Are Bond fans resistant to change?

edited October 2021 in General Discussion Posts: 12,700
EDIT: Changed the confusing title.

Should start by saying I don't mean conservative in the political sense. Although I do think there's a connection there as well, I'd say this forum is fairly right leaning, but Bond is a proper Tory isn't he so that's hardly surprising.

What I mean is conservative in terms of taste. Not wanting the films to be too different or to stray too far from the established formula, even as a one off. Look at the recent backlash against the idea of a female 007 or the rumours of Bond dying at the end. We know that none of this would be permanent and that they'd still carry on making Bond films, but there's still fans who really don't want to see anything that different, even as a one off.

I'm not attacking anyone for having that sort of mindset by the way. Nowadays I have a real "anything goes" mindset when it comes to Bond to be honest, as long as it's still recognisably Bond. Even Brofeld didn't really bother me that much. But there was a time where I used to lean that way myself (and still do with the gunbarrel), the early Craig era was a real shock to the system for me because of how different it was and it took a while for me to loosen up and accept that, you can probably find old posts from me on here craving something more formula driven. So I'm not judging anyone for wanting EON to play things fairly safe and traditional, I'm just wondering why that is.

Not being part of any other fan communities myself, I'm wondering whether it's a Bond exclusive thing? A result of them more or less religiously sticking to the Bond formula from 1962-2002. Or is it the same with fans of anything, would there be backlash on Marvel forums for example if they started to shake things up like EON did with Craig?
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Comments

  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 3,681
    I don't think Bond fans are alone in their conservativism. The most obvious group is Star Wars fans. They complained loudly that JJ was merely copying the formula of the original Star Wars and not doing anything new. Then for the Last Jedi Rian really mixes it up and casts Luke in a very different light and people are complaining that it doesn't ring true. Some fans even start a petition to ignore the second of the new trilogy.

    Look at Indiana Jones fans. After Raiders they do Temple of Doom. Fans complain, too dark, not enough swashbuckling, etc. So what do they get Last Crusade which really follows the Raiders template but adds in a father character.

    Marvel is unique because the characters lend themselves to different tones and types of movies. So we have Spiderman with a John Hugheseque movie about teen angst. We have Guardians of the Galaxy which heightens the comedy. Winter Solider which harkens to a thriller, etc. So they can change formulas and not offend the fans cause the fans know what to expect going in. Now if they did a comedic Captain America movie you'd probably get backlash and upset fans.

    As for Bond, they have been able to do many different things with the character through out time. You want fantastic and outlandish? We got DAF, MR, DAD. You want some tough gritty spy thrillers? FRWL, OHMSS, FYEO, CR You want some fun movies with action and humour? GF, TSWLM, GE, TND

    Does every movie please every Bond fan, not a chance. But they will continue to pay money to see the character and see what tone the film takes.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e il momento che verrà
    Posts: 5,918
    I see your point, but I think a difference has to be made between your preferences concerning Bond and your preferences in other aspects of life.

    For instance, I’m a big fan of independent European cinema. I love to endulge myself in languages and different cultures, local cuisine, music and habits. Just love to do that kind of stuff! Things that Fleming’s Bond also loved to do by the way.

    Anyway, I certainly have problems with the attitude of looking at the world only from your own culture’s perspective. Nevertheless, when it comes to certain cultural phenomenons it’s a shame to take its identity away. James Bond should always remain how he was written by Fleming. If you want to create someone similar with a different identity, by all means, be my guest. I think, for instance, Atomic Blonde worked very well. But please don’t change the icons that are already there.

    I am all for creating different ideas in the same context, but I’m not into changing the identity of an icon just for the sake of making a point. I don’t think my tastes are conservative in the slightest just for having that opinion.

    In the case of this female 007, I will give it a chance, watch the film and then evaluate it. As long as James stays Bond and they handle the abovementioned idea well, it might work.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,403
    If reaction to NTTD shows anything, there’s a definite split between fandom on what you can and cannot do with Bond. I do like what @FourDot said in the spoiler thread in reply to a post I made about fans finding comfort in the uniformity of Bond films. That’s why there’s such a reaction to stuff like the placements of the gun barrel.
    I think I get it.

