For my group project I decided to focus on how James Bond has been a symbol for declining British imperialism since his creation. In the original books Bond was portrayed as almost an comedic parody of what was expected of a spy. Since his film debut Bond has now been the quintessential definition of what a spy is. Ever since WWII England suffered a series of defeats including losing most of their foreign territories and the humiliating Suez incident. Bond was a way for England to hold on to it’s former glory. Bond represents the ideal English gentlemen: suave, charming, intelligent, handsome, and powerful. Bond also represented England’s technological superiority over the rest of the world. In the years since Bonds inception England was slowly falling behind as a technological superpower, Bond was a way to portray England as still being technologically relevant. As stated in the images of popular film moodle article, technology still stood a backseat to the charming and resourceful hero of Bond. All of the films showed that the class and elegance of the English gentleman is superior to the overwhelming technological advantages used by Bond(England’s) enemies. Bond also expresses the superiority of capitalism over communism, such as when Goldfinger has bond helplessly tied to a bed and he is going to use his gold melting laser to kill bond. Bond escapes the trap by using coin to reflect the lasers beam to cut his shackles and free himself. This is a metaphor for however the power of the purse can solve virtually all of life’s problems. Another important element relates to Fiske’s article of television culture, specifically his third level of code ideology. The bond films give a coded message of English superiority. Compared to the other spies and military types bond was always show as the more intelligent, masculine and efficient. There are several subtle hints throughout the film to promote the idea of British superiority, such as bond always drives the stylish English car: the ashton marton. Another ideological point the film serves is the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon ethnicity. The films also tries to promote that England is the greatest western nation. An example is that in the film all of the American soldiers were powerless without the support and resources of the power English Bond.As noted in Fiske’s article, the character that is the least likely to be killed is the middle or classless white male in their physical prime. Since all of the bond’s meet this criteria, the film already implicitly implies that the White bond may get hurt but will never die. Bond himself is meant to appeal to the white male western, and to promote the views of the west. Anytime bond is not in his native England, the location he’s is in is portrayed as exotic, foreign and to a subtle degree abnormal.The best example was the trailer that was shown in class of the next Bond film: You Only Live Twice. In the preview bond when to Japan, in this film the Japanese people and culture were stereotyped in a way that made them seem abnormal and that the western Bond appear to be the definitive cultural norm. AI decided to go first in order to segue my presentation into the discussion on orientalism. I personally was disappointed that the class wasn't as involved with my question of: is it possible when creating a work of pop culture to distance your personal beliefs and preferences. Or will subtle and not-so-subtle ideological messages always slip through the cracks and show the creators personal ideology. It was unfortunate that the class brushed off most of our questions. Admittedly many of us weren't prepared and didn't plan our time well. However, that is no excuse for the class's lack of participation. Overall I believe that my presentation formed the foundation for the rest of my groups presentation.
Fiske, John, Television Culture, Chapter 9
Goldman, Steven L.
Images if Technology in Popular Films: Discussion and Filmography
Science, Technology, and Human Values
Volume 14 No. 3 Summer
Sage Publications http://www.jstor.org/stable/689842.