I just saw Skyfall and thought it was great. One of the popular topics of discussion amongst Bond fans is whether James Bond is one person or just a code name taken by a succession of people. The former explains why he is played by different actors in different movies and how he can spend 50 years saving the world without getting any older. It’s a nice idea, but Skyfall lays waste to this idea, paying explicit homage to the Sean Connery films by having Daniel Craig drive the old Aston Martin and do other things that I don’t want to mention for fear of spoiling the plot. Thus, I suggest a better theory, one that explains basically everything that I need it do without getting too bogged down in all these pesky notions of believability and realism: James Bond is a superhero. There, that’s it. Spider-Man has been fighting crime since the 1960s, yet we usually just assume that his origin story happened 10-15 years ago. I’m not a comics nerd (yet), but I’m pretty sure that’s how those guys manage to wrap their heads around the constant rewriting and recasting of their beloved characters. Some have suggested that James Bond is a Time Lord, which is a nice idea, but for once, I’m not going to drag Doctor Who into the discussion. He’s a superhero. There, that’s it.
Casino Royale was, to some purists, not a proper Bond movie. He didn’t have any cool gadgets (no, a defibrillator does not count), didn’t flirt with Moneypenny, and didn’t make any corny puns. Those people will no doubt enjoy Skyfall, as Daniel Craig does all of that and more in this film while still retaining the edginess and all-around badassery that made him arguably the best Bond since Connery. And as fans of the books will tell you, Craig’s Bond is far closer to what Ian Fleming envisioned than anything by Connery, Dalton, Moore, Lazenby, or Brosnan. He’s sexy, but not “pretty”. He’s also shorter and blonder than any of the other guys. If my life got a gritty reboot, I would demand that I be played by Daniel Radcliffe, who could probably capture my obsessive nature, peerless intellect, and devilish good looks about as well as could be expected from someone who is not the Robot King.
Gear shift: There are times when I wish I could just start my whole life over again from the beginning. Even when I can point to certain elements of it that I don’t hate, there are too many things inextricably intertwined with that that continue to vex me. One thing that I’ve learned in all my years of being wronged is that any apology that you have to actively pursue is not worth it. Sometimes people apologize to me for no reason, and I try to be patient with them as I explain that they don’t need to do that and honestly, it can get kind of annoying if they do it too much. Sometimes people demand an apology out of me. They almost never get it, as I am an asshole, but more importantly, I’m too busy trying to get my own life started to hate myself for every joke that went too far or every deadline that I failed to meet because I was too busy crying myself to sleep. I used to make the mistake of thinking that every apology that I received was some sort of victory. Occasionally, people use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card. (“You can’t get mad at me for that! I apologized!”) Sometimes, they realize they’ve offended me, but don’t understand why. I hate to say it, but love without understanding is useless. If you value someone but don’t see them for who they truly are, you don’t have a leg to stand on. It stings, doesn’t it? Yeah, I know the feeling.
So, back to James Bond. Actually, let’s talk about Kevin Clash. The Elmo puppeteer resigned from his post last week after 28 years on the job and frankly, I wish he had tried to tough the storm out. As of now, three men have come forward saying that he used them for underage sex. Whether there is any veracity to the stories is hard to say, but one thing that I can say for certain is that to me, they look like they just want attention. Nowhere in any of the statements issued by his victims can I find anything about protecting the other boys that he might abuse or putting an abuser behind bars. Instead, they just want money. Lots and lots of it. I don’t know why Kevin Clash sought out teenagers for sex rather than men his own age. Perhaps he thinks they’re sexy. More probably, he was so full of denial and self-loathing that he couldn’t bring himself to reveal that part of himself to somebody his own age. I know I’m being an armchair psychologist here, but I don’t care. We need to learn to stop seeing every error in judgment as a career-destroying mistake just because it involves somebody’s sex life. There is a world of difference between what Clash (allegedly) did and a priest fondling altar boys. The men here were not only consenting, they met Clash on a gay chat line. If they lied about their age to get laid, then Clash is no more of a creep than Steven Tyler and a zillion other rockers who slept with underage groupies. I repeat that I am not saying that Clash is not guilty of any wrongdoing, only that this whole affair has been blown way out of proportion.
Normally, I try to be deferential to victims who come forward to accuse powerful people. Right-wing douchebags wrote off the woman who spoke out against Herman Caine before they even knew her name. That was disgusting, misogynistic, and blatantly partisan. But here, the shoe is on the other foot. Being young doesn’t prevent a person from being a predator. These three men clearly just want money and/or attention, and I’d be saying the same thing if they were women.
I hope Kevin Clash is able to get his life restarted somewhere else. Everyone deserves a second chance.