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!