December 11, 2007

In The Battle Of Thermopollack, The Spartans Are The Swarthy Ones


I'm so behind. While I'm all, "use your words, honey," Neal Pollack's in the backyard teaching Elijah proper swordfighting technique and recreating his favorite scenes from 300. Though it's pretty sunny, not dark and ominous. And there's no bottomless pit or cliff for the Persian to get pushed off of [he doesn't even get thrown into the compost pile.] And thankfully, everyone keeps his shirt on.

The Battle of Thermopollack []


Has the kid actually watched 300, or is he just playing something Dad has introduced to him? Preschools and kindergartens have a hard enough time curbing young children who take martial arts lessons, who then try striking playmates at school. Now Dad is teaching full-strength strikes (at least on the son's part) with play swords? Ugh!

[I'm a pretty easygoing guy, but I think it'd be the height of irresponsibility, bordering on child abuse to let a 4-yo watch 300. -ed.]

I can't see the video due to the firewall at work, but it struck me as sad to assume that the only way a child may know about things like Spartans, Hoplites, or the Battle of Thermopylae was from seeing a recent movie. As a young child, I was enthralled by the stories of ancient Greece and Rome - both the myths and history.

Chimay, do tell us what books, TV shows and/or movies you consumed at the age of 5 that enthralled you with the myths and history of ancient Greece and Rome.

This doesn't strike me as anything other than a dad and his five year old having a good time. I personally don't let my kids have toys that look like weapons, but still, can we really fault a dad who dresses up in a silly costume and plays a game with his son. I mean don't we want our kids to have memories of goofing around in the back yard and cutting loose. It's not like this is a video of the kid playing this game with another child, I have to assume that the parents are responsible enough to only have the toys available for appropriate times.

[I agree, and I shouldn't make it sound like I think Neal abuses his kid with movies. Exploits him, absolutely, but not abuses him. Neal's like that goat that gets saddled with all our parenting sins and sent off into the desert of the Internet. Thanks, Neal! Happy Yom Kippur! oh wait... -ed.]

I would never allow my little kid to watch The 300. He barely gets to watch Tom And Jerry. I just got sick of seeing him play unimaginative light-saber games with his friends, and I wanted to throw a little curve into the games. The video is also a silly commentary on how far "manhood" has slid since the days of Sparta.

[And now he can whoop his friends' butts with his light saber. truly a noble calling. -ed.]

Really Skeptical -

As it happens, I took my daughter to story time at our local library a couple of weeks ago, where the book read (mostly to a group of kids no older than about 4 or 5) was a children's version of The Odyssey. She even got to color pictures of various Greek gods and mythological creatures representing the things they'd run across on their travels. The week before, it was a story about Egyptian legends and the pyramids.

But you're probably right to be skeptical and to assume that most Americans' first exposure to Thermopylae came from this movie rather than any previous knowledge or understanding of history or culture. When "Saving Private Ryan' came out, I remember having a conversation with some people at work who were confused by the movie because they didn't know, umm, like, why we were fighting the Germans and stuff because aren't they, like, on our side or something? And I've had several people this week tell me, upon learning that I'm leaving for Switzerland Friday, to enjoy all the Swedish meatballs and to visit the first IKEA store.

So, whatever.

{there are actually seven Ikeas in Switzerland, though... -ed.]

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