Historical critique of Bond and his fandom status

Hi folks!

Well, since I'm new here, allow myself to introduce... Myself (sorry, couldn't resist the Austin Powers joke). My name is Filipe, I'm 26 years old, I've been a Bond fan since I can remember and I'm truly happy and honored to be here, among equals.

I'm starting this discussion to address an interesting issue that came to me during a "polite turmoil" with a fellow Bond fan on facebook, concerning his views of the so called "PC fans", which he dismissed as "no true fans" at all (yes, I know where you think this is going, but don't worry).

He was annoyed by people who thought themselves as Bond fans and yet criticized the character's supposedly misogynistic and homophobic ways. But, as far as I'm concern (and speaking as an historian myself), Bond is in fact a misogynistic, homophobic, imperialist and even a racist character at times; a reflection of his creator's ideology, as well as a time when those issues were not taken seriously or addressed in pop culture. As it looks to me, to deny this is to neglect the whole social and historical landscape in which Bond and his creator were conceived. In fact, that's the main reason why I think the character shouldn't be played by a woman or a black actor.

(Besides, that’s why I personally think the franchise should either end or at least be readapted as a series of “period movies”, taking us to the late 1950’s and early 60’s, since there’s a limit you can adapt the character of James Bond without killing him).

In my view, Bond can be seen as some sort of modern Dom Quixote (a schizophrenic and somewhat pathetic figure, struggling against time as if the "glory days" of the Empire and "traditional values" hadn't faded). He's anachronistic by nature and realizes that, questioning the dull and infant logic between "old" and "new" or "good" and "evil" in Casino Royale. And I know I'm not alone in this, since one of the major themes in the entire franchise, specially the recent entries since Goldeneye, has been the conflict between "old" and "new". As we can see very well in Skyfall, this conflict's resolution tends to be conciliatory, stating that both old and new are required to protect the "free world". Hell, even the dynamic duo of James Bond (England) and Felix Leiter (US) can be regarded as a statement in favor of balance between old and new in western civilization (referring to the "old" and "new" empire; respectively, before and after WWII). To me, Bond represents the conservative naiveté of thinking that "sometimes, the old ways are the best", knowing that eventually he will be replaced, he will fade over time and be killed off (if not physically, symbolically, by the changing values of our time), precisely as a "blunt instrument" was meant to go. His way of coping with that imminent and yet late reality (postponed over 50 years) might very well be his sadistic and self-destructing behavior through excessive consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking and womanizing (objectified womanizing in this case). By the time when the book of "You Only Live Twice" came out, it reflected it's author (and character) state of spirit, after a long journey of hedonistic and sadistic fantasies.

The thing is, this is a personal reading of mine, and, although may be a little to stretched for some, I think it fits perfectly in several interesting aspects I find fascinating in the franchise is built and its character. Besides, it resonates in other critical reviews of movie critics and historians, as well as the production team (Timothy Dalton, considering his interview in "Everything or Nothing").

However, having said that to my fellow Bond fan, he thought I wasn't a "true fan" as well, since I agreed with the "PC" agenda (although not their conclusions, specifically in respect to James Bond).

Hence, I have two questions for you folks:

1- Do you think one can enjoy something by its artistic and historical value without necessarily agree with its ideology?

2- What you think about this personal reading of mine? Is it a possible and legitimate critique or is it just a bunch of nonsense?

Please, share your personal views and critical readings of the books and movie franchise as well! Surely this would be very productive as a discussion topic, developing new and interesting ways to comprehend this iconic pop culture landmark and its meanings!
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Comments

  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited August 2018 Posts: 23,883
    Interesting and illuminating post @FilipeJota. Welcome to the forum.

    I can't say I've given this much thought really, but just in passing, I would answer your questions as follows:

    1. Yes. I think it's possible to appreciate something without agreeing with its ideology. I do that all the time and try not to confuse my personal feelings on something with its artistic merit which I try to objectively assess.

    2. I like what you've written. It's one way of looking at it, and it's nicely supported. I'm certain there are other views too.

    Regarding the series and its future: In my humble view, there are two ways to go about this.

    1. One is to put Bond into his 'period' box as you suggest, thereby allowing a strict interpretation of the character as per the novels and early films. As you note, this will allow the character's traits to be more fully explored without raising the ire of sensitive types. We have recently been discussing this on the B25 Production thread.

    2. The other way is to move him forward with the times, as the film makers have done over the years, but still keep him as a bit of an anachronism. So essentially as values and norms progress, Bond progresses too, but he remains slightly behind the times. Slightly regressive. As an example, he smoked in the novels and in the early films. Smoking is considered filthy these days. So he doesn't smoke any more. He arguably forced himself on Pussy in GF. Can he get away with such a move now? Not likely. However, he can still get away with stepping into Severine's shower, given that she told him where she would be (and invited him to her yacht). The Brosnan Bond in GE is a far less aggressive character than the Connery Bond in DN, but he's still pretty old school for the 90s (witness how he continues to be surprised by Natalya's prowess).

    So it's possible to allow the character to move with the times while still retaining his conservatism. Perhaps it's in fact essential, given we appear to be moving towards a more matriachal (or at least equal society). Perhaps Bond has a place as a bastion of old fashioned patriachal values. Furthermore, in a time of uncertainty for Britain, itself a nation in relative economic decline facing new challenges, Bond represents a flicker of the old greatness. So as a character he is as important and as needed as ever, I'd say.
  • FilipeJotaFilipeJota Brazil
    edited August 2018 Posts: 20
    @bondjames

    (Firstly, I’d like to thank you for your kind welcome and reply, as well as apologize in advance for the length of my following commentary!)

    Indeed, Bond has survived for over 50 years adapting to his audience, but I don’t think this adaptation is limitless, as if he could go on forever. Especially in this case, in which we’re not talking about cigarettes and alcohol, but values and mentality. How much can you keep a hero “slightly regressive” in this context of psychological and behavioral change? Sure, some things are the same (nationalism, capitalism and the “free World” vs. “bad guys” image are not likely going to fade any time soon), but gender and sexual critique not only aims one of the most fundamental traits of the character’s identity, but also the franchise’s itself and its inner meaning in social imagery (precisely regarding the stereotypical concept of masculinity, which finds no large incentive nowadays).

    Consider the narrative structure of the movies, which often portray or treat women in a very violent fashion (despite an apparent “progress” according to some). Severine, in the same way as Andrea Anders and Paris Carver, was killed once her purpose of introducing the villain was fulfilled – not mentioning the long line of leading ladies who were brutally murdered and/ or tortured for the sake of the plot or Bond’s unsensitiveness/ recklessness, causing little to no reaction in terms of character development and plot twists. Also, Severine – as many women in Bond movies and novels – is one more of those classic examples of tragic history of sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of a sadistic villain, who either “emancipate” themselves through sexual activity with a “real man” (protagonist) or ends up killed by the indirect actions of an equally sadistic hero who uses them for his gain (once more, the image of Bond and the villains tend to equal each other, although in different manners). The sexual abuse comment should have served as a warning to Bond in the sense of not expecting sex at all, considering also the fact that sex wasn’t even implicitly mentioned in the dialogue with Severine. She invited him to her boat, not her shower; and yet he suddenly appears from behind her, when she was already naked and, thus, utterly vulnerable (when she thought he wasn’t coming anymore).

