The Black Bond

It has been suggested that Idris Elba could be the next James Bond. Cue Outrage! He’s (gasp) black! How can he be James Bond?

James Bond is a fictional character. To me, that is very very different from casting historical figures with actors of a different race than the original. The latter is messing around with history and distorting facts. It puts the wrong image of the past in the heads of people who have never studied history – and that’s most people.

The former is… well, a fictional character. A well written fictional character can look any way you want.

I deliberately don’t specify race in my stories unless it is crucial to the storyline. When I wrote Romulus Crowe in ‘Samuel’s Girl’ I imagined a haughty, arrogant Englishman and I ‘saw’ him as a white man but I deliberately did not specify that.

Why? Because it was not relevant to the story and because I wanted as wide an audience as possible.

Readers like to imagine scenes in their heads and it’s far easier to do that if the story characters are not too rigidly defined. You get to make up your own images based on your own experiences of life and you feel more engaged with the story.

In ‘Jessica’s Trap’ it was different. The story was set in 1647 in England, so a black or Indian or Chinese cast of characters really won’t work. ‘Samuel’s Girl’ is in the present day, again in England, and that means Romulus Crowe can be played by anyone.

I would prefer that he be played by the same person, or at least by actors of the same ethnicity in that and later stories (assuming Hollywood can get its hands out of kiddie’s pants long enough to notice the story exists) precisely because of the fuss over Idris Eba possibly taking the Bond role now.

It’s the same as making the latest incarnation of Dr. Who a woman. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with doing that. It’s a fictional universe. Do what the hell you want. However, having watched the show from the very beginning, it is a sudden and jarring change for me. It’s going to take some getting used to.

I still haven’t seen a Dr. Who to beat William Hartnell’s grouchy, devious old curmudgeon. And the daft casting after Tom Baker left just got sillier until they gave the job to Sylveste McCoy – who most of the fans at that time remembered from ‘Vision On’. He dressed in a suit covered in question marks and looked even more like a clown than the previous incumbent, Colin Baker. So give this woman Dr. a chance, I say. She can’t be worse than those two.

Incidentally, I never understood all this ‘hide behind the sofa when the Daleks come on’ stuff. I thought they were great. It was the Autons that scared the shit out of me.

If the Romulus stories ever made it to film, I’d want the same actor, or at least the same ethnicity of actor, to play him throughout. Making him Chinese in one film, Asian in another, white in another, is going to put people off. He’s just a bloke. He’s not a Time Lord, he can’t regenerate.

So it is with James Bond. A fictional character. Could look like anyone. Might look like Sean Connery. Or Roger Moore. Or Timothy Dalton or David Niven… there have been a lot of different faces in that role. All of them white. They are all playing a fictional character though, not a historic one.

The Bond storyline has Bond often meeting up with his contact in the CIA, Felix. Felix changes in every film and (I can’t recall which film) in at least one of them, Felix was played by a black actor. So if it’s good enough for the CIA, it’s good enough for MI5, right?

I would be very much opposed to recasting James Bond as Jane Bond. Really, just because it’s extremely silly. If you want a story about a female spy with access to all kinds of gadgets and who has dozy males with names like Donkey Dick, Clint Torisrubber, Gee Spotfinder and Hugh Jeballs jumping into bed with her all through the film, fine, go ahead. But don’t pretend it’s a James Bond story because it’s not.

A character like Dr. Who, who rewrites their entire body every time they regenerate, can change gender in the process. Even in that storyline it was a stretch but it’s plausible within that storyline’s universe. It is not plausible in a story where the characters are human. If you try it you lose your regular audience and they are the ones who pay your bills. Appeasing the SJWs is going to put you out of business fast.

I don’t really see any reason why James Bond could not be black. I’m willing to bet that MI5 is not a totally white organisation. It would be very limited in scope if it was. James Bond is set in the present day – in fact, judging by the level of gadgetry available, possibly a bit into the future. That means he could be absolutely anyone.

The major reason there is such resistance to a black actor playing the part is the recent trend by many – especially the BBC – to cast black actors in historic roles when the person they are playing was whiter than a sheet of printer paper. Doing that is bound to get people’s backs up. It is, no matter how the SJW idiots try to justify it, messing with history and when you lose your history, who are you? You cease to exist. You have no roots any more.

Speaking of ‘roots’, how would the SJWs react if we remade that programme using a white actor? A white woman, no less? I think we all know the answer.

Bond is not a historical figure. He’s text on a page. Fiction. Who plays Joan of Arc or Boadicea or Margaret of Anjou – that matters. Who plays a fictional character does not matter.

