects. I’m not by far the only one.

      • Kagehi

        Diet fanatics (and yes, people that think their refusal to eat something constitutes a purity test against others are fanatics) usually don’t get the complexity of what they are talking about. And, they certainly never think of people that genetically, or otherwise, can’t follow the “sound” advice they imagine they have on their side.

        One of the “key” articles in the most recent Skeptic magazine was about the whole “anti-oxidant” craze. It pointed out how the body produces its own, that oxidants themselves are *required* for proper function of things like the nervous system, and that the proper balance was not necessarily “less of them”. Two examples given where higher risk of some diseases, due to over consumption of beta carotene, and the example of one group that decided that their preliminary studies of Vitamin E implied a great benefit, so started taking stupid amounts of it, only to eventually start suffering flue like symptoms. Turns out, the cause of those was Vitamin E poisoning.

        As the author of the article stated, “Its not that simple”, and dosing yourself with higher amounts of something *may* actually have the effect of instead causing malfunctions in some tissue that *wasn’t* tested, or where the function of the substance it not as well known. The problem with everyone from vegans, to anti-oxidant advocates, etc., is that they *all* think it is *exactly* that simple (like the body is a toaster, and all you are doing is looking for the right bread to use in it), and, as someone else once put it, the “modern” fact of being able to buy nearly any plant product you might want is the single most fragile part of the whole system. Relegate us, by economic problems, loss of transportation, wars, or even climate changes, that leave us unable to grow things in the places the soil they are native to exists, or ship them from such places, and all of the sudden that entirely **artificial** diversity, and the ability to avoid certain foods, all but disappears. It is never as simple, with biology, as far too many people advocate.

        And, if that where not bad enough, none of them are often willing to wait for the final word on something, so jump at the results of every study, and in bad directions. Take extra vitamins, or anti-oxidants, to live longer, you might just be killing yourself faster, especially, as the medical establishment has opted to rethink, you have heart problems. The “correct” direction is caution, and restraint, the wrong one is, “Wow! Lets take more of it, even though there is a change it will cause more heart attacks!” Yet, while medical doctors are now cautioning, the “market” is shoveling new “super products” out the door faster than they can make up new names for them.

        If there is any name given to this age, it is likely that it will combine pseudoscience, leaps of faith into the barely understood, and a willingness to choose “comfortable”, or “intuitive” (nearly the same thing), answers, to right ones.

    • For more disillusionment, Bill Willingham, creator of the excellent (far better than Miller’s shit) Fables series, is a raging frothing conservative as well.

  8. peter radzio

    Love the movie ’300′ because it purportedly depicts the underdog fighting against a large massive evil force. However I believe that the history you portrayed would be a much more interesting and rousing depiction. militia, after all have more of an incentive to repel invaders; their way of life and loved ones. Not the professional seeking honour and gory glory.
    Well done, well said! Thank you.

  9. The thing is, there is a small group of people inside the OWS crowd who are exactly who Miller says they are. Who do you think is going to drive the agenda and get the attention- the cogent and peaceful majority or the anarchic thugs of which he speaks? As soon as they started, I saw that it would end in violence and rioting- those who thirst for violence and destruction will find it easy to hide inside OWS and they will prey on the people around them as they wait for their opportunity to drive things into a frenzy of violence, vandalism and nihilistic lashing out at anyone around them. The people that Miller describes in such vitriol are there in the hundreds and they will destroy any message that the thousands are trying to get out there.

    It isn’t fair… just like on the other end of the spectrum, the entire 1% is getting vilified for the actions of a small fraction of their numbers. I am an individualist and so I would protest against the individuals that are the problem- the crony capitalists on one side and the nihilistic social vandals on the other… but mostly the power hungry politicians that cultivate and feed on them both.

    • Sean Mulligan

      The few destructive anarchists are at the fringe of the OWS movement nad have no influence on it.

      • Patrick

        Anarchists have been at the heart of OWS since its inception.

      • Well, he did say DESTRUCTIVE anarchists.

      • You are busted

        Terry,
        That’s because you are rich and work for the one percenters, so therefore you can afford to take time off to recover from an injury that your Insurance paid for.

        Your example, far from supporting your position, undermines it.

        It is a perfect example of the ” I’ve got mine, so screw you” attitude that is at the heart of the 1% and it’s supporters movement.

        Thank you for illustrating one of OWS points for me,

    • E in MD

      And yet those 1%ers who caused this whole crisis -aren’t- the ones going to jail but rather the peaceful non-violent people who make up 99% of the 99% are the ones being tear gassed and pepper sprayed and having their damned skulls cracked open so douchbags like Savage up there won’t be inconvenienced.

      Maybe if those 1% ers started getting indicted this wouldn’t be an issue at all. But the mere fact that the one percenters can easily buy both prosecutors and their own Congress plays a part in this whole drama.

      Example 1: American Peanut Corporation. Google it. Tell me it’s fair.
      Example 2: Trillion dollars in fraud during the war so far. Google it. Tell me it’s fair.
      Example 3: Bank of America and other big banks using falsified documents to foreclose on houses that aren’t theirs. Google it. Tell me it’s fair.
      Example 4: Exxon makes billions in profits. Pays no taxes. Then receives millions in subsidies from the government effectively giving them a negative tax rate. Google it. Tell me it’s fair.
      Example 5: 280 fortune 500 corporations made over a trillion dollars in the last decade. At 35% they would have paid almost a half billion in taxes but ended up paying less than half that. Google it. Tell me it’s fair.
      Example 6: GE, is one of those corporations. In 2010 they made $14.2 billion in profits (not revenue… PROFIT). Paid no income taxes and got $9 billion in subsidies from the US Government. Google it. Tell me that’s fair.

      This isn’t even counting the TARP bailouts that banks used to buy back their own stocks, purchase sports arenas and jets and give their executives disgustingly huge bonuses and spa vacations on the dime of the American tax payer. It’s also not counting the pallet loads of strink wrapped hundred dollar bills that miraculously disappeared in Iraq in the beginning of the war. Or the three or so trillion dollars the war itself is going to cost when all is said and done.

      When someone making $20,000 a year has a family of four and needs a few extra thousand to keep them fed it’s called a handout. They’re called a parasite. It’s called ‘socialism’.

      When a guy already making nine million a year runs his company into the ground and nearly crashes the global economy selling shady mortgages as triple A securities uses $50 billion dollars of tax money to ensure he can buy another sports stadium… That’s capitalism?

      When Republican controlled legislature can’t produce any evidence at all that voter fraud is actually occurring, but demands we use easily hackable Diebold machines to vote on and creates voting hoops and regulations that only effects voters that would vote for their opposition. All the while taking in millions of dollars from the industries they’re supposed to be regulating. That’s Democracy?

      These people aren’t charging into town hall meetings and screaming down the opposition using industry funded handbooks on how to intimidate Congressmen and artificially inflate their numbers. They are not carrying pistols and assault weapons to the speeches of politicians they don’t agree with. They’re not setting fire to Congressmen in effigy or shooting up churches and national monuments. They’re not chucking chemical bombs into people’s living rooms or setting fire to businesses that they don’t agree with. They’re sitting in public spaces, looking out for each other and if they inconvenience your busy day… GOOD. Go cry into your mocha soy latte while you drive your mercades to nice cushy job.

      This ‘Flea Party’ as you call it are your bothers and sisters out there getting the living crap beat out of them by police while attempting to exercise the First Amendment rights that our military supposedly secured for them.They wouldn’t even need to be out there at all if the people who are supposed to be representing them and looking out for their interests weren’t too busy snorting cocain off of toaster ovens and having sex with lobbyists to care.

      Get over yourselves, people. Each and every one of you is one back injury away from being on the streets. Remember that when you criticize them.

      • How rude! And, more importantly, illogical. I don’t allow personal insults on the list that I run, although insulting ideas is always in order.

        I haven’t been personally inconvenienced by the Flea Partiers in the slightest. On reflection, I don’t even find THEM annoying. More amusing. I find the tolerance of the disruptive and destructive elements omong them annoying. Collateral damage is never a good thing. Not being an expert on crowd control tactics, I don’t have a better solution to taking out the bad apples with less damage. Do you?

        As opposed as I am to government intrusion on the economy in general, the original concept of TARP was a necessary evil. What it morphed into…under both Bush and Obama…retained the evil while no longer being necessary.

        One back injury away from being on the streets…uhhh…Whiskey tango Foxtrot? I broke my neck a few years ago, and while I was indeed briefly on the street (I sustained the injury when a car knocked my off of my motorcycle), I don’t think that’s what you meant. I was home that evening in a neck brace after a bunch of tests at the hospital.

      • TCH

        Terry TARP was a necessary evil though the situation never should have gotten that far.

      • Andrew

        It’s a little precious, Terry, that you keep going on about “insults,” clutching your pearls and calling for the smelling salts when the very first thing you posted called the OWS folks the “Flea Party.”

      • Perhaps it’s just my unfamiliarity with this posting style, but your comment to me seemed to bare no relation to the quote above it.

        In any case, you did point out something I left vague about my personal “insult” rule, which I should clarify.

        I won’t personally insult anyone on this list, and I won’t respond to posts that insult anyone on this list. Insults of people not on the list are fine. Insults to organizations, as sort of an extention of ideas, are also fine.

        It’s just personal insults between people here (or any list I’m on) that I will neither engage in, nor respond to. Sorry for that vagueness, and thanks for the opportunity to clear it up.

      • The_L

        A-fucking-men, brother! Savage’s decision to completely ignore ALL of your points does not reflect well on him at all.

      • You are busted

        If you read Terry C Savages bio you will find out that he is one of the wannabe 1%ers.. He’s worked for the “High tech defense industry” (his words) and for “State governments and fortune 500 companies)
        \ He is a parasite exploiter and just about every position called for by OWS is a threat to his ability to continue to steal wealth from all other classes of society.

        Nobody in the movement is his brother or sister. We are all his victims.

    • para

      As somebody who’s been involved in Occupy, let me say we slap the nutjobs down hard. And there’s a system of courtesy and respect that discourages it greatly… Occupiers are not bums, renegades or fringe politicos; we really are the 99%. I’ve been meeting people through Occupy I’d spend a lifetime ignorant of otherwise. If the self-regulating in my city is anything like the Wall Street crew (and it is – we model our city off from them) then ‘anarchic thugs’ will get short shrift.

    • justaguy

      The violent don’t drive the agenda. You have no understanding. The horizontal democracy model of the general assemblies gives veto power to everyone who opposes an official action. Unbelievable? Yes. Fantastic? Yes. True? Amazingly so. They have achieved a new model of democracy. You can’t understand it because you haven’t been there.

    • Dave X

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/11/MNH21LTC4D.DTL and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buovLQ9qyWQ&sns=em

      “The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence,” — UC police Capt. Margo Bennett

      Somehow, protesters linking arms is violence, while punching them with batons is somehow not thuggery.

      The OWS protesters are more on the side of civilization than than the 1% and their enablers.

      • Dave X

        Do comments with links require more active moderation? I posted two links, one to a story about violence at a Berkeley OWS protest, and another with video. The post has been awaiting moderation for 2 days.

        I think the links are instructive about the violence and thuggery involved in OWS.

      • You are busted

        They are also more on the side of our founding fathers. While the police thugs are redcoats in blue, and the 1% supporters are nothing more then modern day Monarchists.

    • Jessie McKenna

      Well said, Clint. Thank you for being one of the few in this comment thread, or the one on Frank Miller’s blog (yikes!), who has something reasonable to say and isn’t intent on ridiculing those with differing opinions.

      I always find it interesting how those who seem (to me) to be on the “wrong” side of the issue, whatever it may be, often come across as though they see the picture in black and white, and regard the opposing party with little respect or decency, making sweeping accusations and statements with little to back it up. Frank Miller is a great, if not extreme (to put it lightly), example of this when he says things like: ‘“Occupy” is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness.” Wow.

      I sleep really well at night knowing that my heart is in the right place, if my head is not always as informed as it could be. Thank God (or perhaps ambitious geeks?) for the Information Age. I welcome with open arms, information, knowledge, insight. I do not welcome assholery, but it’s information too.

      Thank you, Mr. Brin, for your insightful, heartfelt entry.

      -Jessie

      • Jessie McKenna

        I take it back, most of these comments are pretty reasonable. But to make my point that much more clear, y’all should check out the thread over on Frank’s blog. It’s pretty sad, in my humble opinion. The reason gets lost in the hostility.

    • Finn

      “Anarchist thugs”? Give me a break. Please read an article of an anarchist’s perspective or at least talk to one of these “thugs” and try seeing the situation from their point of view. If you have done neither of these things it seems you are being as close minded as Miller.

    • jt

      What rot. The violence at the OWS protests have come from the police – macho swaggering tools of the america hating 1%. Hyperbole? Hardly. I’ll leave that to the master: Frank Miller.

  10. Pingback: Move over, Frank Miller: or why the Occupy Wall Street kids are …

  11. You’re mixing up your distances. The soldiers didn’t run 26 miles in full armor. It was the purported messenger who did the long distance running.

    • Tom C.

      No, they did… maybe not as fast as the runner, but they forced marched back to Athens from Marathon in order to oppose the Persians attempting a surprise attack by sea. This force march happened after the Athenians charged across a 400-yard field on a hot summer day, under archer fire, and then fought the Persians for three hours.

      So, yeah.

      • jim in nc

        This really needs to be corrected. The modern marathon is absolutely positively not inspired by the whole Athenian army doing a forced march of 26 miles in full armor; it is, as Matt Boyd suggest, inspired by the legend (not attested until hundreds of years later) of the run of Pheidippides (of about 22-25 miles–the standard distance now was determined by the location of Buckingham palace at an early London Olympics) with the one-word (in Greek) message “we have been victorious.” You can’t criticize Miller’s inaccuracy and then try to blur the difference between between “ran 26 miles in full armor” and “they forced marched.” Cajillions of armies have done forced marches–Alexander and Caesar astonished people with their speed. This really needs to be corrected.

  12. Pingback: Move over, Frank Miller: or why the Occupy Wall Street kids are better than #$%! Spartans | The Views Expressed

  13. Oooooooooooooh …. thank you, David … thank you 300-fold

    As someone who studied Ancient Greek language and history, and knew the true story behind the travesty that Miller penned, I’m pleased that someone has at last put together a cogent and accurate rebuttal of the travesty that “300″ mythologised

    The fact that it was written by one of my favourite novelists makes it all the more pleasing

    Again, thank you

    Stu Who?

    PS Miller’s comments on OWS show his true colours … a right-wing apologist and macho-thug

  14. sftheory1

    Bravo! An excellent take down of 300. I’ve read only a little bit of Miller’s work (mostly Sin City), but he comes off, I think, as a devotee of an almost fascistic world view. The only difference is his valorization of the individual rather than the individual.
    I’ve watched 300 and found the history laughable (and infuriating), but the “painted abs” are quite pretty. . .

  15. Kris J

    A well thought out and articulate rebuttal. It really is too bad we don’t see this depth of knowledge and thoughtfulness go into articles about other revisionist history films.

  16. Thank you for this excellent piece.

    Even if people want to ignore the omissions and accept a pro-Spartan slant inside the narrative, there still remains the problem of the visuals in 300. First, there’s the Orientalism–the Persians are not just the enemy but also hedonistic, exotic, degenerates. It’s not enough that the Persians be the enemy…they must also, by necessity, be inhumanly monstrous. The depiction of deformity as a vice is a deliberate one and I can only conclude that Frank Miller’s heart is a dark dark place.

  17. VARIOUS REPLIES!

    Thanks Sandy F… though alas I must turn contrary on you, as well. You over-rate the Athenian version of democracy. Yes it was a huge leap forward! But it was impulsive, often irrational and foolhardy – especially after Pericles died. And cruel to its allies. And self-destructive.

    It turns out that democracy is hard! We are vastly better at it than they were. And still we might fail.

    Pete Ashton, sorry, but your explanation doesn’t wash. There were more Athenians at Platea than Spartans. Dilios would simply manage to incentivize the Athenians to hang back and let the Spartans “prove themselves.”

    Terry… sorry, but humbug. the OWS kids are feeling their way forward. Why do you resent them, and not the blatant theft of a trillion dollars out of middle class pockets by Wall Street oligarchs?

    What? A movement that has driven our country off a cliff, wasted FOUR TRILLION DOLLARS and driven the middle class into penury, while financing Tea Party rage against scientists, teachers, doctors, journalists, engineers, professors, civil servants EVERY MENTAL CASTE IN AMERICA… are you now telling me that Blue America has no right to some anger of its own?

    Too late. We are already in phase three of the Civil War that began in 1851 when slavers sent gangs of irregular cavalry into northern states, savaging citizens. You think the OWS kids are radical now? Just wait till they start wearing blue Union Soldier hats to match the tea partier tri-corners. You’ll finally realize how serious this is.

    Clint, I know you are trying to be reasonable. Of COURSE there are many decent folk in the 15! Warren Buffet. Bill Gates. But do this. Show me when, in human history, the “bureaucrats” (and scientists, teachers, doctors, journalists and so on) who are railed against on Fox were EVER the same threat to freedom that oligarchy posed in 99% of human cultures. Go on. Come back in a week and please give us one example. Just one, across 6000 years.

    Funny how Fox’s message is financed by Saudi princes and mega billionaires… hm… I wonder why oligarchs might want attention shifted toward everyone but themselves!

    Matt Boyd please criticize when you actually know more. The runner was Phiddipides, who had JUST run 120 miles to Sparta and back, begging them to keep their promise and come help. They refused. The very afternoon of the battle, after he had spent half the day killing Persians, Phiddipides was asked to run again, 26 miles to Athens to tell them NOT to surrender to the other army… because help was on the way.

    He ran ahead at full speed WHILE THE REST OF THE ARMY RAN SLOWER, BURDENED BY SPEARS, ARMOR AND SHIELDS!

    WHEN THEY ARRIVED, THEIR WIVES HAD TO PROP THEM UP AT THE BEACH OF ATHENS. But it was enough to scare the other Persian army out of landing.

    Thanks Tom C for helping point this out….

    • Sean Mulligan

      Bill Gates isn’t one of the good ones. His Gates foundation promotes Charter Schools that undermine public education and oppose teachers unions.

      • Perfect is the enemy of good. Bill Gates has done some incredible things through his foundation. You and I may not agree with him on the charter issue, but that doesn’t make him not a “good one”

      • para

        hell, I oppose teacher’s unions and so do a lot of teachers. Not giving raises based on merit? Making it impossible to fire bad teachers? Most other teachers want teacher’s union reform!!!! Do you want to work in a place where the bums can’t get fired? It’s highly demoralizing to know that not only will you not get rewarded for doing a good job, you’ll catch shit for it all up and down the line!

        As far as teacher’s unions go I say GO GATES!

        Now, if only he weren’t using money gathered through horribly shady business practices to do this… oh, and the EULA thing he started, that’s a sin that covers up a lot of good deeds… but fwiw what he’s doing now is absolutely a step in the right direction.

      • Gates’ education grants ALSO fund some amazing PUBLIC school programs. My daughter was a direct beneficiary, of Toledo’s Early College High School program Gates Foundation started through the public, not private system. She graduated high school with enough FREE college credit hours to enter OSU as a Junior. That didn’t undermine the public system, but rather propped up a district that was otherwise failing its top prospects who were leaving for parochial and charter schools by the droves.

      • That’s why Bill Gates is one of the good guys.

