Friday, March 30, 2007

R.I.P. Mr. Bond

"Do you expect me to talk?"
"No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!"

On the playground, when it came to picking teams, he was picked first. When a Decision had to be made, they all looked to him. He was a leader but had no gang. No one resented his straight A's because he was no teacher's pet. A natural outlaw who made his own rules, he lived in a different world than his peers.

The Coolest Kid in School often had scrapes with the small-minded Authorities, who felt him a natural threat. But as water seeks its own level, so sought he. A master criminal was certainly one path open to him but he needed more, a sense of well-being. The decision was his own: a servant he would be.

The further he went down that path, the more obvious it became he had made the right decision. To use his talents and skills for merely his own ends would have destroyed him. But even though having chosen to serve, in the end, he would do nothing he himself did not agree with.

In the circles of the elite, agent 007 was at home. He often saw himself in others - had he taken a less noble road. That is what gave him his edge. He swam among the sharks not looking for smaller fish to devour as they did, but to devour the sharks themselves. It was a life most could not even imagine. As he passed through this world those who came in contact with him saw a glimpse into a fantasy life of who was in their eyes a superman.

But now Bond is dead, crucified on the altar of self-loathing. We didn't like the way he made us feel, that somehow we were inadequate. So he's been reborn as a bad-ass, cut down to size, and many are applauding the new turn towards "reality". Self-assurance has been replaced with self-doubt, cockiness with mean-spiritedness, sauveness to dourness. The loser as a winner. No wonder so many hail this film.

One thing the Bond films have always been is a flag in the wind of the times. In that sense, this new film is right on the money. It's the hate-radio version of Bond. No one wants to be seen as a wussy Good Guy, we want a terrorist fighting for us. A thug in a tux for a hero. How appealing it is to think your evil can be useful instead of a hindrance. Even the massive cynicism the film was made with is a reflection of these self-annihilating times, where fun is replaced with a good dose of cruelty for your own good. Thanks, but I'm already way over my "cruel reality" quotient - assholes.

And trust me, it's a poor bet wagering the terrorists will win. The only way they can win is for us to become them.

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