It’s no joke being ‘woke’ in the mid twentieth century.
The second world war has turned cold, leaving the country’s future bleak and uncertain. Previous alliances between national super-powers are in a continuing state of disruption, their upheaval and rupture caused by the recent war torn devastation making such allegiances all the more disparate. The generally shared outlook is one of bleak, bitter suspicion and nihilistic mistrust.
It is a world ruled by men, governing with a dominating autocratic network fuelled by macho oppression; an incontestable patriarchal society.
To be a different kind of man, a ‘new man’, one would find himself directly at odds with his macho counterparts. That is to say, any such open-minded, tolerant, awakened individual, would find it a challenge to live forgivingly in a stubborn, bigoted society.
Special agent James Bond, 007, employed by her majesty’s secret service, regards his job with a mixture of resentment and resignation, not to mention experiencing a constant inner turmoil, conflicted feelings of duty versus personal integrity.
It was nigh on impossible to navigate the turbulent, murky waters of an elite, specialised unit built upon ‘ungentlemanly conduct‘. Those in power pulling the strings did so with the utmost control, deception and institutional aggression, all of which played further havoc with his own moral compass.
Working primarily as an assassin for the British government, Bond operates as effectively as he can, despite his personal belief system going against all the service’s prerequisite objectives and overall purpose. It is a day to day struggle, fighting his own instincts; his biggest enemy being his own compassion, an all embracing respect for his fellow man, or woman… or, indeed, other. He did not care to make clear cut distinctions, seeing fluidity of identification as a way of helping create a more equal society.
But he is a man ahead of his time. The world is not yet ready to embrace these modern ways of progressive thinking.
The British Secret Service runs itself by and large under its own steam, with somewhat of a blind-eye turned as to exactly how it chooses to carry out its ambiguous, morally questionable business.
It is certainly no place for Bond to exist if he is to function effectively as a blunt instrument, constantly required to ruthlessly carry out all the undesirable tasks necessary for the greater good of the nation. For King and country.
And yet, with the best will in the world and a pertinacious refusal to harbour feelings of morose world-weariness or cold objective cynicism, he thinks he can still be the best agent of the double-0 section, a department affording its agents the licence to kill, and requiring them to do so on a regular basis.
He doesn’t stand a chance.
‘A woman!’James Bond, demonstrating his divine powers of observation.