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David Thompson
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October 26, 2008

Comments

JuliaM

"...killed off by whom, and how? A hail of bullets? Laser beams? Or just the weight of tutting and pretentious disapproval?"

Well, they ARE the only weapons Guardian 'journalists' possess....

JuliaM

"The women in the books and films are silly, naughty, flimsy things who need hard male mastery."

We must hope poor, sheltered Theo never discovers the collected works of John Norman. He may not survive the shock...

Anna

Daniel Craig or Theo Hobson? Hm. Tough choice.

carbon based lifeform

"As so often, Guardian commentators are singularly immune to the "vile peer pressure" which presumably controls all other sentient beings."

They're just better than us, obviously.

David

“They’re just better than us, obviously.”

And they’re better than us in such an effete and flimsy way.

Given the feebleness of Hobson’s arguments, I suspect his resentment has more to do with having handed over his metaphorical testicles some time ago. Yes, they’re his to give away, but he really shouldn’t expect the rest of us – male and female – to cheerfully follow suit.

TDK

He doesn't even show much knowledge of even the 1960s films which are supposedly the most sexist.

Take Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. She sleeps with Bond after declining him once but it is clear that she has no sexual relationship with Goldfinger himself. This is an alpha female electing to sleep with an alpha male. Helga Brandt sleeps with Bond and then tries to kill him.

Aki in You Only Live Twice is an agent like Bond and fights alongside him.

The same is true of Fiona Volpe or Domino in Thunderball.

Honey Rider in Dr No declares herself an independent woman who doesn't need Bond's help. She herself killed her childhood rapist.

Thus it is possible to make the case that Bond lives in a universe where the women are equally sexually predators as the men. They are as independent and self assured as Bond.

Of course Rosa Klebb makes for a different type of Bond girl!

William

He misses the main problem with Bond movies - most of them just aren't that good. The kids movie 'Stormbreaker' outdoes most Bond in plot, humour, and characterization (and music). Bond still has better action, but that's because 'Stormbreaker' is by comparison pretty cheap.

David

William,

Most of the films are pretty ropey; some are great fun. But Hobson isn’t saying that Bond films are bad; he’s saying they’re bad *for* us. His objection isn’t aesthetic or cinematic; it’s pompously political. He thinks they’re corrupting in a dozen different ways. Hence the mockery.

gaffee

"In the world of Bond, bad guys are decidedly bad and recognised as such, and, several set pieces later, they're typically dispatched with ingenuity and force rather than fretful equivocation."

In the world of the Guardian bad guys aren't bad and they only do bad things because of "western imperialism" or "social injustice".

James S

Hobson: "Bond's sexual career does real harm to the male psyche."

And Harry Potter promotes witchcraft.

Where does The Guardian find these people?

William

David, yes I know I missed Theo's point, but that's because Theo's point is so stupid. You have to expect a certain randomness in comments.

Didn't Theo used to have an enormous caterpillar living on his top lip?

georges

The politics in James Bond films is often very cartoon-like. What's weird is, that's also true of the politics in Ken Loach films. In fact, Loach's films are far more black and white than many Bond films. In Goldeneye it's made clear that the villain, Alec Trevelyan, has good reason to despise the British for their treachery. I can't think of a Ken Loach film in which the baddies get such a rounded portrayal.

BTW, the Bond series have made digs at Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch...

David

James,

“Where does The Guardian find these people?”

Hobson strikes me as just another patrician leftwing snob, of which there are so many. I imagine they’re grown on farms. Or in bacterial cultures. His argument, such as it is, reminds me of George Monbiot’s prissy disapproval of Top Gear:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2007/11/misery-and-joy.html

Both commentators fail to register what seems pretty obvious – that much of the appeal of both Bond and Top Gear is that they haven’t succumbed to the neutered, uptight posturing of people like Hobson and Monbiot. They’re insufficiently emasculated, and that’s why they’re resented.

William,

“Didn’t Theo used to have an enormous caterpillar living on his top lip?”

Yes, a big ginger one. Not the loveliest thing.

http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/system/images/uploads/artists/imagehobson%5B1%5D.jpg

billm99uk

You know I've often thought, at various times over the years, that in the very unlikely event of the "James Bond fantasy" ever happening to me i.e. beautiful women "came on" to me in great numbers at every possible opportunity, I'd probably find it less erotic and more like deeply scary.

