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November 22, 2004

Alexander

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Outraged Greeks firing off legal notices at Alexander the Great's depiction as a world conquering bisexual need to read some history. First off, there is Hephaestion. I do not expect an Hollywood epic to show Alexander's relationship with his life-long companion in any terms except those meant to sell tickets but it is a bit much to be lectured on the subject by gay-bashing Greek nationalists. Or, for that matter, or by its "radical" director whose depictions of gay men in JFK were cringe-worthy for their camp, stereotyping bigotry. Such is the tolerance of the left. Second, and arguably more important, Alexander was Macedonian. All too many Greeks still find difficulty with this bit of geography.

And then... Classical Values comments.

While there isn't much serious debate about the homosexuality, bisexuality -- whatever modern term we might use -- of Alexander the Great, Stone has apparently presented him according to the dictates of modern American stereotypes. A big mistake in terms of historical accuracy, but entirely consistent for Oliver Stone, whose films are about as concerned with accuracy as Michael Moore's.

And then... Alexander-media continues at Classical Values!

Posted by Ghost of a flea at November 22, 2004 07:57 AM

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? Alexander grated from ideofact
Speaking of film reviews, The Washington Post had what can only be described as a delicious dissing of Oliver Stone's Alexander:If you played a word-association game with "Alexander the Great," you'd probably come up with "conqueror," "king," "warrior,... [Read More]

Tracked on November 24, 2004 12:10 PM

Comments

You are so right, Flea. If you think this is bad, you should see Greek nationalists' explanation of the poetess Sappho's passionate love poems...to other women. Explanations more convoluted that the Basket Weave (for non-Torontonians, that's where Highways 401, 427, and 409 meet)
Alexander the Great has always had a prominent place in modern Greek nationalism, expecially considering the sensitivity of the Macedonian issue to the modern Greek state (and tht's a mess you don't want to get into...you'll never find your way out)
As a Greek-Canadian myself, I always thought that ironic...Alexander as a Greek hero. A barbarian king with an idolatry of Greek culture, exactly in the way that Idi Amin or Jean-Bedel Bokassa has idolatry for Scottish or French culture (Amin in a kilt, anyone? Or Bokassa as Emperor a la Napoleon). A barbarian who's father conquered the Greek states, ruled them as hegemon (like Russia ruled the Warsaw Pact countries), who destroyed one of the real forces of liberation, the city of Thebes.
The Greeks had so many ancient role models to choose. Themistocles, who built and commanded the naval fleet that saved Athens from the Persians. Epaminondas, the Theban general who fought war on the Spartans by marching boldly into their heartland and liberating their slaves (a la Sherman). Or even that slaver bastard king Leonidas, and his f***ing murderous bastard 300 Spartans, going down fighting against the Persian conquerer. They were ignorant, brutal, callous inbreds, those Spartans...but they died for a good cause, like men.
Sory about the rant, but sometimes I'm goddamn sick of Greeks and their twisting of history.

Posted by: Demetrius at November 22, 2004 09:00 AM

Excellent rant, sir. Though I won't hold my breath for mondern day Macedonians to celebrate Alexander's close friendship either.

Posted by: Flea at November 22, 2004 09:19 AM

Remarkable post, fantastic picture -- and many thanks for the link. What I really want to know is how we managed to author posts on this subject which were just ONE MINUTE apart!

Posted by: Eric Scheie at November 22, 2004 11:56 AM

What amuses me is that the PC types get angry when you point out that Alexander was bi and maybe even gay...especially if you then say you admired him as a military leader.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at November 22, 2004 02:16 PM

Exactly! Alexander offers us... yes... wait for it... the best of both worlds! By which I mean he lefts us annoy the right folks on the left and the right.

Posted by: Flea at November 22, 2004 02:48 PM

And just the other day I'm flippin' through the dial and come across one of, well, those shows (I think it was "Sin Cities") where they're saying that (some?) Italians only figure you're gay if you, umm, bend over. That the other half of the partnership isn't gay.

Is there also a communication gap here?

Posted by: Paul at November 22, 2004 06:02 PM

What I've found amusing vis a vis the Greeks and the whole Macedonia thing is how they refuse to acknowledge the Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM as it is rather tortuously referred to in NATO and UN circles. It was nice to note that the US has dropped that nomenclature and just calls it Macedonia. How would we like it if Canada had to call itself the Former French Colony of New France because someone felt that they owned the name Canada.

Posted by: Dr_Funk at November 22, 2004 08:26 PM

That former-Yugoslav-republic-of-Macedonia thing drives me crazy. As if the republic of Yugoslavia had an legitimacy in the first place and as if the Greek government, the French government and the United Nations were not fully engaged in attempting to prop up the Milosovic regime. Cynicism, mendacity and greed did not begin with the support of Ba'athist Iraq.

/end latest rant

Posted by: Flea at November 22, 2004 09:03 PM

I find that when you are in the vacinity of a Greek being a total arsehole using the word Macedonia can have the same affect as saying Macbeth around actors (ala Black Adder). I had the unfortunate luck to be around a mob of them when I was at Hull and discussing Macedonia was useful for making sure none of them spoke to me again.

Posted by: Andrew Ian Dodge at November 23, 2004 07:05 AM