      • Patrick

        Amen, Sean! Gates, along with Michelle Rhee, Eli Broad, and others, are seeking to turn schools into little more than factories, with both teachers and students too fearful and battered by standardized tests to have any actual learning go on in the classroom.

        Finland’s the leader of the pack in education achievement, yet they are 100% unionized and don’t use outdated carrot & stick approaches to teacher quality. They (gasp) pay teachers really well and make sure they’re incredibly well-educated themselves.

        But that doesn’t jive with the economic and political interests of the 1%.

      • Sean Young

        It could be worse, Bill Gates could be Steve Jobs, now there’s a real evil sociopathic wrong ‘un.

    • I’m afraid “humbug” isn’t a particularly compelling argument…for ANY position. They can feel their way forward all they want, provided they don’t interfere with others in the process. “Resent” is the wrong word, I think. It seems to imply more importance than I actually grant them. I just find them annoying, which is fine as long as it’s just speech, but not when it turns to disruption.

      I have no doubt that some theft goes on in Wall street, but you don’t get to excuse Johnny’s bad beahvior by saying that Jimmy did something worse.

      Your next paragraph is just a random rant, but in answer to the final question, blue American (or green, or purple, or polka dot America) has the right to feel…and for the most part say…whatever anger or anything else they want. They just don’t get to disrupt, or be vandals.

      It amazes me that someone of your obvious intelligence seems unable to draw the distinction between speech and disruptive/destructive action. The extent to which you argree or disagree with the individuals involved is irrelevant to that distinction.

      • Kagehi

        Perhaps you can point to any instance in history where major changes to social systems, governments, or the business world, has ***ever*** happened, purely based on speech, and not due to the inconvenience caused by disrupting what those being apposed where attempting to do? Since you seem to imagine that one of the costs of free speech isn’t having it inconvenience the people that disagree with it…

      • I don’t IMAGINE it at all. I DEFINE pyhsical disruption as distinct from speech. This isn’t a particularly odd concept, legally.

        The most important “major change” that I see needed is a significant reduction in the scope and scale of government. I’m perfectly happy to have speech disrupt people’s thought patterns, fixed ideas, beliefs, that kind of thing. But one of the few legitimate functions of government is to prevent the involuntary physical intrusion of one person upon another.

        The IDEAS that drive major changes are almost invariably developed and tranferred through speech, without physical intrusion. Sometimes physical force is needed to overcome an enemy, but don’t poke a bear unless you are ready, willing, and able to kill it.

        The Flea Party folks are like…well…a flea crawling up an elephant’s leg with thoughts of rape.

      • Ah, Terry. Dear Terry. I’ve been reviewing the document itself, and as it turns out, the Constitution does not contain the right not to be inconvenienced. Not even for IMPORTANT people like you. Who knew?

        My life is disrupted on a daily basis by the ‘protests’ of the 1%: their purchase of the government (and consequent ridiculous reduction in taxes paid, and reduction in regulation of all kinds.) I have to drive on roads that cannot be repaved, because important people don’t drive on them often enough to make it worthwhile. I use public transportation that has had necessary maintenance delayed for 20 years, and which cannot run nearly as often as it ought to, because we can no longer afford it. I was just informed that my ‘best-in-the-business’ health care will be dropping two of the three doctors I see on a regular basis, because they want to reduce the amount they pay for an office visit to $30… which is to say, my copay. But because the rich and powerful run insurance companies, even the mildest regulation of health care (c.f. Obama’s reforms) aren’t allowed.

        And I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones, in the top 10% of US wages, in one of the richest cities in the US.

        But I can sympathize: it must be awful for you, having to look at poor people occasionally. Thinking that they might do something illegal at any moment. It must keep your stomach churning all the time.

      • Disruption is different from speech. Speech is protected, disruption is not. There are, in fact, laws in virtually every jurisdiction restricting/prohibiting disruption.

        So the chain of logic is clear. Speech is protected, so don’t infringe it. Disruption is not protected, and there are laws against disruption, so enforce them.

        Clear enough?

      • Patrick

        When it comes to financial markets, “significant reduction in the scope and scale of government” is exactly what we’ve had for the past 20 years. Bravo on the trillions gambled and lost due to that reduced “scope and scale”.

      • Silly myth.

        What’s needed is more TRANSPARENCY, not more restrictions on behavior.

      • Sean Young

        Terry:
        I have to say I’m loving how each of your “arguments” are little more than saying “nuhuh, you’re silly” then claiming everyone else is insulting you and making no argument.

        The facts are regulations are good, in decades of new deal regulations the US became the richest and most powerful nation in the world. With deregulation the US has led the way in financial collapse, the collapses happening within years of the markets where they take place being deregulated.

      • Correlation does not imply causality, and this was the first (or at most, one of a small number) time that I called something silly, because it so richly deserved it.

        Insults are insults. Whether or not you agree with a position or not. It’s an uncivilized way to conduct a conversation. If this is the normal mode in these discussions, I’m outta here. And no, Virginia, it’s not that “I can’t take it”. I *COULD* swim in dogshit all day if I wanted to, but I don’t because it would be gross and annoying, to no good purpose.

        David’s call. He gets to decide whether or not to let people take a dump on his site.

        Requiring transparency for public corporations is a good thing. No problem. A significant fraction of the people involved in the financial crisis didn’t understand how the funky mortgage derivatives worked. Sometimes they just didn’t pay attention. Sometimes the information was hopelessly obscure. And sometimes, a small fraction of the total, there was outright fraud.

        Put the frauds in jail. Require more transparency. I’m good with both. But don’t throw counter-productive sand in the gears of honest, voluntary transactions.

      • Sean Young

        Heh, I *knew* you were going to come up with correlation/causation thing. I knew it because without any further response it amounts to little more than saying “nuhuh, you’re silly” ;). For the record saying “correlation doesn’t imply causation” doesn’t disprove a causal relationship either.

        In a post as long as this, you managed to spend fully one sentence actually responding to what I said, and it has about as much substance as a Chicken McNugget. As I noted, every response you make here has the same formula, essentially you saying “nuhuh, you’re silly” followed by usually erroneous claims you’re being insulted, and waffle on an irrelevant tangent. Nothing you’ve said dismisses, or even begins to deal with anything I wrote. You’re a master of sophistry clearly, and of insulting people in a way that lets you say “me, insult someone, nooooo”, but ultimately the substance of your postings is sitting around the same level as the average IQ of the readership of the Daily Mail: Absolute Zero.

        As for the causation, I wrote a long article about it a year or so ago, I suspect no one would appreciate me rendering it here, and besides you’d never read it. Still the facts are that if you actually look at the causes of things like the Savings and Loan Crisis, Dot Com Bubble and the Subprime mortgage crisis, you’ll note that they stem from actions that had been deregulated, and only just recently. How do you explain how the markets were stable and HUGELY profitable with the New Deal regulations for decades, but that every major piece of financial deregulation since then has been hallmarked by a massive financial collapse? How do you explain how the US became the richest country in the world with those regulations in place, if all they do is “throw counter-productive sand in the gears of honest, voluntary transactions”. That’s what you need to do in order to start to *honestly* dismiss my argument, if you plan on being intellectually honest and actually debating this subject because “correlation doesn’t imply causation” doesn’t even begin to cut it.

        Otherwise don’t respond, or make a substance-less post where you say “nuhuh, you’re silly” claim I’m insulting you, and proclaim yourself the winner. I’ve debated enough libertarians before to know where the smart money should go.

      • Your insults seemed directed to my comments rather than personal insults, and I’m fine with that.

        Somebody (don’t remember if it was you) made a comment that pointed out a correlation, and they seemed to imply that that meant a causation. I was simply pointing out that it doesn’t. The fact that this also doesn’t disprove a causation falls into the “Duh!” category, so I’m not sure of the point of making that comment.

        When you say “every response you make here has the same formula, essentially you saying “nuhuh, you’re silly” “, that’s just factually wrong. Some have been of that form. Not even most, never mind every. Either you have missed most of my posts, or you aren’t paying attention.

        You say “followed by usually erroneous claims you’re being insulted”. Quote, specifically a single case where I claimed to be insulted, when in fact I wasn’t. If you can’t do that, I don’t want to hear it.

        “You’re a master of sophistry clearly” Clearly. among other things. Working in politics for almost 20 years can have the effect.

        “but ultimately the substance of your postings is sitting around the same level as the average IQ of the readership of the Daily Mail: Absolute Zero.” (wait for it…wait for it…). This is just silly. And false.

        “As for the causation, I wrote a long article about it a year or so ago, I suspect no one would appreciate me rendering it here, and besides you’d never read it”. Depends on how long it is. If it’s 20+ pages, you’re right, I won’t read it. But, I’m an economist as well as a sophistrist, so I’ll at least glance at it if you send it.

        “Otherwise don’t respond, or make a substance-less post…” I will post when I want, in whatever manner I want, unless instructed otherwise by our host.

        And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m a RECOVERING libertarian!
        ;-)

        TCS

      • Sean Young

        Is it silly to say there’s little substance to what you’ve written here? I’ve yet to see any. Take the above, you completely ignored what I wrote, to go after the less than half of my post that dealt with the noise of your previous. If that carries on all there’ll be is noise…

        Though: “I will post when I want, in whatever manner I want, unless instructed otherwise by our host.” That’s freedom of speech, but what if you were disrupting me? I have to pay my internet fees to download your words you know. By responding you’re causing me costs.

        Right, so you have no problem with regulations, that’s a start. The problem with the current situation is that it wasn’t caused by lack of transparency, not by people, by and large, defrauding others out of their money. It was caused by bankers being unable to judge risks effectively, and playing with other peoples money in those risky situations. How would transparency help in a situation where the participants knew what they were doing carried grave risks, but didn’t care because if it came off, they’d make a mint for themselves, but it would be other people who were injured if it failed. Transparency alone would do nothing for the situation, everyone knew what they were doing was dangerous, they just didn’t care because it was other people that would be hurt, and they were right. The incompetence and greed of the bankers and traders caused the economic collapse, and they’re the ones still with jobs, and still getting massive bonuses.

        If disruption is a crime, why aren’t they being arrested for the disruption they’ve wrought on a global scale? The people being disrupted by occupy, have disrupted millions of others, disrupted their work, disrupted their homes, disrupted their ability to feed their families, yet you bemoan Occupy for the almost insignificant disruption they’ve caused, while letting the huge disruption of the economy go without comment, it would seem.

        How would transparency have stopped any of that?

        It was the deregulation of the financial markets that allowed financial entities to act in plain dangerous ways; while the moral hazards of offering them bailouts so they couldn’t lose was just the icing on the cake. It’s not a silly myth, it’s the way it was.

      • Sean Young

        Oh, and one last thing while we’re one the subject, how do you plan on ensuring that the financial markets and their transactions are “transparent” without regulating that it be so? Ask nicely? Offer them cake and tea perhaps?

      • I have no problem with new regulations of public corporations that require useful transparency, as long as they don’t restrict action. In other words, if a company says “This investment is risky as hell, and if you put money into you’re probably going to lose your ass”, and someone wants to buy it anyhow, they should be allowed to do so.

        SOX is *WAY* over the top, of course.

      • Terry, I get you. I don’t know what Occupy you live closest to, but I’ve seen three in Northern California. Despite the best intentions of the participants (the camps are all surprisingly clean), a distinct smell of hippy (by which I mean weed smoke and unwashed body for the most part) does cling to their centrally located encampments. They block right of passage, and destroy any hope that people who aren’t occupying can have free use of the spaces. They are inconvenient and disruptive. The Crimethinc street kid hangers-on think nothing of puking that last 40 into the street a few steps from their tent. Everything smells like cigarette butts.

        That being said, who would listen if they weren’t causing a fuss? This is what anger coming to a head looks like. People have been grumbling politely about these issues for years. You can’t be polite about free speech forever, or you’ll find that it’s a right you no longer possess.

      • I’m like an electron. I don’t really exist in any specific location. I’m just a probability distribution!

        My actual home is at Lake Tahoe, and there was nothing there. I work most of the time in downtown Salt Lake City at the moment. I saw on the news that there’s was an occupation of a local park, but I never saw anything in real life. I guess it just wasn’t on my travel routes.

        I don’t listen even though they *ARE* making a fuss! In fact, I have a distinct inclination to listen to someone less, if the person is shouting. In general, not just in this case.

        What changes things in the real world is power. If you have it, use it. If you don’t, get it. But whining in public is at least as likely to reduce the support (or at least, harden the opposition) for a cause, as it is to get anything useful done.

      • Akira MacKenzie

        “Insults are insults.”

        And you deserve every one of them, cupcake.

        Or, as we say to on Pharyngula, “Kindly go fuck yourself.”

    • Mr, Brin,

      Thank you for writing this. I also enjoyed your novels when I was a younger man (than I am today :-)).

      A small correction: there is no historical record that Phiddipides actually ran those last 26 miles back to Athens and died. It’s not in the history books. I think that part is myth. But your main point is undeniable: Phiddipides ran 120 miles to Sparta in two days on foot and there was a forced march back to Athens from Marathon (in full armor, after a battle involving sprinting at some undetermined point) and that distance is commemorated in the race that bears its name.

      (By the way, enjoyed the link to the History Channel, since I don’t get cable. The “new video game technology” looks surprisingly like Rome Total War, right down to the dramatic music. Ahh! That’s got to be thirty hours I’ll never get back.)

      As for the Gates thing (brought up by some others), a lot of educators can show his stabs to fix our broken education system are inept at best (and detrimental at worst), but I have no doubt he (and his wife’s) heart is in the right place, even if he his naiveté is probably doing more harm than good. As someone who comes from a family of scientists & educators and now finds themselves in technology (working for the company that hosts this blog no less), I find it amusing the obvious oversight that merit-based pay, testing, and smaller class sizes can be magic bullets. As if someone goes into teaching because of the great pay, competitive atmosphere, and the ability to affect LESS minds! :-D

      • The_L

        The other things, I’ll agree on, but smaller class size is generally a good thing. We teachers like being able to deal with each student one-on-one for a bit–it makes it easier for us to teach, and to gauge whether they’re learning something meaningful (i.e., NOT how to bubble in on some Scantron sheet).

    • Sorry, my point was simply that Dilios is an Unreliable Narrator or at least a biased one. That Miller uses this narrator uncritically is an issue, certainly, and I wouldn’t want to make excuses for him. But it does at least make sense in that context.

    • Hi David,

      You asked when were the “bureaucrats” the same threat to freedom that the oligarchy posed? The horrors of Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot were built by vast armies of bureaucrats that created and sustained the infrastructure needed for the purges and cleansings that killed tens of millions and locked hundreds of millions into generations of slavery to the state.

      Conversely, as much as I despise oligarchy built on crony capitalism, the worst examples I can bring to mind for that aren’t as bad as the best examples of totalitarian statism- be it left of right. China is currently moving up from statism to oligarchy and the people are the better for it. If they want to continue advancing, they will need to trade in oligarchy for free market and that will be very, very hard. I am going on record as saying that China will probably stall out and stagnate starting in five to ten years. They will still have a standard of living far better than under the rule of bureaucrats but nowhere near what they could have out from under the thumb of oligarchy. On the flipside of the equation, as our politicians sell us out to the oligarchs, our standard of living will stall out and will end up a fraction of what it could be with a market that isn’t being commanded by the state.

      I don’t watch Fox News so I can’t really talk to the attacks you say they are leveling at the educated class… but you do realize that a physician regularly polls at the top of the republican field for the next election? Ron Paul doesn’t have a chance of getting the nomination but that is because of the political machinations of the Republican Party, not through any dislike of doctors on the part of conservative voters. The Republican Party won’t allow him to get the nomination any more than the Democratic Party would allow a libertarian to run- he is an idealist who would return power from the parties to the people. Irregardless of either party’s rhetoric, they both are hell bent on taking as much power as they can.

  18. Tony

    I have to say, your bitterness about the success of 300 is palpable. The fact of the matter is that it is a film, based on a graphic novel. Neither of which is claimed to be accurate historical fact, so pointing out the historical innacuracies is foolish to say the least. Why not take the same issue with the Captain America comics involving the nazis? Surely those are full of lies and mis-truths to?

    Also, who quotes themselves on their own website? Most uncool.

    • Tony

      Frank Miller is an asshole btw, I’m in no way defending him.

    • Raven

      You have completely missed the point. It’s not whether 300 is historical fact (since it’s so obviously not), but what the mistruths in it say about its creator. It’s entirely too easy to understand how the guy who wrote a graphic novel so ahistorically glorifying the Spartans at the expense of the Athenians and the guy raging against OWS are one and the same.

      • Tony

        I didn’t miss the point at all, it would be hard to miss as he stated it very clearly in the first couple of paragraphs. I’m actually saying he seem’s to be enjoying taking a cheap shot at 300 on a flimsy premise, then extoling the virtues of his own work. It just seems like there is a lot of personal spite in there.

        Not to mention, the story of 300 is, well, a story about the 300. You could say because of the way he shaped the story it says a lot about him, or as I think is more likely, it just made for a much better story.

  19. Derker

    Although I agree with your points by and large, where on earth did you get the figure that the Athenians provided more troops than the Spartans at Plataea? 10,000 Spartan troops compared to 8,000 Athenian is the usual figure given from Herodotus, and to call the battle a ‘mopping up’ operation is just shoddy. Xerxes had left, that is true, but he considered the parts of Greece under his control to have been conquered and subdued. The Persian Army had not been defeated on land yet, and it was still comprised of between 70-100,000 troops, and was commanded by Mardonius, a notable Persian noble and military commander. The battle itself was also closely fought, and a Greek victory was by no means certain. Surpising that you would make these inane historical claims based on an ideological gripe whilst criticising another for doing the same.

    • A technical quibble is that you meant to say that the Persian Army had not been defeated on land IN THIS INVASION yet since they had been defeated at Marathon a decade before.

      I suppose one could argue that half of the 10k Spartan hoplites were not full Spartan citizens, but rather from a Spartan subject state. Or perhaps, he was bundling the Athenian hoplite marines who were part of the Battle of Platea going on at the same time in the numbers. Either argument seems a bit of a stretch, but I would believe the numbers are close enough that the error was accidental.

      Along the same thinking as you, I think Mr. Brin is downplaying Thermopylae a bit. I think they held the Persians off for 3 days, not simply one. Also, they did get slaughtered, but their actions allows the bulk of the Greek forces to retreat from certain death, which set up Plataea the following year.

      (Yes, Spartans were a brutal culture and their military is wholly un-American (though our military is becoming like them), but they must have been good soldiers or else Athens would have not begged for their help at Marathon, they would not have been commanders of the Greeks (even in Salamis!), and finally they wouldn’t have defeated Athens in the Peloponnesian Wars (yes, we can argue the Persian’s helped, but clearly even under Pericles Athen’s success lay in its defensive posture vis-a-vis the Spartan hoplites).)

      All those battles were so important that had any one of them turned, Western Civilization would have also followed. But if we have to give points for rate of success and degree of difficulty, all three of us would probably rank Salamis and Marathon well ahead of the loss at Thermopylae or final victory at Plataea, which means that Brin’s main point is intact.

  20. …and get off my lawn!!

    –Damn kids!!

