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In bed with Bond
April 3, 2009 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Dominated by the Villain, […] Fleming’s woman has already been previously conditioned to domination, life for her having assumed the role of the villain. The general scheme is (1) the girl is beautiful and good; (2) has been made frigid and unhappy by severe trials suffered in adolescence; (3) this has conditioned her to the service of the Villain; (4) through meeting Bond she appreciates human nature in all its richness; (5) Bond possesses her but in the end loses her. A fantastically in-depth analysis of the sexual politics of James Bond. With charts!
posted by HumanComplex (61 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
actually, there are tables, not charts. sorry.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:06 AM on April 3, 2009


Kissy kissy bang bang, kissy kissy bang bang, kissy kissy bang bang we love you!
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on April 3, 2009


/disapointed by lack of charts.

Also needs better statistical overview of deaths and betrayals.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


After succeeding in their Casino Royale mission, and while recovering from a savaging of his genitals that may have left him impotent...

At the beginning of the first book? So then how are all these other exploits accomplished? Or does "impotent" at least sometimes imply "temporarily"?
posted by DU at 11:17 AM on April 3, 2009


"No, I want you to have pie charts, Mr. Bond!"
posted by octobersurprise at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


IIRC they do a quick test and everythings present and correct.
posted by Artw at 11:20 AM on April 3, 2009


Bond's sexual activities, like his drinking habits, are admired and impersonated only by people who have never had a really good cocktail or really good sex.

Also, his assassination techniques. One you've done it well, Bond just seems like a showoff.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 AM on April 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


I saw the new Casino Royale recently and was surprised at how savage the new Bond is. Was he mean in the books, too? Because most movie Bonds have been kind of campy.
posted by RussHy at 11:24 AM on April 3, 2009


Book Bond is a bit of a shit. That's why I like him.
posted by Artw at 11:25 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Because most movie Bonds have been kind of campy.

If by "most" you mean "Roger Moore", yes. Connery is pretty mean too.
posted by DU at 11:25 AM on April 3, 2009


Roger Moore had a cruel streak as Bond. He definately liked to slap women before he bedded them.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2009


Connery was better, but still pretty smirky.
posted by RussHy at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2009


It's worth reading The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond for a look at how Bond evolved over time, in the books and the movies, and how the greater culture affected him (and vice versa).
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I read the original short story Quantum of Solace for the single-minded interest in finding out what exactly a Quantum of Solace is exactly. From that, I found the Ian Flemming presented through that story to be an obnoxious sexist, writing from a now-dated point of view. I didn't want to read any more, for fear of ruining my enjoyment of the movies.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2009


So does this mean that the clichés are NOT having a ball?
posted by Dumsnill at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2009


God damn it, why is Never Say Never Again part of this list? Classifying Never Say Never Again as an official Bond movie is like classifying ketchup as a vegetable.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:56 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


is like classifying ketchup as a vegetable.

I do that.
posted by Dumsnill at 12:00 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm in the middle of reading all of the Fleming Bond books, and Book Bond is definitely a bastard. An entertaining bastard, sure, and I think it's pretty well-established in the books that he has to be that way in order to be any good as an agent. When he lets his guard down (Vesper, Tracy, etc.) bad things happen.

There are a couple things in this article that are bothering me. First, Bond doesn't fail with Patricia Fearing in Thunderball, he finally manages to seduce her the night after he leaves the clinic (it's a bit of a throw-away line, but it's definitely there; I just finished the book a week or so ago). Second, there is way more to be made about the "failure" with Tilly Masterton in Goldfinger, like the fact that she's a lesbian and is really, really into Pussy Galore (who of course isn't really a lesbian, she was just waiting for the right man to come along.....yeah).
posted by sbrollins at 12:04 PM on April 3, 2009


Fine, okay. Never Say Never Again is a Bond movie like the Star Wars Holiday Special is a Star Wars movie.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:05 PM on April 3, 2009


Fine, okay. Never Say Never Again is a Bond movie like the Star Wars Holiday Special is a Star Wars movie.

It's still better than Episode 1.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:11 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


is like classifying ketchup as a vegetable.

The tastiest vegetable!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:12 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ketchup is for people who have never had a real condiment.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:20 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Classifying Never Say Never Again as an official Bond movie is like classifying ketchup as a vegetable.

It's the only 007 flick with Rowan Atkinson. That has to score some points.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:23 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


And Bond likes his catsup bottle shaken, not squeezed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:25 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mods! Astro Zombie is mocking our ketchup fest.

MeTa
posted by Dumsnill at 12:25 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


There needs to be a modern day Bond movie where he is slapped in the face a dozen times, forcefully kneed in the junk at least four times all while fighting off three paternity suits, a half dozen sexual harassment suits and two simultaneous divorces in different countries and facing a UN war crimes tribunal.