It’s going to be a bit jarring for Bond fans but only because they are used to a succession of white actors in the role. They got over the idea of that white face changing many times though, so Idris Elba is really just another different face of Bond. Just so happens this face is a little darker than the previous ones.

As I said with the Romulus character – and I doubt I’ll ever have to really face the idea of it being a film – I would prefer to stick with the one they start with. If they start with him as Korean, stick with it. The reaction to a black James Bond shows how fans react to change. They don’t like it.

It’s not because they are racist. If a remake of Roots had Johnny Depp cast as Kunta Kinte then black people would be up in arms and I’d agree with them. That show is based on history. But what if you remade Black Panther as ‘Somewhat Pale Panther’ with a load of white actors? There’d be outrage again and I’d shrug and turn away. That story is fiction. I don’t care how you interpret it, none of it is real and none of it really happened.

Fans of a franchise don’t like big changes. Every new incarnation of Dr. Who had to work hard to recover the support of the fans of the previous one. The latest incarnation is going to have to work harder than ever.

Idris Elba would have to work a lot harder to regain James Bond fans than Roger Moore had to when he took over from Sean Connery. It would be a bigger change. I think he can do it though.

In the end, it’s fiction. It doesn’t matter. There’s no point getting all high-blood-pressure over people who don’t exist and never have.

Save your rage for the rewriting of real history. That’s the part that matters.

 

31 thoughts on “The Black Bond

  1. Totally with you on this one, Leggy. Elba would/will be a great Bond. But I have to say that whenever I see a trailer for a programme where they’ve shoehorned in the obligatory ethnic minority (or woman, or disabled person), who stands out like a sore thumb because they simply don’t “fit” into, say, a historical or factual story, I immediately make the assumption that any production company who will allow their casting team to compromise the integrity and accuracy of their programme purely in order to satisfy the braying SJWs probably has writers who are similarly mediocre and the storyline is thus likely to be poor and the characters one-dimensional, predictable and utterly uninteresting. Sadly, on the occasions I have decided to give a programme a go despite these warning signs I’ve usually found this to be true. It’s a bit like watching a programme and seeing one of the characters lighting up a cigarette, even if it’s only fleetingly, or only a minor character. It indicates that the writer themselves is a smoker and so is probably high-calibre (it’s a widely accepted fact in writing circles that smokers make the best writers and that the moment they give up, they “go off the boil” somewhat). So these days, I simply don’t bother watching a programme with any indication of these “obligatory” insertions – no matter how tempting the trailer may be – because I know I’ll be disappointed. Saves me a lot of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree on the pushing in of a ‘token’ character just for political correctness. It distorts the storyline – the whole show becomes virtue signalling and the story takes second place. It never works.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with Jaxthefirst. Although we rarely watch live TV we often – accidentally! – manage to avoid skipping the adverts in what we record and replay. According to their world view, Britain is full of mixed-race families and single mothers with mixed-race offspring . . .

    Liked by 3 people

    • I have wondered why advertisers these days have decided to aim their ads at anyone other than the majority of the population. Still, if they want to sell only to a minority, that’s up to them I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I do describe my characters just as I see them. Sometimes, as with Morning Cloud, it’s relevant to the plot. However, even when it isn’t, I’m specific. Both Fiona Ross and Stephanie Ross are redheads, because that’s how I see them, likewise Ewan McLeod is saturnine with dark hair and he’s a Scot (as was James Bond in the novels – well, half Scots). A film of him as a black man, for example, would be dreadful (there were not, so far as I am aware, any black officers in the Royal Scots at Culloden) – likewise a mixed-race Fiona.

    As for a black James Bond, I have the same attitude as I do with a female Dr Who – create a new character and be done with it, why mess around with existing ones for the sake of political correctness?

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘Rebellion’ would not work with a non-white cast, as with ‘Jessica’s Trap’. They’re set at a time and place when pretty much the whole population was white people.

      It would be like replacing the Zulus at the battle of Rorke’s Drift with a band of Glaswegians attacking with broken Buckfast bottles. Okay as a comedy spoof (maybe entitled ‘Weegies’) but the historical accuracy goes right out of the window. Nobody could take it seriously.

      Female Dr. Who, black James Bond – yes, political correctness is ultimately responsible but within the frame of those fictional worlds, both are plausible. It’s equally plausible to change both back at a later date. A black or Chinese Bonnie Prince Charlie cannot work no matter how far you push the virtue signalling. It just makes the casting crew look silly.

      I have ‘fixed’ a few characters here and there – the little twat Farquhar-Jones is definitely a white chinless wonder for example – but for the most part, I outline descriptions. Unless, as with historically-set ones, it really does matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Speaking of ‘roots’, how would the SJWs react if we remade that programme using a white actor?”

