Thoughts on James Bond

A note on James Bond as a model for men.

James Bond and the new Peugeot advertisement.

So, if you want to find out what this girl is doing, read those posts.

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This is cute, playing with the James Bond themes. He still gets the girl:

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Hugo Rifkind was good on Bond in the latest Speckled Potato – you may not be able to read the linked article as it is, for me, subscriber locked (though I’m a subscriber – sort of – it’s complicated!). But anyway:

    I’m worried about the future of James Bond. I don’t see how it’s going to work. ‘He’s very fucking lonely,’ the actor Daniel Craig told Esquire this month. ‘There’s a great sadness. he’s fucking hese beautiful women but then they leave and it’s… sad. And as a man gets older it’s not a good look.’ That’s not even the half of it. The point of Bond, it always seemed to me, was that he epitomises the brutalisation of the British establishment. He is, in excelsis, the stiff upper lip. While his biography may be sketchy and disputed, he’s unquestionably the product of British public school. He has been beaten by masters and prefects who did not have his best interests at heart. He has been abandoned and possibly abused. He has slept, shivering, in unheated frosty castles far from home, and in the morning he’s been sent for a run. Orphaned or not, he comes from a people who do not show love. In essence, he is everything that is bad about the ruling class, recast as a hero.

    Rifkind goes on to note that an updated Bond going to school in the 90s will be very different, a pampered kid who at school had ‘Wi-Fi and a recording studio and banjo lessons. When Matron noticed his cold, cruel mouth, she gave him a hug, sent him off to drama therapy and put him on Xanax.’

    Reply

    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on September 11, 2015 at 10:31 am

      A central problem with the character is whether or not he is a “psychopath”. Fleming seemed to want him to be. Filmmakers are never sure.

      Part of the problem is that writers and audiences tire of repellent characters and always seem to soften them over time. (An example I always think of is the “Zachary Smith” character in Lost in Space, the TV series. He started out as an evil traitor, but eventually became one of the most engaging characters on the show.)

      The Daniel Craig Bond was a move back to “psychopathy” and the clip I show at one of my posts on Bond shows him being “emotionally detached”, in so many words. But then there is the problem of him and women. We are also supposed to understand that he has become attached to one of his girls. So, which is it? Psychopath or lover?

      (He also says, at one point in the recent movies, “I have no friends”.)

      I was wondering what Fleming would make of modern sexual mores. It is tempting to write “Fleming, thou hast conquered”. In other words, many young men are (reportedly) doing very well with women these days, especially as the controls on young women’s sexuality are so much looser than in Fleming’s day. In a sense, his dream girls – beautiful, sexy, assertive, available – have become more common in reality. A modern “Bond” does not have to be a spy and travel to remote and dangerous places to find sexual opportunities.

      What hasn’t changed, and what will always be a source of tension, is that women find the “cruel” side of Bond sexy. As well as his softer side, when he shows it. So, we will see this endless cycle of soft Bonds and hard Bonds and soft Bonds and hard Bonds, as writers try to get him right to appeal to mass audiences.

      I suspect a franchise so successful can afford a couple of misfires, but if they fiddle too much with the formula in pursuit of satisfying social critics, they could lose the appeal. The series formula has always included certain things; for example, being absolutely up-to-date on technology, although that can date amusingly of course; and also on being a bit outrageous. That is part of its masculine appeal, Its “boys will be boys” style. Getting the balance right is hard though.

      Ironically, I think we are entering a more honest phase of understanding of male and female fantasy. Post-50 Shades of Grey, it is quite difficult to pretend that women only want SNAGs and the whole “red pill”/”manosphere” movement has made it more obvious that men can actually do rather well by emulating “James Bond” traits. On the advance of the manosphere, this new video is interesting:

      http://mattforney.com/future-manosphere/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MattForney+%28Matt+Forney%29

      Reply

    • Posted by Julian O'Dea on September 11, 2015 at 10:34 am

      I don’t think Rifkind should worry. Bond will always be in his prime, and his girls will always be young and peachy. That is what new actors and actresses are for.

      Bond will no more age than Bertie Wooster (I am pretty sure they were at the same school.)

      Reply

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