    Those who grew up with the Cubby era were comforted by no major shake ups, unless decreed by Fleming. Just pure formula where you can always depend on the franchise. That’s why LTK for its time was such a polarizing film for it’s time because it threw everyone out of the loop. And now that they’re ending Craig’s era the way they do signals NOTHING is sacred or safe. The formula is gone, and so is some folks’ fan cards.
    FourDot wrote: »
    I think there is this sort of fantasy expectation that the sausage factory Cubby turned EON into (the series is significantly less adventurous following Saltzman's departure, and Cubby vetoed any artistic licence anyone wanted to introduce during the 80s) would be able to persist in a blockbuster market that has exploded since then.

    Fleming himself was iconoclastic with his own creation on a frequent basis - im not sure why Barbara Broccoli isn't allowed to be as well. After all, there is a mammoth collection of traditional entries in existence - we are spoiled both in having that catalogue and having a franchise that exists to this day, neither of which were or are fait accomplis.



  • w2bondw2bond is indeed a very rare breed
    Posts: 2,241
    The people you refer to are lifelong or decades-long fans who are protective of their ideal Bond movie and have grown up watching them expecting certain things. And the zen is disturbed when the producers throw a curveball, instead of letting the series naturally evolve. This fanbase is also a very small percentage of the BO and typically skews older. For Bond to succeed in the long run they need to target the opposite market - young and old general public. So like it or not, EON are making a strategic play here.

    So yes, the traditionally fanbase are rather conservative, but with the ever changing world in which we live in, opinions are shifting and we're all gonna have to 'adapt or die'.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 5,809
    I'd call myself and my tastes the opposite of conservative (you might call it liberal, or something else...). It's always interesting to think about how my love of Bond coexists with my liberal viewpoints. I think it's quite accurate to say, generally speaking, the fanbase leans conservative for sure, but I am an exception to that rule.
  • I'd call myself and my tastes the opposite of conservative (you might call it liberal, or something else...). It's always interesting to think about how my love of Bond coexists with my liberal viewpoints. I think it's quite accurate to say, generally speaking, the fanbase leans conservative for sure, but I am an exception to that rule.

    I resemble these remarks...
  • Cheers for bumping this @MakeshiftPython, think it’s relevant to the debates around NTTD.

    Good points about Fleming being iconoclastic himself (good example, I remember some criticism on here of Bond being a known celebrity in some of the 60s/70s films, but is that any different to the cheeky fourth wall breaks in M’s obituary/the TSWLM intro?). I don’t think Fleming took his novels all that seriously, and he always wanted Bond to move with the times (didn’t he shoot down the idea of setting the early films in the 50s?).
    I'd call myself and my tastes the opposite of conservative (you might call it liberal, or something else...). It's always interesting to think about how my love of Bond coexists with my liberal viewpoints. I think it's quite accurate to say, generally speaking, the fanbase leans conservative for sure, but I am an exception to that rule.

    I resemble these remarks...

    Didn’t mean conservative in the political sense, but yeah I’m in the same boat as you two. Strange really, given how conservative the character is. Maybe it’s because even the most realistic Bond books and films are the stuff of pure fantasy? Or maybe it’s just the enduring appeal of the series. That sexy, dangerous world being so alluring that people of all sorts of persuasions can’t help but love peeping into it.
  • I don't think Fleming's Bond was really all that conservative. He does express some sympathy for Castro over Batista in one of Fleming's short stories. Addiotionally, Fleming himself was not exactly conservative in many of his own attitudes towards sex, drugs and violence in the media...
  • edited October 2021 Posts: 588
    I'm American, and politically am solidly center-left (although in Trump country that makes me a card-carrying Bolshevik).

    I dress moderately/conservatively, however -- and don't have any tattoos or piercings.
    Additionally, Fleming himself was not exactly conservative in many of his own attitudes towards sex, drugs and violence in the media...
    I'll second BeatlesSansEarmuffs above... In the conservative American sense, James Bond is practically a degenerate when it comes to his behavior. (He isn't religious and never goes to church, etc.)

    In the USA, at least, personal morality and politics are often very intertwined -- regardless of the rampant hypocrisy. (Even if you're for low taxation, eliminating regulations on business, opposed to immigration, etc., you're not a "real" conservative unless you're a Bible-thumper.)