    The problem is not quite a character who despises and objectifies women – or even a plot which continuously subjects its female and/ or male characters to violence and sexual abuse (like Game of Thrones, for instance). The problem is that, from the ethical and ideological standpoint of today’s standards, having a “hero” – in the classic “good guy” vs. “band guy” context – behaving like that, in a narrative structure that favors and glorifies these actions as “badass” or even “necessary” to “counterbalance” the cultural changes, eventually will become unsustainable. In short, is not about what you show to the audience, but “how” and to what narrative purpose you do so.

    Bottom line, Bond’s misogyny, far from an innocent and nostalgic recall to a not distant past (treasured by many who seek to escape or deny today’s political trends) or – most importantly – a “necessary” tool for keeping balance between “old” and “new” values in the present, is a expressive reminiscence of an infamous period when certain groups of people had no voice to offer their share of counterbalance to these hegemonic ideas, which still hold up and affect people’s lives. Furthermore, in this context and as I see it, balance is not a possibility at all, since those two sets of ideas and beliefs are diametrically opposed, demanding a resolution which necessarily favors one over the other. And that’s ok, that’s how social change happens, that’s how History evolves – not necessarily for the “better” (although I think it is in this case), but certainly according to new and urging demands which accumulate over time.

    The same can be said at some level about the nationalism in Bond. I myself am against all forms of nationalism (or its euphemism, “patriotism”), either from left or right. It was one of the most nefarious and dangerous ideological concepts of late 19th and 20th centuries, directly or indirectly responsible for things which range from political, ethnical and cultural discrimination to two World Wars. As I see it, it only serves as a pretext to justify the most atrocious policies. In the case of James Bond, not many people seem to remember that the British Empire was one of the bloodiest and despotic empires in History, engaging in the most diverse and perverse forms of atrocities, physical as well as symbolic (by dominating and alienating foreign cultures from their languages and traditions of their own). So, I don’t think this nostalgic feeling towards the “great Empire” is as healthy as the Bond movies and novels lead us to think. We’ve got to put the Bond character and his stories in historical perspective and consider the fact that Fleming was a conservative and imperialist Englishman, who resented the lost of prestige and power of Britain – prestige and power which favored, essentially, he and his society, but not others which were under their direct rule or influence. It’s no wonder the stupendous success of Skyfall in a time when conservative leaders urge the population to “keep calm and carry on” (as if they said “when the sky falls we’ll stand tall and face it all”), conjuring the unconscious memory of their “finest hour” at WWII – the English Empire at its peak! (That’s why I think Skyfall is the most interesting Bond film of all; it was able to recreate this historical flemingian nostalgia and resentfulness like none other, urging for the balance between “old” and “new” in this conservative perspective, as I said before).

    Anyways, that’s why I think Bond’s anachronistic saga should end, possibly readapting the character in his historical context – which would give him more freedom to expose his traits, as you putted it, although still limited to some ethical boundaries. As stated above, it's not about “what” is represented, but rather “how”. Well, the problem is that the “how” can either define or destroy the identity of James Bond and his franchise.

    (You can realize that this was some sort of personal confession from someone who’s equally liberal and irrevocably enchanted by the Bond universe and every discussion related to it. I am a very unusual Bond fan, I suppose! Thank you very much for reading, I know it wasn’t easy! Hahaha Cheers!)


  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    Posts: 23,883
    @FilipeJota, that was a great read. You've obviously been giving this a lot of thought. I'll admit it's not something I concern myself with all that much, so you'll forgive me if my response is a bit cursory and superficial. Addressing your points below as best I can:
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    Indeed, Bond has survived for over 50 years adapting to his audience, but I don’t think this adaptation is limitless, as if he could go on forever. Especially in this case, in which we’re not talking about cigarettes and alcohol, but values and mentality. How much can you keep a hero “slightly regressive” in this context of psychological and behavioral change? Sure, some things are the same (nationalism, capitalism and the “free World” vs. “bad guys” image are not likely going to fade any time soon), but gender and sexual critique not only aims one of the most fundamental traits of the character’s identity, but also the franchise’s itself and its inner meaning in social imagery (precisely regarding the stereotypical concept of masculinity, which finds no large incentive nowadays).
    I agree that we live in an especially sensitive time - one where the relationship and social norms between sexes are undergoing change. Could it be a sea change moment? Perhaps, but it wouldn't be the first time. Bond was launched at the height of the sexual revolution after all, and has always been a controversial character. As long as there are differences between the sexes (and hopefully there always will be despite medical advances and social pressures which may one day be able to erase or downplay that), then I think there will be a place for Bond. To a degree he is there to fulfill a fantasy as much as to fit within and conform to reality and norms. He is as much an outdated male fantasy as he is a female one. Given the sensitivity at this moment, the producers will just have to tread more lightly for the time being, that's all.

    So I think Bond can survive as a stylized form of masculinity, as defined by the parameters of the specific timeframe. Such parameters will of course shift progressively with time. Will the character be 'watered down' as a result? Definitely, and regrettably.

