Today I improvised a lecture/discussion in my Comics & Literature class at CCC, wherein we tackled the timeliness of Zach Snyder’s film 300. Our class is heading into finals next week, and although I hadn’t planned on engaging Frank Miller’s graphic novel nor Snyder’s film in the course, given all the water cooler talk about the film this week in the United States and how it may very well be at the center of the ongoing international diplomatic crisis between the US and Iran, I thought it was important for us to at least scratch the surface of the very complex issues underneath.
I have been recording our discussions all quarter long and creating podcasts that until now have only been available (via a Blackboard course shell) to the students enrolled in the class. Once the course is over next week, I plan to release these podcasts to everyone via RSS. Today’s conversation, though, is something that I think shouldn’t wait; hence, I’m releasing it here and now. (filesize: 37.2 MB; run-time: 1 hr 32 min)
A bit of warning and context: some of the language here is a bit coarse, and the subject matter careens into politics, religion, violence and gender roles. This largely reflects a comfort level amongst our group, but also passionate responses that at times probably feel more than a little tense. There is a real knife’s edge to this conversation, and I was intentionally stirring the pot with some potentially offensive statements to fuel the fire. I believe the ends justify the means in this particular case, but some of you who download and listen to this might feel otherwise.
It is probably helpful, too, for you to know what we’ve been studying in the course:
Scott McCloud: Understanding Comics
McSweeneys #13 (Chris Ware, ed.)
Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons: Watchmen
Marjane Satrapi: Persepolis
Daniel Clowes: Ghost World
Also key to this discussion is this post over at Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed) by Karen Healey. There is passing reference, too, to some things Curtis White said about the film in his lecture last night.
I hope those of you who do end up downloading and listening to the conversation will leave your thoughts and comments on this thread. My intention in posting this discussion is to extend the conversation indefinitely.