  21. Pingback: Some Thoughts on Frank Miller « Nerd Redefined

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  23. rexusdiablos

    A suitable alias for David Brin might be “Miller Killer”. In time we could extend the alias to indeed any act of pertinence to minimizing the proliferation of Frank Miller’s convoluted message. A meme of sorts. The most accomplished “Miller Killer” of all is of course Miller himself. He’s but few more remedial hissing blog posts away from completely self-destructing. Someone in PR put a leash on that dilapidated dog! Let his epitaph read “Here lies Frank Miller, an artist and a writer but above all a misguided turncoat right-wing zealot who defecated on his own career by imparting irrational and deceptive political opinions.” That’s one grave I’ll be visiting when my bladders full.

  24. DR

    One more point: the Spartans at Thermopylae used the natural landscape of a country they knew well to set up a (failed) ambush, against the Persians who did not know the landscape anywhere near as well. This is classical guerilla tactics, a characteristic not of national armies, but of “liberation movements”, aka terrorist organizations. So in one way, you could call the Spartans terrorists, using commonly held definitions. I don’t think that would be fair, but Miller certainly would have no qualm calling them that if they just had brown skin and spoke arabic…

  25. Tony, thanks for psycho-analyzing my motives. Accuse me of jealousy when you’ve had a major motion picture made from your best-selling , award-winning novel that’s in 25 languages, hum? Miller and I are peers. If anyone on the planet can look him parallel in the eye, it’s me. Tell me what I have to be jealous about? You’re a dope.

    Derker, sorry… Athenians plus their close Delian allies far outnumbered the Spartans… and they did far more of the actual fighting at Platea. But let’s see. You actually hold up my slight exaggeration re: Platea (Mardonius himself wrote home that he felt doomed.) vs Miller’s outrageous claim that Leonidas would have TAUNTED Athenians, who ten years earlier saved the whole country?

    It is plausible that Leonidas would have taunted the shopkeepers, when they were in PLAIN VIEW battling to protect his flank? Gee whiz, you must be a Fox viewer.

    You are grasping at straws.

    • Tony

      Well, I think the important distinction you cleverly avoid is that 300 was a massively successfully film, whereas yours was not only a financial flop but just a terrible movie. So two men, both successfull writers, but only one ended up with a good film. Now do you see it?

      And I know the film was not your fault, your book was epic, that’s why I’m even reading your blog.

      • DR

        300 might have been successful, but it was in fact a really bad movie. And the follow up, “The Immortals”, is even worse.

      • Tony

        I can’t reply to you below for some reason DR, so I’ll put it here. I’d have to disagree, but we all have our own tastes. Personally I thought it was a great “no brainer”, something I love to watch late at night with the volume up high.

      • DR

        Well, “no-brainer” is definitely the way I would describe “300″. Like: brain-less = dumb.

      • rexusdiablos

        So then, are we to expect more passive aggressive ad hominem from you or is there any prospect whatsoever that you might offer an objective counter-rebuttal? Oh wait, that’s right, you can’t. If you could, you wouldn’t have resorted to ad hominem, the last resort of a losing debater.

        So two men, one a successful writer discussing a political issue and the other a keyboard warrior unable to competently rebut the discussion thereby resorting to ad hominem. Now do you see it?

        *

  26. I think a more important historical question is: Who says ‘louts’? C’mon!

    Seriously, though, I’ve always wondered what the big deal was with this 300, even before they made a movie of them. They didn’t really seem to do much…except suck and die.

    I suppose they just had more quotable witticisms.

  27. Taavet Ropp

    Everyone always forgets about the Thespians;(

  28. craig

    not sure if someone already mentioned this but i remember reading somewhere that the persian empire were actually anti slavery too? the whole film comes across as a slander piece to dehumanise iran (persia) not defending the current regime in iran though

    • DR

      “300″ portrayed the events from the point of view of the Spartans, a people who would make the Nazis seem like pussies (I’m not joking). In fact, Hitler took a number of ideas from the Spartans, and utterly admired them. The Hitler Youth organization was inspired by the Spartan’s separation of children from their parents to undergo military training at a young age.

      The Spartans were Greek, but they weren’t nice guys. They were far worse, relative to modern mores, than the Persians were, even though the Persians themselves weren’t the nicest of people.

      Miller’s admiration for the Spartans is racial, pure and simple. And the mad is exposing himself as a racist more and more every day. It’s time to call him out for what he is. He may be a brilliant writer, but he is a horrible human being.

  29. Tony, okay I get it… you were just poking at me. Sorry I took it as an insult! Poke away ;-)

    As for the number of Athenians at Platea…. jeez! Did I mention that the Athenians and their brother cities not only carried the heaviest load at Platea, but their entire navy was engaged, that very day, in the fight at Mycale that doomed the Persians in Greece to certain death, whatever happened at Platea! Athens fought TWO great battles that day!

    Dilios can go chase himself. SIlly cyclops.

  30. NickD

    Thank you for the insight and explanation of what happened in these battles. I am applauding your post because it bravely discusses truth and context of the topic, which is sorely missing in so much of what is said forthright by those with large audiences.

  31. tom

    Not a fan of Frank Miller, but this blogger should stop wikiing about Greek history.

  32. Malacandra

    Brilliant takedown.

    I think I need a cigarette after reading that… thanks, David.

  33. Farah

    To me, it seems petty to dissect the historical accuracy of a graphic novel.

  34. Rob

    Thank you for an excellent takedown of Frank Miller’s post. May The Goddamned Batman have mercy on his poor, misguided soul.

    There’s one constructive thing Miller did achieve with that post: it inspired me to eBay all my Frank Miller books to benefit the Occupy Wall Street campers.

  35. Pingback: Ripping Apart “300″ « Consumption Of Shorts

  36. wlewisiii

    Interesting and delightful article. Thank you for that. It will be interesting to see if this hits as many nerves as your commentary on Star Wars, for example. ;)

    I knew this history and so as a former NCO of our volunteer army, mostly just laughed at it. I had not heard of his “thoughts” regarding the OWS, but they do not especially surprise me. I always enjoyed Mr. Miller’s take on Batman. Of course, that’s be cause he speaks to the vigilante thug that is in all of us when we are abused and have no voice in the system. In Batman he found a largely sympathetic version of his pervasion and rode it all the way to the bank.

    I can undersand the wish that the OWS would pick up the blue kepi of our ancestors in this fight for liberty. I’d be there in a heart beat, the great-great-grandson of a Yankee in blue wool with a Springfield Model 1861 to hand. Yet would it gain us anything? Or would we simply be repeating the mistakes of the Republicans in Spain?

  37. OK, let me get this straight. Frank Miller’s opinion gets kicked to the curb because his comic book [I]300[/I] wasn’t historically accurate? By this same logic, the movie [I]The Postman [/I]was a piece of crap because it did not adhere slavishly to your book, [I]The Postman[/I].

    • No, Miller’s opinion gets kicked to the curb because he is a pseudo-fascist arsehole who thinks his opinion trumps reality. An example being his use of historical revisionism to try to score points supporting his orientalist (racist) ideology… i.e. 300.

      • p mac

        Isn’t Miller’s racism Occidentalism (westernism?)

      • @p mac – Orientalism is not “Easternism,” as you’ve defined Occidentalism as “Westernism.” Do some reading on the topic – maybe Edward Said’s pioneering book Orientalism might help.

        The phrase Orientalism comes from the ideology of Orientalists – those westerners who studied the East. Said analyzed how Orientalists’ unexamined assumptions in fact constructed a concept of “The East” in many ways to allow the West to define itself in opposition.

  38. Sir Geoffrey, your reply utterly ignores precisely what I said… that I would have stewed but kept silent over FM ignoring the Athenians… but then Miller makes a POINT of deriding and slandering them. The CORE point of the film is to rant that citizen militias are inferior, when history shows that Leonidas knew better. ALL of the great Greek victories were achieved by the sort of militias that FM and his characters rail against.

    That is a message, my friend. a deliberate attempt to propagandize an evil, lying batshit message. And I am perfectly right to oppose it.

    As for the Postman? Heck, I didn’t have 80 million $ so I didn’t let myself get panties in a twist over divergences of plot. Nor did I get gut wrenched over Costner’s rudeness (he never even bought me a beer.) Nor the lobotomized lowering of the story’s intelligence.

    Why didn’t I get upset?

    1 – Costner is a genius at music and cinematography. The Postman is one freaking incredible feast to the eyes and ears, absolutely gorgeous.

    2 – Somehow, the jerk understood the core point of my book. It’s heart message, and delivered it faithfully. DUMB the movie was, but bighearted, patriotic and adoring of civilization. I can live with that. And so, lower the rifles, guys. Let the jerk live. There are much worse assholes on this planet.

    Heck, let EVERYBODY live! ;-)

  39. alex

    Wall street thugs are only interested establishing TALMUDIC EMPIRE. Where every one but once race suffer unjustice laws. 20 million russian farmers were starve to death because they did n’t agree with .01% of the people. Samething will happen in america if wall street bankers run the country , they put their people in all all political post and govt post. Media , Hollywood everywhere same thing over and over. They almost try to make headless slaves who obey to their illegal activities because they are better race. I see they copy all nazi formula. I wonder even nazis created by them and it went out of control and they destroyed nazis. You people are talking as free american, Frank miller kinds are just vampires , they just suck the wealth of america and give their unflinching support to another country. Wake up america. See what it is. Everything bogus in america now. Media is propaganda machine , Homeland security is spy on its own people for th other country.

  40. A nice historical overview; I knew 300 was bad history but I didn’t realize how aggressively and intentionally bad. Thanks.

    I have to take one exception to your underlying point; you talk about the kids “clumsily feeling their way ahead”. And you know, that’s fine…we all clumsily feel our way forward at some point. But the OWS kids aren’t particularly feeling their way forward; they’re claiming (implicitly or explicitly) that they have found the way and that the rest of us fools need to listen to their great wisdom and follow their beneficent lead. Yet at the same time, it’s quite obvious that few, if any, of them have even a basic understanding of how economies work, of how labor for private gain produces public good, of any of the complex and difficult tradeoffs that a modern society entails. It’s a teenage tantrum, but one demanding a seat at the policy table. Thanks, but no thanks; there’s a place to feel one’s way forward, and that’s a classroom, or a library, or a quiet place in the mountains where someone can think. Shutting down business and demanding immediate gratification of one’s ill-considered and half-baked philosophy isn’t feeling the way forward, it’s rejecting that entire process and the intellectual humility that is the first task of anyone hoping to make any progress on these hard questions.

    • para

      Not quite.

      In my group alone we’ve got several teachers, several lawyers, a doctorate in marketing & economics, several people with (successful) businesses, an aerospace engineer turned credit union systems programmer and a shit ton of local civic leaders hanging out at the Occupy general assembly.

      These are not ignorant people. They are well educated citizens. And their education tells them that the system is broken, and there are some folks on Wall Street and in Washington that need to be spanked very, very badly.

    • DR

      Actually, many of the people associated with OWS know very well how economies work. They also know and understand that markets are not indestructible, perfect self-regulating machines, and that not only is it possible for a small band of people to twist the system so much that it reaches the breaking point, but that it’s exactly what happened in 2007-2008.

      OWS is not asking for a wholesale rejection of market economies. But this utterly religious worship of Markets as Perfectly Good, Perfectly Tuned Gods is killing us, and OWS is one manifestation of the people’s frustration with the 1% who are the priests of this State Religion,

      Go ahead. Take a microphone, go to an occupation, and ask around? Will some call for revolution? Of course. They are pissed off. But the vast majority will tell you that they just want the system to stop being distorted to benefit the 1%, and instead be re-adjusted to not penalize those who weren’t born with silver spoons in their mouths.

  41. “20 million russian farmers were starve to death because they did n’t agree with .01% of the people.”

    If you are referring to deaths under Stalin, then you lost me with the Talmud references Last i checked, Stalin and his cohorts were not fond of the Semites, Perhaps If you are referring to the times before the Bolshevik Revolution, when the true !%, the monarchs, the nobility and the deacons exploited the uneducated poor to detract attention from their own cruelty and corruption resulting in mass pogroms?

    Your attempt at bigotry aside, the rest of your rant is unintelligible and self contradictory. You rant about the Nazis, yet your paranoid accusations mirror those made in Mein Kampf. Propaganda is certainly bad, and I lived through my share of it, Why is it that your rant sounds like government propaganda by every totalitarian regime out there?

  42. Old Ant

    I’ve never read the graphic novel, and now, because I would rather not give Frank Miller more money, I never will, but I saw the movie on an overseas flight.
    It bothered me that all opponents in the movie were ugly and corrupt. Even most of the WWII films have at least one “noble enemy,” but 300 seemed to have none. Then, at the end, I saw why, and it also explains all of the other inconsistencies with history as well.
    The story of the movie was not history, it was propaganda. Intentionally so. The story was told by a veteran Spartan soldier with the express purpose of getting a bunch of ignorant boy Spartan soldiers to follow him to their deaths on a new battlefield. Therefore all enemies must be dripping with evil, all the good guys must be Spartan soldiers of high virtue and courage, and all other information (such as slaves and Athenian help) must be deliberately downplayed, sabotaged or ignored. If you’re trying to get Spartan soldiers to enlist in your cause, you tell them stories about how they will be as heroic, brave, and honored as the Spartan heroes who have come before.
    Since I haven’t read the graphic novel(s), I don’t know if he ever tried to give an historical counterpoint/appendix to his story. If not, that’s a disservice to his audience since many love to buy heroic tales based on history as history.
    That also doesn’t mean that I give FM a pass on his ugly rant. I believe I was as disgusted by it as you were.
    But with the framing the movie had, I could understand the one-sided nature (in the extreme) found in the movie.

  43. Robert I respect your courtesy, but you are making a major error. You think that liberals are the same as lefties. They are not.

    True, conservatism has been hijacked by its loony fringe. Barry Goldwater and William F Buckley, who loved science and intellect and gentlemanly argument, are spinning in their graves. But you assume the same has happened on the other side.

    Test it. Take the litany of things Glen Beck tells you that ALL LIBERALS BELIEVE. Write them down and ask your moderate, decent democratic neighbors “do you believe this?” They will laugh in your face.

    Learn to tell the difference between liberals – who want to save capitalism from its ancient enemy – oligarchy (have you ever actually READ Adam Smith?)… and lefty flakes who DO EXIST… but inhabit a few campuses spinning out just enough nonsense to keep Beck in business.

    Feh! See this http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/1947.htm

    And learn to notice the symptoms, like the War on Science. WHen the number of scientists who follow a party plummets from 40% to FIVE PERCENT something has gone insane.

    With sincere respect.
    david b

  44. I don’t see what Glen Beck has to do with anything, although I share your preference for the old-line conservative guard to the new crop of rabble-rousers. (Not that there’s anything wrong with a little rabble-rousing.)

    Having been a liberal as well as a leftist (as well as a few other things) over the decades, I’m pretty strong on the differences between them, but again don’t see the relevance.

    I’ve read Smith extensively, although it has been (more than) a few years since I last dipped into that magnificently cynical idealist.

    It’s not the OWSers critiques that I find alarming; to some extent, practically every thinking American has at least some of the same reservations about and distaste for corporate/crony capitalism. (Indeed, scrub the mud off of a lot of OWS types and you will find a Tea Partier in the larval form; the movements have more in common than they have in conflict.) It’s the paucity of thought (or historical awareness, or both) behind their proposed remedies.

    Anyway, my underlying point – perhaps poorly expressed – is not “OWS sucks” but rather, that your characterization of them doesn’t jibe with their behavior.

  45. That link doesn’t work, by the way.

  46. personally I found it disturbing that ALL of the heroes in 300 are all macho (verbally anyway) heterosexual white men (weren’t actual Greeks darker than that?), and the bad guys (and girls) are all dark-skinned, exoticized, sniveling, feminine or disabled. I had no idea of Frank Miller’s politics or philosophy, but based on that movie I would assume he doesn’t like queers, dark-skinned people, people with disabilities, non-Western people, or for that matter, women. Predictable.

  47. Heck, while I’m picking nits…”WHen the number of scientists who follow a party plummets from 40% to FIVE PERCENT something has gone insane.”

    That’s true, but it’s not necessarily the party that has gone mad. If one looks at the original 2009 Pew poll (that I presume you’re referencing), one also finds that the number of scientists describing themselves as conservative (as explicitly differentiated from Republican) has dropped to 9 percent, while those calling themselves liberal (52 percent).

    And this process was in play long before the “War on Science”. An unbiased observer surely would advance as a first hypothesis, scientists are becoming more liberal, rather than ‘crazy Republicans have driven scientists away from conservative virtues.’

    This process of ideological capture of a profession isn’t limited to science; one might say that liberalism has a reality bias and so scientists, naturally gifted and at the cutting edge of understanding reality, have trended that way. But journalists and educators have undergone the same shift, at the same time and at broadly the same levels of magnitude, while the populace as a whole has become slightly more conservative if it has changed at all.

    • scientists are becoming more liberal, rather than ‘crazy Republicans have driven scientists away from conservative virtues.’

      Hmmm….

      one might say that liberalism has a reality bias and so scientists, naturally gifted and at the cutting edge of understanding reality, have trended that way.

      Oh dear, oh my.

      But journalists (nope, I don’t think so) and educators have undergone the same shift, at the same time and at broadly the same levels of magnitude, while the populace as a whole has become slightly more conservative if it has changed at all.

      And there you have it, kids. Straight from the horses mouth. Scientists and teachers (nope, not journalists), due to their engagement with reality are turning away from conservative “values”. At the same time the populace (some might say “real Americans” unlike those reality freebasin’ scientists and teachers) is turning away from reality.

      Good luck with that, USA.

      • You missed the point and misinterpreted what I was trying to say. We might argue that scientists are smarter than everyone else, but that argument doesn’t hold for journalists and teachers (who are notoriously on the left-hand side of the bell curve of smarts) who have shown the exact same shift. Ergo, there is something going on other than an organic movement in one political direction.

      • Rogi

        We might argue that scientists are smarter than everyone else, but that argument doesn’t hold for journalists and teachers (who are notoriously on the left-hand side of the bell curve of smarts) who have shown the exact same shift. Ergo, there is something going on other than an organic movement in one political direction.

        Robert, while a lot of this is pure speculation, on both sides of the equation, if there is a shift in political leanings of U.S. scientists, it is not necessarily the result of their higher intellect. Rather, it is the result of the recently vocal nature of Christian fundamentalists (in part along with charismatic evangelical movement) who demanded biblical inerrancy in contradiction to well established scientific principles. Issues such as AGW became politicized as liberal hoaxes/conspiracies, further alienating thousands of scientists who had little to gain in what they saw as an academic and necessary endeavor. There are probably other reasons as well, but polls can only go so far in directing causation.

        I tend to agree with you about teachers’ left leanings, which is expected because of the need for curriculum to address shifting social attitudes and “liberal” science trends.

        I don’t think journalist’s have become overwhelmingly liberal, and a distinction should be made between media outlets and actual journalists. I suspect Journalists have always been progressive on the issue of unrestricted speech and access to information.

        Ultimately, I don’t know if the GOP drove scientists away, but I do know that its base consistently rejects and undermines well established scientific principles in favor of politics and biblical literalism. The left is guilty of that as well, but most of liberals I know view those as the fringe element to be vociferously opposed whenever possible.

  48. tom

    No I didn’t, Atticus Dogsbody. I ‘m not going to spend my time writing several paragraphs worth of Greek history facts, just to educate you on History 101. I agree with David that Frank Miller is a tool, but there is nothing so ironic as one writer of fiction blasting another writer of fiction of getting history wrong, while getting history wrong.