    I believe Broccoli has recently said that it is his heroism and loyalty which define him now, along with superficial elements such as the cars, watches, glamour etc. It's clear to me that she has emphasized these elements since she took over from Cubby in the 90's (so much so that they now build bespoke watches and cars for the film). More recently, both she and Craig have also tried to downplay his other less savoury attributes in interviews. Do I agree with them? Not really, and sincerely hope that they both just say what they say in order to keep the media hounds at bay.
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    Consider the narrative structure of the movies, which often portray or treat women in a very violent fashion (despite an apparent “progress” according to some). Severine, in the same way as Andrea Anders and Paris Carver, was killed once her purpose of introducing the villain was fulfilled – not mentioning the long line of leading ladies who were brutally murdered and/ or tortured for the sake of the plot or Bond’s unsensitiveness/ recklessness, causing little to no reaction in terms of character development and plot twists. Also, Severine – as many women in Bond movies and novels – is one more of those classic examples of tragic history of sexual and psychological abuse at the hands of a sadistic villain, who either “emancipate” themselves through sexual activity with a “real man” (protagonist) or ends up killed by the indirect actions of an equally sadistic hero who uses them for his gain (once more, the image of Bond and the villains tend to equal each other, although in different manners). The sexual abuse comment should have served as a warning to Bond in the sense of not expecting sex at all, considering also the fact that sex wasn’t even implicitly mentioned in the dialogue with Severine. She invited him to her boat, not her shower; and yet he suddenly appears from behind her, when she was already naked and, thus, utterly vulnerable (when she thought he wasn’t coming anymore).
    I agree that certain women are treated as disposable pleasures - eye candy inserted to move the narrative forward and then discarded once the purpose has been achieved. However, I think the franchise and audience recognize this. It's been the case since the start of the series, and is not something only symptomatic of Bond. Despite this, and to a degree, I'd argue that the disposability of characters isn't confined only to women. There are many interesting men in this franchise who are discarded once their narrative purpose is complete. Saunders, Kerim, Mathis etc. etc. The only difference is that Bond, as a heterosexual, doesn't sleep with them first. So I believe death is just an acceptable and even expected element in a stylized spy fantasy franchise. It's par for the course. I'd say the franchise was ahead of its time in some respects. For example, Miss Taro in the original film wasn't killed, but rather was arrested. She was a smart but devious woman - a character we can relate to even today. Furthermore, I'd say that Bond films were also early showcasers of liberated and intelligent leading women. Characters like Pussy, Anya, Holly etc. were all ahead of their time, both sexually and in terms of their abilities. Were they sexy and glamorous too? Yes, of course, but then so was Bond, at least prior to Craig's more workmanlike, working class, tight suit blue collar iteration. If there is a concern, it's that with Craig, the producers have tried to root the series more in reality rather than high fantasy. That poses a risk, because then viewers are more likely to expect the films to conform to social norms. The more he tries to conform, the more they expect him to.
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    Bottom line, Bond’s misogyny, far from an innocent and nostalgic recall to a not distant past (treasured by many who seek to escape or deny today’s political trends) or – most importantly – a “necessary” tool for keeping balance between “old” and “new” values in the present, is a expressive reminiscence of an infamous period when certain groups of people had no voice to offer their share of counterbalance to these hegemonic ideas, which still hold up and affect people’s lives. Furthermore, in this context and as I see it, balance is not a possibility at all, since those two sets of ideas and beliefs are diametrically opposed, demanding a resolution which necessarily favors one over the other. And that’s ok, that’s how social change happens, that’s how History evolves – not necessarily for the “better” (although I think it is in this case), but certainly according to new and urging demands which accumulate over time.
    I don't think Bond has ever been an epitome of good behaviour though. He has always been a reflection of outdated, stylized and exaggerated male fantasy, set in the context of the spy realm. Such an environment allows for mystery and intrigue, and certain liberties. I'm not condoning such behaviour or even suggesting that it should continue. Rather, I'm saying that I believe it's still possible for Bond to straddle that fine line between unacceptable and acceptable when it comes to the opposite sex. Will it be more difficult going forward? Perhaps, but that's part of the challenge. As long as there remains sexual tension and the potential for misunderstanding between the sexes (and I propose that there always will be), then there is a place of this in a Bond film. It may just have to be approached more playfully and 'PG' (or is that 'PC'), that's all. I think they did an excellent job of winking at it all in GE (M scene) and also in CR (train scene). Campbell's films seem to acknowledge Bond's outdated values best, while still having strong women characters (Natalya and Vesper).
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    The same can be said at some level about the nationalism in Bond. I myself am against all forms of nationalism (or its euphemism, “patriotism”), either from left or right. It was one of the most nefarious and dangerous ideological concepts of late 19th and 20th centuries, directly or indirectly responsible for things which range from political, ethnical and cultural discrimination to two World Wars. As I see it, it only serves as a pretext to justify the most atrocious policies. In the case of James Bond, not many people seem to remember that the British Empire was one of the bloodiest and despotic empires in History, engaging in the most diverse and perverse forms of atrocities, physical as well as symbolic (by dominating and alienating foreign cultures from their languages and traditions of their own). So, I don’t think this nostalgic feeling towards the “great Empire” is as healthy as the Bond movies and novels lead us to think. We’ve got to put the Bond character and his stories in historical perspective and consider the fact that Fleming was a conservative and imperialist Englishman, who resented the lost of prestige and power of Britain – prestige and power which favored, essentially, he and his society, but not others which were under their direct rule or influence. It’s no wonder the stupendous success of Skyfall in a time when conservative leaders urge the population to “keep calm and carry on” (as if they said “when the sky falls we’ll stand tall and face it all”), conjuring the unconscious memory of their “finest hour” at WWII – the English Empire at its peak! (That’s why I think Skyfall is the most interesting Bond film of all; it was able to recreate this historical flemingian nostalgia and resentfulness like none other, urging for the balance between “old” and “new” in this conservative perspective, as I said before).
    There will always be an element of British identity, history and nostalgia wrapped up in the character of Bond. He is arguably their most famous and long lasting cultural export, apart from the English language. As you rightly said, his 'old fashioned' behaviour stems from the creator's own personal experiences and sensibilities, which he has imparted to the character. Again, I believe it will always remain in the characterization. It's just a question of how often it is acknowledged and in what way. As you noted, SF did a great job of weaving it in, as did QoS (Bond and Felix conversation about 'Brits' cutting up the world) and TLD briefly (when Kamran's men dismissively laugh at Bond's comment that he works for the British Government). Again, it's all a question of how this is approached. If it's done tongue in cheek, then it can still work. I don't believe it needs to be ignored - it just mustn't be taken too seriously.
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    Anyways, that’s why I think Bond’s anachronistic saga should end, possibly readapting the character in his historical context – which would give him more freedom to expose his traits, as you putted it, although still limited to some ethical boundaries. As stated above, it's not about “what” is represented, but rather “how”. Well, the problem is that the “how” can either define or destroy the identity of James Bond and his franchise.
    I'm open to a 'period' adaptation, but as I said on another thread I think it will create more problems by boxing the film makers in. One film may work, but I'm not sure keeping him in the past will be popular. I still believe Bond can remain current, as he always has. I agree though that 'how' the character is presented will be very important going forward, and perhaps more important than 'what' is presented. The actor selected post-Craig is crucial to that. He must be someone very likeable and I think needs a defter and lighter touch than Craig, so he can still push the boundaries of acceptable behaviour while not raising the anger of the sensitive.
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    (You can realize that this was some sort of personal confession from someone who’s equally liberal and irrevocably enchanted by the Bond universe and every discussion related to it. I am a very unusual Bond fan, I suppose! Thank you very much for reading, I know it wasn’t easy! Hahaha Cheers!)
    I've enjoyed reading your thoughts. It's a bit deep for me, but has certainly given me things to think about. Whatever happens, I'm sure you and I both want Bond to survive and thrive, no matter what era he ends up in.
  • NicNacNicNac Moderator
    Posts: 7,210
    Bond has always been a modern man embracing modern technology. Fleming's Bond wasn't a period piece character. Why would we make him one now just to protect the values of 1950s Bond?

    Bond may play fast and loose with the ladies, and have the most negligible morals, but he is changing with the times. Slowly but surely.

    21st century Bond isn't misogynistic ( M?) or homophobic. And if he is a racist then no one has told Moneypenny or Leiter.

    Craig/ Bond is a different creature to Connery/Bond (who could be accused of being misogynistic, homophobic, imperialist and racist ) or Moore/Bond who was an out of control womaniser. Yes he climbed into Severine's shower, and seduced an emotionally wrecked Lucia in Spectre, but these moments are more and more isolated and can be constantly tweaked to appease modern audience sensibilities.

    But the answer is not to send Bond back in time to a bygone era, and have a Bond in the late 50s acting as Bond would have done back then. Mainly because characters like Quarrel would still not be acceptable, and Bond tumbling Pussy in the barn would still look awkward, regardless of the era it's set in. 'He was a man of his times and should be respected as such' wouldn't be an argument for his behaviour.

