As Bond in cinema celebrates his 50th, it is appropriate to ask if a vibrant western democracy should measure itself against Bond, or should it measure Bond against itself? Put another way, should we assess changes in society against the values of Bond, or should we evaluate Bond in the context of contemporary tastes and mores?
[His] is a grand, purposeful, and heroic existence, and Bond is the instrument that assures the continuation of Western civilization, with a waning but surviving tradition of the British Empire, at times partnering with the Central Intelligence Agency. And danger is his business. Alas, what could be more noble?
In our current times, however, Bond could be adjudged an unmitigated disaster. His directness of purpose is at odds with a pluralistic and highly matrixed society, where indiscipline, fissiparousness, and nuance can define national character. There would be few convenient places to smoke a Morland blend of Balkan and Turkish tobacco; Bond might need to excuse himself for a cigarette break a stipulated distance from the ominous MI6 headquarters on the banks of the Thames River. Further, protective lobbies could make it hard to find foie gras, and environmentalists and the need for governments to economize would force Bond to drive a Prius hybrid.
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