Monday, August 27, 2012

Link roundup

1. Bond vs. Bourne explained at Metafilter:

Bond was a character that people in his era could identify with:

Think about how that works in the post war era. The office dwelling accountant/lawyer/ad man/salesman has an expense account. This covers some lunches at counters with clients , or maybe a few nice dinners. He flirts with the secretaries and receptionists and sometimes sleeps with them. He travels on business, perhaps from his suburb into Chicago, or from Chicago to Cleveland, or San Francisco to LA. His office issues him a dictaphone (he can't type) or perhaps a rolling display case for his wares. He has a work car, maybe an Oldsmobile 88 if he's lucky, or a Ford Falcon if he's not. He's working his way up to the top, but isn't quite ready for a management slot. He wears a suit, tie and hat every day to the office. If he's doing well he buys this downtown at a specialty men's store. If he's merely average, he picks this up at Macy's, or Sears if he's really just a regular joe. If he gets sick his employer has a nice PPO insurance plan for him.


Now look at Bond. He has an expense account, which covers extravagant dinners and breakfasts at the finest 4 star hotels and restaurants. He travels on business, to exotic places like Istanbul, Tokyo and Paris. He takes advantage of the sexual revolution (while continuing to serve his imperialist/nationalist masters) by sleeping with random women in foreign locations. He gets issued cool stuff by the office-- instead of a big dictaphone that he keeps on his desk, Bond has a tiny dictaphone that he carries around with him in his pocket! He has a work car -- but it's an Aston Martin with machine guns! He's a star, with a license to kill, but not management. Management would be boring anyways, they stay in London while Bond gets to go abroad and sleep with beautiful women. Bond always wears a suit, but they're custom tailored of the finest materials. If he gets hurt, he has some Royal Navy doctors to fix him right up.

In today's world, that organization man who looked up to James Bond as a kind of avatar of his hopes and dreams, no longer exists.

Who is our generations James Bond? Jason Bourne. He can't trust his employer, who demanded ultimate loyalty and gave nothing in return. In fact, his employer is outsourcing his work to a bunch of foreign contractors who presumably work for less and ask fewer questions. He's given up his defined benefit pension (Bourne had a military one) for an individual retirement account (safe deposit box with gold/leeching off the gf in a country with a depressed currency). In fact his employer is going to use him up until he's useless. He can't trust anyone, other than a few friends he's made on the way while backpacking around. Medical care? Well that's DIY with stolen stuff, or he gets his friends to hook him up. What kinds of cars does he have? Well no more company car for sure, he's on his own on that, probably some kind of import job. What about work tools? Bourne is on is own there too. Sure, work initially issued him a weapon, but after that he's got to scrounge up whatever discount stuff he can find, even when it's an antique. He has to do more with less. And finally, Bourne survives as a result of his high priced, specialized education. He can do things few people can do -- fight multiple opponents, hotwire a car, tell which guy in a restaurant can handle himself, hotwire cars, speak multiple languages and duck a surveillance tail. Oh, and like the modern, (sub)urban professional, Bourne had to mortgage his entire future to get that education. They took everything he had, and promised that if he gave himself up to the System, in return the System would take care of him.

It turned out to be a lie.

We're all Jason Bourne now.
Via.

2. A very specific fail compilation at Youtube - - girls in bikinis falling and/or breaking things.

3. New toys available for preorder at Entertainment Earth: plush Captain Caveman, Ice King splat toy.

1 comment:

  1. I take issue with the Bond/Bourne comparison.

    I realize that most people's conception of Bond is based on the films, and this description is fairly apt in describing the character as we've come to know him on the big screen. But that was not the way that Ian Fleming wrote Bond.

    He was very much the "everyman" who enjoyed juicing the company for the occasional extravagance, the expensive hotel, the fancy rental car and tuxedo, all in the name of maintaining his cover.

    The Aston Martin was his own, a restoration job, impeccably cared for and maintained, and often referred to as his single greatest indulgence.

    When not on the company's expense, he kept things very basic and simple, he was entirely utilitarian.

    At his core, Bond was someone who met most of the criteria listed here for Bourne. A self-made man who was often beyond the reach of the resources of the Crown when on assignment. And while he trusted the handful of employers to whom he directly reported, he was constantly wary of those he encountered in the field, regardless of where they claimed allegiance.

    It's a shame that in the films Bond became such tool of the plutocracy and a bloated caricature of the straightforward man's man he was written to be.

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