    As we speak TV shows with historical settings are already re-writing history in order to encompass black actors but ignore racial stereotypes and racist behaviour. Something like The Frankenstein Chronicles with its early 19th century setting has a black actor in a main role of a police officer (likely?) and his colour is not used as a plot device, so there is no racism in the show. As such, the show doesn't reflect what black people went through in those days, it's effectively rewriting history.

    Put Bond into the 50s/60s and you won't be given freedom to return Bond to his racist/misogynist roots. All we will have is a 20th century Bond with 21st century values.

    Film Bond is not Book Bond. They separated long ago. Film Bond is an action hero, a pulpy cartoon character who beats up baddies, and wins the girl. Why do we want to over think where (or indeed if) he belongs in modern society.

    If he belongs on our screens in 2018/19 will be decided by the cinema going public. Bond will carry on if Joe Public says he will.
  • Posts: 385
    What you think about this personal reading of mine? Is it a possible and legitimate critique or is it just a bunch of nonsense?

    It's a bunch of postmodern nonsense.

    Let's start from the top.
    But, as far as I'm concern (and speaking as an historian myself), Bond is in fact a misogynistic, homophobic, imperialist and even a racist character at times

    From Webster:

    Definition of misogyny
    : a hatred of women

    Anyone who claims Bond hates women is, frankly, insane. If he hates women, he does a bad job of showing it, considering how often he goes out of his way to save them even at risk of the mission or his own life. Even book Bond isn't that extreme for the time - he'll just as readily call someone a stupid bastard as he does a silly bitch.

    And how exactly is Bond homophobic? He treats Wint and Kidd as any other villains, and coyly plays along with Silva in Skyfall.

    "Imperialist" is a loaded term which I'll ignore, as your definition will be as hard to nail down as smoke.

    As for racism, in the books he's pretty contemporary (now outdated, of course), in the films he doesn't show any contempt for other races, so...why bring it up? He's readily a friend of Quarrel (very much so in the books), and he's just as eager to sleep with Rosie Carver in LALD as he is with Solitaire, so...
    And I know I'm not alone in this, since one of the major themes in the entire franchise, specially the recent entries since Goldeneye, has been the conflict between "old" and "new". As we can see very well in Skyfall, this conflict's resolution tends to be conciliatory, stating that both old and new are required to protect the "free world". Hell, even the dynamic duo of James Bond (England) and Felix Leiter (US) can be regarded as a statement in favor of balance between old and new in western civilization (referring to the "old" and "new" empire; respectively, before and after WWII). To me, Bond represents the conservative naiveté of thinking that "sometimes, the old ways are the best", knowing that eventually he will be replaced, he will fade over time and be killed off (if not physically, symbolically, by the changing values of our time), precisely as a "blunt instrument" was meant to go.

    I think the audience has been beaten over the head enough with that storyline, honestly. It was weak in Skyfall and annoying and lazy in Spectre. It's an attitude that sprung up shortly after the end of the Cold War (making its inclusion in GoldenEye relevant) but which ended after 9/11 (making its continued existence tiresome).

    His way of coping with that imminent and yet late reality (postponed over 50 years) might very well be his sadistic and self-destructing behavior through excessive consumption of alcohol, cigarette smoking and womanizing (objectified womanizing in this case). By the time when the book of "You Only Live Twice" came out, it reflected it's author (and character) state of spirit, after a long journey of hedonistic and sadistic fantasies.

    Bond does those things because he enjoys them, and because he has a tough job. ("Objectified womanizing" sounds like the latest made up Woke™ terminology).
    He was annoyed by people who thought themselves as Bond fans and yet criticized the character's supposedly misogynistic and homophobic ways.

    If I'm a longtime member of a club, and someone new comes in and begins to critique the decor, policies, and even the other members, it is quite understandable that I would be annoyed. This is no different from the "fans" of Star Wars who watched the most recent film and rushed to declare that the rest of the franchise was "always quite mediocre" and how the new film was The Best™. They may consider themselves fans, but I don't.

    The problem is not quite a character who despises and objectifies women – or even a plot which continuously subjects its female and/ or male characters to violence and sexual abuse (like Game of Thrones, for instance).

    GOT is garbage. It's squalor from the dark, dim mind of an author who knows nothing of heroism due to being a coward.
    The problem is that, from the ethical and ideological standpoint of today’s standards, having a “hero” – in the classic “good guy” vs. “band guy” context – behaving like that, in a narrative structure that favors and glorifies these actions as “badass” or even “necessary” to “counterbalance” the cultural changes, eventually will become unsustainable

    In ten years the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed $17.45 billion dollars telling classic good guy vs bad guy, Truth, Justice, and The American Way™ stories. Even adjusting for 2018 inflation rates, twenty four Bond films across fifty-three years only managed $16.3 billion. That's quite a lot of recent money for something "unsustainable". I think you meant to say "Something postmodernism doesn't like because it doesn't fit the narrative".
    I myself am against all forms of nationalism (or its euphemism, “patriotism”), either from left or right. It was one of the most nefarious and dangerous ideological concepts of late 19th and 20th centuries, directly or indirectly responsible for things which range from political, ethnical and cultural discrimination to two World Wars.

    It also put men on the moon, liberated millions from tyranny, resulted in historically low levels of poverty, illiteracy, and historically high levels of life expectancy, but you do you, I guess?
    In the case of James Bond, not many people seem to remember that the British Empire was one of the bloodiest and despotic empires in History, engaging in the most diverse and perverse forms of atrocities, physical as well as symbolic (by dominating and alienating foreign cultures from their languages and traditions of their own).

    It also led to the creation of the world's most benevolent 'empire' and the longest period of sustained relative peace in history. Can't have been all bad.
    It’s no wonder the stupendous success of Skyfall

    It actually is a bit of a wonder, given the pants-on-head retarded nature of the plot, which required idiocy from nearly all involved. If I were teaching a screenwriting course, it would be an example of what not to do. Eon did a good job marketing the 50th Anniversary.

    To wrap up, welcome, you're entitled to your opinion, but boy is it an uninspired and tired one.
    bondjames wrote: »
    The Brosnan Bond in GE is a far less aggressive character than the Connery Bond in DN, but he's still pretty old school for the 90s (witness how he continues to be surprised by Natalya's prowess).

    I actually think that's less to do with Natalya being a woman, and more to do with the fact that A: when they first meet she's reacting hysterically to everything and B: She's a computer wizard numbers type, the kind Bond has been against throughout the film, not due to gender, but due to the fact that he perceives they don't understand his job. (a misunderstanding Natalya engages in herself) Natalya's character development in the film isn't the best - we go from nerdy programmer to Action Hero that hijacks helicopters in no time at all.
  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    Posts: 544
    A "fellow" Bond fan?! Don't dare call me a "fellow" (well, you can be a "Bond fan" if your perception of reality is that distorted) , that's why you have been righfully blocked on my FB account. You HATE James Bond and you threw sh*t to a character I love on my wall.

    Bond is in fact a misogynistic, homophobic, imperialist and even a racist character at times; a reflection of his creator's ideology, as well as a time when those issues were not taken seriously or addressed in pop culture.