    • DR

      And clearly you missed the point of the article. The point was that Frank Miller did not write a “historical novel” with historical inaccuracies in it. He wrote a propaganda piece, using bits and pieces of a history that he distorted specifically for effect: He wanted to further an ultra right-wing agenda where a band of fascistic “warriors” are painted as the true heros of the second Persian War, instead of the citizen militias that actually won the day. That’s not getting history wrong. That’s not caring about history, and using history as a political tool.

      • tom

        I did get the point of the article, but apparently, you didn’t get mine. Perhaps you should read my post again.

      • Tom,

        Your “post” has had no facts, just a blanket implication that Mr. Brin got his history “wrong” at least on a level compared with Frank Miller.

        I’ve a lot to quibble about some of Brin’s characterizations (as I’ve mentioned in the comments), but they are quibbles of details and perhaps one minor questioning of the spirit, but in no way could I present a way where Brin’s description of the Greco-Persian wars are even the same ballpark of as deceptive and self-serving as Miller’s were.

        (Questioning of the spirit: I personally think we too easily believe Ambrose’s glorification of citizen-soldier/band-of-brothers when Occam’s Razer tends toward the conclusion that the Nazis were simply battle-worn and shell-shocked from fighting longer.)

  49. Pingback: Balloon Juice » Occupy Everywhere Update

  50. Pingback: David Brin on Frank Miller, Occupy Wall Street and 300.

  51. peekay

    Thank you for the article, David. May I offer a small correction? The playwright at Marathon you mention should be Aeschylus, not Aeschelus.

  52. DR

    I just have to post this review of 300, which dovetails nicely into Brin’s point:

    http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=8516&IBLOCK_ID=35

  53. I believe you are basically and correctly criticizing Miller, and by implication the faction he supports, as fascist. It is about damn time someone with a big enough megaphone said it. Thank you.

    As to the broader issues, I think Occupy can best be understood by looking at how it is organized and what it has accomplished. Its stated politics, if one looks at them carefully, are the politics of the real US center–not at all radical, except from the viewpoint of the authoritarians who have dominated public political debate in the USA. But its practice is pure non-violent anarchism (and, readers, if you didn’t know that historical anarchism is largely a nonviolent a couple of big loud croaks to you) and its big achievement has been the shifting of the terms of the public debate. Before Occupy unemployment, banking corruption, and government corruption had disappeared from the main media channels. Now they are back. Occupy has highlighted and popularized the near-total failure of our democratic institutions and for that we owe the Occupiers a huge debt of thanks.

    Croak!

  54. I hated the movie even before this article. Now I hate the comics too.

  55. RE “the kids” of #Occupy: the people actually Occupying are young because only the Young can do this work. Behind each “kid” physically Occupying there are others doing what they are able to in the promotion and enablement of the young heroes who are shivering in the cold&wet and taking the police beatings.

    RE people like Miller who “don’t understand what those bums want”: even Cookie Monster knows the answer to that:

    “When Liberals run country for 30 years following New Deal, American economy double in size, and wages double along with it. That fair. When Conservatives run country for 30 years following Reagan, American economy double again, and wages stay flat. What happen to our share of money? All of it go to richest 1%. That not “there always going to be rich people”. That unfair system. That why we upset. That what Occupy Sesame Street about.”
    ~ Cookie Monster

  56. Pingback: David Brin on Frank Miller on the Occupy movement | SHG

  57. Phil Groff

    David, I’m in 99% agreement with your entire historical analysis. However, the “one day delay” wasn’t quite as futile a gesture as you suggest. It was necessary to hold up the Persian land forces, long enough for the Athenian Navy to take the inner channel between Euboia island and the mainland. That allowed the smaller Athenian fleet to force the Persian supply ships into the open Aegean, outside the shelter of Euboia–where they sustained heavy losses to storms, and were cut off from supplying the main army for a longer period of time. That was the strategic aim of Leonidas and it worked. Everything else you mention, including his personal motivation based on shame, is 100% on the mark, however.

  58. I’ve been trying to figure out for years if Miller’s problem is of his own making, if he just believes Victor David Hanson, or is just comparing notes with Dan Simmons…

    Historical facts sure can be inconvenient…

  59. Pingback: Occupy Oakland: Second Raid | Mike Cane's xBlog

  60. You could take any of the rants against OWS above, and with a few cut and paste operations turn them into perfect Tory rants against those disruptive kids dumping tea into Boston harbor.

    • You are busted

      Don’t forget the ” Heathen Anarchists” at Boston, and later Lexington and their refusal to “Obey a lawful command to disperse.”.

      I say we start referring to the non1% who support the one percent as “Tories” and the bad cops as “Red Coats” Since these are there obvious heros they are worshipping with their behavior and words.

  61. Sue Hickey

    Mr. Brin could also mention one of Xerxes’ precedesors, Cyrus the Great, King of Persia, a statesman whose tolerance and accommodation for his subject peoples was legendary (he even freed the Jews from their Babylonian exile and built their temples so they could worship there again). Leonidas would certainly pale against Cyrus, the only Gentile named in the Bible as “God’s Anointed” and apparently was prophesied by Isaiah centuries before the Persian leader was born. Frank Miller wouldn’t depict Cyrus in a graphic novel!

  62. William Valles

    What a great treatment of that graphic novel/horrible movie! I remember watching it thinking that I really liked the older movie better that starred Richard Egan called “The 300 Spartans” from 1962. Less posturing and more talking without grunting so much. And I wholeheartedly agree about what is being said about the citizen soldier. This concept is at the core of many of the so-called volunteer organizations that protect and sustain the other people that make up our communities, states, and nation. What kind of trip is Miller riding on? I really liked his take on Batman Dark Knight graphic novels…but after that…not so much.

  63. It should also be noted that at the Battle of Sphacteria, the Athenians actually managed to force Spartans to surrender for the only known time in their history.

  64. VARIOUS REPLIES: ==> Phil Groff, I agree that storms helped the athenian Navy. But Themistocles was already in the straits when Leonidas arrived. And a couple of days ain’t a big deal. SUre they died well and did a little good. I’d honor them, if they weren’t already honored way way too much.

    ==>Sue Hickey thanks for mentioning Cyrus. Great guy… who by the way is totally slandered in the movie INTOLERANCE by D.W. Griffith, who was the Frank Miller of his day and never met a bigot who he didn’t like.

    => Robert Hayes, you seem a very bright and congenial fellow. Please join the smart (and smartaleck) community under comments at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/ (The rest of you are welcome too). That’s where the big discussions happen. In fact, we are running short of guys like you who I call “ostrich conservatives)… bright guys who clasp at straws amid the current schizophrenic break that has hijacked the movement of William F. Buckley. I sympathize with your desperation to rationalize the unsupportable. But only to a point,

    That hijacking should be the focus of every ounce of your outrage. We NEED a decent, smart, intellectually honest American conservatism! And a libertarianism that is informed by Adam Smith, not a mad Russian woman’s insipidly sophomoric, cult of solipsism.

    But you need to be called on the absurd notion that scientists – by far the smartest and MOST COMPETITIVE human beings of all time – have been “captured.” Is that also true of military flag officers? Journalists, teachers, medical doctors, judges and attorneys, professors, civil servants…. I could go on forever…

    …because EVERY clade of intellectual excellence in America is under attack by a vast populist/know-nothing movement whose sole aim is to divert ire away from the one elite responsible for our mess.

    • You over estimate the vastness of the know-nothing movement. It’s there, but it’s not as big as you seem to think.

      I’ve worked in politics/government in one way or another for almost 20 years now. Don’t take posturing public pronouncements too seriously. That’s not representative of how people think, or how things get decided.

      • Terry, your naivete is stunning. The conservative neighbors I meet at the grocery store are no longer like Buckley, eager for progress – though brought to us by the marketplace. They hate science and are eager for the events of the Book of Revelation.

        Wake up.

      • How many conservatives who actually make decisions in the political power structure have you talked to for more than 5 minutes in the last month?

        Serious question.

    • Phil Groff

      Fair enough David!

      I’m also really looking forward to the Themistocles piece. While we’re on the subject of historical narratives that have been overlooked, I always thought something could have been done with Xenophon’s Anabasis. Surely there’s a Kirk Douglas movie we missed in there, somewhere.

      Phil

      • jim in nc

        The Anabasis was in part the inspiration for the NYC gang movie “the Warriors” in which the gang had to make its way across the city.

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  66. Thank you, Mr. Brin, for bringing Frank Miller pretentious BS to light.

  67. Pingback: The Miller Propoganda Machine (or why I Disagree with a Smart man Named Neil Gaiman) :Deranged Rantings of a Comic Book Philosopher

  68. TCH

    It is as if Frank Miller went crazy. As he did write Martha Washington which is supposed to be political satire.

  69. Guest

    The argument would have been better if Brin had acknowledged that Athens had slaves, too.

  70. John Tighe

    With his rant, Miller shows that he knows the Spirit of Democracy as well as he knows the Spirit of Eisner.

  71. *laughing* Wonderful post. Of course, Athenians kept slaves and treated women like garbage, but we can’t have everything. ;)

  72. needmoremeat

    Thank you, Thank you,Thank you. I’ve been trying to tell people that 300 the film/book is nothing but properganda since it came out. I tell people that Spartans had more slaves than the Persian Empire and they act like i never spoke. Frank say’s the Athenians where “Boy lover’s, but so where the Spartan’s. They only had wives so they could have more son’s. I laugth whenever i see the last scene in the film Greece the last hope against tirany “really”, The real battle happened at sea, no Spartens. In fact for people who called themselves (the greatest worriers the world had ever seen) they never seemed to be there whenever some fighting had to be done (unless it was a slave hunt) Spartan’s are why too over rated. Frank Miller really should fall back he has not created a good Grapic novel since 300 maybe that’s why he now spend’s his time pissing people off.

  73. Adam2

    I blame Michigan State. And San Jose State…. Then Penn State. But that is another matter altogether.. Or is it?

  74. Ray Batt

    Wowwwwwwwww…. David Brin. Envious of Frank Miller much? I like how one paragraph was spared for the Occupy movement followed by pages of vitriol devoted to lambasting Frank Miller for delivering a Hollywood movie instead of a history lesson.
    All this coming from the man who wrote, “The Postman.”
    Not that “300″ was any good, but still.

    • You are busted

      David Brin has no reason to be jealous of Frank Miller. Brin has sold more books, won more awards, both for his art and his contributions towerds upholding the constitution, has more education, makes more use of his education, and more of a LIFE then Frank miller.

      He also hasn’t publicly melted down.
      Frank Miller has never served a day in the armed forces, got rich off of selling comics to basement dwellers, yet has called the OWS basement dwellers who need to join the army and protect America.
      The fact is the OWS has slightly LOWER unemployment rate then the national average, and is chocked full of members of the armed forces.

      If their is an in motivated reaction here, it’s clearly Frank Miller’s self loathing projected onto the patriots in the OWS.

    • You are busted

      Funny that you should try to say that David Brin is biased by jealousy, since you are obviously biased by being employed by a fortune 500 company that does propaganda work for other fortune 500 companies, including the worst offenders investors, broker/dealers, and healthcare corperations. Gee how surprising that once again a vocal anti-OWS person is motivated by protecting his own ability to co-opt the legal system in order to enrich himself at the expense of the middle class and poor. Especially since your company LITERALLY services Wall Street.

      Hmm a quick google check leads to a FB profile for a Ray Batt. The Networks listed are
      RR Donnelley & Sons, Bowne & Co.

      A quick search for those corporations reveal that Bowne & Co is a subsidiary of RR Donnelley and Sons.
      According to : rrdonnelley.com they are mainly a “Printing and design company” and offer several “financial services”

      “RR Donnelley adds value to you and your company through highly personalized around-the-clock services, worldwide expertise, and insight that comes from a history of experience and achievement. That’s why FORTUNE Magazine has named us America’s Most Admired Printer for five consecutive years.

      Capital markets
      Our unparalleled print capacity, innovative technologies, and filing expertise make us the provider of choice for regulatory compliance and major transaction work.

      Investment markets
      We offer you a full range of solutions to create, manage, and distribute your optimized business communications to investors, broker/dealers, and healthcare members.

      Outsourcing services
      As a leading supplier of judgment-based outsourcing services, we provide a wide range of solutions to assist you in your crucial business functions and processes.

      Real estate services
      Only RR Donnelley can provide the low-cost, high-value support that the largest players in real estate industry rely on to remain competitive. ”

      In other words they are a PROPAGANDA FIRM specialising in working for FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES.

  75. Ralph

    In many ways I think you could equate the Occupy Camp to a tourist town, with lots of flowthrough traffic. I am sure any Spring Break destination would tell you that they too have rapists and thieves and everything else. Citing that as an issue is nonsensical. Any gathering of humans of sufficient size will have these things. You will also have some pregnant women, some folks with VD, a few asmatics and some folks with cancer. So What?

  76. ddb

    I have no love of Frank Miller’s political views, far from it in fact.

    With that said, it astounds me how many people don’t understand that “300″ is a tale told by a soldier to his fellow soldiers in order to get them riled up for war. Both the book and the movie show this is a tale that is blown out of proportion by the narrator (as is often the case) in order to elicit a response from his fellow man.

    Yes, the Spartans were slave owners, as were the Athenians. In fact, Greece at that time was a loosely unified nation of Greeks, but still a bunch of states that continually warred with one another. Democracy was for free men, not slaves during this time period.

    7000 soldiers marched into Thermopylae, only 300 of them Spartans. In the end, when they were sold out by Ephialtes of Trachis (who showed the Persians the trail), Leonides ordered the troops of the other city-states to return home to prepare for the Persian invasion. All that was left at the gates were 300 Spartans and 700 volunteers who knew it was suicide to stay, but wanted to buy time for the men retreating to shore up defenses at home.

    Why is this battle still talked about? Because of the sheer number of men that the Persian army (yes, army, not navy) lost during those three days. If they hadn’t been held there and lost as many as they did, they would have overrun Greece without a problem.

    I’ve actually been to Thermopylae (long before Miller wrote his book) and saw the inscription on the monument that marks the mass grave of the Spartans. It’s the quote Miller uses in his book, and is also used in the movie. A quote written by Simonides of Ceos who resided in Athens.

    I don’t get all this hate spewed at a group of people in history who were no better than those around them at the same point in history, all due to a clearly exaggerated historical story written by a madman. Seriously, if there’s anyone you should be pissed at, it’s the educational system that hasn’t taught children history well enough to know the facts of one the most epic battles in history in the first place.

    • Because of the sheer number of men that the Persian army (yes, army, not navy) lost during those three days. If they hadn’t been held there and lost as many as they did, they would have overrun Greece without a problem.

      Small quibble: The way you wrote the above implies that the numbers lost actually meant something to the Persians which they did not. If the death of the 300 (and the 700 Thespians, which was actually a more significant sacrifice since that represented every last soldier) actually meant something, it is probably because the extra day allowed for a strategic retreat of the remainder of the forces.

      David Brin implies that it was the shame over missing Marathon that is the (real) cause of Herodotus’s sacrifice, and that is a reasonable guess as any.

      (As for the “war as propaganda” cop-out, I think others have destroyed this in the comments. In any case, the point Mr. Brin makes is that the movie reveals the disgusting totalitarian views and racism inhabiting the writer. Personally, it’s not a big deal to me, but then again, we have D.W. Griffith to beat Frank Miller on both the sewage of mind and the ability to use film to get others to fall into it.)

  77. This was a pleasure to read.

    People like Mr. Miller are welcome to move back to 15th century theocracies like Iran or Saudi Arabia.

    America and its tradition of a volunteer, non-career military will continue to win victories like World Wars I and II, with no help or thanks (nor any asked) from a trogolyditic goon like Miller.

  78. ddb sorry, that’s just silly. You assert that Dilios would try to rile up “his army” by telling the tale the way Miller did? MOST of his army was non-spartans who would be deeply insulted by Miller’s version! At best, Dilios would succeed in making the AThenians hold back and watch, if the Spartans are such tough bastards! That argument is duh.

    To IGNORE the athenian navy? Dilios would get away with THAT? Now that you know what really happened, can you believe that Miller and his partners refused to let Leonidas turn his head and witness such a wonderful thing? And maybe give a brief, respectful nod to his allies’ epic courage? Don’t you feel cheated? You were.

  79. Opps, someone didn’t follow the allegory very well :)

    Thanks for a brilliant polemic, wrapped in a history lesson, wrapped in an enigma. You have a new fan.

  80. Have comfort, David Brin, that the only times I quote 300 is usually in the context of ironic flame war battles from which my generation emerged out of the internet forum trenches, but also the epic narration which was one of the only things I reckoned needed to make a comeback. 300 does a lot of things wrong, but I miss EPIC NARRATIONS of things in cinema. I’m sad that my generation only has 300 as its Conan-style narration to go by.

    That said, it must be mentioned that most ironic 300 quoters are most likely better, more enlightened Spartan warriors of the interwebs than the actual Spartans were, all the passion and vigour, none of the xenophobia, not to mention many of them are not even American, the ANZUS and Free Trade treaties with Australia make me wonder if the US transports its Hollywood and reality TV cultural rejects seven-years-to-life to the Aussie Convict Colonies for being naughty. Though it does worry me that not enough people know what the ANZUS treaty actually is, and why it’s connected to free trade/trade sanctions at all.

    I’ve been working on a few epics of my generation for half a decade now, I’m only 21 but I’ve got the fight in me still. To bring reference to one of my country’s “greatest cultural achievements”, if Wall Street made this world a Road Warrior dystopia for people my age, somebody’s gotta build Bartertown for the sequel, no?

  81. I have read the story of the wars against Persia, and I agree that the athenians deserve credit, but you CANNOT take away what the spartans did. It was unprecedented, and may be unparallelled even to this day.

    It is not necessary to slag off the incredible feat of the spartans, which earned them their name, just bacause you want to make a case for the athenians.

  82. Mandemon

    If you want something closer to the truth, read Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, which is told from perspective of Spartan Helot. It still glorifies Spartans, but atleast it gives credit to everyone else at Thermopylae and notes that in the end, it was Athenan fleet that destroyed Persians.

    But yeah, Miller just wanted to glorify ultra militaristic nature of Spartans., not noticing that this militaristic nature and downlooking everyone else of “not spartan blood” caused their downfall.

  83. Wahl

    Miller Versus Moore:

  84. Oliver

    Funny, isn’t it, how Miller’s work and words are leaning more and more towards racial superiority and yet, 30 years ago, he was happy ripping off the graphic style of various Japanese manga artists, most notably Goseki Kojima, in order to make a name for himself. Weren’t there any Christian, Caucasian comicbook artists he could steal from?

  85. Edward James

    Great stuff, David! Thanks for putting the boot in!

    Edward

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  88. DK

    Just a thank you for getting the history correct. It’s more exciting than the crap that peep’s like Miller can concoct.

  89. Rune Hjem, you are off topic. I never dissed the courage of the REAL LIFE Leonidas, just the scurrilous piece of propaganda dreck written by Frank Miller. Indeed, the real life Leonidas would never have slandered the heroes of Marathon, the way Miller has him do in that awful film. He would have turned his head and seen the Athenians, fighting at sea.

    But you claim the Spartans at Thermopylae were “never matched.” Um? Have you ever heard of the Alamo? The story is almost exactly the same, down to every detail!