    I believe this has already been done in Scotland. The program is called ‘Hoots’. Lead character is a female called Kunta Kipper.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. With regards Dr Who, I think all of this confusion comes down to biology. We humans generally stay the same gender throughout our lives, and once adult the greater proportion of our lives are spent in breeding condition. Our entire psychology therefore has as a core concept the notion of breeding.

    Dr Who is a Time Lord, and has a very, very long lifespan indeed. His (her) biology is therefore going to be very different indeed, since they will spend most of their lives not in a state of being ready or able to breed. Dr Who should therefore be thought of as neuter most of the time, and Time Lords probably only assume sexual roles for fairly short times in order to breed and raise children to adulthood, whereupon the parents go back to being neuters.

    Time Lord society therefore should be based around family-clans, where pretty much all individuals in a clan are neuter pretty much all of the time, and where breeding is quite likely a collective decision made by a lot of people that those two (or three or whatever; we don’t know how many individuals contribute to a Time Lord’s genetic make-up) should breed.

    The Dr himself is out on his own, away from his family-clan. He is likely to be quite, quite mad by Time Lord standards, and we have never seen him in breeding fettle so all our assumptions as to sex and sexuality are likely to be wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hadn’t thought of it that way – but if Time Lords bred like humans, the universe would be full of them by now. The buggers just won’t die!

      A fictional alien race can do pretty much as it pleases, as long as the basic logic of that fictional universe is held to. The Doctor just needs to regenerate into a functioning Time Lord shape – and a genderless one would still be plausible. As long as he doesn’t regenerate into a llama or a tree, the basic logic of that world is maintained.

      The audience, however, is human and if they don’t like the change, down go the ratings 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t think it matters if the program is is historical or fictional. The big push is to remove white males from the telly, so any time it’s done, it should be opposed, in my opinion
    When considering casting a black chap as Bond, nobody went through the thought process of the character being fictional, so can be any colour, they picked on Bond as a traditional white person who needs to be re-cast as black, to move the agenda forward

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well it certainly doesn’t work the other way round…
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6060827/West-End-bosses-ban-Rock-star-singing-Dream-Girls-hit-isnt-black.html

      To me, it doesn’t matter if they cast a black Bond but to plenty of those long-term Bond fans, it matters a lot. I predict Idris Elba will put in a great performance. I also predict the film will flop because they’ve alienated a hell of a lot of fans.

      Sooner or later, someone is going to notice than pandering to the Righteous always, always wrecks your business. The virtue signallers are few and they never support the companies making the changes they demand. All they do is drive away the core customers.

      The pubs could have told them. Or the sugary drinks industry. Or any of the others wrecked by giving in to these people. They never learn.

      I say, let them have their fun wrecking every industry they can find. When it all falls down (and it’s already started to), we’ll still be around.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Bond works for MI6 not MI5. 6 handles the foreign jobs and doesn’t work in the UK. 5 works the UK.

    I’m fed up with this PC rubbish. If they changed Dr Who for a good reason then OK but they don’t. They change it because a bunch of whiners whine to a bunch of SJW supporters.

    As with all these changes it ruins the show so I’ll just stop watching. I’m not the only ones as every one they touch turns to crap. I’ll wait for the much reduced version and not fund them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah. I’ve never been much of a Bond watcher so I’m sketchy on details.

      Dr Who has, lately, been plagued with writers making politically correct statements within the show. It’s supposed to be a fun show about a rogue alien meddling in things, not a social statement. I haven’t yet seen the woman doctor so I’ll hold back on judgement on that, but yes, it was done for political correctness.

      Nevertheless, it could work. Whether it does work depends on whether the new Doctor takes it all the way from the original curmudgeon into fully SJW ultrafeminist shouty moron. That would end the show for good.

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. I watched Doctor Who,the first time the Daleks appeared with my niece who was about 4 years old at the time.The following day the family including my niece were in London driving down Westminster where the Daleks had appeared. She was very disappointed when there were none on Westminster Bridge for her to see. I will reserve judgement on a female Dr until I see what sort of job she makes of it.A black James Bond ? His back story is that he was a Commander in the Royal Navy , not sure how many of those there are or were in the Service.

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    • Ah, that’s one of the Peter Cushing films. The Daleks appeared under William Hartnell’s watch, in one of the very early shows in te 1960s. They were confined to one city on Skaro and had no intention of leaving until the Doctor appeared and they found out about the universe and time travel.

      So in a sense, the Dalek invasion of the universe was pretty much the Doctor’s fault 😉

      Like

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