When Entertainment Empties The Human Soul And Then Fills It With Guns And Sweetened Ex/crème/nts

As it’s well known – every soldier dreams of becoming a general. But it’s like to dream of becoming a billionaire. Not too many dreamers are able to become their own dream and ideals. Dreamers go on being the dreaming soldiers, and such soldiers cannot be too effective in a situation when competition between the superpowers is so intensified that countries need super-soldiers whose exceptional achievements will decide the global winner. To be more effective in the times of accelerated global financial/military competition totalitarian systems try to invent, elaborate and incarnate into the human soul and flesh new combinations of human motivations and abilities which will allow the young people yearning to serve their country, to become superior in their fighting capacities and mental endurance. In this new phase of global competition it is not enough for the soldiers to be happy by enthusiastically serving their cause, or feel superior to their enemies.

Megalomaniacal euphoria of feeling that you are the superior screw of a superior machine is not enough to be a super-soldier. There is a need to be creative, to improvise, to feel that you can make your own decisions: some “anarchic” element. Totalitarian systems need soldiers to have this anarchically creative ability, in order not to become outdated and ineffective. They modify their political propaganda and ideology to include this anarchic element to the recruits’ minds and souls, not, of course, to make the soldiers “more creative” in combat situation, but to give them chance to feel that they are able to do so. New ideology of a soldier, his new, more self-aggrandized image become absolutely necessary. So, modernizing totalitarian systems introduce narcissism of the anarchic individualism into the young people’s imagination to make them even more proud fighters and even more hateful to morally and mentally “underdeveloped” enemies.

The glamor of the anarchic individualism could have been one of the motivating factors of releasing the Abu Ghraib photos of physical and mental abuse of the detainees by the American soldiers who are obviously happy to humiliate and torture helpless people. To be soldiers in post-modern army, it seems, supposed to mean to have fan. This growing sensibility (behind the necessity to change the image of the soldier from an over-disciplined and mechanically obedient to being “a bit anarchic” was earlier (“prophetically”) invested in the James Bond as pop-movies superhero – a soldier who is not dreaming of becoming a general, but who is himself more a star than four-star general and more prepared to operate as a champ in various environments than any general could. In James Bond personality the soldier met the general, and the general – soldier: they became one. It is, as though, the general puts himself in a position of individual soldier and became able to achieve more than what only a massive military unit could before. In James Bond movies the hierarchical contradiction between the soldiers and the generals overcame itself. It is, as if, the recruiters were saying to the recruits – “Become great and you will be free to serve with fun and even indulge in luxuries that were never available for the low ranks”. James Bond movies are a reflection (a bombastic metaphor) of a new, more daring sensibility of a “total war”. Obedience and conformism, and anarchic individualism are married and this new alliance created the very possibility of a productive collaboration between totalitarianism and resourcefulness of individual initiative – to fool and to kill people (categorized as enemies) more effectively and cheerfully than before.

James Bond is role model for the postmodern youth in which conformism and resourcefulness (based on technological innovativeness) work, live and have fun together. James Bond’s character is a successful attempt to elevate the identity of a yes-sir-soldier into the carrier of play-boy hedonism while staying loyal to traditionally jingoistic world view. In James Bond movies the very traditional concept of the military is radically changed and yet stays the same – it becomes glamorized and enriched with heightened technological competence, advanced civil training and even elegant manners.

Mythologization of the reality in OO7 movies is psychologically a very strong instrument, with an extremely effective suggestive power on the minds and hearts of the viewers. Positive mythologization transforms the mediocre and the culturally illiterate persons on the screen into public celebrities which the viewers are happy to identify with, and our position in the world – into angelic one in spite of being barbarically cruel. But especially dangerous is the negative mythologization (NM) that transforms regular or extraordinary people into carriers and personifications of the evil. Villain is the archetypal case of NM which successfully mobilizes the viewers’ hate and belligerency – squeezing them from human organism like hot weather – sweat. Systematic use of NM trains people to produce suspicion, animosity and hate readily and smoothly, as habitual, normalized emotions. It makes hate and murder our everyday guidance. The colorful collection of James Bond movies adds to all this the hedonistic vitality of fun, smile and even elegance in the very moment of killing.

Everyday war and dreams of war (dreams of being heroes of subduing and eliminating others) extend themselves to the movie-screen and back to the battlefield enriched with proud confidence and narcissism of self-glamorization. Instead of helping people to try to overcome totalitarian reflex of villain-ization of otherness (transforming people with a modicum of difference from us, into monsters, although villains very often remain us our own leaders, if we look at them objectively), movie medium as OO7 movies parasites on human totalitarian complexes and by this perpetuate them – perpetuate the totalitarian legacy in human psyches.

Heroes and Villains Play Diplomats
Hero and villain sometimes pretend that they are on a diplomatic mission focused on each other. Soldiers of postmodern – total war, look natural in bowties. Hero and villain are, semantically, symmetrical – who is hero for us is villain for our enemies, and our villain is their James Bond. And their behavior is much more similar than it seems to both – us and our enemies, because our perception is distorted by our megalomania which is, again, identical with theirs.

Daniel Craig - New James Bond movie Casino Royale
James Bond as a soldier and lover is better equipped for victories than anybody else

The late James Bond has as many hands as weapons

Erotic Battlefield
The hero has to beat the villain not only in fight but in love as well – the enemy must be defeated not only militarily and physically but – uprooted erotico-genetically

All the women must dream about James Bond – evil must be eliminated not only by power but by Eros

Villains’ Helpers and Agents
Just one example of villains’ bodyguards and special agents

Jaws is trying to intimidate and, simultaneously, entertain the viewers with his monstrosity (debunked into being comic)

Yes, indeed, evil is not too youthful

Villains as veterans of villainous attempts to subvert goodness personified by James Bond and his wisely conventional employers

It is lucky that Gottfried John, one of Fassbinder’s significant actors, was able, before his untimely death, to make inflated money for the role of the villain (although it was nothing here to act except the surface – just a pop-archetype).

And even Max von Sydow (a regular among Bergman actors) didn’t avoid playing the villain in one of “James Bonds”