    Then again, I live in a region of the US in which local conservative politicians declared that building bike lanes into new public roads was "Marxist."
  • quantumspectrequantumspectre argentina
    Posts: 54
    yes, i am more a classic fan of music and cars, so yes, some fans we are more classic than conservative, in the sense that i like more to see the classic and the old things work today.I like new and old movies about detectives and spies, and how they always need to use their own knowledge instead of gadgets.so even if i like gadgets as some fun to some movie plots, to me the movies work better when they are about bond investigating someone or something and finding clues to resolve the trouble.
  • Posts: 2,488
    ???

    No offense but that's kind of a stupid question.

    That's like saying

    "Are football fans with conservative tastes? Like, they don't like the idea of football players scoring with their hands, and they don't think that a midfielder scoring with his weaker foot outside of the goalkeeper's area should count for 3 points. And they don't think that scoring 5 goals should equal 1 Yinzer, and 3 Yinzers should guarantee one point. Get three points and you get 5 points!"

    Football is a game with rules.

    Movies have rules.

    Characters have rules.

    You can't put Danny DeVitto in a wig, put lipstick on him, tell him to speak Albanian for the entire movie and then say "Hey, this is James Bond. If you don't like him... I guess you have conservative views on the character and the franchise! BUT HEY, YOU DO YOU, IT'S ALRIGHT IF YOU HAVE CONSERVATIVE VIEWS ON THE FRANCHISE!"


    There's no such a thing as "liberal or conservative" views on stories and characters.

    There are rules that exist.

    You can talk about "Oh, what if there's a movie where 007 is captured by the villain?" and "What if there's a movie where 007 forgives the villain???", and "Oh, what if there's a movie where 007 murders the villain'

    Or talk about female villains, personally related villains, American villains, internet villains, Russian villains, Group of villains, female villain, young villain, old villain, handicapped villain...

    So no, I don't think that Bond fans have a problem if the villain is a woman or if he's young or if he's old. They don't have a problem if the new villain group is a rip-off of SPECTRE called Quantum. I don't think that Bond fans have problem if the villain is loosely related with Bond's past. They don't have a problem if Bond falls in love with 3 different women in one movie, or if he doesn't fall in love with any woman in the movie.

    No, the Bond fans are not with conservative taste, they are open to the franchise doing different things.

    Take a look at the first few movies in the franchise, they have a bit of everything! Bond alone, Bond with a friend, female villain, eccentric villain, more methodical villain, different henchmen, different countries, different plots... no one had problem.

    But yeah, I do think Bond fans would have a problem if in the next movie it's revealed that James Bond actually has cancer, dies after 20 minutes into the movie and then the credits roll.

    If wanting a James Bond movie to be an actual movie and not a 20 minute short film where Bond dies of cancer ... then yeah, Bond fans are "conservative". If wanting James Bond not to be played by Kathy Griffin... yeah, Bond fans are "conservative'. If wanting the next James Bond movie not to be a PG adventure where Bond is animated and he talks with pigs, chickens and horses while trying to learn the power of friendship..then yeah, Bond fans are "conservative"

    (Sorry if this comes off strong, I do not many any offense to you OP, just I didn't quite get the thread, please don't take this the wrong way, it's more of my general thoughts, and it has nothing to do with you or your question, I gotta specify cause it's internet, and I know the tone of the message can't always be well presented in written form)
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited October 2021 Posts: 5,809
    Well, *someone* certainly has conservative views of the Bond franchise... ;)

    Personally I'd say you're applying the idea that films and characters have "rules" quite liberally, actually.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,403
    I don't think Fleming's Bond was really all that conservative. He does express some sympathy for Castro over Batista in one of Fleming's short stories. Addiotionally, Fleming himself was not exactly conservative in many of his own attitudes towards sex, drugs and violence in the media...

    When Bond finally drives an electric car I do not wanna hear from anyone how that’s a “betrayal” of Fleming, because he actually approved of electric cars as that would help the environment.

    Of course, he was a notorious smoker too, but contradictions are a very human trait.
  • Posts: 7,413
    CraterGuns wrote: »
    I'm American, and politically am solidly center-left (although in Trump country that makes me a card-carrying Bolshevik).

