labingi: (rakka)
Wherein I complain about silliness

I was reading through IMDb reviews of the movie, Troy, last night (I don't know why). Most of them are quite reasonable in evaluating the film, but I saw a couple of recurrent comments I found button-punching.

Most reviews, of course, made no mention of Patroclus because he's not really a character in the movie, but those reviews that did had a tendency to fault the "inaccuracy" of not presenting Achilles and Patroclus as lovers as God has clearly proclaimed they were. (One review even said something to the effect that the movie had "turned their relationship into a friendship." Words fail...)

I will observe to these reviewers that their assumption that Achilles and Patroclus obviously, factually (in the world of the poem) were lovers is a very good illustration of why the movie erased Patroclus in the first place. Because when any two men who actually care about each other are automatically, obviously "gay," that's a good motivation for a mainstream, big budget movie in a still homophobic society not to ever show two men caring about each other.

But leaving aside Hollywood's homophobia, there's no textual evidence in the Iliad that they were lovers. There's so little evidence that people have been fighting about whether or not to read their relationship that way for over 2000 years. Now, could they have been lovers? Sure. And in my fanon, they are. But your fanon is not canon, and, no, the fact that Athenian Greece and Sparta had a flourishing homosexual culture does not mean that Homeric Greece several hundred years previously did. And even if it did, one might expect that it would take the form of most homosexual practices in highly gendered, patriarchal societies, and favor relationships between older men and boys. Could two hot-blooded, adventurous young men who love each other still have been having sex? Sure. But to say they factually, necessarily were is unwarranted and somewhat culturally damaging (see erasure of Patroclus above).

Peeve 2: A handful of reviews made snide remarks about the blondness of Achilles: "How many blonde [sic] Greeks do you know?" and so on, the subtext being that this is an example of frivolous Hollywood racism. Now, Hollywood has a long and proud tradition of being frivolously racist, but Achilles traditionally is blond. A chief reason our reviewers don't know many blond Greeks is that Greece was invaded by Persians--hundreds of years after Homer's time. In the time of the Iliad, much of the Greek population (from their own descriptions) more nearly resembled what we think of as northern or western Europeans today. So yeah, Achilles was blond, and this is neither racist nor historically/literarily implausible. /rant
labingi: (riki)
On watching Gungrave again. This must be my fourth or fifth time through, and as with the best stories, I’m still spotting new things--and am aware I’m missing others. Below the cut, Harry observations with rampant spoilers, including substantial Iliad comparison.

More Iliad Comparisons and Other Character Bits )
labingi: (Default)
Rambles in which Gungrave and the Iliad are a central examples for thinky thoughts on the nature of narrative, archetype, modal displacement, history, and personality typing.

Now that I've lost all my readers...

Gungrave has made a whole lot more sense to me since I figured out that its theme can be summed up as Achilles and Patroclus if they broke up. Of course, Achilles and Patroclus don't break up. Why? This begs comparison between ancient Greek epic and contemporary seinen anime.

Enneagram, Wheel o' Modes, Nature of Tragedy, Tori Amos, with Spoilers )


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