A further brief note on the concept of Oriental Despotism as it is manifested in early-21st century popular culture

Sometimes ideas are created by experts, only to be debunked many years later because they are brutally, obviously, sickeningly racist. And yet, long after they have fallen out of fashion in academic circles, these zombie-ideas continue to swirl around in the popular culture…

This is a still image from the 2007 film ‘300’. On the left is the brave, freedom-loving, and definitely heterosexual King Leonidas of Sparta. On the right is the evil, jewelery-wearing, shisha-smoking, orgy-having, languid, homoerotic-in-a-creepy-way King Xerxes of Persia. Fun fact: the real-life Spartans were a warrior-society where all the men were able to devote themselves to full-time warrioring because a huge class of slaves did all the actual work. Sexual relationships between a teenaged boy and an older man (which today would be viewed as abusive) were common and socially accepted.

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