    Except the Alamo defenders accomplished something. Their 3 day delay resulted in overall victory. While the delay at Thermopylae probably had no effect at all on the outcome of the war.

  90. Good on you, Mr. Brin, for your fine response to Miller. As enjoyable as I’ve found some of his writing, his social views embrued in them were more and more disturbing. I get the feeling he wouldn’t understand that Alan Moore’s “Rorshach” character was not a good person.

    Right wing SF writers can carry off the Myth of the Super Man (and the hairy, sweaty masses he must overcome) quite well: Heinlein did so with humor and compassion, and C.L. Kornbluth managed to take stories with Final Solution plots and make them amusing. But Miller is so grim and humorless that the vileness has nothing to leaven it. You’re left with the feeling that he doesn’t admire his heroes nearly as much as he hates the common people beneath them.

  91. Pingback: David Brin Responds to Frank Miller | dogmic

  92. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

    Wikipedia:
    “Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held off the Persians for seven days in total (including three of battle), before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history’s most famous last stands.”

    They held them off for 7 days, not 3. Battle itself is not everything.

    Wikipedia:
    “After the second day of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines.”

    David Brin:
    “Where Leonidas failed to hold for more that a day or so, the Athenians kept firm! They only retreated when the Spartans let them down!”

    The spartans did not withdraw of their own free will, but were betrayed. Do you call this “let down”? Letting someone down, would be to retreat without trying properly. I would not call sacrificing yourself in the knowledge of certain death, to let anyone down. Neither will I call it to let anybody down, when the king himself puts himself of such an immense danger as was the case – and died with his men.
    Even when Thermopylae did not have a decisive outcome in the end for the greeks, it did almost break the persians. A few more days could have broken the persian army through the immense amount of supplies necessary to upkeep it.
    It did not, however, but the feat of the spartans (or the athenians at sea for that matter) is no less because of that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Plataea

    It seems that it is hard to say how many troops were there. It is estimated that up to 120.000 persians (noone knows how many, ancient sources talk of 250-300.000 persians) may have been there, while the the greeks have been some 80.000 (maybe, there was a sea battle going on simultaneously, with a fleet that had to be manned by a minimum of 22.000 men, out of a pool of 110.000 greeks).
    Is that what you call “mopping up”? As the battle progresses, it becomes even more impressive, because the persians attack, when the greeks retreat in disarray, and the battleline was fragmented when battle ensued.

    A few quotes from wikipedia:
    “The numerically superior Persian infantry were of the heavy (by Persian standards) sparabara formation, but this was still much lighter than the Greek phalanx.”
    “However, the Spartans closed in on Mardonius, and a stone thrown by the Spartan Aeimnestus hit him in the head, killing him.[69] With Mardonius dead, the Persians began to flee, although his bodyguard remained and were annihilated.”

    Persians were numerically superior, Spartans took the brunt of the persian attack and even killed the persian leader, which resulted in the persian rout. And you say the spartans had no role in the wars?
    Athenians did too, fighting the thebatian phalanxes – enemy greeks who could match them militarily, was definitiely no easy task (Thebes was the greek kingdom that eventually resulted in Sparta’s military downfall).

    —-

    My point is, that it is not necessary to take away from the Sparta to make a case for Athens. They were all heroes, and victory would probably not have been won without either of them.

    Otherwise, I agree with you overall. I hated the “300″ movie and was disgusted after seeing it.

    • You are busted

      How can you expect to be taken seriously when All you’ve cited is wikipedia?

      No college course in America would accept that as a research paper.

      • Do you have any specific complaints about the information in my post? Go for the ball, my friend.

      • You are busted

        Yes, the fact that you have cited wikipedia exclusively. Wikipedia has all the scholastic authority of ” What some guys on the subway told me on the way home from class yesterday.” If you are going to have grown up discussions, you need to have grown up citations. All wikipedia is is a Third or four tier source.

      • What piece of information in my post is faulty?

      • You are busted

        In every point in which your rumours from Wiki disagree with FACTS stated by others……

  93. Pingback: Move over, Frank Miller: or why the Occupy Wall Street kids are better than #$%! Spartans | Contrary Brin

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  95. Stop the presses – Hollywood actually produced something that was inaccurate?! This must surely be the first time in its history that this has occurred!

  96. Dave X

    This commenting software is frustrating. I posted a comment with two links and it seem to appear in my view, but is tagged as “waiting in moderation” for a couple days.

    I was able to reply to my not-yet-moderated comment to ask about the moderation, and that comment also seemed posted, but without the “awaiting moderation” comment. However, neither comment seems visible to browsers that are not logged in as me.

    I’ll post one more time after this one with one of the links I tried in my first post.

  97. Dave X

    This is an example of some of the violence at an OWS protest at Berkeley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buovLQ9qyWQ&sns=em

    I think the protesters aren’t the violent thugs in the video, even if these police think so:

    “The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence,” UC police Capt. Margo Bennett said. (per an article from sfgate.com)

  98. Dave X

    Hm. The story associated with the video and the quote from the police captain redefining violence to mean linking arms is http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/11/MNH21LTC4D.DTL

    Another quote from the police captain: “Students who linked arms were interfering with the officers who were attempting to remove those tents,” she said.

    If “failure to comply” is “violence” worthy of beatings by our peace officers, count me as supporting the Occupy Wall Street kids.

    • Ayn_Randy

      If people “linked arms” and prevented you entering your house, say, then perhaps you’d understand the police view?

      One thing that really irritates me about OWS is the issue of why they ‘occupy Wall St’ rather than the voting booth. The 99% have a vote, Wall St doesn’t. The 99% vote how they do, and they’ve voted the last 30 years for policies which raise inequality, abolish regulation, undermine social welfare, etc etc. And if voters weren’t so influenced by slick and vicious TV ads paid for by wealthy corporate donors, then likely the donors wouldn’t bother but more importantly it wouldn’t matter if they did.

      Shouldn’t the focus be Occupying Congress, via the voting booth, rather than Occupying Wall St? It seems an admission of failure, or a hostage to fortune to congregate at Wall St rather than Congress – they want Wall St to tell Congress what to do, rather than the other way around? I don’t get it.

      • You are busted

        That’s a false analogy> It’s not a PRIVATE home, it’s a public park and public sidewalks.

        You must realize how weak your position is if false analogies and libelous insults are the only counters you have to people demanding that the government follow the constitution.

        If you don’t like that, then move to a country where people don’t have those rights.

      • I was wondering who would be first to come up with this bogus observation. Now I know.

        “Public property” does not mean anyone can do whatever they want whenever they want. Ownership and use are distinct. You can own a car, and keep in your garage, and it’s all yours. But if you want to DRIVE it, you have to put gas in it.

        In the public arena, even if you in some fractional sense “own” a national park, if you want to actually USE it, you have to pay the marginal costs of use as well…the entrance fee.

        “Public” does’t mean no rules. It means that the public entity with jurisdiction gets to set the rules. And if you don’t follow them, there can, and should, be consequences.

      • Sean Young

        Either you’ve missed the point Terry, or you’re attempting to cook up a red herring. The point is not that there’s no rules in using public property (though the examples you use don’t seem to be public property, but private property opened to the public, somewhat disingenuous), the point is that the rules regarding private property and public property are different enough to make the comparison irrelevant. The comparison was at best a red herring, and possibly even flat out intellectually dishonest, that’s still the case and so the objection still stands.

        Your dismissal is bogus, not least because you go off on a tangent, tear that down and ignore the actual point entirely. The word for that is strawman.

      • You are busted

        The first amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

        Notice alll the exemption clauses in that law? Right the only one is “PEACEABLY” The violence started with and continues to be from the Redcoats, err I mean Police Departments.

        And due to this tiny little thing called the constituition people are allowed to assemble in any and all public spaces.

        TO be against these rights is to be against Democracy and the United States of America.
        And acting to do so is TREASON.

      • Dave X

        What is the police view I am supposed to understand? I do understand that folks paid to carry weapons intend to use them. See Kent State, Rodney King, Oscar Grant, and a few taser deaths for some tragic examples of that. That I understand that people will use the tools they carry doesn’t help me understand how it is somehow right to club a protester with his arms tangled up with his comrades or to Taser a 72 year old grandmother who won’t sign a speeding ticket. What do you want me to understand, other than “might makes right” view?

        Additionally, if these are truly “kids” living in their “mommas’ basements” as Frank Miller alleges, they couldn’t have possibly voted for the last 30 years of policies as you allege.

      • You are busted

        The man who was shot in the face from ten feet away with a 40mm CS grenade, is a decorated Combat Veteran.

        Frank Miller has never served a day in his life.

        Yet he has the gall to declare that rather then calling out criminals on their crimes the people in OWS ought to join the army.

        Nor has he actually seen any OWS protesters, judging by his misscharacterizations.

      • Factual error.

        People paid to carry weapons are PREPARED to use them. Whether or not they INTEND to use them is circumstantially driven.

      • You are busted

        Factual Error.
        The people carrying weapons are trained to use them. That means using them is part of their job.
        Most people who have jobs intend to execute their job functions.
        Therefore it follows logically, that they do intend to use their weapons.

    • You are busted

      The linking arms as violence was a justification used by the police in Birmingham Alabama to sic the dogs and fire hoses on Martin Luther King.

      It’s an old lie and I don’t know why the thugs keep trying to use it.

      It’s almost as old as. “They ignored a lawful order to disperse, so we shot them.”

      That was a favorite one of the Red Coats in prerevolution America.

      • You are busted

        In addition to his other sterling 1% pedigree, Terry C Savage also worked for the California Department of Corrections.

        That’s right he works under the only growth portion of the California government in the last decade. Anyone not from California may not know it, but the CDC is even more vicious then police departments in California. They also have used their lobbying muscle to increase mandatory sentencing for minor infractions, thereby creating more jobs for prison gaurds, and the removal of funds from school building to prision building.

        Exactly the sort of people The Dark KNight would take down….

  99. Ayn_Randy

    So, let me get this right – you’re suggesting OWS are trying to save capitalism from over-regulation? And over-taxation? From the evils of wealth redistribution? All of which have been imposed by …. ‘oligarchy’…..against the wishes and better interests of ‘the people’…..

    is that right? Is that what you’re saying?

    • Dave X

      @ Ayn-Randy: No, you are not getting it right.

      It is clear to me that David Brin is saying that the OWS protesters are real people protesting against the actual results of the current system. He’s suggesting that Frank Miller’s characterization of the OWS as nothing but an unruly mob of rapists, thieves and louts is as faulty as Frank Miller’s characterization of the Athenians as pansies.

      • Ayn_Randy

        Aye, I wasn’t getting it at all. I’ve since rooted around Brin’s sites and found my answer, thanks: seems Brin’s a social and economic liberal, not one of the Miseian crazies.

  100. Why is my reply to David Brin still “awaiting moderation”? There has been replies today, that have gone through, what is wrong with mine?

  101. Ok, I will make a new post without links, as it seems to be the problem. Put in the dots to make the link yourself.

    en [dot] wikipedia [dot] org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

    Wikipedia:
    “Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held off the Persians for seven days in total (including three of battle), before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history’s most famous last stands.”

    They held them off for 7 days, not 3. Battle itself is not everything.

    Wikipedia:
    “After the second day of battle, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing a small path that led behind the Greek lines.”

    David Brin:
    “Where Leonidas failed to hold for more that a day or so, the Athenians kept firm! They only retreated when the Spartans let them down!”

    The spartans did not withdraw of their own free will, but were betrayed. Do you call this “let down”? Letting someone down, would be to retreat without trying properly. I would not call sacrificing yourself in the knowledge of certain death, to let anyone down. Neither will I call it to let anybody down, when the king himself puts himself of such an immense danger as was the case – and died with his men.
    Even when Thermopylae did not have a decisive outcome in the end for the greeks, it did almost break the persians. A few more days could have broken the persian army through the immense amount of supplies necessary to upkeep it.
    It did not, however, but the feat of the spartans (or the athenians at sea for that matter) is no less because of that.

    en [dot] wikipedia [dot] org/wiki/Battle_of_Plataea

    It seems that it is hard to say how many troops were there. It is estimated that up to 120.000 persians (noone knows how many, ancient sources talk of 250-300.000 persians) may have been there, while the the greeks have been some 80.000 (maybe, there was a sea battle going on simultaneously, with a fleet that had to be manned by a minimum of 22.000 men, out of a pool of 110.000 greeks).
    Is that what you call “mopping up”? As the battle progresses, it becomes even more impressive, because the persians attack, when the greeks retreat in disarray, and the battleline was fragmented when battle ensued.

    A few quotes from wikipedia:
    “The numerically superior Persian infantry were of the heavy (by Persian standards) sparabara formation, but this was still much lighter than the Greek phalanx.”
    “However, the Spartans closed in on Mardonius, and a stone thrown by the Spartan Aeimnestus hit him in the head, killing him.[69] With Mardonius dead, the Persians began to flee, although his bodyguard remained and were annihilated.”

    Persians were numerically superior, Spartans took the brunt of the persian attack and even killed the persian leader, which resulted in the persian rout. And you say the spartans had no role in the wars?
    Athenians did too, fighting the thebatian phalanxes – enemy greeks who could match them militarily, was definitiely no easy task (Thebes was the greek kingdom that eventually resulted in Sparta’s military downfall).

    —-

    My point is, that it is not necessary to take away from Sparta to make a case for Athens. They were all heroes, and victory would probably not have been won without either of them.

    Otherwise, I agree with you overall. I hated the “300″ movie and was disgusted after seeing it.

  102. Let me start by saying that I have no interest in the debate of Wall Street protests. Your country, you sort it out. I do, however, have a problem with a talented artist like Frank Miller being slandered by a hack. With this being said allow me to point out just one lie printed in the article above.

    I quote from the article above: “Please pause here and Wiki “Marathon.” Even better, watch it computer dramatized. Prepare to be amazed there were once such men. Go on… I’ll wait!
    Frank Miller rails against effete, pansy-boy militias of amateur, citizen soldiers. But funny thing, none of his Spartan characters ever mentions those events, just a decade earlier! How bakers, potters and poets from Athens – after vanquishing one giant invading army, then ran 26 miles in full armor to face down a second Persian horde and sent it packing, a feat of endurance that gave its name to the modern marathon race.”

    Even funnier thing – they do! Which you, sir, would know had you actually read the graphic novel that you decided to criticize. In Chapter Five, Dilios tells the tale of Battle of Marathon, to show that even the Athenians managed to drive away Persians, without Spartan help. I quote from his words:

    “Athenians, amateurs. Foppish, frilly citizen soldiers. Not a Spartan among them — and still they drove the Persians back to the sea and away!

    Brothers! How can we fail — against foes so fearful of combat they’d show their backsides to the Athenians?”

    If you say that someone didn’t say something that they did, that makes you a liar. If you say that someone didn’t write something that they not only had not only written but also published, that makes you a liar AND an idiot. Unless of course, you managed to gather such unintelligent public that they graze on your every word without ever bothering to check the facts.

    P.S. For a reason that only your shrink may fully understand, you also decided to bash at the actual Spartan accomplishment at Thermopylae in order to glorify Athenians. Personally, I never cared much for pedophiles, regardless of how democratic their society was, but to each his own. Anyway, here is what you have written:

    “Where Leonidas failed to hold for more that a day or so, the Athenians kept firm! ”

    He did not. In fact (since you are clearly interested in objectivity above all else) his army of 5200(Herodotus) -7700 men (Diodorus Siculus) held the Persian army of 70000-300000 (modern scholars) or up to 2.4 million men (Herodotus) for SEVEN days. They were outnumbered at least 10 to one. At the Battle of Artemisium allied Greek navy was outnumbered just 3 to 1. Sure, it was a nice battle. but it hardly compares to the odds faced by Spartans and their allies. Also, once he heard the news that the Persians have taken Thermopylae, Themistocles ran back home, since his role was ONLY to guard the Spartan’s flanks.

    • You are busted

      David Brin is a better writer by any standards. Well except by “Number of books adapted to cinema”. He’s been writing longer, has more books published, has won more literary awards, etc,etc.

      He definitely has a better grasp of history then Frank Miller does.

      In addition Frank Miller is a liar and a hypocrite. Many veterans are participating in OWS, one was even shot in the face at ten feet with a 40mm grenade, yet Frank, who has never been in uniform, says that OWS ought to get real and join the army.

      Franks is clearly a washed up has been who’s screaming gibberish to get attention. If he was sincere he’d join the army himself not write outlines for other people to turn into comics.

      • “If you say that someone didn’t say something that they did, that makes you a liar. If you say that someone didn’t write something that they not only had not only written but also published, that makes you a liar AND an idiot. Unless of course, you managed to gather such unintelligent public that they graze on your every word without ever bothering to check the facts. ”

        Thank you for proving my point.

      • You are busted

        Actually think you for making a point about the mindlessness of Either frank miller supporters or of PR hacks for the 1 %

        Franks rant contains many [provable false statements.

        While my post about David Brin’s writing record contains 100% provable facts.

        Therefore your argument is invalid and you are revealed as an ignorant troll.

    • Your quote from the graphic novel (which I have not read) seems to reinforce Brin’s point. I would hardly call that a lie so much as an error, but you are coming to this post (my guess is) from a reference in Wikipedia.

      I do believe Brin too easily dismisses the contribution of Thermopylae (Remember the Alamo?), but cross your own Rubicon of untruth in your “takedown.”

      As for his use of “more than a day or so,” you are the one caught “lying” (I prefer to say you are in error, but if you are going to call errors lies, then so be it!) here. In particular, the first four days were spent not attacking, two of those days were spent defending with the combined allied forces, and only on the last day were the 300 defending the pass (with the help of an all-but-forgotten 700 Thespians and 400 much-maligned Thebans). That was the day they were outflanked.

      You also conveniently overlook that the disposition of troops on a terrain that would be favorable against such “10 to one” odds or higher was chosen by an Athenian (Themistocles), and that they would have been slaughtered or bypassed earlier had the Persians been able to break the stalemate at Artemisium. That the Greeks were a superior force to the Persians on that terrain, while the Athenian ships were inferior to the Persians.

      And you seem to forget, when comparing the “odds” that on that day the 300 + 700 were completely and utterly slaughtered.

  103. Pingback: Looking Upward! | Contrary Brin

  104. You are busted

    Terry C savage is in fact a tool of the one percent. Here’s what he has to say about himself.
    “My Photo

    Captain Curt
    Terry C Savage President Andromeda Enterprises, LLC Terry Savage provides independent management consulting services to state governments and Fortune 500 companies. He studied science and engineering at the California Institute of Technology, and earned an honors degree in economics from UCLA. He is an experienced pilot, holding both instrument and multi-engine ratings. Terry served as Chief Information Officer in the Nevada Governor’s Cabinet for 7 years, and developed the first radio communications interoperability plan for police, fire, and other emergency first responders in the history of the state. Earlier in his career, Terry worked for 17 years for a high technology defense company, providing project management expertise for both electronics and spacecraft manufacturing efforts. Terry lives on the shores of Lake Tahoe with his wife Karen of 23 years, where they both enjoy shooting and motorcycle riding on beautiful summer days. ”

    He’s a consultant to State Governments and FORTUNE 500 Companies. And he makes money by selling over priced military gadgets to the federal government.

    He’s also an unsuccessful science fiction author. So it becomes obvious that his comments have much to do with jealousy and/or feelings of inadequacy when compared to David Brin’s influential and successful career.