This drags on for two hours like a never-ending Law & Order episode until the surprise twist ending where he breaks down on the witness stand and admits that he admits he's very sorry and actually deeply terrified of women and also totally gay. For Q.

Of course, none of this makes anything he did any more forgivable but it does set us up for a very interesting movie the next time around where Bond, Q and Q's gadgets take on new and exciting frontiers, like trying to make it through customs at SFO intact and in time for the Folsom Street Fair where they're supposed to host a workshop on safe electrical play.
posted by loquacious at 12:34 PM on April 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


Edit: "and admits that he admits"

Actually, I haven't even had enough coffee yet to know how that happened or how to fix it. Guh. Fix it yourself. *grimaces*
posted by loquacious at 12:37 PM on April 3, 2009


It's the only 007 flick with Rowan Atkinson. That has to score some points.

That's Bean. Mister. Bean.
posted by jonp72 at 12:40 PM on April 3, 2009


The spy who loved it
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:48 PM on April 3, 2009


Astro Zombie is for people who have never made a real MeFi comment.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:49 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Watched Never Say Never Again recently and yes, it is very crappy. It does have at least a couple of things going for it though:

1. Funniest 'gadget' ever. Connery sticks a guy in a closet, hands him his cigarette case, and tells him it's a gyroscopic bomb (or something) and, if the guy moves at all, it will blow him up.

2. If you pause that tryst on the boat at exactly the right moment, you can kind of see Barbara Carrera's nipples.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:23 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


In the book version of Dr. No there's a fight with a giant squid.
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2009


Roger Moore had a cruel streak as Bond. He definately liked to slap women before he bedded them.

Moore says in his autobiography that he tried to convince the directors that his Bond would be more apt to charm the women into bed.

Didn't always win the argument, but still.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:28 PM on April 3, 2009


Solitaire in Live and Let Die FTW! (RIP Rosie Carver...)

Also my favorite title sequence of all time.
posted by hermitosis at 1:34 PM on April 3, 2009


Is it You Only Live Twice which opens with the montage of Connery Bond just slapping people in succession in order to track down Blofeld? Because that bit is awesome.

(Also Bond’s super-great disguise later on, which makes him look like Mr. Spock)
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on April 3, 2009


I love Live and Let Die… “Hey, what’s popular? Voodoo and Shaft! Can we throw a bit of Cannonball Run style wackiness in there too? Like a Comedy Sheriff and a boat landing in a car? Awesome”

Of course that style of film making let them down when they got to “Star Wars is popular, let’s do Moonraker!”.
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on April 3, 2009


There needs to be a modern day Bond movie where he is slapped in the face a dozen times, forcefully kneed in the junk at least four times all while fighting off three paternity suits, a half dozen sexual harassment suits and two simultaneous divorces in different countries and facing a UN war crimes tribunal.

It's not nearly to that level, but watching The Tailor of Panama, I couldn't help but view the whole thing as a kind of Bond-but-real analysis, a look at what would happen to a spy-type who really was sneaky and oversexed and as much of a bastard as Bond generally acts.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:50 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Interesting: all the Bond gunbarrel openings. I like the subtle differences and changes in the music and poses.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:01 PM on April 3, 2009


Try The Matador as well, Tomorrowful. It is played for laughs, but still offers a look at the endgame of a Bond-type.
posted by never used baby shoes at 2:05 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kim Newman and Alan Moore have properly nasty Bonds in their Anno Dracula and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books respectively. There’s also some nice Bond work in Charles Stross’ The Jennifer Morgue.
posted by Artw at 2:11 PM on April 3, 2009


his drinking habits, are admired and impersonated only by people who have never had a really good cocktail

I've always assumed the "shaken, not stirred" thing was a classic "playing against type" trope. Bond would have, by default, preferred stirred. Shaken is too watery.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:43 PM on April 3, 2009


Stirred not shaken in the books - shaking bruises the gin.

Of course, he is the kind of guy who walks into bars and just randomly makes shit up.
posted by Artw at 2:48 PM on April 3, 2009


Fascinating, matdidthat. Each time Bond shoots that poor gunman, the barrel stays trained on him for a few seconds... if he'd just squeeze the trigger, he'd have him dead to rights!
posted by Squid Voltaire at 2:58 PM on April 3, 2009


How does one bleed inside ones gun whilst holding it perfectly level like that?
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on April 3, 2009




There needs to be a modern day Bond movie where he is slapped in the face a dozen times...

From the post's table of occasions on which Bond has had sex, he is seduced (32%) quite a bit more often than he seduces (19%). Typically the feeling is mutual (49%). It turns out he'd be making a profit on sexual harassment cases.