    James Bond treats women with utmost care and sympathy, that's why they want to sleep with him. Tell me an example of Bond sexually molesting a girl or forcing her to abortion (You can have Michael Caine's Alfie if you want an example for the latter, or for a misogynistic man). On the other hand, Ian Fleming's heroines are truly self-reliant and a valuable help for Bond in the story. Take Gala Brand, for example. In the films, look at Elektra King: she used both Bond and Renard for fools. The Bond films and novels did a LOT to empower women despite Fleming's alpha male antics proper of the time. Probably a relative of yours living in the 1950s also tought like him.

    I have never seen Bond downgrading someone for being gay. On the contrary, in Anthony Horowitz's Trigger Mortis Bond has an homosexual ally.

    Imperialist? Well, I can't argue on that one. He does everything for Queen and Country and in many situations for the whole world.

    Racist? How many black actors have worked in the franchise? We had a black Leiter and a black Moneypenny. Bond was more than kind with his black friend Quarrel in the novels - the rest may be Fleming's way to see the world in the 1950s, but you can tell he never patronized Quarrel in Live and Let Die or Dr. No and he's a valuable help troughout both missions.

    My advice, Filipe, is that if you think SO BAD of James Bond, you can find a thousand cinematic or literary heroes around. Why wasting your time in a Bond forum?

    You want to be a 21st century moralist? Try to tackle today's videogames first. You can find a lot of "racist, homophobic, misogynist" examples in those games who are the trend in today's perfect world and that the perfect PC kids play all day long.
  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    edited August 2018 Posts: 544
    MooreFun wrote: »
    What you think about this personal reading of mine?
    If I'm a longtime member of a club, and someone new comes in and begins to critique the decor, policies, and even the other members, it is quite understandable that I would be annoyed. This is no different from the "fans" of Star Wars who watched the most recent film and rushed to declare that the rest of the franchise was "always quite mediocre" and how the new film was The Best™. They may consider themselves fans, but I don't.

    Well, look at todays world. You have men cheating their wives for decades and making a speech on how he totally loves her and the strenght of their bond (and viceversa). To that extent, it's not a surprise that "Bond fans" hate James Bond and that "SW fans" hate Star Wars. I would love them going to a bar crowded of Yankees fans (wearing a Yankees t-shirt and cap) and shout a sh*tload of insults to the team, claiming the Meats are far better (among other things). They'll probably last less (much less) than the fake Bond fans over here.

    If you are horrified for Bond's antics, stay away of any kind of Bond fandom. Anyone's entitled to hate James Bond, but from there to piss Bond off in Bond forums, that's a really negative attitude.
  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    edited August 2018 Posts: 544
    "Well, since I'm new here, allow myself to introduce... Myself (sorry, couldn't resist the Austin Powers joke). My name is Filipe, I'm 26 years old, I've been a Bond fan since I can remember and I'm truly happy and honored to be here, among equals."

    I've been a Bond fan since January 31st, 1998 (20 years, 7 months). From that day on, Bond has been related to wonderful friends, and experiences. Too late to worry about the Austin Powers joke. The whole thread IS an Austin Powers joke as is your badmouthing of this character honoured in this site. I'm afraid you're a sheep who has gone to the wrong flock. Go change the world by letting Lula out of prison instead of degrading a fictional action hero, shamefully you can't do it on my FB wall anymore. And please, do change your avatar to a Jason Bourne image, I know you love him far more than Bond and represents your 21st century values. You told me that two years ago when Mr. Damon was throwing bricks to our franchise and you went on to agree with him (again, on my FB wall).
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited August 2018 Posts: 29,633
    @NicNac , I understand where you're coming from above, and I can get behind most of it, but one point I'd like to address; Fleming's Bond was not a modern man who embraced technology. He preferred old cars (even for the time in which the books were written) and old traditions and was wary of the new. He regularly pined for Pre-War Paris and Pre-War New York. He regretted women's suffrage and the loss of The British Empire. The embrace of technology (gadgets,modern cars and ideas, etc.) is a cinematic conceit.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited August 2018 Posts: 29,633
    By the way, no offense to any single individual meant, but I see the term "homaged" used regularly on these boards. Not a correct use or variation of the noun "homage". You can create an homage, but it is incorrect to say that something was "homaged".
  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    Posts: 544
    Birdleson wrote: »
    By the way, no offense to any single individual meant, but I see the term "homaged" used regularly on these boards. Not a correct use or variation of the noun "homage". You can create an homage, but it is incorrect to say that something was "homaged".

    Thanks for pointing this out, Birdleson. Swapped "homaged" for "honoured", which sounds better. You know, it's hard when someone touches a character that has been a companion to you in many ways and changed your mood when you had a rough day ;)
  • NicNacNicNac Moderator
    Posts: 7,210
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @NicNac , I understand where you're coming from above, and I can get behind most of it, but one point I'd like to address; Fleming's Bond was not a modern man who embraced technology. He preferred old cars (even for the time in which the books were written) and old traditions and was wary of the new. He regularly pined for Pre-War Paris and Pre-War New York. He regretted women's suffrage and the loss of The British Empire. The embrace of technology (gadgets,modern cars and ideas, etc.) is a cinematic conceit.
    No problem, you are quite right. That has probably unpicked quite a bit of my argument:)
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,633
    Birdleson wrote: »
    By the way, no offense to any single individual meant, but I see the term "homaged" used regularly on these boards. Not a correct use or variation of the noun "homage". You can create an homage, but it is incorrect to say that something was "homaged".

    Thanks for pointing this out, Birdleson. Swapped "homaged" for "honoured", which sounds better. You know, it's hard when someone touches a character that has been a companion to you in many ways and changed your mood when you had a rough day ;)

    Thanks for taking it in stride. I hate to come off as pedantic. Yours was the latest of many.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,633
    @FilipeJota has own his ideas and perspective, and I welcome them. I do wish he had followed the normal protocols for introducing himself to the forum. Note the New Users Guide section listed on the left side of your screen.
  • FilipeJotaFilipeJota Brazil
    edited August 2018 Posts: 20
    @NS_writings

    I’m actually happy for your response and I sincerely apologize for my approach that day. Maybe it was too direct, but I didn’t mean nothing personal by it. The thing is, we’re not talking about something that has only one way to be appreciated – being that your way or the “highway”. Isn’t possible to enjoy something in different ways and for different reasons? Isn’t it worth to discuss those differences and perspectives so we can learn more and develop our own views towards something we enjoy? Isn’t that precisely what discussions are for, exchanging ideas, concepts and critiques – good or bad – about things we like, as much unusual or subversive it may appear? Bond doesn’t belong to you, me or anybody else; it belongs to pop culture, movie, literature and the whole historical and social landscape of the 1950s onwards. Nobody has the monopoly of meaning and people can enjoy things without ideologically agreeing with it, either for its artistic, cultural, historical and personal importance (which is also my case; I'm a Bond fan since I saw Tomorrow Never Dies and played Goldeneye in the 1990s, Pierce Brosnan is still a personal hero of mine).