    I dress moderately/conservatively, however -- and don't have any tattoos or piercings.
    Additionally, Fleming himself was not exactly conservative in many of his own attitudes towards sex, drugs and violence in the media...
    I'll second BeatlesSansEarmuffs above... In the conservative American sense, James Bond is practically a degenerate when it comes to his behavior. (He isn't religious and never goes to church, etc.)

    In the USA, at least, personal morality and politics are often very intertwined -- regardless of the rampant hypocrisy. (Even if you're for low taxation, eliminating regulations on business, opposed to immigration, etc., you're not a "real" conservative unless you're a Bible-thumper.)

    Then again, I live in a region of the US in which local conservative politicians declared that building bike lanes into new public roads was "Marxist."


    Haha, Marx was well known for his position on bike lanes, wasn´t he? ;))

    Mind if I ask which state this is?
  • @dragonsky Who makes these rules though, and where do we draw the line? You’re using a lot of hyperbolic examples there but that’s not really the sort of deviation from formula that I’m on about. Nobody’s saying fans don’t have a right to complain if they changed the character to the point that it isn’t recognisably Bond.

    What I’m wondering is why the view some have of what’s recognisably Bond is so wedded to a particular formula. I don’t know if you’ve seen NTTD, but the character is still very much Bond. But they took some really divisive risks with the story, and I’m wondering why exactly they’ve been so divisive. The easy answer is the source material, but the films have deviated from Fleming in plenty of other ways without getting anywhere near this level of backlash before.
    CraterGuns wrote: »
    I'm American, and politically am solidly center-left (although in Trump country that makes me a card-carrying Bolshevik).

    I dress moderately/conservatively, however -- and don't have any tattoos or piercings.
    Additionally, Fleming himself was not exactly conservative in many of his own attitudes towards sex, drugs and violence in the media...
    I'll second BeatlesSansEarmuffs above... In the conservative American sense, James Bond is practically a degenerate when it comes to his behavior. (He isn't religious and never goes to church, etc.)

    In the USA, at least, personal morality and politics are often very intertwined -- regardless of the rampant hypocrisy. (Even if you're for low taxation, eliminating regulations on business, opposed to immigration, etc., you're not a "real" conservative unless you're a Bible-thumper.)

    Then again, I live in a region of the US in which local conservative politicians declared that building bike lanes into new public roads was "Marxist."

    Yeah I should clarify that I meant conservative in the British, economic Tory sense there (e.g. slagging off the Welfare state in YOLT), but even then it doesn’t seem fair to pigeon hole him. I’ll edit the thread title anyway, as I think we’re getting off track a bit.
  • ImpertinentGoonImpertinentGoon Everybody needs a hobby.
    Posts: 1,047
    I don't think it is necessarily conservative or progressive, but I am more and more seeing the cleavage in Bond fandom and other fandoms and really society at large that @dragonsky neatly showed us one side of here: Broadly speaking, there seem to be people who believe there is a certain set of unalienable rules and there are other people who don't believe that or only believe that to a much lesser extent. I guess you could cast that as conservative thinking, but I believe it goes further and gets us to a pretty philosophical place were we are talking about perceptions of reality and constructions of societies and so on.
    I am still working on formulating these thoughts, but basically it boils down to one camp having an idea of what f.e. Bond is and isn't and should and shouldn't do and go from their (and that isn't conservative in the sense of "I want this to remain the way it is/was" but rather I want to understand it in my frame of mind and under the ruleset I thought was a given) and others not really having that strong a compass and rather taking what is given to them and then investigating their own reaction to it.
    If we take those two positions to their extremes, one leads you to unending tired remakes of the same thing, without any innovation. The other leads you to a total perversion of everything anything ever stood for and no connections and reasonable expectations being possible. Thankfully, extremes are not reality, but they still sometimes seem to be taken as such when discussing on the internet.
  • Posts: 7,413
    However much you want this discussion to not be related to politics, I think it is impossible to avoid. When you see users complain how modern Bond has succumbed to political correctness because there are female 00s and he no longer has sex with all the women, then it is obvious their resentment has to do with more than just stylistic nostalgia.
  • Jordo007Jordo007 Merseyside
    Posts: 1,467
    In regards to NTTD, I'll admit I am although perhaps that's in part because these films come around less and less often

    I think sometimes people are guilty of thinking any form of subversion is good writing
  • Posts: 2,369
    jobo wrote: »
    However much you want this discussion to not be related to politics, I think it is impossible to avoid. When you see users complain how modern Bond has succumbed to political correctness because there are female 00s and he no longer has sex with all the women, then it is obvious their resentment has to do with more than just stylistic nostalgia.