More fun with stats: Bond meets 151 women in his films and sleeps with 59 (39%). Put that together with his being-seduced rate and you find that there is a 13% chance that any female stranger he meets is attempting to seduce him.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:09 PM on April 3, 2009


Dude must have really dug the invention of penicillin.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on April 3, 2009


is like classifying ketchup as a vegetable.


Fruit, if anything.

Ketchup is for people who have never had a real condiment.

Mustard is where it's at.

Just watched Quantum of Solace again last night, this time randomly with the subtitles on. That's when I realized the woman's name was Vesper. I'd thought it was Vespa, and wondered why she was named after a scooter. I forgot about the English accent factor, where words ending in 'a' have an 'r' sound added, and those ending in 'r' have the 'r' sound dropped.
posted by JenMarie at 4:39 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


(So if it had really been Vespa, they would have said Vesper, but since it was Vesper they actually said Vespa)

Anyway, yeah, Bond deserves a few slaps and groin punches.
posted by JenMarie at 4:43 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow..So there's actually someone in this world who willingly goes by the name O.F. Snelling?
posted by mannequito at 5:07 PM on April 3, 2009


words ending in 'a' have an 'r' sound added, and those ending in 'r' have the 'r' sound dropped

Only for certain, and not necessarily overlapping, values of "English accent".

(Aside: it always amuses me which lines in UK TV shows BBC America chooses to subtitle for confused US viewers.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:17 PM on April 3, 2009


From that, I found the Ian Flemming presented through that story to be an obnoxious sexist, writing from a now-dated point of view. I didn't want to read any more, for fear of ruining my enjoyment of the movies.

I can't say whether the later books continue the trend, having only read Casino Royale myself, but I would disagree with this observation based on that novel, at least: Flemming is generally unobtrusive, allowing Bond to voice most of the problematic bits directly, rather than via an omniscient narrator that might be mistaken for the Author's True Thoughts. Further, Bond is in deep denial about much of what he thinks and does, and Fleming is merciless in letting the reader see the gap between Bond's view of himself and the reality he's working so hard to block out (ie, the "The Bitch is dead" line).

So Bond is an obnoxious (though fascinating) sexist; Fleming, I'm less sure.
posted by Amanojaku at 6:14 PM on April 3, 2009


Only for certain, and not necessarily overlapping, values of "English accent".

Oh, I actually didn't realize that. In retrospect, that was a pretty big generalization on accents. Sorry if I offended anyone.
posted by JenMarie at 7:16 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


So Bond is an obnoxious (though fascinating) sexist; Fleming, I'm less sure.

Keep reading the novels.

It's not that Fleming, as narrator, says, "Women are manipulative and scary," it's rather that the majority of women he portrays are manipulative and scary.

Also the racism. Although I was sort of amused to see 20th century racism from an English perspective. It's interesting to note that it's more, "We're clearly and naturally superior to you, although there're likely a few good blokes from your number," and less, "Black people are dumb."

It's not the narrative voice labeling these characters, it's unflattering portrayals.
posted by Netzapper at 8:26 PM on April 3, 2009


Kim Newman and Alan Moore have properly nasty Bonds in their Anno Dracula and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen books respectively.

Actually, Moore's use of Bond really changed the way I think about the character. Moore's explicitly saying (in fact, I think he even has Quatermain say it in so many words) that Bond's a terrible, degenerate person, and that it's fucking depressing that he became the ideal for the British Action Hero. I'd always seen the nasty streak, but had never really framed it that way. But, really, I think Moore's right, it is kind of depressing (and wow, is his Bond a bastard).

That said, I think bastard-y Bond is better than clown-y Bond, and the guy in the books is usually more interesting than the guy in the movies.
posted by COBRA! at 8:38 AM on April 4, 2009


"We're clearly and naturally superior to you, although there're likely a few good blokes from your number,"

Hey, Quarrel's alright. They hang out togetehr and sink a few Red Stripes. Shame about that Dragon.

Of course, I think the same book has Bonds musings on the relative merits of Black people, Chinese people, and mixed race Black/Chinese people.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on April 4, 2009


So Bond is an obnoxious (though fascinating) sexist; Fleming, I'm less sure.

Ask the wife
posted by IndigoJones at 8:59 AM on April 4, 2009


That's some get-up!
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on April 4, 2009


lol chigroes
posted by Eideteker at 5:33 AM on April 5, 2009


I beleive that was indeed the term.
posted by Artw at 6:52 AM on April 5, 2009


So Bond is an obnoxious (though fascinating) sexist; Fleming, I'm less sure.

You might want to read IO9's "5 Things I Learned About Women From The James Bond Books."
posted by cirocco at 4:03 PM on April 5, 2009


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