    Having said that, James Bond and his fandom are not a religious sect. He’s a character like any other, with historical, social, political and cultural issues related to it, as well as contradictions and deepness which develop through the books and movies, either you agreeing with it or not. Pretending that James Bond is a flawless hero archetype is to reduce his complexity to a childish cartoon; that is, to my view, the true harm inflicted to this character.

    I’ll answer the other interesting points you mentioned as soon as I can, but for now I just wanted to defend myself against your personal attacks (which I couldn’t do, comprehensibly, on your facebook page), as well as objectively criticize your fanatic stance towards the franchise and its character (which, to my view, blinds you of many interesting insights that are abundantly productive for any good journalist such as yourself).

    (By the way, I was really amused by your comment about Lula. I don’t particularly support him, but if I be forced to, depending on the next couple of Months, I’ll gladly do so. Cheers!)
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 6,599
    @NS_writings please refrain from personal attacks. This isn't your Facebook discussion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, weather you're fed-up with it or not. Moreover I don't think anyone has the right or credentials to decide who's a true fan.

    That said I do concur with most of what you and @MooreFun say. Bond isn't Mysogenist. He loves women. If you read the novels carefully you'll find he's still looking for his one true love. He finds her in Gala Brand, only to find her beeing engaged to another man. He's trying to restrain his feelings for the 20y/o Honey whom seduces him, not the other way around. He finds true love with Vesper only to be betrayed, doubly so as she not only breaks his heart but also betrays what he stands for.

    I can go no and on and on. In the end you'll see that all the women play one major role: they represent the peaceful (chicken farmer's) life Bond will never have because he can't live a normal life. The thing he aspires the most, a wife, is kept from him because of himself.

    In this he is the tragic hero.

    One could've done with a homosexual hero, but as it was that was probably a bridge too far in the fifties and as Bond is an enlargement of Fleming's personal fantasies it wasn't going to happen.

    Racism idem ditto. He's not only friends with Quarrel but he's very much impressed by Mr. Big and he's not the only one. M has the same sentiment. The only reason people now see it as racism is because they fail to understand it's written from the perspective of those who had little dealings with people of (any) colour. The Japanese are described in exactly the same manner.

    When it comes down to Nationalism, you can see it as a 'bad'force but you'd be ignoring human nature, where we all search for (relatively) small groups of people we have things in common with. Language and culture are very strong aspects in this. It isn't bad, it's an ancient survival technique. Like religion (which has similar qualities) it has been abused, but so have many other basic instincts.

  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    edited August 2018 Posts: 544
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    @NS_writings

    I’m actually happy for your response and I sincerely apologize for my approach that day. Maybe it was too direct, but I didn’t mean nothing personal by it. The thing is, we’re not talking about something that has only one way to be appreciated – being that your way or the “highway”. Isn’t possible to enjoy something in different ways and for different reasons? Isn’t it worth to discuss those differences and perspectives so we can learn more and develop our own views towards something we enjoy? Isn’t that precisely what discussions are for, exchanging ideas, concepts and critiques – good or bad – about things we like, as much unusual or subversive it may appear? Bond doesn’t belong to you, me or anybody else; it belongs to pop culture, movie, literature and the whole historical and social landscape of the 1950s onwards. Nobody has the monopoly of meaning and people can enjoy things without ideologically agreeing with it, either for its artistic, cultural, historical and personal importance (which is also my case, since I'm a Bond fan since I saw Tomorrow Never Dies and played Goldeneye in the 1990s; Pierce Brosnan is still a personal hero of mine).

    For what is worth, I have a couple of friends who are completely socialist and leftist who are Bond fans and would never go trashing the character they love the way you did. Besides your "homophobic, racist, and misogynist" are completely losing the point. Plus schizophrenic, bigoted, pathetic and other calumny.

    FilipeJota wrote: »
    Having said that, James Bond and his fandom are not a religious sect. He’s a character like any other, with historical, social, political and cultural issues related to it, as well as contradictions and deepness which develop through the books and movies, either you agreeing with it or not. Pretending that James Bond is a flawless hero archetype is to reduce his complexity to a childish cartoon; that is, to my view, the true harm inflicted to this character.

    I never said he's a flawless hero. I'm not analyzing him morally, because that way every cinematic and literary hero would have the same flaws. I mean, action heroes are wrong since they pull out a gun and shoot someone if you want to put it that way. Just that this is the wrong place to throw bricks against Bond, go to write something in The Guardian if you want. Like I said, you are saying nothing of the videogames released during the 2010s where you can kill innocents, rape women, and degrade anyone of every race to score points.

    FilipeJota wrote: »
    I’ll answer the other interesting points you mentioned as soon as I can, but for now I just wanted to defend myself against your personal attacks (which I couldn’t do, comprehensibly, on your facebook page), as well as objectively criticize your fanatic stance towards the franchise and its character (which, to my view, blinds you of many interesting insights that are abundantly productive for any good journalist such as yourself).

    (By the way, I was really amused by your comment about Lula. I don’t particularly support him, but if I be forced to, depending on the next couple of Months, I’ll gladly do so. Cheers!)

    I could objectively criticize your "fanatic stance" to the 21st century "perfect" morals filled of double standards and how you ridiculously apply them to a fictional character representing "old values". All the things you accused Bond of are proper of any of today's heroes, but you -as the people from Guardian and other places- keep attacking a character just because he's been created with 1950s values.
  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    Posts: 544
    @NS_writings please refrain from personal attacks. This isn't your Facebook discussion and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, weather you're fed-up with it or not. Moreover I don't think anyone has the right or credentials to decide who's a true fan.

    Of course. In my FB discussions there aren't Bond haters. Sorry, carry on with this thread. Whatever.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 7,357
    Birdleson wrote: »
    By the way, no offense to any single individual meant, but I see the term "homaged" used regularly on these boards. Not a correct use or variation of the noun "homage". You can create an homage, but it is incorrect to say that something was "homaged".
    I was going to make a comment on wordsmithing and board understanding of language used.

    Before committing to that I checked some sources.
    As happens in English over time, "homaged" has taken on a life of its own.
    yourdictionary.com/homaged
    homaged
    Verb
    simple past tense and past participle of homage
    conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-english-verb-homage.html
    Infinitive to homage - Preterite homaged - Past participle homaged
    https://thefreedictionary.com/homage
    homage
    Past participle: homaged
    Gerund: homaging


    To the topic.
    1- Do you think one can enjoy something by its artistic and historical value without necessarily agree with its ideology?
    Yes. Witness a non-smoking, married, faithful/monogamous soul like me who's never killed another human being GREATLY enjoying James Bond.
    2- What you think about this personal reading of mine? Is it a possible and legitimate critique or is it just a bunch of nonsense?
    Of course you can see him as you choose, but I don't see Bond as misogynistic, homophobic, imperialist, racist as you proposed. That would really turn me off to the character.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited August 2018 Posts: 29,633
    Birdleson wrote: »
    By the way, no offense to any single individual meant, but I see the term "homaged" used regularly on these boards. Not a correct use or variation of the noun "homage". You can create an homage, but it is incorrect to say that something was "homaged".
    I was going to make a comment on wordsmithing and board understanding of language used.