    Terry is a tool of the one percent.

    • @#*$! Another Techer and someone with the same first name as me! I hang my head in shame…

      That was until I realized, unlike the 70% of us or so who started there, he flamed out of the university. Notice how he says he “studied science and engineering at the California Institute of Technology” but not that he graduated.

      That’s because the kid couldn’t hack it. His actual degree is a BA from UCLA.

      Then again, this guy graduated from Caltech the year before my father did—Yes, I’m a second generational ‘Techer, some people never learn—so I suppose there are always a few bad apples. :-)

      In his defense, you end up sucking the federal teat as a defense contractor for the entirety of the ’80′s, you’d end a tool too. So ALL IS FORGIVEN. :-D

    • This quote is from my book cover blurb. My complete resume is on my blog, if anyone wants to check it out. It’s a little out of date, but it will give the general idea.

      And, actually, it’s not REALLY complete, because it doesn’t include the extensive non-profit and political work I’ve done in parallel with my professional life.

      The only thing I have against the 1% who run the world is that I’m not one of them. Probably because I have insufficient ambition. A home in a world-class resort, with a couple of luxury motorcycles and a modest airplane is fully sufficient for my humble requirements.

      On a dimly related note, the state-of-the-art Android device I bought last week has a free Kindle app, and yesterday during a…non-essential…part of a hearing I was attending, I downloaded my own book onto the little beast. No cosmic signficance, of course, but I thought that was pretty cool!
      :-)

      • You are busted

        A quick google search shows that all your politicking has been on pro-corporate anti-citizen activities.
        And you can’t even have a discussion on a forum without throwing out an ad for your micro-published book. Which was apparently rejected by any and all reputable publishing houses.
        A search of amazon reveals only 14 new or used copies for sale.

        Seriously, jealous much? We can clearly see your motivation for attacking Mr Brin’s statements.

        Who’s the hack now?

    • I should also mention that I am an ENTIRELY successful science fiction author. All of my objectives for that part of my life activity have been fully met. And I enjoy the continuing writing I’m doing, which is fully sufficient compensation and justification for doing it.

      • You are busted

        Uh hah, sure you are.

        That’s why you sold, what a couple of score of your book?

        You have no critical acclaim.
        Amazon had two reviews of your books. One of them bought it because you were a local author.

        With how much bragging you do about your other fields, and how much you push an agenda of materiel accomplishment versus respect for the rights of others, it seems implausible that your goals are to have your book printed by a itty-bitty publisher and read by a few dozen people while receiving no critical praise.

  105. To call Dilios’s brief, nasty taunt a “reference to Marathon” is both hypocritical and profoundly stupid. Marathon and Salamis and Mycale were feats of arms that no Spartan ever – in their wildest dreams – ever remotely matched.

    And when the Thebans slaughtered 400 Spartiates, two generations later, liberating the Messenes after 300 years of grueling slavery, the world was done a fabulous favor.

    • Mr Brin, in your article you wrote: “Frank Miller rails against effete, pansy-boy militias of amateur, citizen soldiers. But funny thing, none of his Spartan characters ever mentions those events, just a decade earlier!”

      In the comment above, you defend this easily disprovable lie by saying: “To call Dilios’s brief, nasty taunt a “reference to Marathon” is both hypocritical and profoundly stupid.”

      Now, unlike you, I am neither a native English speaker nor a professional writer, so I am dumbfounded by the fact that you, apparently, do not understand the words that you use.

      If a writer (in this case Frank Miller) writes: “Dilios spins his stories. The Story of Marathon. A perfect choice.” and then, through one of his Spartan characters (Dilios) tells other Spartans how Persian king Darius faced “brave Greeks” at the Field of Marathon, how those Greeks, “Armored men. Athenians wither leather skirts and lovingly sculpted breastplates…” “…drove the Persians back to the sea and away!” then we say that that writer wrote a graphic novel in which Spartans MAKE A REFERENCE TO (or REFER TO or MENTION) the the Battle of Marathon. That is, if we know what that word means. I recommend that you bookmark http://www.thefreedictionary.com to help you avoid future embarrassment.

      The Spartan storyteller Dilios does not, of course, lavish praise on their rival Athenians. He does not say: “Brothers, whatever we do tomorrow, know that our accomplishment will always be dwarfed by what the Athenians did at Marathon.” If you can’t understand why writing such praise through the voice of that character would make that character completely unbelievable, then I think that we are on a good path to figure out why Frank Miller’s comic is so much more popular then your own.

      To all of you OWS supporters, let me repeat that I am not attacking your movement, nor am I defending Frank Miller’s rant against OWS. However, every movement in history attracted a certain number of vultures who jumped to the opportunity to lash out against their personal rivals, while trying to present their envy or hatred towards them as a part of an ideological struggles. Please remember the plunder and slaughter that has been commitied by the Jacobins during the French Revolution. Remember that the Nazis, initially, to quote Wikipedia: “…focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric”. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And I think that we all know what atrocities have been committed by people who chose to unquestionably follow Hitler’s future rhetoric.

      Keep true to your ideals, but always, ALWAYS, be critical towards the people who claim to be representing those ideals. If you catch someone telling lies to settle a personal grudge, contradict him. If that person, like Mr. Brin, shows no remorse but instead tries to somehow force that lie to become the truth, that means that you are dealing with a demagogue, the ideological equivalent of a malignant tumor. If you rid yourself of this kind of people, only then your can your movement stand the test of time and preserve it’s ideals. If not then, sadly, you will be just another generation of gullible fools.

  106. Kagehi

    “The 99% have a vote, Wall St doesn’t.”

    Because it is, of course, an impossibility that any of those 99%ers voted, for example, to elect the idiots in the Tea Party, not expecting to be stabbed in the back (mind, some of us had a pretty clear picture who those people really served within months of the start of their “movement”, but no one wanted to listen). Its also totally impossible for money to bribe, cajole, or direct, the actions of elected officials, after it is no longer relevant what vote was taken, and they lying bastards are in office.

    We are supposed to do what about that, other than holding recall elections? We are supposed to “prevent” or “remove” laws these people pass, once they feel they have carte blanche to do any thing they please, while only listening to the people that cared about in the first place, instead of the ones they pretended to? We are supposed to, for example, do what, to get rid of “appointed” people, who we never had the right to elect? We are supposed to do what exactly to force either party to present us with candidates “to” vote for that are not picked based on how much they kiss the asses of the rich, and powerful, in their parties?

    I mean, I would love to take your advice and “vote” a solution, but some of these assholes are even doing every damn thing they can, while they can, to keep people they fear might vote for the wrong party, from voting at all.

  107. “David Brin
    is a scientist, futurist and best-selling author.”

    If David Brin has a Ph.D. (scientist), then I am baffled with his relaxed handling of the truth (see my earlier posts). Such a behaviour is so anti-science as at all possible.

    • You are busted

      I do not think that word means what you think it means.

      In all seriousness, just because he disagrees with you is no reason to slander the man, especially since your factual errors have been addressed in follow up posts.

    • You are busted

      Or perhaps you just have an imperfect understanding of the English language. Or perhaps you are deliberately trying to muddy the waters since clarity works against your false assumptions.

      Having a PhD is not what makes David Brin a scientist.

      One can get a PhD in many many fields.

      So if that’s an example of your logic then you really have no place in an adult discussion.

  108. Pete

    You’re just another childish utopian commie-technocrat fighting to establish the Brave New (Hell) World. Go away Laputian and take your transistor-Gods with you…we dont want your Brave New (Hell) World…

  109. You Are Busted… thanks for sticking up for me (and for the truth) long after most of us stopped coming down here. Please feel free to join the main blog-community under comments at http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/

    You seem likely to be a good addition to that smart, varied community.

    db

  110. By the way, I found Mr. Bakota’s style of chastising me far more adult and worthy of respect. Several of his thoughts were well worth pondering…

    …though really, a gliding aside during Dilios’s derisive speech… with 10,000 Athenians listening nearby… hardly makes up for Leonidas’s contempt-filled taunts and refusal to turn his head, or admit the existence of Themistocles.

    Dilios’s snide reference to Marathon sounds like something Miller stuck in after editorial feedback

  111. Mr Brin, my issue never was about your right to criticize Frank Miller’s statements about OWS protesters or the world view that he expressed through his works. But, as a philosopher, it greatly upsets me when someone “doesn’t allow facts to spoil a good theory”. As Mr. Hjelm had already pointed out, relaxed handling of truth does not befit a scientist such as yourself. You yourself said, at the beginning of your article that Frank Millers rant is in itself the best argument against his public esteem (I am trying to paraphrase here, so I would ask everyone to refrain from saying “Aha! Who is lying now!?”). This being so, there was really no reason to embellish the truth to back up an argument that you already successfully made. (I have read Frank Miller’s statement and he has obviously lost all perspective and most of his sanity.) Moreover, I do not think that, if you dislike an artist or think that he is a bad person, it is necessary to attack the validity of his art. I enjoy the music of Richard Wagner (Ride of the Valkyrie makes my heart beat faster and inspires me to go and compete in something! :) Appreciating Wagner’s music does not prevent me from think that Wagner was a despicable antisemite. In fact, finding something positive to say about historical figures or contemporaries that I dislike, reassures me that my dislike is based on an objective assessment and not on an impulsive emotional reaction.

    As long you keep the truth above all else, even when it does not fit completely with the point that you are trying to make, I wish you success in your future endeavors.

    To all your fans who took offense in my previous posts, I would like to repeat that blindly agreeing does not only make you vulnerable to demagogy, but also shows that you have not invested enough intellectual effort into reading and understanding the article. If you are already applauding after you have read the title and the author’s name, then what is the point of all those words that follow? On the other hand, if you read carefully, you may spot a mistake and, seeing how you agree with the general idea of the article, you may then proceed to helpfully inform the author of his mistake so that he can fix it. By doing this, you will make the article and the idea that it is expressing more resilient to criticism of someone like me. (I really liked 300, both the graphic novel and the movie) Just scanning through text, looking for a nice phrase or two that you can agree with, this is a sign of intellectual laziness and that is never a good thing.

    • You are busted

      You in the post I am responding to.: “Moreover, I do not think that, if you dislike an artist or think that he is a bad person, it is necessary to attack the validity of his art.”

      Oh really…..

      You in your earlier post :
      “I do, however, have a problem with a talented artist like Frank Miller being slandered by a hack.”

      Hack is an insult. You sir are a either a liar or a hypocrite. You attack an author you don’t like, then turn around and attack other people for criticizing another author.

      The major difference is that most of the criticism of Frank Miller were directly supported by franks own words, while your accusation that David Brin is a hack is provable and laughable false.

      If he were a Hack he would not have a multiple Scientific and academic papers published in peer reviewed CITABLE places. ( FYI FM has 0) nor would he have 3 Hugo awards. (FM = 0 hugos), a nebula, locus and John W Campbell awards ( FM=0)
      David Brin has also won awards for his actual work for humanity rather then just for his fiction. Specifically the Obeler Freedom of Speech Award, and the McGannon Communication Policy Research Award for Transparent Society.

      Frank Miller has received 0 (zero) awards for his contributions towards supporting our freedom of speech or holding the Government to it’s moral and legal obligations.

      For those of you unaware of what a hack is. Hack is derogatory term for a writer who produces low quality goods, usually at the commands of others, or that mass produces work devoid of artistic merit merely for capitol gain.

      A charge that is proven false when aimed at David Brin.

  112. @You are busted This absolutely the only time that I intend to respond to something you said because intellectual level your posts would be improved if they were substituted by a videos of a cheerleader singing “David Brin rules, Frank Miller drools!”

    When I called Mr. Brin a ‘hack’ I have based that insult exclusively on this article, which is the only work of his that I have read. In his article he attempts to provide a criticism of another authors work (the graphic novel and the movie “300″) and the article features easily disprovable lies about the content of the work that he is criticizing. Since the article itself is very strong-worded, my commentary included the word ‘hack’ as an insult towards the writer of the article. I make no mention of Mr Brin’s other work, save for stating that “300″ was more popular (in other words, sold better) then Mr Brin’s “The Life Eaters”, which I am basing on Mr Brin’s own words written in the article above. Since my criticism is only directed at Mr. Brin’s as the author of the article above, it is, for the purpose of this discussion, completely irrelevant if he is a winner of multiple literary awards, a Nobel prize laureate or just a guy who dislikes Frank Miller: the only thing that matters is the quality of this article. Non quis, sed quid.

    P.S. You will notice that, both Mr. Hjelm and I have accepted that Mr. Brin’s a scientist. Because he is a scientist, his writing should adhere to higher standards then those which apply to, for example, some random person posting comments under a pseudonym.

    • You are busted

      Way to achieve the moral high ground. You start by a dismissive and blatantly untrue insult.

      Then you admit that you called David Brin a hack, WITHOUT READING A SINGLE BOOK OR ARTICLE he’s ever written. Thereby admitting that your responses are all based on ignorance and the fact that he opposes your favorite fascist, Frankie miller.

      You are grossly ignorant of the definition of the word “Hack” if you think that Multiple awards, both Literary and due to his actions on behalf of defending YOUR constitutional rights.
      That or it was a deliberate insult. Which puts you clearly in the wrong either way, for continuing to defend your usage of that insult.

      And in fact his statements do hold to a higher standard then your own or frank millers. You have managed to misuse both the words “Hack” and “Scientist” Perhaps you ought to keep an English dictionary close to hand before trying to post in an English Language forum.

      Further more you admit that your post is a cheap shot, when you state that you will not respond to anything I say. Too bad I live in America, not Croatia. Well too bad FOR YOU. Because that means the only way you can snipe at me is metaphorically, not literally.

      • You are busted

        And a further lesson in the English Language. “The only time…” Means a singular incident, so seeing as you had already responded to me before, that is another falsehood, and/or gross misunderstanding of the English language that you are guilty of.

    • You are busted

      Perhaps if you had a greater personal understanding of “Human rights” Civil Liberties” and “Post Feudal society” You might actually be capable of understanding Mr Brin’s writing.

      However, in your defense, I realize that Croatia is a country, that is newly formed and still has state endorsed Blood Feuds based on ethnicity, so it is hardly a surprise that you Love Frank Miller’s bloody revenge/genocide comic 300, and haven’t read any of Mr Brin’s writings.

      You wouldn’t like them. They are full of themes such as “Personal Accountability”, “Democracy”, “How to build a just society in the midst of chaos”, “People collectively standing against the tyranny of the strong”, and “Anti-slavery”

      Hopefully your society will evolve to the point where the common person in Croatia can understand literature that isn’t based solely on violence and revenge.

  113. @”You are busted”: You are in over your head and contributing nothing. Brin’s thanking you tells even more about his level.

    • You are busted

      Not nearly as much as your refusal to address any of his legitement points and launching a personal assault at me rather then defending your incorrect position, tells everybody on the forum.

      Your trolling powers are weak, Return yourself to a troll forum.

  114. While I can’t argue that Miller left a lot of history out of his historical epic and ceded completeness and complexity to make room for looking goddamn awesome, I have to ask, how well was this tale told before?

    Having never seen the original “The 300 Spartans” at whose feet Miller lays much credit and respect, how completely was the tale of the battle told there? Indeed, I’ll lay odds the number of historical films that didn’t play fast and loose with the facts in the name of a good money shot are few and far between. Even in Pearl Harbor they had to have a romance, by George.

    While it’s quite popular to dogpile on Frank right now (the comments that caused the Internet to arch its back were certainly…poorly chosen) I don’t know how much of his choices were an active attempt to mislead, push an agenda or inspire a gung-ho attitude, and how much was just an attempt to tell a cracking story. I mean, if you want to tell the tale of a brave bunch of men fighting overwhelming odds, it DOES make for a better story if you don’t mention that they had a full navy backing them up

    The entertainment industry goes with the better story of the more handsome face. Which is why everyone knows Paul Revere and only a handful know Israel Bissel.

    Everything David says here is correct, and not under dispute. But if he’d said it a few months, indeed just a couple weeks ago, I don’t think he’d have 315 comments and climbing about it.

    • You are busted

      His words were not “Poorly chosen” he’s a writer his words were very precisely chosen.

      His massage is lies and hypocrisy.
      On the lies front. The population in OWS is a pretty good cross section of the American Population. It includes soldiers ( Both of our current conflict and ww 2), police officers, grandmothers, families and middle aged people of every color and religion.
      On the hypocrisy front: FM made his FORTUNE off of people living in their parents basement. Comic book readers in the nineties, and current demographic that goes to see his movies, are where his money came from.
      FM calls them cowards and freeloaders and suggest that if they weren’t sissies they would join the military instead of standing up for the US Constitution at home. However FM has never served in the military, heck he hasn’t even so much as joined his local neighborhood watch….

  115. If free speech meant without cost, then campaign contribuitions wouldn’t be protected FREE speech.

    Sadly, I think you missed a memo, according to SCOTUS, they now are (but where not in the past), and the 1%, and their corporations, can now donate any and all the money they want, as “free speech”, even as the same 1% are paying their shills to kill unions, and other organizations, which represent the only “major” source of alternative funding.

    • You are busted

      no i missed nothing. Reread my post.

      Campaign bribes aren’t monetarily free. But they are legal.
      And they are “free speech” according to the screwed up Court system
      Therefore if the free if free speech meant without monetery cost, as terry says, then the supreme court could not have made that ruling.

      • CTK

        People own their money and decide who they want to give it to.
        Problem?

      • You are busted

        Yes. The legal term is called “Bribery” and it’s a big problem.

      • Actually, its stupider than that. Its not “people” doing the bribing, its corporations. Such an entity has a clear bias, that doesn’t even reflect its own members. We don’t let churches shill for political parties, and, in principle, those at least have a single “cohesive” view, among their members, as to what the policies are they should support. With a company, the guy who is CEO may have different opinions that the board, or the managers, and especially the much larger number of general employees, yet, the only ones that get to have any say in what the company is doing is generally the board and the CEO. Neither of these groups are “elected”, or representative of the “people” in the company. Companies are, basically, governments in and of themselves, with clear goals, and among their goals (which is part of what got us into this damn mess) is to pay their lower rank employees as little as possible, give them as few hours as possible, let them have no real say in how the company operates, and spend as little as possible time, or money, to comply with the law, never mind what ever their perception of, “what is best of the country” happens to be. For most of them, the later is, “We give people crappy jobs, so they should shut up about not being paid enough, and our mere existence is ‘beneficial’ to the country, even if 80% of the money is going over seas, and half our work force is there too.”

        In short, most companies see themselves as benefiting the country by providing inadequate jobs, at barely within safe standards, operating as mini-dictatorships internally, micromanaging their subsidiaries, so that they can barely function, and then telling the rest of us, “You should just be happy that we exist at all!” And, its these “entities” that are now allowed to shovel stupid amounts of money at political campaigns, for people that will remove some of those annoying laws, give them more autonomy, let them ship more jobs over seas, change policy to make even more employees minimum wage, fight against raises in the minimum wage, raise prices to “compensate for the minimum wage going up”, and so on.

        I have, BTW, heard that last one on the news more than once from these assholes, as an excuse for “not” paying people anything. “If the government increases the minimum wage, I would have to raise my prices, so it won’t do any good to raise it!” Uh, huh. Lets take it off the other end then, shall we, we will just write a law that says that the “head” of the company can no longer get raises that constitute a 400% increase in pay over the last 30 years, while those “minimum wage” earners are cheated out of hours, and are (such as where I work) denied raises at all (the theory being a) its a temp position, and they will move up from where there are 20 positions open, to one of the 4 open ones above them.. and b) if they don’t like it, they can just go work some place else, where they will be treated **exactly** the same way, and denied advancement opportunities, and raises there too.)

