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Authorship and 300

Why did the critics hate the movie 300? It smashed box office receipts. I’ve not seen it yet but hear it is a) violent b) historically inaccurate.

The Global Media Project finds some answers in ideas from Foucault and Barthes ideas about authorship:

There is no Author-god who bestows the film/text with some kind of “theological meaning.” “300” lays thousands of infantrymen to rest—and the Author along side them. The movie can only be disentangled, not deciphered—leaving a minimal role for the critic. Sure enough, the critics could do little but snob the movie, or praise it as cheap thrill.

Not sure I would put Barthes and Foucault together on this, at least I don’t see MF claiming the death of the author, but perhaps that the author is part of a larger play of signification.

But that role is not minimal; just as truth is not minimal because it is produced, so the author is not minimal, and Foucault observes that the author has definite responsibilities too (eg to the readers, see DE 236, 328).


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