Starbuck's Etiquette & Gladiator Films
Category: 300 News | Posted by: DaisyMay
Article Date: March 29, 2007 | Publication: Laughing Crowe's Nest (Blog) | Author: Michael Kotyk
Publication/Article Link:LaughingCrowe's Nest
I have to admit that I am not a really big fan of Starbucks Coffee but I will, on occasion, foray into one and order a cup of coffee (that's right. No frappucino whatever's for me) and a danish as I read a book at one of the tables.
I personally love the intellectual atmosphere one finds at Starbucks. Other than the middle aged yuppies who are there to be seen holding their Starbucks mug, the clientel of Starbucks will mostly entail the intellectual class.
Of which, although I consider myself to be intellectual, my blue collar, earthy roots somehow seep through and I find myself a bit out of place. I'm not sure why. I mean, I write poetry, can talk politics and am even aware of the latest trends in political correctness but, despite my best attempts, the fact that I have spent the last 20 years of my life in the military (that, and my short haircut) seems to override my attempt to fit in with the intellectually elite.
It could be the way I dress. I mean, just because I wear a black t-shirt with The 3 Stooges emblazened in front doesn't mean I don't know who Frederick Nietschze or Albert Camus are. The cross around my neck does seem, however, to provide for some interesting stares by those reading the latest Wall Street Journal and Newsweek magazine. Damn Pat Robertson. He's given us Christians a bad rap. Could it be the white generic sneakers I bought at Payless? Or is it the Stephen King book in my hand that kind of gives me away? Then again, it also might be the fact that I am not drinking a frap-a-chino but just plain simple coffee. I even dare to put cream and sugar in it. Either way, I have found out that I seem to belong more to the Dunkin Donuts coffee crowd than I do Starbucks. Lesson learned here: don't go to Starbucks wearing K-Mart clothing and reading five and dime novels. Lastly, drink a frappa-rappa-chino with a slight lemon twist for God's sake. Coffee is just no en vogue.
On that note, I am now going to move onto the second part of my blog which involves Gladiator movies. Before we start, I must say that I can do without the Airplane references ... yes, I have seen Gladiator movies but, no, I do not hang out in Turkish baths or male locker rooms. Male bonding is one thing, but male bonding along that vein is quite another path and I just don't sway that way.
Masculinity, or the tendency to be a male and actually act like one, has become a lost art in American society. The days of Marlon Brando, James Dean and John Wayne are all but a sidenote in history. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Clint Eastwood have all gone and become ... gulp ... sensitive males. I'm not saying that one should ignore our softer side. I like writing poems and fully intend to continue doing so. It is a gift from God to be able to create and I enjoy the gift He's given me. I may never sell a book but I enjoy the writing for sure.
Still, we, the American male, have lost something in regards to our masculinity. As I watch the list of gladiator-warrior movies below I see men of the past who were bold, aggressive and courageous. They didn't have time to think or to worry about political correctness ... they did things because they just had to be done. Dang it, someone has to kill the wolf preying on the sheep and bring food in for the table. Of course, times change and so do men. My best friend in the world is not a man; but a woman. We go everywhere together and, to be honest, she has more courage in her little pinky than I see most men have in their entire body. She is level headed yet bold. Intelligent, talkative but still possesses a very feminine side that does not go unnoticed by me. Strange that I cannot find a male friend but the truth is most of the males I associate with are kind of, well, unmasculine. They are backsliding, backstabbing, gossipy and are more concerned with making appearances than having integrity and substance.
And these men wear uniforms!!!
Anyway, here is my list of that long forgotten time when men were men and everyone knew it. Men, take notes.
1. Gladiator. There is a reason this picture has won as many award as it has and is referenced so many times in men's magazines. It is because Russell Crowe's Roman general, Maximus, embodies all the traits we, as men, should possess. He is loyal to his Emperor (Marcus Aurelius) and his men (Stay with me. Hold the line. Fratres, what we do in life echoes in eternity). He is fierce in combat and loves his family beyond all else.When wronged, he doesn't go and see a psychoanalyst, he takes revenge even if it means his own life. This film ranks a 10 on the machismo scale.
2. Conan the Barbarian. Let me first say that any film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is a good film and Conan is the role Arnold was born to play.
Chinese warlord: Conan, what is good in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you and to hear the lamentation of the women.
Warlord: Ha! That is good!
Conan does not negotiate except at the point of his sword. He drinks beer and not cappa-frappa-chinos with lemon twists.