        That is literally the point its getting to. The guy at the top gets a raise every year, and a bonus. The guy at the bottom needs to walk on water to get “merit pay”, their “raises” barely cover cost of living, maybe, unless they are one of the “temporary” positions, in which case they could be there for their entire lives, and *never* see a pay increase (think mentally disabled, who can’t “move up” to another position, for example). Even as the gap between the 1% and everyone else grows, more and more companies say they **need to** do this to stay competitive? Think about that a moment, what **possible** reason would there be for them to fear not being competitive, unless they do these things, unless **everyone else** was also doing them? It can’t be costs, because all they need to do is ship more jobs to a low paying place, like China. So, it has to be, “Everyone else is screwing their employees, and cutting staff, so they can shave a few dimes off the price of the product, so we *need* to do so too!” And they lobby congress to make it legal to pull all this shit more and more, along with other things that, in the long run, *will* ruin us.

        It wasn’t one when a) corporations where not treated as identical to people, in this respect, b) the difference in pay between the lowest and highest earner was only 5x, not 50x, and growing, and c) there was a general belief among companies that they, on some level, needed to consider what was best for the country, not simply presume that the mere existence of the company itself was “sufficient” for that. The first is insane, the second will kill the country, and the third is what justifies their belief that they are “helping” the country, even as most of the money they make is either in their own pocket, or going to some manufacturing plant in Haiti, or something, while, even in the best situation, everyone else is working 3-5 jobs, and 10% of the country was “out of work”, *before* we had a “crisis”.

        Hell yes this is a problem. And even the people that do it admit its quasi-legal. As one ex-lobbiest put it, “Once it became illegal for certain kinds of campaign donations to happen, lobbiests simply run “fund raising dinners”, where they donated to the charity fund raiser, instead of the candidate.” Now, if that isn’t a “bribe” I don’t know what is. Basically, “I can’t give you money directly, but, how about I buy you a gift, or provide some money to your favorite right wing charity, or something, we can chat about that new law I want written/overturned, just ‘casually’ while we attend.”

        But, heh, like several of them ranted on the news, “If we don’t get what we want, we can just move to another country.” Which, sort of tells you what they think about the value of having this one survive, right there. And, seriously, given the BS we are seeing, I am not sure it would hurt us any worse if they all moved to Texas, and then Perry seceded them all. Its not like the rest of us would miss the money they have. We will never see any of it anyway, ever again…

  116. 300 is propaganda, Spartan anti-democratic proto-fascist propaganda. The fact that it’s using a myth from the Classical world doesn’t prevent it being propaganda. Riefenstal would be proud, or maybe she’s not quite as fascist as Miller appears to be..

  117. Cam Benn

    The movie 300 was extremely homoerotic so I take it that Frank Miller was well aware of the pretty much institutional homosexuality (a modern word and concept) in the Spartan ranks. The theory was they would fight better if they feared for the lives of their lovers standing next to them. A minor point really compared to all the other rubbish in the movie, such as the significant historical flaws pointed out in this article, but for all the macho chest thumping that goes on round the prowess of the 300 it is worth a snigger to remember that by the standards of those who do the most vocal chest thumping the 300 were a bunch a queers in sandals. When scouts went ahead to check the pass they were astounded to find the Spartans calming combing their hair. Studied insouciance no doubt but it figures.

  118. So Miller makes a shed load of money and then abandons his principles. Hardly a surprise.

  119. fred nemo

    Aeschylus, not Aeschelus

  120. @LovestoSpooge

    Firstly, I would warn against the assumption that Miller has made a shed load of money. Nor do I think this is relevant.

    A look back on much of Miller’s work speaks very well to the ideology of its author. The Dark Night, Sin City, Ronin… are all portraits of ‘sovereign individuals’ compromised by a corrupt system and redeemed through violence.

    He has never had much respect for the collective. He considers it essentially degenerative.

    • You are busted

      You are overlooking the reoccuring villians in his stories.

      They are almost allways the 1%. ark Knight: He’s at war with corrupt politicians, Orginized crimes, an the dirty cops use as hiered thugs, . If you had read Year One you would remember the scene were he crashes the party and gives his “Parasites, your feast is over speech”, in DKR returns, he organizes the young vigilantes into a collective group.
      Sin City: Most of the stories the villain is either dirty cops or psychopathic rich people.
      The Whores in old town were protagonists and acted as a collective.

      Etc etc.

      Comics Alliance has a great sarcastic article illustrating how Frank Miller’s characters consistently did not behave as Frank advocates the OWS should.

      http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/11/18/frank-miller-occupy-muslim-comics/

  121. Sam Rhodes

    I love your politics here, but your classicism is highly questionable in places, I’m afraid. Xerxes was aiming at both Sparta and Athens, seeing as they were the only two parts of Greece that refused to grant him soil and water as a symbol of their inferiority. In fact, Athens in 490 was not a great deal more advanced than sparta; its democracy was still fledgling at best, and really just a tool to get the populist Alcmaeonid family into power and defeat the remains of the Pisistratids.

    The Spartans, according to the Athenians anyway (who were allies with them at that stage so bias could work both ways) were betrayed by a local of Thermopyle who lead the Persians through a secret route around them.

    But the main problem with what you’ve written is that classical history was written entirely by the Athenians. We don’t know what the Spartans actually thought about any of this, only what the Athenians say they thought if you take my meaning, and if you take into account the fact that the Athenians, at the time of Herodotus and Thucydides (the first two Historians in the western world) were fighting an incredibly bitter was with the Spartans that they eventually lost, they’re going to have some bias. They also went on, within a generation or two, to become a classic example of an imperialist power, massacring those who rejected their rule. (cite:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mytilenian_Debate)

    I agree that the Spartans are a terrible role model for a civilization, but so is ancient Athens- it was a racist, sexist, slave-owning society that still subscribed to the cult of the soldier, just a different one (read the Panegyric of Pericles if you don’t believe me). The ultimate death for an Athenian was still in battle, regardless of whether that battle was for survival or imperialist conquest. So yeah, shout at neo-cons, but don’t hold up Athenians as an example of how we should be.

    • Sam Rhodes

      Oh yeah, sources are basically Aristotle’s Constitution of the Athenains, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponesian War and Herodotus’ Historia. And Themistocles ended up being kicked out of Athens and eventually wound up being a Persian governor in Turkey. In ancient history there aren’t any good guys.

  122. Sean Young
    Sean you claim that ‘the right to freedom of speech is enshrined in the English Bill of Rights and Common Law’ and that ‘ UK Government is subject to the EU Constitution, which includes the Rights to Freedom of Assembly and Speech’. Not if you live in the North of Ireland, old chap. You failed to mention the murderous treatment of the Irish by Britain to this very day. I don’t think it was a deliberate omission on your part as you ‘sound’ like a very reasonable human being. Just wanted to point out that people in glass houses….

  123. Sam Rhodes

    Sorry, just noticed this bit in my second read through:
    “No, this is not just artistic license. Expressed repeatedly – with the relentlessness of deliberate, moralizing indoctrination – “300″ idolizes the same arrogant contempt for citizenship that eventually ruined classical Greece and Republican Rome, and that might bring the same fate to America.”
    Contempt for citizenship ruined Rome and Classical Greece? You sure the former wasn’t ruined by a system that was open to abuse of the sort that Julius Ceaser, Pompey and the like subjected it to? And Classical Greece was “ruined” by the rise of Macedonia then Rome. Athens specifically fell because its leaders didn’t have enough contempt for the mob- had someone had the balls to say “no, citizens, we are not invading Sicily, that is a terrible idea” then they might have won the war.

  124. Thank you Mr. Brin. I do so love your novels.

    In the meantime, I wish that Mr. Miller’s worst sin was his wildly fictionalized battle of Thermopylae. I believe that writers have a right to imagine whatever they wish and change history however they dare.

    What is really disappointing is his ignorance of the real world now. I guess we can’t expect all the artists and writers whose work we admire to be nice or intelligent people.

    http://remittancegirl.com/discussions/the-hard-goodbye-when-the-artists-we-admire-disappoint-us/

  125. nomadHAR

    thank you, Mr. Brin, for thoroughly intellectually owning Frank Miller and his 300 crap. also, thank you for mentioning the battle of Marathon, which was a million times more impressive. the 300 were brutal, egotistical soldiers; the Marathon heroes were intelligent, selfless warriors.

  126. “And then omission becomes blatant, outright-evil lying propaganda. “300″ not only crosses that line, it forges into territory that we haven’t seen since the propaganda machine of 1930s Germany.”

    You say that Frank Miller’s “300″ is “evil lying” and basically call it Nazi propaganda, yet your post is littered with your Amazon affiliate links to said propaganda.

    Denouncing “300″ while surreptitiously directing your audience to purchase it is a bit of a contradiction, don’t you think? Especially considering that you collect a commission on the sales.

    • You are busted

      No, he doesn’t get a percentage. His ad box generates a minute income per view. He has no control over what ads pop into the window.

      The ad program looks for buzzwords on the page the ad is on and uses those buzzwords to select ads to show up in the box. Therfore, since “300″ and “Frank Miller” are both buzzwords it makes since that ads for 300 would show up.

      I have an Ad blocker and don’t look at them at all.

      So… Irrelevent attack fail on your part.

      • Since Mr. Brin’s blog is a free wordpress.com, the ad (rarely delivered) generates no revenue for him.

      • You are busted

        Thank you for the clarification TY.

        So gweb your entire attack is completely disproved.

        When are you going to come back and apologize for slandering Mr Brin’s character?

        Oh wait I just looked at your blog. You are just full of anger and self loathing, by your own testimony in said blog. Your bias is obvious in that you are angry and festering and therefore you like angry festering artwork like FM’s and despise literature that speaks of man’s potential.

        I expect to never hear from you again after you’ve taken your cheap shot at someone who’s outlook on life isn’t as poisoned by a messed up childhood as your own.
        On the off chance you do read this:

        Please, seek profesional help, the world isn’t all evil and you need to get help so you can let the emotional pus out of the wound in your soul so it can heal.

  127. Jeff Cross

    According to my brother, who was a classics major, Miller’s source material was Herodotus’ history of the battle…and Herodotus was already a propagandist who didn’t let factual accuracy get in the way of a good story. Also, the reason why the Spartans sat out the previous invasion was due to being in the middle of some “moon festival” celebration that they refused to cancel despite the looming threat..

  128. CafeteriaLady

    Thank you for a great history lesson. My simplistic review is that it was a very obvious tale of the male fear of his feminine side:Xerxes. The Persian king was over the top fay in pose, clothes,make-up. He-she represented homosexual male and from 30 minutes into the film we laughed “whoever the author is he is deeply closeted’. It also stunk of a true woman hating author. My husband and I wondered if the film is run 24/7 on monitors in mens leather bars. I’ll bet it does. Now I put a face to the hack behind the crap-D. Miller. Found this link in the comments to an article in the GUardian UK about Millers anti OWS rant. Glad I am clued in now and will avoid his other crap. Hollywood to me has always been a homophobic, fascist and jewish fascist owned , anti female clique.
    All in all I enjoyed your post very much.

  129. Michael

    I don’t think the historical details concerning ancient Greece are really that relevant here. What is more important is the appropriation of a historical theme to support modern cultural and political ends. I would point you to Veit Harlan’s 1945 film Kolberg, the final feature film to be produced by the Nazi propaganda machine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolberg_(film)

    I would agree that the homo-erotic and fascist undertones so evident in 300 recall the work of Leni Riefenstahl.

  130. BobDobolina

    It’s very satisfying to see someone in the field give Miller a good and well-deserved hiding, and more importantly to recognize 300 for the vicious, morally-blighted and cryptofascist garbage that it is. And it’s even more satisfying, I must admit, to see Miller out himself as the raving loon he’s always been. And it’s quite correct that Thermopylae is one of the most overrated battles of all time and it’s high time more people started saying so. So that’s plenty of satisfaction, all on one post.

    But — not to quibble over fine details — I think David Brin missed two opportunities in this piece:

    1. The real showstopper in 300, and one of the underlying attitudes that unifies it with the crazed anti-OWS rant, is its propagandistic dehumanizing of the Persians (and not-so-subtle celebration of eugenics into the bargain; Ephialtes, like the Persians or the “mystics” who control the Delphic oracle, is portrayed as deformed). That the Persians of 300 might as well be Orcs and Trolls out of Mordor is not accident; it’s how Miller actually sees the world, and the parts of the world especially that he thinks it should be everybody’s priority to wage war against. Such propaganda is of course designed not to stir courage in the viewer, but to exploit and foster cowardice, hate and compliance with mass destruction. If the enemy is subhuman vermin, there’s no fame or glory to be had in contending with him and no possibility of treaty with him; all that can be done is to wipe him out. Thus hatred and ignorance, not courage and cleverness, are likeliest to be presented by such propaganda as virtues… and 300 does so. Never mind that the actual Achaemenid Persia was a far cry from being anything like Mordor, or that dehumanizing the Persians actually detracts from the historical glory that was to be had in battling them. Hate and fear is the product on sale, and little more.

    2. Miller doesn’t just edit out the brutal, slave-mongering side of Spartan life, although that’s bad enough. He also hollows out all of the positive characteristics that earned Sparta the respect of the Hellenic world. If you read ancient writers, they most certainly did respect the bearing and discipline of “the Lacedaemonians” and regarded them as co-leaders of Hellas: the virtues they particularly respected (aside from the incontestably superb quality of the military which after all did go on to defeat Athens in the Peloponnesian War — it was Thebes that finally humbled the Spartan warmachine, not Athens) were Spartan modesty, restraint, and parsimony of expression. Our word “laconic” originates from a name for the Spartans for good reason: the Spartans were famed for not being given to ranting, or to childish taunts of either enemies or allies, or even to uttering two words where one would do. These Spartans are hardly to be found in Miller’s caricatures, who aside from gamely serving up a few of the famous historical quotes seem very un-Spartan in their preening and posturing.

    Otherwise, though, fabulous post and thank you.

  131. BobDobolina

    (Incidentally, I would definitely be up for a good telling of the story of Themistocles. Especially if it included his later life, in which he was forced into exile by jealous backstabbers in Athens and eventually had to defect to the service of… the Persians. Holy crowning historical ironies, Batman.)

  132. Timothy J. Horan

    Marathon: the “actual” run:
    Although historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event. According to Herodotus, an Athenian runner was sent to run from Athens to Sparta to ask for assistance before the battle. He ran a distance of over 140 miles, arriving in Sparta the day after he left.
    The Athenian Army’s March:
    Then, following the battle, the Athenian army marched the 25 or so miles back to Athens at a very high pace, in order to head off the Persian force sailing around Cape Sounion. They arrived back in the late afternoon, in time to see the Persian ships turn away.
    Later, in popular imagination, these two events became confused with each other, leading to an inaccurate version of events. This myth has Pheidippides running from Marathon to Athens after the battle, to announce the Greek victory. Most accounts incorrectly attribute this story to Herodotus; actually, the story first appears in Plutarch’s On the Glory of Athens in the 1st century AD.
    When the idea of a modern Olympics became a reality at the end of the 19th century, the initiators were looking for a popularizing event, recalling the glory of Greece. This would echo the legendary version of events, with the competitors running from Marathon to Athens. Thus the major confusion.

  133. ralfvandersluis

    What more to say but: excellent stuff!. I never got to see “300″ but thought I might give it a whirl should I encounter it on the telly flicking channels. I’ll give it a miss now. Nice to read such an unabashed Athens faonboi worship. I was raised on that, sure brougght a smile to my face.

  134. Rick Tucker

    Frank’s never been as good as his fans think he is and “300″ is pretty disappointing both in prose and in art and graphics. David Brin’s own graphic novel “The Life Eaters” is far superior and it deserves wider acclaim for both Brin and artist Scott Hampton. As far as history goes, who in the world believes 300 men saved an entire empire as large as Greece against an even more vast empire like Persia?
    The idea that the OWS movement is alleged to be full of spoiled, dirty neo-hippies by a fantasist of Miller’s very limited imagination speaks volumes. Whenever I read these simple assessments to complex issues I know I’m reading the thoughts of a simpleton regardless of their political or social bent. To top it off I’ve grown far beyond weary of fear mongering in the name of war mongering especially from people who never carried a weapon into a war zone. Frank Miller may think that angry portrait of himself will suffice in making him look threatening, but having met him he’s remarkably unthreatening, which may be his only saving grace. He used to have real creative enthusiasm that almost made up for his less than stellar skills but he’s lacked that vitality for some time now so I guess bagging off about hippies and terrorists is easier than writing and drawing good comics.

    • You are Busted

      If you look up lynn Varley you’ll find out that she has co-writing credits an all of “Frank miller’s” greatest works. Once they got divorced and he was forced to actually do the writing is when his works started getting mediocre, and his film noir machismo started becoming mysogany.

    • You are Busted

      Are you sure he ever really had any creative enthusiasum to begin with? Check out Lynn Varley’s career. All of my favorite works of his are from the time when they were married and she got secondary creative credit. She left, and his works lack that vitality.
      Methinks he was taking more then his share of credit for most of his career building stories.

  135. Pingback: Frank Miller and the rise of crypto-Fascist Hollywood

  136. mavky

    I’m not sure it’s the best idea to hold up the citizen soldier as some kind of answer to the fascist lunacy of 300, given the right-wing militia movement in the US. This is the milieu that produced a McVeigh, so while it’s all very nice to glean a little lesson from history, this may not be the best one.

    • You are busted

      McVeigh wasn’t a “Citizen Soldier” He was a former member of a standing army which has had a sixty year history of training soldiers to not perceive “the Enemy” as human beings to overcome the natural revulsion towards killing other human beings.

  137. Jack

    Thanks for publishing this.

    Miller is iconic; he exists all over the Western world, the Paranoid par excellence. Their inflated egotistical senses of justice are all the more warped by twisted self-righteousness. These people live inside of a vapid fantasy world.

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  139. Speaking of “300″… it was wonderfully sent up by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys in this episode of Rifftrax:

  140. Michael Telford

    I agree entirely that “300″ was a pure propaganda piece. But criticizing on that basis seems to be rather missing the point. Frank Miller has on at least one occasion stated point-blank that the book and film are the Spartan propaganda versions of the battle at Thermopylae. They were never meant to be historically accurate.

    That being said, I agree that he really, really missed the boat when he excluded everyone but the Spartans and Persians. Fun movie, but rather less accurate than, say “The Ten Commandments” in terms of actual history (yes, I know. “The Ten Commandments” is far from accurate. That’s the point).

  141. Fabiano

    Well, I got the point you want to express and I agree with the most of it. I have just a few comments from a historical perspective, just to show the importance of Sparta:

    1. The Spartans were a warrior society, completely focused with a soldier lifestyle. There never was anything similar up to that point and there’s never been anything like it since, at least not to the level they implemented. The Spartans were an oligarchical society that sat on slaves’ backs, the helots. But, then again, they were also a society based on a set of rigid laws, which basically regulated everything in their lives. They were toughened up since very early in their lives, in order to be extremely disciplined and skilled in the art of war: basically, they were full time soldiers, nothing else. As a result, the Spartan warriors were widely known as the top warriors of Greece and extremely feared in the battlefield; at the time, thought to be invincible. And in fact they were, up until a small and worn Sparta was beaten in the Battle of Leuctra to Thebe’s Sacred Band. But that was only after submitting every Greek nation to its power and defeating Athens in the Peloponnesian Wars. Their methods heavily influenced later armies (Phillip II and Alexander’s Macedon, Rome etc.) and provide a primordial example of modern-day military training.

