The UK Daily Mail, apparently as a science experiment, screened some old James Bond films for Millennials for the first time. The young people were shocked and appalled. The movies, even the later ones, are sexist and even racist. Indeed, Sean Connery’s Bond is basically a rapist. The problem is that Bond’s problematic relationships with women have been well known and commented on for decades. Just like every generation since human beings first descended from the trees, the 18 to 30-year-old crowd thinks that they have discovered the truth for the first time.

James Bond was a male fantasy cartoon character

Bond was a strange kind of spy. He was supposed to work for a clandestine service, yet everyone in the world, especially the bad guys, knew that he preferred his vodka martinis shaken, not stirred, that his number was 007, that he carried a Walther PPK, and that he had a license to kill. Bond was essentially a Cartoon Character who could have any woman he wanted, kill anyone he wanted (so long as it was for Queen and Country) and look stylish doing it. The modern idea of consent being conveyed with a detailed sex contract filled out in triplicate and notarized would have raised an eyebrow and perhaps, “Surely you’re joking?”

Besides, Bond lived a lifestyle that would have killed an ordinary man as early as his 50s.

He drank his vodka martinis like a fish and chain smoked. He was in a profession that the law of averages suggested that he would stop a bullet or get killed by an elaborate death machine devised by a Bond villain sooner or later.

The myth of the Bond girl

The idea that most people have of the typical Bond girl is of the simpering little thing who murmured, “Oh, James!” while the British spy went to work seducing her.

Even during the Connery era a lot of the Bond girls were competent. Pussy Galore, for example, knew judo and ran her own flying business. Both Kissy Suzuki and Aki from “You Only Live Twice” were Japanese secret operatives. Holly Goodhead from “Moonraker” was a NASA scientist and astronaut. Melina Havelock was lethal with a crossbow and actually saved Bond in “For Your Eyes Only.” Octopussy ran her own all-female crime syndicate.

The list goes on and on, but the standard fate of all of these capable women is that they must wind up in bed with Bond, not because he forces himself on them, but because he is Bond. James Bond, thank you very much.

About that racism

Apparently, the young folk have been primarily triggered by the fat, balding, and rather stupid character of J.W. Pepper, the Louisiana sheriff’s deputy who appears in “Live and Let Die” and again in “The Man with the Golden Gun.” Ole J.W. was a racist. He was deliberately drawn so because it was something that millennials may not know about, that being comedy relief. Audiences in the seventies dealt with that sort of thing by laughing at it. The young folks may want to try that sometime. Laughter is far less stressful than running in terror to the safe spaces.