I usually don’t comment on media, especially pop culture, as it is often irrelevant. In the ongoing saga of MGM and the soon-to-be-filmed James Bond epic, however, I was struck by the metaphorical potential of this story and have decided to, in my small way, weigh-in.
Most of us are adequately familiar with the Bond films, and their hero, Ian Fleming’s indefatigable super-spy. I grew up watching Bond films on TV and in the theater, and I was always fascinated by how well prepared and indeed lucky Bond was, always having the right gadget or skill and the quick thinking to waste the bad guys, escape the fiendish (and at times quite silly) traps laid for him, and, of course, to bed a bevy of beauties on the way to the closing credits.
But let’s face it; James Bond is obsolete. The Cold War (or at least the pretenses of it on the US side) is long over, and real-life villains are far more sinister and frightening than anything dreamed up by Fleming or his successors. Who needs Goldfinger when you’ve got Bernie Madoff, or Rupert Murdoch? Who needs SPECTRE when you’ve got the IMF and the WTO, two of the major criminal enterprises in human history if we count the sheer amount of suffering unleashed by their policies. GovCorp, led by the ultimate “axis of evil” in the last century, Washington and Wall Street, stands in nicely as a global menace to peace and virtue. What we really need is a global revolutionary, an anarchist activist who isn’t afraid of the evil GovCorp empire, and who really fights for truth, justice, equality and democracy for all people. More of the womanizing, gadget-geek from MI6 would be excessive.
So, regardless of the outcome of the MGM bankruptcy saga, or whether or not the next hyper-expensive Bond flick gets made, the time for him is long past. The romance is gone, the cool is fading and the real world is far more urgent and compelling than anything dreamed up in Hollywood.
Clearly, James Bond must die.