    This is something I don't think the franchise has done ENOUGH of, if anything. Obviously AVTAK kinda betrays his relationship with Stacy in their first and final scenes together, but this time through TWINE it actually bothered me that he sleeps with Christmas (and not just because of THAT line!). That film should have focused on Elektra and had her actions affect him more. I think it would have been far more interesting to invert the ending of the Moonraker novel and had Christmas make a move, but have Bond turn her down.
  • jobo wrote: »
    CraterGuns wrote: »
    I'm American, and politically am solidly center-left (although in Trump country that makes me a card-carrying Bolshevik).

    I dress moderately/conservatively, however -- and don't have any tattoos or piercings.
    Additionally, Fleming himself was not exactly conservative in many of his own attitudes towards sex, drugs and violence in the media...
    I'll second BeatlesSansEarmuffs above... In the conservative American sense, James Bond is practically a degenerate when it comes to his behavior. (He isn't religious and never goes to church, etc.)

    In the USA, at least, personal morality and politics are often very intertwined -- regardless of the rampant hypocrisy. (Even if you're for low taxation, eliminating regulations on business, opposed to immigration, etc., you're not a "real" conservative unless you're a Bible-thumper.)

    Then again, I live in a region of the US in which local conservative politicians declared that building bike lanes into new public roads was "Marxist."


    Haha, Marx was well known for his position on bike lanes, wasn´t he? ;))

    Mind if I ask which state this is?
    Local pols have made statements to that effect in Virginia and Mississippi.
  • KenAustinKenAustin United States
    Posts: 226
    I find it amusing that people these days have an obsession with change...not all change is good nor required...my grandfather always taught me "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
  • Posts: 647
    I'll admit I'd prefer my Bond films to be traditional, stand alone missions. I don't mind the odd personal angle (OHMSS or LTK), but I'd prefer the films to stay away from being 'action romance' films, which is what the last film was. I suspect that people who are younger fans, who came on board during the Craig era, much prefer the finger-sucker Bond to the cocked eyebrow Bond, and that's fine too of course.
    To be honest, I'd not complain if Bond films were just a fun ride, like TND. There's a certain comfort that Bond is still out there, saving the day and ending up with the girl after he's kicked the villain's arse.
  • KenAustinKenAustin United States
    Posts: 226
    I'll admit I'd prefer my Bond films to be traditional, stand alone missions. I don't mind the odd personal angle (OHMSS or LTK), but I'd prefer the films to stay away from being 'action romance' films, which is what the last film was. I suspect that people who are younger fans, who came on board during the Craig era, much prefer the finger-sucker Bond to the cocked eyebrow Bond, and that's fine too of course.
    To be honest, I'd not complain if Bond films were just a fun ride, like TND. There's a certain comfort that Bond is still out there, saving the day and ending up with the girl after he's kicked the villain's arse.

    Well said, I agree...definitely prefer my Bond films to be traditional along with the characters too. Don't need any new aged agenda films pushing any narratives at me. I want to go to the movies and see James Bond drive a cool a$$ Aston Martin, spout off a bunch of cheesy one liners while firing some new weapon tech to kick the crap out of the villains, and get the girl in the end or the beginning or the middle.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited April 19 Posts: 21,103
    As with everything, I guess some fans are traditional, and some aren't at all. Some welcome change (or even demand it) while others will stick to what has been done before and been proven to work.

