Upcoming Events

International | Arts and Media

no events match your query!

New Events

International

no events posted in last week

Blog Feeds

Anti-Empire

Anti-Empire

offsite link Ukraine Now Producing 10 Self-Propelled ... Fri Apr 19, 2024 06:15 | Anti-Empire

offsite link Russian Firms Rush to Buy Anti-Drone Def... Wed Apr 17, 2024 08:58 | Bloomberg

offsite link Ukraine Buys Huge Amounts of Russian Fue... Fri Jan 20, 2023 08:34 | Antonia Kotseva

offsite link Turkey Has Sent Ukraine Cluster Munition... Thu Jan 12, 2023 00:26 | Jack Detsch

offsite link New Israeli Government Promises to Talk ... Tue Jan 10, 2023 21:13 | Al Majadeen

Anti-Empire >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Alternative Copy of thesaker.is site is available Thu May 25, 2023 14:38 | Ice-Saker-V6bKu3nz
Alternative site: https://thesaker.si/saker-a... Site was created using the downloads provided Regards Herb

offsite link The Saker blog is now frozen Tue Feb 28, 2023 23:55 | The Saker
Dear friends As I have previously announced, we are now “freezing” the blog.  We are also making archives of the blog available for free download in various formats (see below). 

offsite link What do you make of the Russia and China Partnership? Tue Feb 28, 2023 16:26 | The Saker
by Mr. Allen for the Saker blog Over the last few years, we hear leaders from both Russia and China pronouncing that they have formed a relationship where there are

offsite link Moveable Feast Cafe 2023/02/27 ? Open Thread Mon Feb 27, 2023 19:00 | cafe-uploader
2023/02/27 19:00:02Welcome to the ‘Moveable Feast Cafe’. The ‘Moveable Feast’ is an open thread where readers can post wide ranging observations, articles, rants, off topic and have animate discussions of

offsite link The stage is set for Hybrid World War III Mon Feb 27, 2023 15:50 | The Saker
Pepe Escobar for the Saker blog A powerful feeling rhythms your skin and drums up your soul as you?re immersed in a long walk under persistent snow flurries, pinpointed by

The Saker >>

Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

offsite link Pupil Suspensions Reach Record High as Experts Blame Effect of Lockdowns on Behaviour Fri Apr 19, 2024 15:30 | Will Jones
The number of pupils suspended from school has reached a record high as experts warn that bad behaviour has increased as a result of lockdown school closures.
The post Pupil Suspensions Reach Record High as Experts Blame Effect of Lockdowns on Behaviour appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Up to Half of Excess Deaths in U.S. Nursing Homes Were Due to Lockdowns and Mitigation Measures Fri Apr 19, 2024 13:19 | Will Jones
Up to half of excess deaths in American nursing homes were due to the impact of lockdowns and mitigation measures on frail residents rather than the virus, according to new analysis.
The post Up to Half of Excess Deaths in U.S. Nursing Homes Were Due to Lockdowns and Mitigation Measures appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Woke Activists Need to Read Their David Hume Fri Apr 19, 2024 11:16 | Dr James Allan
The great Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume would have some things to teach today's woke activists, says Prof James Allan: about a mind-independent reality that has no truck with claims of 'my truth'.
The post Woke Activists Need to Read Their David Hume appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link Farmers? Biggest Problems are Green Ideologues, not Climate Change Fri Apr 19, 2024 09:00 | Ben Pile
It's been a wet winter and this is bad news for farmers, says Ben Pile. But with agricultural yields increasing sharply over recent decades, there's no reason to link it to climate change or start catostrophising about it.
The post Farmers? Biggest Problems are Green Ideologues, not Climate Change appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

offsite link How Many Billions of People Would Die Under Net Zero? Fri Apr 19, 2024 07:00 | Chris Morrison
Chris Packham has hit back at claims made on GB News that half the world's population could die under Net Zero. But that seems like a fair estimate of the catastrophic harm of deindustrialisation, says Chris Morrison.
The post How Many Billions of People Would Die Under Net Zero? appeared first on The Daily Sceptic.