Of course, unlike Mr Hobson, I do realise this is because of my own "issues", that is a lack of much in the way of self-confidence when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex and not something I should blame Fleming, Bond, or indeed Daniel Craig for.

And what the heck is the connections between bunny girls and paedophilia?

Steve Skubinna

"...modern heterosexual British malehood?"

Good God, is that what happened to Formerly Great Britain? How did Guardian scribblers assume that mantle, and not, say SAS or Royal Marines?

Gort

Oh no. This "malign cultural presence" opens November 14th…

http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/quantumofsolace/

Dodgy title, but it looks fun.

David

Certainly better than the dark days of Roger Moore. Though I miss the gadgets.

mare

What Hobson doesn't understand is that the Bond franchise is about the only thing keeping the western world from believing that England is full of nanny state pussies.


Looking at Playboy bunny girls = paedophilia? His whole article went off the rails with that off topic quote.

Jeff

Theo is a pussy. But Barbara Broccoli did change the Bond franchise into much more of a femme fantasy. I fear Bond will become a romance novel cuckold in her incapable, feminist hands.

AntiCitizenOne

> He misses the main problem with Bond movies - most of them just aren't that good.

David, you moan about my lowering the culture of the site, but do nothing like the above blasphemy!

AntiCitizenOne

I think Friday 31 October 2008 is the UK opening for QoS.

longshot

"a pleasingly firm Judy Dench."

Saucy.

Anna

"modern heterosexual British malehood, to which I more or less belong…"

So is Hobson, like, bi-curious? Would that explain the hideous tash?

David

Morning all.

AC1,

“David, you moan about my lowering the culture of the site, but [I] do nothing like the above blasphemy!”

In fairness, a lot of the films are pretty ropey - the Roger Moore years, for instance. Though that hasn’t stopped me watching them, probably more than once.

Anna,

“So is Hobson, like, bi-curious?”

It’s easy to mock Hobson’s article – and we should, quite loudly – but there’s also something unpleasant and self-loathing about its tenor. It seems to be at least as much about Theo Hobson as it is about Bond. Perhaps that explains the adamantly assumed connection between Playboy bunny girls and paedophilia. And where else but the Guardian would you expect to find a character who appeals to a sense of heroism, justice and adventure being denounced as “a nasty, cowardly part of us that ought to have been killed off long ago”?

Mr Eugenides

I think you've done a splendid job on the ridiculous Hobson, David.

I often wonder if the loss-making Guardian might not be better served, from a business point of view, by having this shit churned out by a computer program. Popular activity/harmless entertainment/political view/social institution X, beloved of neoliberal economists/the ignorant poor/undeserving rich/neocon right, is in reality deeply racist/sexist/chauvinist/elitist/Zionist, and run by big pharmaceutical companies/controlled by Cheney and Rove/reinforces existing power structures/deepens inequality in society, and therefore should be sneered atdiscouraged/banned/regulated/taxed/regulated and taxed.

Add in a Polly Toynbee article generator ("Now is the time for Labour to be bold by doing Y") and they'd save millions every year, and wouldn't have to be subsidised by Auto Trader.

David

Mr E,

Well, as you point out, there is a standard pattern to much of the Guardian’s commentary. A cynic might think it was being dutifully regurgitated rather than arrived at by thinking. And much as I like the idea of an automated Polly Toynbee article generator, I suspect it would very quickly catch fire due to its own internal contradictions.

AMac

Theo Hobson, meet Christian Lander.

Stuff White People Like: #101 Being Offended
http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/05/28/101-being-offended/

Hobson's masterful deconstruction of the Bond franchise need not be the pinnacle of his brilliant career. He has yet to take offense at SWPL itself. Or to give *this* blog the spanking that it so richly deserves. Ah, the possibilities.

David

AMac,

“#101 Being Offended.”

Bejollied by that. Tittering, even.

Some music, perhaps. http://fp.ignatz.plus.com/skabond.mp3

dirigible

"And where else but the Guardian would you expect to find a character who appeals to a sense of heroism, justice and adventure being denounced as “a nasty, cowardly part of us that ought to have been killed off long ago”? "

The Observer, The Independent, and probably Harry's Place arts. Unless Brownie's writing it.