    I have pondered over this myself. I used to be extremely conservative in my Bond taste, but the Craig era really tricked me into growing an open mind. Momentarily, I'm neither traditional nor the opposite; after 25 films and a 60-year legacy replete with changes in tone, narrative structure, main character psychology and more, I have learned that most of what they come up with actually works. Some bits I enjoy, some I don't, but the overall output continues to please this Bond fan. If Bond 26 goes traditional, I'll applaud it. If it goes for something really new and radically different -- well, not too radically different ;-) -- I'll be very curious first, and then superexcited when the results are to my liking.

    CR came with the promise of not bringing some familiar elements to the film and in its presentation of Bond, it would do things we hadn't seen before. At first, I was doubtful if I would like any of that "experimental stuff", but the final film blew my mind. Since then, I've let it come to me as is. A good Bond film is a good Bond film, regardless of how innovative or traditional it tries to be.
  • peterpeter Toronto
    Posts: 6,307
    @ColonelAdamski … by the time CR had been released, I had been a Bond fan for almost thirty years. I grew up in the VHS era where my dad educated me in the ways of Connery Bond— which I think is the Golden Era.

    My favourite Bond film for most of my life has been OHMSS….

    But I am a tremendous fan of this “finger-suck”ing James Bond and rate four out of his five films in my top eight, with three of them jockeying for position in my top four.

    Fans of Craig are not only the ones who came aboard in ‘06, but lifelong fans as well. I’m
    sure I’m not the only one who anecdotally heard from older audience members and their enjoyment of this era— people like my father-in-law for instance, thought NTTD was the best of the series, and his peer group thought it was one of the best (and they’ve been Bond fans from the beginning).

    By the time DAD rolled around, it seemed the creative team wanted to shake things up but were fearful of going all the way, and leaned into the outrageous to counter balance the more interesting story of James Bond’s capture and incarceration (so we got the invisible car and surfing tsunamis, ice castles, lasers in space and robo-cop costumes)….

    By recasting the lead and getting the rights to CR, they seemed unshackled and could explore other dimensions of the character, without worrying about the previous 44 years (to an extent). After 60 years producing these films, a creative shake-up is necessary and will continue to happen in this now, very crowded tent—pole film-universe.
  • Well put, @peter. ^

    I've been a Bond fan since the Connery days, and Craig's is my second-favorite incarnation of the character. After DAD, it was past time for a shake up of the franchise. While I didn't enjoy every single moment of Craig's tenure, I appreciated the attempt to bring a fresh take to 007...and I'd say that attempt has largely been successful. I look forward to seeing what EON will do next with the longest running franchise in the film industry. James Bond WILL return...and may it always be so!
  • Posts: 572
    That we're still talking about a film character sixty years on is worth giving some thought to. I saw Dr. No the summer it was first released, and, sixty years later, I still keep up with Bond news. Like Craig's Bond, I've mellowed over time. My disappointment in 1969 with GL has long vanished. My two favorite Bond films are OHMSS and CR. The similarities are the love stories. Tracy and Vesper are such well-developed characters, especially Vesper. For me, no film of any genre presents a more engaging character than that of Eve Green's Vesper. My favorite Bond actor remains SC in the first four films. His final two anticipate the silliness of the RM era. LALD was my favorite. I simply could not take RM seriously. He always seemed to be acting at acting. TD was a welcome return to the harder edged films of SC. PB-- again new guy's first film is the best--never did it for me. He never owned the character. I have seen CR more than any other Bond film. The remainder weren't bad films, but the Blofeld/Quantum angle was Dr. Evil stuff in a serious Bond series. I am not resistant to change when change brings something new. But I don't want my Bond to be half-monk, half-hitman. As Q says in NSNA. Good to have you back, Mr. Bond. Time for some gratuitous sex and violence.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 10,735
    To answer the thread title: I think generally speaking all fans are somewhat resistant to change by definition, because you only become a fan of something because of what it was and all of the past material you have in front of you, not what it will be in the future.
    Some will like the idea of reinvention more than others, but I think it's fair to say that all of us like the old Bond films or novels, so we want to see new stuff framed with regard to the old pretty much inevitably.
  • Posts: 1,365
    PEOPLE in general don't like change let alone fans. Some more some less. By now Bond has changed so much over the last sixty years many of us just have to hold on and try and enjoy the ride.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython Omaha, NE
    Posts: 6,403
    People don’t like change because it reminds them of their mortality.
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