Thursday, May 07, 2015

Double O Seven

Pictured above is Hollywood's latest version of every one's favourite spy, James Bond. There have been many actors that have played the super spy, and everyone has their particular one that they like the best. For me, it's Connery, but that could be because he was my first James Bond, and we always hold a special place in our hearts for our 'first' of anything. Whomever is your favourite Bond is your own choice, and no one should be able to change that, if they do, then you weren't very attached to your choice in the first place were you?

If you have read the books (as I have done) and/or watched the movies (as I have also done), you will know that they different from each other in many, sometimes significant, ways.  However, the main outlines of our hero are the same. Born in Scotland, raised there till his parents died, came to England and became England's answer to its post World War II realization that it was no longer a superpower.  Bond, probably on purpose, was created by Ian Fleming as a way of making the English feel that overweening superiority they had always felt in relation to the world in general, and the "colonies" in particular was still valid. He is an English hero, a man that all men aspire to be, and a fellow all the ladies want in their bed (or their in the shower, on the floor, or just about anywhere two people can screw). He is also, and it pains me to say, a right and proper bastard who cannot be trusted.

At his core, before he is anything else, James Bond is a spy, he is not your friend, not your mate, not your lover, he is a spy. With apologies to Tyler Durden, James Bond is, in fact, his job. It is what he does, sure he does a lot of cool shit, like jumping out of airplanes, or driving a tank through downtown Moscow, but all of those things, and every other little or big thing he does, revolves around one simple home truth about him. He is a spy.  Spies can, and I am sure have been nice enough blokes. I guess they all don't cheat at cards, borrow money from friends without paying it back, or treat women like they are objects. James Bond is not a nice bloke, he is guilty of those, and many, many more sins. All his sins are forgiven by everyone (at least the ones that are still alive after encountering him). After all, he commits all his 'sins' in the name of the Queen.

That last bit is the important bit 'the name of the Queen or for England.' Those lines give James Bond both his license to kill, and his carte blanche  to do whatever the fuck, he (and it is usually only him) deems necessary to stop the bad dude from achieving his evil aims. Certainly those bad dudes have some really bad plans for the rest of humanity, and Bond doesn't generally have the time to try to steer an anti-hacking law through the House of Commons.  Since he is not an MP, it would be rather impossible of him to do anyway. Easier solution is to just blow the every living shite out of the bad dude hacking things for his evil purposes. Problem solved, cue the hot girl swooning "Oh, James" as he ravages her, for England. Hey, England needs to get laid too. 

However, the most important thing to remember about Bond is simple, he is a spy. Spies owe their loyalty to exactly two people, themselves, and their handler. In Bond's case that is a fellow called M. M is the only person alive other than himself that Bond is loyal to, and even then it is not really M, but what M represents, England. Some would say Bond is loyal to the Queen, but spies and Queen's do not normally have tea together in the Palace. The Queen is not a Bond girl, she as a person, holds no interest for James Bond, she is just another object, perhaps if she were hot, he would take her for a spin, but she a bit too long in the tooth for all that noise. The Queen is an object but not just as a woman, she embodies England, and Bond is loyal to England. "Close your eyes and think of England, son, and it won't hurt a bit."  England is not a person, not a mate of yours that you can pop around to the local and have a few pints. England is not your whist partner, England is a country. Bond is loyal to it, but doesn't really have time to worship the actual ground the country is composed of.

It falls to M to be the only living person who commands Bond's loyalty. However, M is not really a person, after all there has been one than one M.  M is the human representation of England, and a more accessible version of the Queen. In some of the books, M invites Bond to his club, plays cards with him, and shares some horrible Algerian red wine with him, just like a proper mate would. That is as close as any living being will ever get to James Bond, even the woman he married (who dies rather abruptly after) wasn't that close. Bond isn't capable of the 'normal' human interactions that the people he is saving are capable of. If he was, he would be a poor spy indeed.  Bond may save your, and countless other people's lives, but he doesn't either have to like you, or give you any explanation of his actions. If you, or a loved one gets in the way of his tank chase through the busy city streets and gets killed, that is your problem not his. Do not expect him to send flowers to, or attend your funeral. You died, but England lives on, that is the important bit, also James Bond lives on, and that is the really important bit.

Remembering that James Bond is, at his core, a spy, is really important when you interact with him. He can not and should not be trusted. He doesn't trust you, except in so far as he can use you,and he doesn't owe you a fucking thing. If you have something he wants, be it a piece of information, a floppy disk, or a sweet piece of tail, he will do whatever he thinks necessary or wants to do in order to get that off of you. He is not bound by the moral code your dear Mum tried to impart to you whilst you were slurping down her nearly toxic oatmeal.  He is not bound by the moral code your frazzled third form maths teacher tried to beat into you with a ruler when, in his opinion, you strayed off the straight and narrow path that you were supposed to tread while becoming a proper gentleman. He is not bound by the 'don't sext your boss at 3 a.m. code' that your company or organization considers one of its 'unwritten rules' that the HR guy has to call you into his office to explain. He is not bound by the moral code your long suffering girlfriend or spouse thinks (mistakenly perhaps) that you adhere to in your loving, but not too loving relationship. James Bond is a spy, he is not bound by ANY moral code, forget that, and your loss, and you will lose something, is in many ways your own fault.

James Bond is a spy, when he interacts with you it is for a purpose, his purpose not yours. You are an object like a spade, or a heated dildo, nothing more, nothing less. Forget that to your cost. James Bond is under no obligation to report back to M the true and real content of any conversation he has with you. He may choose to relate it honestly, or he may not. The trouble you face is you won't be in the room, and your side of the story will not be heard. You can only hope (sometimes forlornly) that James Bond has a continued use for you, and will be honest (or at least honest enough) to M about your interaction with him. If he isn't, the best you can pray for is that the men in the dark suits that come to take you away are gentle.  

Still despite his being a right and proper bastard, the world needs James Bond. His skill set is something that will always be useful to the world. Perhaps he could, you know, stop fucking my girlfriend, or running over my dog in high speed tank chases, but that is wishful thinking. Even knowing what a bastard he is doesn't stop him from being one of my heroes. I still want to be him, I may even want a bit of a cuddle with him, I think he's the bomb, but I will never, ever, no matter what lies he tries to get me to believe, no matter how soulful his eyes may be, or how misty his accent makes me, trust him.