I never finished the Bond thing, did I. Oh well..
Well yes, because speeches aren't entertaining nor are they extraordinary.
But sex and violence is?
You never hear about those on the news?
That's because you're overthinking a shallow character in a shallow movie.
Yes. I am.
Did you think I wasn't aware of that?
I think shallow movies are interesting precisely because you're not supposed to think about them
. They're meant to bypass that thinking, rational part of your brain and go straight for the goey emotional centre. For this reason, they're often very honest in catering to the audience's fantasies in a way more thoughtful movies are not.
I don't think you understand my point here. I'm not trying to explain some secret hidden message embedded in James Bond movies. I know that these are shallow action movies with very little deeper meaning to them beyond entertainment. The point is why are these movies entertaining to anyone?
I also know that the fact that James Bond kills people is not, in and of itself, the answer to that question. I know that the way most people would emotionally react to someone being killed in a slasher movie is different to the way they would react to someone being killed in an action movie, and I know why. All of this is rhetorical, I'm not ignorant of what happens in James Bond movies, I'm not ignorant of how you're supposed to feel watching them. I don't need basic explanations of these films.
The difference between a slasher movie and an action movie, the difference in how it makes the audience feel, is empathy and perspective. In the slasher movie, the audience is following the perspective of the victim. Empathy with the victim is encouraged. That is what creates the feeling of horror. In an action movie, empathy with the victims of violence is discouraged because it gets in the way of the visceral pleasure and excitement of watching it.
Now, that's not a universal rule. Clever action movies will often incorporate a teeny tiny bit of horror because it creates tonal depth and heightens the stakes, and plenty of slasher movies encourage "rooting for the killer" and intentionally play down empathy for the victims. I know. Again, I'm not looking for basic explanations.
The real observation that I am making here is the feeling of empathy is heavily gendered. Slasher movies generally have female protagonists, and women tend to be the disproportionate victims of violence in slasher movies, because it's easier to elicit empathy for a female character. Conversely, almost all of the people James Bond kills are men, and on the rare occasion he does kill a woman she is either heavily gender non-conforming or it will be a big moment.
There's a sexual ideology to James Bond movies that is not actually very flattering to men. Men are really disposable in these movies, they die constantly and the movie openly doesn't want you to have any kind of feeling for them. So, why do men love these movies so much?
That's also a rhetorical question. But what's your answer?
Well not at all, that is your very personal interpretation. Because the narrative doesn't show James Bond using manipulative pickup artist moves on anyone.
Isn't that the ideal though?
There are pickup artists out there who are very open that they are about manipulating and abusing women, but they are a very, very small minority. Most people who are actually successful in marketing themselves as pickup artists are not selling that, they're selling a fantasy that by adopting a certain type of persona, you can become so charming that women will find you irresistible.
The fantasy that there is this type of man who is just so fucking cool and smooth and amazing that any woman who meets him will feel some overwhelming biological urge
to have sex with him even if she initially doesn't actually like him is one men not only seem to have remarkably little trouble accepting in movies, but it also tends to be one some men will take into real life and try to act out because they think that is actually how the world works. The manipulation is what happens when that fantasy doesn't
James Bond is presented as being extremely attractive, so much so it can only be a fantasy.
You keep saying this, but think about it. How
is James Bond presented as being attractive?
Describe some of his most attractive features?
As for violence, it is an unfortunate reality violence has shaped our world all the time. Wars are still everyday business in certain parts of the world and terrorism haunts the world as well. There is nothing dodgy with acknowledging there are certain types of threats which can only be stopped through the use of violence. And that's what defines the whole action movie genre.
Okay, so why is violence "entertaining and extraordinary"?
If it's an unfortunate reality of our world, why do we spend our free time watching it? Why do we "escape our real life routines" by watching this thing we supposedly only grudgingly acknowledge the existence of?
You know the answer. We all know the answer. All this is just the most desperate and unnecessary knee-jerk reaction which I truly don't understand. Violence can be fun to watch. It can be cathartic and exciting. It taps into fantasies and parts of our inner lives that are very, very deep seated. Yes, not all violence is fun to watch. Yes, there is "context" a filmmaker has to add in order to make violence fun to watch. One aspect of this context is adding a narrative contrivance that renders the violence justifiable. Another is ensuring the audience does not empathize with the victims of violence (outside of occasionally raising the tension or stakes). I know. I'm not missing anything, and you're not explaining anything I don't already know.
The point here is not "why do you love violence so much, violence is bad." I'm asking you to look more closely at those mechanisms that make violence fun to watch, and in particular how those mechanisms are gendered. Because they are gendered. We are talking about films overwhelmingly designed for men, and yet in which empathy for men is largely discouraged. So, what is going on here? What emotions and fantasies are being catered to or met here, and why are they so deeply gendered?