    Before committing to that I checked some sources.
    As happens in English over time, "homaged" has taken on a life of its own.
    yourdictionary.com/homaged
    homaged
    Verb
    simple past tense and past participle of homage
    conjugator.reverso.net/conjugation-english-verb-homage.html
    Infinitive to homage - Preterite homaged - Past participle homaged
    https://thefreedictionary.com/homage
    homage
    Past participle: homaged
    Gerund: homaging

    I double-checked with the Oxford English Dictionary before making my comment, they don't list "homaged" as a variant, and I consider them the standard. But, like you said, it happens. I spent years correcting people on the proper use of the words "awesome" and "literally", but now the definitions, according to several on-line sources, have become muddied and diluted.

  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    Posts: 544
    To an extent, I could say I enjoy some comedians in my character whose ideals and politics I don't approve. One of them makes a show who is an apology to drugs and things like that. But, I wouldn't go to a fan forum of that guy (joining it as a follower and enthisiast) and end up writing a speech where I say he's a pathetic junkie and all that. I just enjoy his show and laugh. Period.

    Do I agree with all I see in The Simpsons? Do I want to be like Homer? or like Bart? or like Mr. Burns? No, but I wouldn't go to a fan forum of the show and observe each of the qualities that make Homer a bad father and how the show is perverting everyone (or did back in the day, according to some parents).

    I like The Beatles and I'm against the drug abuse (any kind of drugs), but I'd never go to a Beatles forum, open a thread like "A Critic of The Beatles' Ideals and Antics" and then label them with offensive comments and pretend to adore them and crying over anyone telling me "you're not a Beatles fan".

    The point is this: leave fiction where fiction is. You have equalty ideals, fight for them outside fiction. Go to every human rights marches, feminist marches and all that, but what do you win questioning a character we all adore?
  • FilipeJotaFilipeJota Brazil
    edited August 2018 Posts: 20
    @NS_writings

    For what is worth, I have a couple of friends who are completely socialist and leftist who are Bond fans and would never go trashing the character they love the way you did. Besides your "homophobic, racist, and misogynist" are completely losing the point. Plus schizophrenic, bigoted, and other calumny (...) All the things you accused Bond of are proper of any of today's heroes, yet you -as the people from Guardian and other places- keep attacking a character just because he's been created with 1950s values.

    Is not like that at all, I assure you! I'm not judging the character from his moral and political standpoint in the 1950s (as an historian I’m obliged to comprehend the past, first and foremost, and not simply judge from my subjective moral grounds), I’m questioning the survival of those values in today’s expectations of what a “hero” should look like and/ or act. I respect so much the character that I don’t think he should change his behavior at all; that’s who he is, that’s how his creator envisioned him to be and nobody, no PC or “postmodern” agenda can change that. It seems to me that, either we embrace him as an anti-hero, denying him his fundamental status as a “good guy” and exploring these characteristics as “bad” (once more, according to today’s standards), or we keep pretending that those values and ideas are “okay” today or will be forever so.

    Besides, adjectives such as “pathetic, schizophrenic and racist Dom Quixote” must be seen in the context of a critical analysis, not personal or moral judgement. It’s not critical in the moral or political sense of the word (although I can also judge him in those grounds, since I oppose these values, and still respect him and his ideology for what they are), but rather the analytical sense, of a literary, cinematic and historical analysis.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited August 2018 Posts: 29,633
    To an extent, I could say I enjoy some comedians in my character whose ideals and politics I don't approve. One of them makes a show who is an apology to drugs and things like that. But, I wouldn't go to a fan forum of that guy (joining it as a follower and enthisiast) and end up writing a speech where I say he's a pathetic junkie and all that. I just enjoy his show and laugh. Period.

    Do I agree with all I see in The Simpsons? Do I want to be like Homer? or like Bart? or like Mr. Burns? No, but I wouldn't go to a fan forum of the show and observe each of the qualities that make Homer a bad father and how the show is perverting everyone (or did back in the day, according to some parents).

    I like The Beatles and I'm against the drug abuse (any kind of drugs), but I'd never go to a Beatles forum, open a thread like "A Critic of The Beatles' Ideals and Antics" and then label them with offensive comments and pretend to adore them and crying over anyone telling me "you're not a Beatles fan".

    The point is this: leave fiction where fiction is. You have equalty ideals, fight for them outside fiction. Go to every human rights marches, feminist marches and all that, but what do you win questioning a character we all adore?

    Absolutely, you don't have to "like" or agree with a character in order to enjoy them on screen or in print. Both Fleming and Connery, in separate interviews, have stated that Bond is not to be idolized. That he is a dark, flawed man.
  • FilipeJotaFilipeJota Brazil
    Posts: 20
    @MooreFun
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @FilipeJota has own his ideas and perspective, and I welcome them. I do wish he had followed the normal protocols for introducing himself to the forum. Note the New Users Guide section listed on the left side of your screen.

    I'm so sorry for that, I'll see to that as soon as I can!
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,633
    Thanks.
  • FilipeJotaFilipeJota Brazil
    edited August 2018 Posts: 20
    @NS_writings
    To an extent, I could say I enjoy some comedians in my character whose ideals and politics I don't approve. One of them makes a show who is an apology to drugs and things like that. But, I wouldn't go to a fan forum of that guy (joining it as a follower and enthisiast) and end up writing a speech where I say he's a pathetic junkie and all that. I just enjoy his show and laugh. Period.

    Do I agree with all I see in The Simpsons? Do I want to be like Homer? or like Bart? or like Mr. Burns? No, but I wouldn't go to a fan forum of the show and observe each of the qualities that make Homer a bad father and how the show is perverting everyone (or did back in the day, according to some parents).

    I like The Beatles and I'm against the drug abuse (any kind of drugs), but I'd never go to a Beatles forum, open a thread like "A Critic of The Beatles' Ideals and Antics" and then label them with offensive comments and pretend to adore them and crying over anyone telling me "you're not a Beatles fan".

    The point is this: leave fiction where fiction is. You have equalty ideals, fight for them outside fiction. Go to every human rights marches, feminist marches and all that, but what do you win questioning a character we all adore?

    The character is not separated from his social and historical background. Never is and never will be. And I think we can very well discuss those issues as how and in what measure they relate to this character and franchise (so as would be with Batman, Star Wars or whatever) simply because is interesting. Why wouldn't be important and interesting to have these discussions? You speak as if I was some kind of foreign invader, personally committed to destroy everything you love. The truth is much more simple, objective and personal than that. I simply like to discuss those things, specially when related to a character and a franchise I love since I was practically a baby.

    I am a Bond fan and exercise my right to have discussions in this forum, where people will not likely block me for disagreeing with them.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 6,599
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    @NS_writings

    For what is worth, I have a couple of friends who are completely socialist and leftist who are Bond fans and would never go trashing the character they love the way you did. Besides your "homophobic, racist, and misogynist" are completely losing the point. Plus schizophrenic, bigoted, and other calumny (...) All the things you accused Bond of are proper of any of today's heroes, yet you -as the people from Guardian and other places- keep attacking a character just because he's been created with 1950s values.

