The character of James Bond has evolved quite a bit on the big screen. From Sean Connery’s promiscuous, cold-blooded version, Roger Moore’s more light-hearted playboy persona, Timothy Dalton’s slightly darker more serious Bond, and Daniel Craig’s grittier, rougher version of the sexy secret agent have kept one thing steady throughout the decades – a trail of broken hearts and killer one-liners.
Unfortunately, the cinematic version of Bond has been hit by the assassin of all things enjoyable – trigger warnings. Specifically, two Sean Connery Bond films featured by The British Film Institute come with progressive-inspired warnings to prepare audiences for the surprise that the past was culturally different than it is now.
However, this particular warning is meant to protect the institute more than the viewers, as the world has become overrun by a population ready to find offense at anything and everything. It should be no surprise that an international man of mystery super spy would offend the delicate sensibilities of the average viewer in today’s society.
The British Film Institute (BFI) published trigger warnings on their website for films highlighted in their latest exhibition, John Barry: Soundtracking Bond and Beyond. Two of the films that garnered the warnings were Sean Connery’s Bond depictions in the 1964 film Goldfinger and the 1967 film You Only Live Twice.
The BFI claimed that the films “will cause offence” with the following disclaimer on their website:
“…many of these films contain language, images or other content that reflect views prevalent in its time, but will cause offence today (as they did then).”
You Only Live Twice receives a specific warning:
“Contains outdated racial stereotypes”
For those who have yet to have the pleasure of watching You Only Live Twice, Bond has to disguise himself as Japanese. A rather tall Scotsman disguised poorly as a Japanese man isn’t offensive; it’s hilarious.
In response to the obvious ridicule and outrage these warnings elicited, a spokesperson for the BFI explained:
“A 2021 survey conducted by the British Board of Film Classification found that almost two-thirds of teenagers polled supported trigger warnings on films which might negatively affect their mental health.”
Reading between the lines, one can sense the actual response: “Don’t blame us; we’re just giving the people what they want.”
So many triggers
Depending on what media source you use to get your news, you’ll likely find many outlets that support slapping trigger warnings on Bond, James Bond. Yahoo! Movies listed out all sorts of 007 movies that, according to them, warrant trigger warnings.
But they didn’t stop with just the movies. According to the website, even the iconic opening titles should have some warning.
They admit that the opening sequences of the Bond movies are:
“…innovative, languid, iconic and definitely influential.”
However, they go on to say:
“But take a moment to think: oodles of naked women draping themselves around guns, doing nude roly-polys for no reason?”
The writer of the article doesn’t appreciate the artistic quality of the opening sequences, let alone their symbolism. The inherent sexiness of a woman’s curves as she moves like a silhouette always out of reach paired with the unwavering clean crisp lines of a gun – both equally as dangerous to a man of mystery.
This isn’t the first time Bond has been in the cross-hairs of the progressive left. Last year, reprints of the novels written by Ian Fleming came with the following disclaimer:
“This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace.”
The above earned Ian Fleming a place amongst other authors abused by “sensitivity readers,” such as Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway.
Triggered by the warning
Trigger warnings are a reasonably new concept brought about in an attempt to emotionally prepare consumers for possible depictions of violence or other unsettling things. The idea was individuals who have suffered past trauma might be taken back to their trauma if exposed unwittingly to images or depictions of something similar to their experience.
However, some experts argue that trigger warnings are having a detrimental effect on these individuals. Victoria Bridgland from Flinders University explains:
“When people see trigger warnings, it makes them feel anxious, but that anxiety doesn’t seem to be any sort of helpful emotional preparation.”
Essentially, the trigger warning itself triggers individuals. She goes on to state:
“We need more strategies to give people versus just putting a warning on something and assuming that is going to give them a toolkit for mental health.”
How about ditching trigger warnings altogether and putting the ownership of handling one’s emotions and mental health on individuals? Life is all about struggle, as we learn from the story of Job in The Bible.
One cannot have life without pain and suffering attached to it. You cannot take the good times and leave the bad times because they are uncomfortable.
One must learn to accept the things that happen to them, deal with them appropriately, and learn to survive and thrive despite those difficult times. If watching a Bond movie from the 1960s sends you into a mental health free fall, you have more significant issues than past trauma.
Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
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