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From the beginning of the James Bond movie franchise in 1962, 007 has proved to be a long-lasting cultural icon. The spy for the U.K. Secret Service has now starred in 26 movies, accruing many high-tech gadgets and charming huge amounts of women as he goes. But who is James Bond? Is he a hero? A villain? A symbol of a time gone by? Or totally irrelevant?

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Materially, it means nothing to ask who James Bond is.
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James Bond is no longer relevant

James Bond is an archaic relic of a time gone by. His character is outdated because he symbolizes the masculine ideal of the 1950s. As a symbol of a 20th century ideal, he holds no relevance in the 21st century.
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James Bond, known as Agent 007, is a fictional spy character created by the British author Ian Fleming. He is a British icon, renowned for his escapades, peerless courage and success with women. He is known for using the latest cutting edge spy technology and his skill in order to outwit his enemies. James Bond is also a movie franchise worth billions. Recently, James Bond has been described as outdated and irrelevant by many news outlets, who argue that this 1950s era icon is a symbol of a bygone era.

The Argument

Bond's machismo, his sexism, his lavishness - all of these things are symbols of a time gone by, that are no longer relevant to a modern context. Bond is rooted in 50s ideals, "the era of imperial pride, owning a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch and sleeping with your secretary."[1] There is no reason for Bond movies to continue to be produced. He is a 20th-century symbol of masculinity in a 21st-century context. Any cultural relevance he had is long gone. Many James Bond films display harmful racial and sexist stereotypes. In "Dr. No.", the supposed half Chinese Villain is played by a caucasian actor made-up to look part Asian.[2] Moreover, many of the Bond Girls have highly sexualized names such as the overtly suggestive "Pussy Galore." Many audience members believe such attitudes and characters are outdated today. Bond also displays highly problematic attitudes towards women. Pussy Galore is supposed to be a lesbian, who is cured of her sexual orientation by her sexual encounter with Bond.[3] Such storylines are not only irrelevant but actively harmful to the LGBT community. The kind of spy that James Bond encapsulates, a suave white man in a suit, is no longer applicable in the modern world. As critics have pointed out, the world has moved on. Today's spy movies are much more diverse such as Kim Possible, Spy Kids, and Atomic Blonde.[4]

Counter arguments

The appeal of James Bond shows no signs of waning. The 2012 film Skyfall, which came out nearly fifty years after the first James Bond film, was the highest grossing in the whole franchise.[5] This shows that audiences clearly believe that the spy icon remains as relevant as ever. James Bond continues to reinvent itself as a franchise and move with the times. For the 2020 Bond Film No Time to Die, feminist writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (writer and actress in Fleabag) has been brought on board in order to edit the script. This signals a shift in attitude and reflects the changing world around the franchise.[6] The franchise has also seen a shift in attitudes towards women. In Pierce Brosnan's reign as Bond, Bond's Boss was cast as a woman. Casting M as a female head of MI6, the government agency Bond works for, shows that the franchise is willing to make previously unheard of changes.[7]


[P1] The things Bond symbolise are irrelevant in a modern context. [P2] James Bond, as a cultural entity, is no longer relevant.

Rejecting the premises



This page was last edited on Wednesday, 8 Jul 2020 at 17:31 UTC

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