    Is not like that at all, I assure you! I'm not judging the character from his moral and political standpoint in the 1950s (as an historian I’m obliged to comprehend the past, first and foremost, and not simply judge from my subjective moral grounds), I’m questioning the survival of those values in today’s expectations of what a “hero” should look like and/ or act. I respect so much the character that I don’t think he should change his behavior at all; that’s who he is, that’s how his creator envisioned him to be and nobody, no PC or “postmodern” agenda can change that. It seems to me that, either we embrace him as an anti-hero, denying him his fundamental status as a “good guy” and exploring these characteristics as “bad” (once more, according to today’s standards), or we keep pretending that those values and ideas are “okay” today or will be forever so.

    Besides, adjectives such as “pathetic, schizophrenic and racist Dom Quixote” must be seen in the context of a critical analysis, not personal or moral judgement. It’s not critical in the moral or political sense of the word (although I can also judge him in those grounds, since I oppose these values, and still respect him and his ideology for what they are), but rather the analytical sense, of a literary, cinematic and historical analysis.
    But to my mind you misuderstand those values completely, which leads to utterly wrong conclusions. Your perogative is that Bond is a mysogenist. I (and quite a few with me) come to the opposite conclusion. He isn't, neither is he a dinasour or a relic of the cold age. He's a flawed and tragic hero who'll never acquire what he loves most because of who he is. And he's slowly falling apart because of it. That's exactly why he's so much more interesting then, say, a captain America or Superman who even needs some out-of-earth material to have a weakness at all. Bond has weaknesses. He's human. But a human who's willing to take greater risks in the face of danger for the greater good. Again: a true hero. And no M-introduction-speech can take that away.

    And those values will last for generations to come. Of course Bond will follow the whims of time, but men will Always love women, and as long as that's the case our hero has his criptonite, and their demise is his failure and his paying the price for doing what he does.
  • Posts: 385
    And no M-introduction-speech can take that away.

    It's unfortunate how people have taken that quip and run with it.

    M: You don't like me, Bond. You don't like my methods. You think I'm an accountant, a bean counter more interested in my numbers than your instincts.

    James Bond: The thought had occurred to me.

    M: Good, because I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you.

    James Bond: Point taken.

    We know that Judi Dench's M is not what Bond thinks she is - by implied extension, Bond is not what Dench says he is either. One nice trait of the Brosnan era is that she goes from making that statement in GoldenEye, to the following in TWINE:
    If there's even the slightest chance, Bond will survive. He's the best we have... though I'd never tell him.

    I have to wonder, knowing how it'd be abused, if the folks at Eon would keep that quip in GoldenEye.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited August 2018 Posts: 23,883
    @FilipeJota , even though I don't necessarily agree with your assessment of where the franchise must reside in order to survive, I really appreciate your insights and thinking on the matter. It's fodder for interesting and stimulating discussion. I understand where you're coming from in terms of the general public's tolerance limitations for the iconography (if not truly the reality) of the character. In life people can be misunderstood (it happens too often actually), and so can fictional characters.

    It is a human characteristic to project simplistic stereotypes onto individuals, particularly if there is an element of a person which touches a negative nerve. Bond, due to his profession and predilections, is an easy target. Ultimately he is a complex character who can be interpreted any number of ways depending on one's point of view and perspective. EON's challenge is to continue to shape the public's perception of the character in a way that he remains popular with the masses (this is a money making enterprise of the highest order after all) while satisfying the die hard connoisseurs of the books and films. It's an unenviable task made all the more difficult by the generations who have grown up with this character in his various iterations. We all have our favourites and the next generation will too. One thing I'm certain of: Bond will always survive, even if he may not be the same in the future as he is now.
  • NS_writingsNS_writings Buenos Aires
    Posts: 544
    FilipeJota wrote: »
    @NS_writings
    To an extent, I could say I enjoy some comedians in my character whose ideals and politics I don't approve. One of them makes a show who is an apology to drugs and things like that. But, I wouldn't go to a fan forum of that guy (joining it as a follower and enthisiast) and end up writing a speech where I say he's a pathetic junkie and all that. I just enjoy his show and laugh. Period.

    Do I agree with all I see in The Simpsons? Do I want to be like Homer? or like Bart? or like Mr. Burns? No, but I wouldn't go to a fan forum of the show and observe each of the qualities that make Homer a bad father and how the show is perverting everyone (or did back in the day, according to some parents).

    I like The Beatles and I'm against the drug abuse (any kind of drugs), but I'd never go to a Beatles forum, open a thread like "A Critic of The Beatles' Ideals and Antics" and then label them with offensive comments and pretend to adore them and crying over anyone telling me "you're not a Beatles fan".

    The point is this: leave fiction where fiction is. You have equalty ideals, fight for them outside fiction. Go to every human rights marches, feminist marches and all that, but what do you win questioning a character we all adore?

    The character is not separated from his social and historical background. Never is and never will be. And I think we can very well discuss those issues as how and in what measure they relate to this character and franchise (so as would be with Batman, Star Wars or whatever) simply because is interesting. Why wouldn't be important and interesting to have these discussions? You speak as if I was some kind of foreign invader, personally committed to destroy everything you love. The truth is much more simple, objective and personal than that. I simply like to discuss those things, specially when related to a character and a franchise I love since I was practically a baby.

    I am a Bond fan and exercise my right to have discussions in this forum, where people will not likely block me for disagreeing with them.

    If you think a character you "love as a baby" is racist, homophobe, pathetic, a schizophrenic Don Quijote, I don't want to even imagine what would you think of a girlfriend! Maybe one night you could tell her "I love you" and hang out with your friends and badmouth her over a couple of beers while at the same time feeling upset whenever someone points out you don't love her.

    You called James Bond all that and said that the British were "bloody and despotic". Do I have to remind you that this is a James Bond forum and a British page? I'd feel offended if someone talked like that of my country in my country.

    As a matter of fact, Bond has been somewhat separated from his social/historical background. While being representative of England and associated to the British Empire, lately he's become somewhat of a worldwide hero. Most of the times, Bond is saving the ENTIRE world and his enemies are solitary madmens (anarchists, terrorists) with some ties to a political power, or even betraying their government (Zorin to the KGB).

    Seeing you are rather anti-imperialist, I remind you that in Quantum Of Solace Bond lines up with a Bolivian agent in order to protect her country from a terrorist/businessman allied to the corrupt CIA. Even back then, Bolivians protested because they tought they'd be seen as terrorists or drug dealers, when they had the "imperialist" Bond on their side!

    If they don't block you here, well, this is their place. I personally don't think that's the place to do here. I mean, if I had a friend who invited me to a party where all his relatives are and I start saying terrible things of him, I'd be kicked out even if I tried to "discuss" how... let's say... bad tempered, selfish, greedy, scruffy or dirty my friend is. My friend and his relatives would be very angry.

    Seriously, when I wrote that "snowflake Bond fan" thing I wasn't speaking of you. I was talking of people who slightly showed some contempt to Fleming - who is as "guilty" as every other author of the time for their "bigoted" attitudes. But I'm afraid you broke every mould with your speech. Nobody with a little common sense would think you are a Bond fan. It's not even a matter of me saying you're not a Bond fan. It's basically a thing of common sense. I'd even think you changed your name and wrote this: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/22/james-bond-danny-boyle-007-spy
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