On James Bond

Covalent Bonds

By Sarah Zettel

I like James Bond. Every time a new movie comes out, my inner adolescent smacks down my outer feminist, and we all buy a ticket, grab a tub of popcorn, and enjoy.

My first Bond was Roger Moore, and I fell in love on the spot (hey, I was young; we do that kind of thing when we’re young). Later, I fell head over heels for Timothy Dalton. I eventually learned to appreciate the mature beauty of Sean Connery, and I was already in love with Pierce Brosnan from his Remington Steele days (I was young, remember?).

In those early, giddy days I thought I wanted to know everything about the object of my affection. So I went out and read some of the Ian Fleming novels.

This is when I found out there is not one Bond. There are two: James M. (Movie) Bond and James B. (Book) Bond. They might order their drinks the same way, but they are in no way the same character. They don’t even inhabit the same planet. Book Bond lives in a hard, gray world of betrayal and personal angst. Movie Bond moves gracefully and freely in a world of shining wealth and beauty such as only Hollywood can provide. Book Bond, at least as written by Fleming, is mired in a swamp of outdated racism and misogyny. Movie Bond is a fluid creature, rearranged to fit the times and the audience polls.

Book Bond (leaving aside the racism and misogyny for other essayists) is a male  …

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