Here We Go Again: James Bond vs Presentism

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When you come down to it, anything can offend anybody, and we all have the potential to be ‘triggered.’ Yeah, so? Buck up. Take your righteous indignation or supposed offense down a notch…or keep it to yourself, at the very least. Might we all realize, with the new year just budding open in its potential, that what we think, say, or do is not really important to the world at large, and if we don’t like something, if it gets our proverbial goat, or flies in the face of our sensibilities, we should simply choose not to look at, listen to, or buy. 

And, once and for all, get off old James Bond’s jock, ok?

The UK’s BFI organization screens films in London to preserve British cinema. In their work for this beginning of 2024, it seems they had the wisdom to put a warning across a bunch of James Bond films. Set to screen such classic movies featuring Ian Fleming’s spy, including “You Only Live Twice” and “Goldfinger” (“Goldfinger” contains my most favorite Sean Connery-as-Bond comeback, when Honor Blackman, playing the fearsomely sexy “Pussy Galore” introduces herself by saying, “My name is Pussy Galore,” Bond responds with “I must be dreaming.”) the BFI is going one better than just warning that these films might offend modern (= weaker) audiences. But they also claim that the movies caused offense when they were first released.

Really? Where is this written, and who wrote it?

The BFI warning reads, “Please note that many of these films contain language, images or other content that reflect views prevalent in its time, but will cause offense today (as they did then).

“The titles are included here for historical, cultural, or aesthetic reasons, and these views are in no way endorsed by the BFI or its partners.”

Thank God the BFI wants to stay true to the historic record.

The BFI is also warning folks about the movies “Deadfall,” “The Ipcress File” and “Never Let Go.”

Do you know what I find offensive? Judging what was by the mores of what are (and mores I don’t even usually agree with). This is called presentism, something I have railed at before and always will. And the fact that some organization feels they must tell me what I might (stress might) be offended by as if there is a list of possibilities we all should be aware of now, as if we have evolved to some better, more inclusionary place beyond when these movies were made when we indeed have not, nor should we have, is sickening.

Or should I say, triggering?

Shaken, not stirred, as Mr. Bond was fond of saying when asked how he liked a particular drink. We are all shaken and stirred by this constant worry over the most mundane BS. Sorry, Pussy, I am surely NOT dreaming, yet again.

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