Apparently, Rush Limbaugh had a bit of a ruined ragegasm over the possibility that Idris Elba will be the next James Bond (via). I say “apparently” because Rush Limbaugh rants and James Bond movies are two forms of video that I’m not often motivated to watch, so I’ll just take it on faith that Rush said something racist and/or stupid about the possibility that the next Bond might not be a WASP.
Am I the only male who finds the whole “Bond, James Bond” thing fairly tedious? I don’t mean just the movies themselves, which are, at best, uneven and, at worst, terrible. I also mean the concept of Bond, the overly slick, globetrotting chick magnet/misogynist with his shiny, unbelievable toys.
Perhaps I was poisoned because my first Bond movie was the execrable Moonraker, which starred the worst Bond, Roger Moore, and the forgettable Lois Chiles as “Holly Goodhead”, his sex receptacle. Now, I’m about as filty as they come, and I’m also not easily offended, but the name “Holly Goodhead” offends me, not because of the sexual connotation, but just because it’s such a lazy and not-clever pun. Off the top of my head (rimshot), how about “Fanny Fellatio”, which is two for the price of one for the Brits in the audience, or if you’re going to be crude, at least be honestly crude: “Connie Cocksucker”. “Holly Goodhead” strikes me as nickname an English toff would give his boarding school housemother in an effort to combat rumors that he enjoyed his nightly buggering from an upperclassman.
“Holly Goodhead” aside, I remember thinking that Moonraker was a lazy effort because of the clownish special effects. Moonraker was released two years after Star Wars, which set the bar for space effects, yet its effect scenes were a tiny cut above what a kid could produce in 1979 using a super-8 camera and a couple of Mattel toys. They were every bit as plastic and fake as Moore’s acting or Chiles’ polyester pantsuits. In my teenage boy eyes, the whole thing reeked of the establishment, was the opposite of cool, and didn’t speak to me at all.
Yet Bond has perhaps one of the most dedicated set of slavering fanbois on the Internet, led by Apple uber fanboi John Gruber, whose Bond obsession is so great that he called his app “Vesper“, after Bond’s cocktail in Casino Royale. That cocktail, by the way, is a good gin martini ruined by the inexplicable addition of vodka. I think much of that Bond fandom is over Sean Connery’s Bond, and I’ll admit that Connery’s Bond movies are at least enjoyable, in part because they are a bit like Mad Men in the way that the over-the-top sexism and misogyny can be written off as a relic of times gone by. Still, I just don’t understand how one can be so attached to a franchise that’s been around for almost 5 decades which has produced only two and change decades that are any good (I’m counting the Connery and Daniel Craig Bond movies, YMMV).
I realize that the Bond movies are supposed to be a bit of harmless fun, but you can’t convince me that some of the stupider military misadventures of the past 50 years weren’t at least a little bit inspired by the Bond franchise. I’d argue that the Bond message–a little clever technology and the right sort of white man can fix anything–is a pretty straightforward gloss on Dick Cheney’s post-9/11 foreign policy. That’s the other reason why, as a teenager, I was far more taken with John LeCarre’s George Smiley books. Even with my limited understanding of the ruined British Empire, it was pretty obvious to me that a rumpled, cuckolded, myopic, middle-aged and tubby operative was a far more believable version of England’s spy culture than a martini-swilling, swashbuckling pussy magnet.
That all said — I think Idris Elba would be as good a Bond as Bond can be. He’s the kind of over-the-top masculine lead who, like Connery, can laugh at himself a bit. And, like Connery, who as a Scot was a bit of an outsider, Elba would be that, too, and he can believably tweak the upper crust twits who sign his paycheck. I feel so strongly about this that I’d advocate casting Elba even it didn’t piss off Rush Limbaugh.