Warner Bros.' hit movie 300 has become the latest powder keg in relations between the U.S. and Iran. The movie, which earned $71 million at the box office last weekend, is based on the ancient battle of Thermopylae in which, according to Western lore, a force of 300 Spartans held off thousands of Persian soldiers. As reported by the Associated Press, Javad Shamghadri, cultural adviser to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, charged that the film represented another effort by the U.S. to humiliate Iran in order to "compensate for its wrongdoings in order to provoke American soldiers and warmongers" against Iran. The independent newspaper Ayende-No, said beneath the headline, "Hollywood Declares War on Iranians," "The film depicts Iranians as demons, without culture, feeling or humanity, who think of nothing except attacking other nations and killing people. ... It is a new effort to slander the Iranian people and civilization before world public opinion."
There's only one problem with Mr. Shamghadri's little complaint: Americans are much too stoopid to know that Persians and Iranians are the same thing. And we don't care. We don't watch movies like 300 because we care about history or politics, we watch them because we like to see half-nekkid bodybuilders hack each other to bits with swords and spears. If the Iranian government can't understand that about us, no wonder we're about to go to war.