    2. I think that the psychological factor is being greatly overlooked by your analysis. Any work in the art of war will tell you that the best possible war is the one that is won without fighting. Every other Greek nation feared the Spartans for obvious reasons and they used this to great effect: they understood that the best way to keep such reputation was NOT to fight. Therefore, they would only enter into a battle when it was absolutely necessary.

    During the Persian Wars, Sparta was assigned the overall leadership to repel the persian invasion and both Athens and Sparta had crucial roles, Athens as a naval power and Sparta as the land power. Thermopylae, though a defeat for the Greeks, was important not because of the number of Persian casualties, but because of the significant morale boost it provided. It united greeks to the cause. Also, 2000 to 3000 soldiers managed to be saved due to this suicidal struggle, probably most of them participated in later battles.

    3. A weak Sparta (due to the Peloponnesian wars) was for the first time beaten on the battlefield by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra, but they remained an independent state up until Roman times. It was the only major Greek city not to be conquered by Macedon. There is even one quote from Phillip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great): apparently, he sent a message to Sparta saying “If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta” and the Spartans responded in their usual laconic fashion “If.” Late in the Roman Empire period, after the Romans were defeated by the Goths in the Battle of Adrianople in 378 AD (a disastrous event), a small detachment of Spartan hoplites managed to beat a raiding Goth army.

  142. Greg

    First of all, ’300′ wasn’t intended to be a history lesson; it was an action flick (and graphic novel), based on the events at Thermopylae. Both Miller and Zack Snyder, director of ’300′ affirm that it is historical fiction, not an accurate recreation of events. Your outrage at ’300′s inaccuracies is odd and misplaced. Your pointing out historical flaws in Miller’s story is redundant – he admitted that it isn’t intended to be a documentary long before you gripped your pen in high, white-knuckled dudgeon.
    Finally, it’s pretty amusing to see you characterize Themistocles as being some sort of selfless patriot of Athens – he who finished out his life in the service of Persia.

    • You are busted

      You missed the point of the article.

      which is that the OWS holds closer to the goals and vision of democracy and the American virtues then the Spartens, either historically or in propaganda.

      • Greg

        You’re kidding, right? If the intent of the article was to do a point-by-point comparison between OWS and Sparta, it was more of a failure than I thought…
        Indeed, it looks as if Brin intended this screed to be a ‘cogent response’ to Miller’s characterization of the OWS mob. Brin then goes into great detail describing how ’300′ was historically inaccurate… long after Miller and Snyder had said that it was never intended to be nor represented as being historically accurate.
        Brin’s ‘cogent response’ to Miller’s characterization of OWS appears to be nether cogent nor responsive.

      • You are busted

        No you are kidding, right?

        The point of Brin historical analysis was to point out that the Spartans were far from the idealists portrayed by FM.
        FM admitted it was a propaganda, in interviews with fanboy publications long after the release of the book. There is no forward or postscript in the graphic novel with the disclaimer. And since millions of people read thd book or saw the movie, and thousands of people read the interview FM did not in fact tell the majority of his audience that 300 was a whole sale bucket of whitewash.
        So your attack based on ” So what, Frankie told us it was propaganda” is an invalid argument.

      • Greg

        Please…
        You’re now blaming Miller because audiences were too dumb to understand 300 was historical fiction, not a documentary? Even after he repeatedly said as much?
        ‘lol’, as the kids say.

      • You are busted

        You are either ignorant or very disingenuous.
        You have two major errors that are the entirety of your post. Firstly you ignored the point which is that I pointed out the difference between what you claimed the point of Mr Brin’s article was, and what it actually was.

        The other is claiming that FM was being open about the relationship between his work of fiction and the truth of the thin kernel of historical basis.

        Propagandists rely on the ignorance of their targets.
        FM had ample opportunity to put a forward in the book and the movie to put his work of fiction into context. But he did not.
        Saying something frequently is not the same thing as saying something broadly.

      • Greg

        By the way – I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the movie ‘Thor’… it wasn’t entirely consistent with Norse mythology. Are you outraged?

      • You are busted

        Not at all.

        The movie and the publicity surrounding “Thor” made it very clear that it was “Marvel’s Thor” Not the Norse mythology of Thor.

        So your analogy is completely false. It illustrates your lack of support for your position that you have nothing better to offer then this.

        Though as long as we are asking questions…
        Are you employed by FM’s publicity apparatus, or are you a total fanboy incapable of seeing the truth about the object of your man crush?
        Closeted homosexuality is an underlying premise of many of FM’s works. Does this have anything to do with your blind love for him?

      • Greg

        To be honest, I don’t know enough Miller to know whether I’m a fan or not. All I know of his work is what I’ve seen in the film ’300′, which I enjoyed quite a bit… even though it never occurred to me that some might take it for a documentary.
        I’m not homosexual, though I don’t have a problem with anyone who may be oriented that way. You toss the term about as though you mean it to be a pejorative – is it the norm for Brin and his sycophants to see homosexuality as something shameful, or are you an anomaly?

      • You are busted

        Don’t try to put false words in my mouth. I didn’t use homosexual as a pejorative. Most closeted homosexuals are into art work involving sweaty oily men doing athletic activities, and are hyper-violent due to their feelings of self loathing.

        However all of that is changing the subject.

        You failed to address any of the points brought up when I shot down your original post, and your non-responsive follow up posts.

        Return to the beginning and acknowledge that you failed to get the point of the article, which rendered your attack on it invalid. Then admit that FM made no effort to disclaim to the purchasing audience that his story was a total piece of propaganda. Then reread Mr Brin’s article and acknowledge that FM is nutso to attack OWS, who are arguing for many of the same basic positions that the founding fathers argued for, while trying to claim that the Spartans, real or fictional, are better then those OWS members.

        Yet another refusal to address these points in a non insult based manner is tantamount to you confessing that your position is indefensible and that you have just gotten to much of your pride involved in your initial erroneous position to public act like an adult and admit you were in error.

      • Greg

        So – you don’t consider ‘homosexual’ to be pejorative, but you authoritatively state that homosexuals are self-loathing, hyper-violent wrestling fans, from the sound of it.
        You sound like a very confused young man.
        Your attempts at debate are incoherent mush, as I suspect you most likely recognize – but you somehow feel compelled to respond to every volley from the opposition, whether you have any intellectual ammunition or not… and you’ve been firing blanks, pal.
        Just admit it. Brin’s argument against 300 was essentially a genocide of strawmen. I suspect there had been some antipathy towards Miller bubbling just below the surface for some time – I haven’t seen much of what Brin has written previously, but I’ve never seen him come out with anything as emotionally charged while being so poorly thought out and executed. It came across as spittle-flecked invective, with little in the way of actual objective evidence to back up the author’s rage.
        The literary analog of a tempter tantrum, in my opinion. Both amusing and pathetic.

      • You are busted

        So then you DO admit that you have no support for your opinion, since you failed to provide any support, for the third time.

        It’s ironic that you start your post with a straw man attack on me, and then go on to falsely accuse Mr Brin of making straw man attacks.

        You do realize that there is a difference between closeted homosexuals and homosexuals that aren’t lieing to themselves about their true nature? It seems YOU are the confused young man. Human beings who lie to themselves about their own natures tend to be hostile and violent, since it generates self loathing.

        So not only have you failed to support your original premise, you have also failed to provide any evidence to support your side arguments and straw man attacks. You claim that Mr Brin’s excellent and well cited article is “with little evidence” yet you fail to mention a single instence of a specific failure, nor have you offered any researched counter statements, just a lot of angry foaming at the mouth and personal insults.

        You have totally failed at any attempt to rebut his position and need to hang your head in shame and return to the hack firm you are shilling for with your head hung low at your failure.

      • Greg

        First – spell check is your friend. You need to revive that friendship.
        While you’re at it, find out what the definition of ‘straw man’ actually is.
        I think I’ve made my point, and your blathering is getting less coherent with each iteration… I don’t know if you actually think you have valid points here, or if you persist in some weird attempt to save face.
        Whatever the case, this conversation has begun to resemble a grown man slapping the snot out of a toddler… it grows tiresome after a while, and I’m beginning to feel guilty for pummeling the defenseless.

      • You are busted

        Well, since I have consistently pointed out your lack of citations, versus Mr Brinn’s well cited post, in your anology you would be the child getting spanked.

        And rather then provide any support for your argument, and failing to anger me, you have ragedQuit and threatened to end the discussion. How much more are going to demonstrate that your position is completely unsupportable?

      • Fabiano

        My oh my, guys! This is so pointless! Why r u trying so much to subdue each other based on your own opinions? This is pointless! Ok, so you disagree… I don’t think it adds much to the discussion any further…

      • You are busted

        Because he is trying to counter facts, with proper citation, using only opinions, and being actively hostile to me pointing out the fact that he has presented no facts to support his factual inaccurate opinions.

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  144. Fabiano

    I forgot to mention one thing about Sparta: its government system was very influential on the Federalists and served as an example for the formation of the US democracy. See, while Athens was the birthplace of democracy, it was a direct democracy and it has little to do with modern democracies. In fact, during the time of the formation of the US federation, direct democracy was viewed as flawed, and the oligarchical system of Sparta was viewed as, at least, partially democratical, since it was marked by formal institutions that diluted power among citizens. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia – History of democracy:

    “Ancient Greece, in its early period, was a loose collection of independent city states called poleis. Many of these poleis were oligarchies. The most prominent Greek oligarchy, and the state with which democratic Athens is most often and most fruitfully compared, was Sparta. Yet Sparta, in its rejection of private wealth as a primary social differentiator, was a peculiar kind of oligarchy and some scholars note its resemblance to democracy. In Spartan government, the political power was divided between four bodies: two Spartan Kings (monarchy), gerousia (Counsil of Gerontes (Elders), including the two kings), the ephors (representatives who oversaw the Kings) and the apella (assembly of Spartans).

    The two kings served as the head of the government. They ruled simultaneously but came from two separate lines. The dual kingship diluted the effective power of the executive office. The kings shared their judicial functions with other members of the gerousia. The members of the gerousia had to be over the age of 60 and were elected for life. In theory, any Spartan over that age could stand for election. However, in practice, they were selected from wealthy, aristocratic families. The gerousia possessed the crucial power of legislative initiative. Apella, the most democratic element, was the assembly where Spartans above the age of 30 elected the members of the gerousia and the ephors, and accepted or rejected gerousia’s proposals. Finally, the five ephors were Spartans chosen in apella to oversee the actions of the kings and other public officials and, if necessary, depose them. They served for one year and could not be re-elected for a second time. Over the years the ephors held great influence into forming foreign policy and acted as the main executive body of state. Additionally, they had full responsibility of the Spartan educational system, which was essential for maintaining the high standards of the Spartan army. As Aristotle noted, ephors were the most important key institution of state, but because often they were appointed from the whole social body it resulted in very poor men holding office, with the ensuing possibility that they could easily be bought.

    The creator of the Spartan system of rule was the legendary lawgiver Lycurgus. He is associated with the drastic reforms that were instituted in Sparta after the revolt of the helots in the second half of the 7th century BC. In order to prevent another helot revolt, Lycurgus devised the highly militarized communal system that made Sparta unique among the city-states of Greece. All his reforms were directed towards the three Spartan virtues: equality (among citizens), military fitness and austerity. It is also probable that Lycurgus delineated the powers of the two traditional organs of the Spartan government, the gerousia and the apella.

    The reforms of Lycurgus were written as a list of rules/laws called Great Rhetra; making it the world’s first written constitution. In the following centuries Sparta became a military superpower, and its system of rule was admired throughout the Greek world for its political stability. In particular, the concept of equality played an important role in Spartan society. The Spartans referred to themselves as όμοιοι (Homoioi, men of equal status). It was also reflected in the Spartan public educational system, agoge, where all citizens irrespective of wealth or status had the same education. This was admired almost universally by contemporaries, from historians such as Herodotus and Xenophon to philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. In addition, the Spartan women, unlike elsewhere, enjoyed “every kind of luxury and intemperance” including elementary rights such as the right to inheritance, property ownership and public education. Overall the Spartans were remarkably free to criticize their kings and they were able to depose and exile them. However, despite these democratic elements in the Spartan constitution, there are two cardinal criticisms, classifying Sparta as an oligarchy. First, individual freedom was restricted, since as Plutarch writes “no man was allowed to live as he wished”, but as in a “military camp” all were engaged in the public service of their polis. And second, the gerousia effectively maintained the biggest share of power of the various governmental bodies.

    The political stability of Sparta also meant that no significant changes in the constitution were made. The oligarchic elements of Sparta became even stronger, especially after the influx of gold and silver from the victories in the Persian Wars. In addition, Athens, after the Persian Wars, was becoming the hegemonic power in the Greek world and disagreements between Sparta and Athens over supremacy emerged. These lead to a series of armed conflicts known as the Peloponnesian War, with Sparta prevailing in the end. However, the war exhausted both poleis and Sparta was in turn humbled by Thebes at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC. It was all brought to an end a few years later, when Philip II of Macedon crushed what remained of the power of the factional city states to his South.”

  145. Greg

    A very brief summary of Brin’s rant here, to illustrate the weird disconnect between the title of the piece and the content.
    - Miller criticizes OWS, Brin bridles at Miller’s opinion.
    – Brin snarls that he will offer a ‘detailed, cogently-argued response’.
    What is his ‘detailed, cogently-argued response’? That –
    1) Miller’s historical fiction isn’t completely accurate (apparently disregarding Miller’s numerous statements that it was never,m in fact, intended to be interpreted as a documentary), and
    2) Athenians were better than Spartans – and kind of like the modern US military.
    3) Victory.

    Forgive me for not seeing the connection between anything Brin wrote here and any sort of counterpoint to Miller’s take on OWS… because there is none. The entire table-pounding rant is a non sequitur.
    But hey – it’s his blog, and apparently his sycophants swoon at whatever word salad tumbles out of his word processor, so what the hell, right? Coherent argument is for the little people, apparently.

    • You are Busted

      A brief summery of greg’s rant.

      FM Makes a rambling character assault on the people who are standing up to oppressive police and politicians in the pockets of crime, as many of FM’s characters claim as core values. FM, a man who has never even worked as a crossing guard, called OWS cowards who should join the army and defend America, whereas the OWS Represents a broad cross section of the American population, including Combat veterans, fireman, and Other people who do hard dangerous jobs for little reward.

      Mr Brin Writes a very clear well cited article explaining in great depth, how the citizens exercising their right to redress the Executive for gross grievances against corrupt corporate serving politicians and governments of the OWS, are a much better example of the principles and character upon which America likes to pride itself.

      Then Greg sets up a Straw Man attack by grossly misrepresenting the facts and statements previously made.
      1) He implies that Frank Miller told “everyone” (actually less then 1% of the audience of 300) that it was fiction based on a propaganda piece.
      This is a red herring. As it is irrelevant to the discussion that the OWS which FM is attacking are embodying the spirit of America, while the Spartans, both in propaganda and the truth that FM is covering up about in his propaganda are repellent to our basic founding principles and core values.
      2 Greg reduces a well supported discussion of how the citizen soldiers of Athena have more in common with the citizen soldiers of America ( Some of whom were shot in the face with a CS Grenade from ten feet away by a police criminal), where as the Spartan ideal is shoot the vetern in the face with tear gas grenade then kill him, to “Athenians were better than Spartans – and kind of like the modern US military.”

      Greg is either incapable of understanding, or unwilling to admit that Mr Brinn’s article is a Rational deconstruction of the lies and anti-americanism of FM’s fascist version of America in which it is the poor’s fault for being rich and in which it is a crime to demand that the government protect it’s citizenry and uphold the constitution

      Then Greg launches into a table pounding rant against anyone who pointed out every false or misleading statement he made. He expects everyone to be a sycophant of his, and when absolutely no one agrees with him he launches a series of personal assaults and a fresh round of wholesale lies, some contradicting his own statements, all of them contradicted by well cited statements made before he even came into the discussion.

      Then Greg tries to end it with a scathing sarcastic comment that fell flat on it’s face.

      Greg, you have repeatedly refused to provide citations for your claims. Have made incoherent Straw Man attacks, are attacking someone who is defending the importance of the little People that FM so caustic dismiss as being unimportant.

      In other words there is nothing coherent about your own argument so you look pretty foolish with your closing cheapshot.

  146. Rick

    Thanks David, and my condolences for what Costner did your novel “The Postman” in film.

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  151. The only recent thing that Frank Millers’s done that”s good is Give Me Liberty and it’s sequels-the only problem is, he wrecked it with the ending he came up with for the character.

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  153. Marion Delgado

    The Persian Empire didn’t allow slavery and thought of the Greeks as barbaric, and had a (much) better code of laws. It’s wrong to call that saving civilization. It’s saving Greek civilization, is all. And the revolts involved terrorizing, e.g., people in Sardis by enormous massacres. The Persian Empire should have learned from that and we should have learned from that about the limits of empire. That said, I agree with all you said about the Spartans. And that’s not even mentioning that at the tail end of the Pelopennesian war they were allies of … PERSIA.

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  158. Hello, Mr. Brin. I only just came across this. I certainly do not blame you for engaging in a full-blown rant about the gross, blatant historical inaccuracies in Frank Miller’s 300 graphic novel & film. And that is because I agree with what you have to say almost one hundred percent. I am just happy to finally learn that I wasn’t the only one appalled by Miller’s grotesque revisionist history. I hope you are able to one day write a graphic novel that strives to present the historical events of the Battle of Thermopylae and the other events surrounding the Greek repelling of the Persian invasion. And, yeah, this also motivated me to FINALLY get off my rear end and track down a copy of The Life Eaters.

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  164. So how’s that Occupy Wall Street movement doing now?

    Looks like Miller got it right after all.

    • Wow.. You came all the way back here, how long after the post, to write that drivel? Here is a hint – when part of the press lies about them, the government discounts **everyone**, including them, half the people with big gobs of money campaign on the idea that they don’t have anything to say, and the rest of the press eventually decided they are no longer interesting, and just stops reporting on them, gosh but darn it.. its pretty hard for a moment to succeed.

      The problems they talked about are still problems, the people causing them are still causing them, and all we still hear from the morons responsible for letting it all happen in the first place (the small government, deregulation, no-tax, anti-social program, nitwits), are still trying to dismantle everything from underneath our feet. Unfortunately, no one can stick around for years, without income, or food, or resources, protesting against people that spend all their time with their heads up their backsides, and going, “Nah, nah, nah, nah. We can’t hear you, and even if we could, we don’t think it means anything!”

      The protesters moved on, as they had to. To new, perhaps slightly more targeted protests, in some cases, and to other methods of dealing with the BS. Or, they gave up, because no one who had any power to do a damn thing, including, sadly, the self aggrandizing, modern, **press** wanted to lift a finger to fix anything, or hold anyone accountable.

      And you are here to do what? Gloat about how things are just getting more and more screwed up, and the Tea Party types keep insisting they need a bigger damn hammer, so they can break things even worse?

      You must have even less of a real life than I do…

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