Womanizer? True but this was before women's lib came around. The guy can knock out a camel with a single punch and crush a giant serpent with his bare hands. He is an anti-hero in that even when he does good for the people, his actions benefit himself more. He is a predator and, for some reason, women want him. He makes you want to hit the gym and start pumping iron!
3. Troy. Okay, this film stars Brad Pitt but it's also one of the few roles he has ever played where he doesn't come across as a male version of a Barbie doll. His character, the Greek warrior Achilles, is a true fighter committed to winning and one who dislikes political kings. His honor is beyond reproach. Achilles, in legend, is considered to be the greatest warrior ever. Alas, like the Biblical Samson, he falls victim to love and ends up getting himself killed for it. I can't say I blame him, though, I'd die for my love too! Achilles comes across as a bit of an ass in the film but you cannot deny him his accomplishments.
4. Alexander. The man conquered the then, known world and he did it all before the age of 30. His empire stretched from Macedonia, in the eastern Mediterranean, to Northern Africa and eastward to the Indian subcontinent. Very few others accomplished what he did in his lifetime. Alexander did not weep when he lost a battle, which was very rare. He came back at you the next day and kicked your butt. Still, not only was he a fighter but also a polished diplomat which helped to add territory to his growing Empire.
5. The 13th Warrior. Based upon the writings of Arab courier Ahmad Ibn Fadlan who journeyed with a group of Vikings to save a village from destruction by cannibals. Not sure if the tale is true but Ahmad comes across as a very noble and able warrior who is more than able to hold his own with his Viking companions.
6. Beowulf and Grendel. Men nowadays are more prone to run when faced with a monster than they are to stand their ground and fight him. Just take a look at the men in today's horror films who run kicking and screaming when something slimy and serpentine comes before them. Not Beowulf ... nope. He took the challenge and slew the mighty Grendel. Not only did he kill the monster but it's mother as well!
7. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Sinbad was an accomplished navigator, pirate, swordsman, thief and future prince. He could handle a ship in the harrowing seas, hold his girl next to him and slay an odd assortment of six armed, one-eyed, clawed creatures all at the same time. And he didn't drink cappa-frappa-rappa-chinos with lemony twists or wear pointed shoes either!
8. Lawrence of Arabia. Very few men could, on their own, form an alliance between bickering tribes and forge them into a cohesive fighting unit which helped to tear apart and topple the mighty Ottoman Empire. Such was a man of Lawrence's mettle. There was no 'hey guys, let's do a group hug and go to therapy' with Lawrence!
9. Attila. No man was more feared during the last years of the Roman Empire than that of Attila's. Considered to be the fiercest of warriors Attila slayed all in his path to glory.
10. Master and Commander. Before the turn of the 20th Century, life in the Navy was a dangerous one and an occupation not for the faint of heart. Enormous storms, lack of provisions, piracy, disease, mutiny and war were constant enemies. No computer steered your course, it was all done by hand and you didn't loaf around either for discipline was brutal and quick. There is no ACLU out in the middle of the Atlantic. Capt. Jack Aubrey is a master tactician and a hard fighter whose job it is to find and sink France's newest warship ... a warship which seems to be unsinkable. It will take a man of cunning ability and steadfast courage to take on this job... enter Russell Crowe again!
Persian messenger: This is madness!"
King Leonidas: "Madness? This is Sparta"
King Leonidas to his men: "Give up your lives but take from them everything. Spartans, tonight we dine in hell!"
300 is a fantasy retelling of an actual historical event. In the Greek world, no warrior was more feared or dependable than those of the city state of Sparta. When faced with an overwhelming invasion force from the Persian Empire, a valiant group of 300 Spartans stands alone to face over 400,000 Persians at the Battle of Thermopylae.
Talk about the odds being just a bit against you.
Spartans, however, do not run, nor do they surrender ... ever. They are taught as children and told by their wives to come either "With your shield or dead upon it!".
You could call them an ancient version of the Klingons!
They are so bold that when told that 'a thousand arrows will blot out the sky' the Spartans laugh off the threat and reply, "Good. Then we can fight in the shade."
Let me hear an ooh-rah!
Okay, that's my list. I'm off to go eat a bloody steak, drink a keg of beer, kill the nearest dragon before bed time and top it all off by rescuing a damsel in distress.
and no rappa-sappa-nappa-chinos with cute little lemony twists either!!!!