Anna

"Though I miss the gadgets."

And the over-the-top villains' lairs.

David

Yes, you’ve got to have a good lair. Though I’m not sure how all that atomic hardware and antique furniture finds its way under the sea or inside a volcano without attracting attention. The wine cellar alone would be a bugger to shift.

Imagine the yardage of bubble-wrap.

Max Dunbar

I've never seen a Bond film. But it seems to me that Hobson's complaints would be more appropriate to George McDonald Fraser's fantastic Flashman novels, in which the protagonist is a genuine womaniser.

But then Flashman is never portrayed as a hero or role model.

As for the rest of it, I think old-fashioned sexual jealousy is the main motivation here. It's a common motivation for attacks on libertinage, but I've never seen it displayed so candidly.

wayne fontes

The women in the books and films are silly, naughty, flimsy things who need hard male mastery.


The eyeball test tells me that the bond heroines probably don't suffer for a lack of "hard male mastery" or anything else they desire from hard males. I wonder if Hobson had two hands free when he was typing that.

erm

re: Stuff White People Like..

this is pure class !!..

'All of which do an excellent job of raising awareness among white people who hope to change their status from “not racist” to “super not racist”. '

David

“I wonder if Hobson had two hands free when he was typing that.”

I’m sure he felt guilty afterwards.

TimT

That guy gets Guardian points for snobbily dismissing a long-lived popular icon, additional points for calling him sexist, and bonus points for tenuously linking James Bond to Playboy and paedophilia. But points are deducted for not linking Bond to neo-colonialist imperialism (or whatever). Still, not bad - 8/10!

erm

jeez.. its so confusing.
i thought 'liberals' were cool with paedos.. ?
or, at least, dont care much if they roam free in the community.
(so long as they live in someone elses neighbourhood, next door to someone elses kids.)

John D

Surely bunny girls appeal to furries, not paedophiles?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furry_fandom

Mr Eugenides

As if by magic:

"The epic battle has begun. All Labour needs is an FDR"

Polly Toynbee

The Guardian, Tuesday October 28 2008

David

Whenever the Guardian’s imperious dowager-in-residence holds forth, I feel a need to watch this. The fun starts around 1:27. And you don’t have to like Littlejohn to appreciate the moment.

http://www.guynews.tv/2008/05/richard-littlejohn-bitch-slaps-polly.html

AntiCitizenOne

Here's something http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7694801.stm from the Grauniads broadcasting arm that is funded by jail threats.

David

Heh. But of course. And the BBC piece even quotes Guardian regular Bidisha, a woman who’s dutifully internalised just about every ideological tick and opinion she feels she ought to have.

Anna

"Bidisha"? So is that like Cher? No pretension there.

David

I seem to recall she wrote something bizarre and confused about the sexualisation of the Olympics and how “our” psyches are being “damaged” in terrible, terrible ways. The usual collectivist, sociological claptrap - much like Hobson’s piece. Her writing is very “studenty” and peppered with the standard tropes and assumptions. It’s long on assertion, short on logic or evidence, and suggests the assimilation of opinions wholesale rather than autonomous thinking.

rightwingprof

I must be the only man in the world other than John Derbyshire who felt the Craig Bond movie was crass and coarse, and lacked the class and the gentleman factor of the early Bond movies -- although Densch was very good. She wasn't the problem. The writers and Craig were.

David

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I was surprised by how effective Daniel Craig was in his Bond debut. Though the love interest part of the story outlived its welcome by about twenty minutes. And Dench gives good ‘M’. In fact, she ought to get more screen time.

Jephnol

"Anyone who fails to see a connection between Playboy bunny girls and paedophilia is culpably blind."

That is the single most stupid thing I have ever heard, and on the internet I hear a lot of really stupid things.

Anyone who fails to see a connection between Theo Hobson's writing for The Guardian and intellectual suicide is culpably blind. There... That's better.

Rich Rostrom

TDK: and Rosa Klebb is killed by Bond's girl Tatiana Romanova, who previously saved Bond by striking away Klebb's gun. Romanova isn't even a trained agent, just a cipher clerk, but clearly not a helpless shrinking violet.

Pussy Galore

I am Pussy Galore and I do not approve this message.

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