Lockdown Skeptics >>

Voltaire Network
Voltaire, international edition

offsite link The cost of war, by Manlio Dinucci Wed Apr 17, 2024 04:12 | en

offsite link Angela Merkel and François Hollande's crime against peace, by Thierry Meyssan Tue Apr 16, 2024 06:58 | en

offsite link Iranian response to attack on its consulate in Damascus could lead to wider warf... Fri Apr 12, 2024 13:36 | en

offsite link Is the possibility of a World War real?, by Serge Marchand , Thierry Meyssan Tue Apr 09, 2024 08:06 | en

offsite link Netanyahu's Masada syndrome and the UN report by Francesca Albanese, by Alfredo ... Sun Apr 07, 2024 07:53 | en

Voltaire Network >>

No Time To Think:

category international | arts and media | opinion/analysis author Tuesday October 26, 2021 22:11author by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin - artist Report this post to the editors

The Changing Geopolitics of International Blockbusters?

Review of James Bond No Time To Die film

The latest Bond flick No Time To Die was certainly a rollercoaster ride of exciting action scenes and great special effects, yet contained more than a quantum of longueurs.

With a running time of 163 minutes it certainly tries the patience and the bladders of its audiences (who I saw popping out of the cinema throughout the film).

Personally, I think 90 minutes is enough for any film, especially since the disappearance of the intermission and ice-cream selling of yore.

In this case, the increased length seems to have been to incorporate backstories of some of the individuals involved.

The effect of this is to attenuate Bond’s appearances in the film, while adding very little to the story (hence the longueurs).

One effect of this narrative style is to put more emphasis on the story of Bond and less on the usual geopolitics and action we associate with Bond films.
Cinema poster
Cinema poster

Now this is very interesting considering that if one was to ask oneself: which country would be the most likely target and villain of the latest Bond film as a cultural representative of the world’s imperialist and neo-colonial powers? It would have to be: China.

Who’s bad?

Yet there were no Chinese baddies, no stereotyped ‘yellow peril’, no Chinese mad scientists, no Chinese monomaniacal nutter bent on ruling the world.

Why would this be? Could it be something to do with new British geopolitical sensitivities and Brexit anxieties over its current position in the world?

In the past the Russians were usually targeted, as well as the more abstract multinational SPECTRE baddies.

At least during the Cold War (and some time after) there was definitely a cultural reflection of the realities of geopolitics in the James Bond narratives.

Are they keeping one eye on the potential economic and military alliances of the future while keeping the other eye on their current alliances?

Instead what we get is yet another Russian mad scientist with a comically exaggerated Russian accent, lots of SPECTRE goings on, and the monomaniacal nutter ‘Lyutsifer Safin’ (with equally crazy spelling).

Thus we have a caricature of the early Bond films with some ’emotionally deep’ background filling to make up for its lack of relevance to current geopolitics.

Added to this emasculated plotline is the Bond’s 007 replacement with Nomi, his successor – a female black Bond.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a female black Bond, but it does show one of the weaknesses of current identity politics, that her identity as an operative for an imperialist, militarist organisation is more important than her identity as a colonial victim of imperialist, militarist organisations in the past.

The Noname Book Club, for example tweeted the general point that:

“under white domination we consistently celebrate the “first black …” because we’ve been taught that assimilation into white society means safety, upward mobility, liberation. beyond how this can lead to black children idolizing the first black billionaire or war criminal, […] it also individualizes / romanticizes black success. it reduces our desire for collective liberation and makes us hyper focus on white approval.”

There is also a slight ramping up of what I call the ‘theatre of cruelty’ factor – that is the pushing beyond the normal standards of ‘common decency’ that underlies cinema narratives in the public sphere.

In general the depiction of violence and cruelty has been increasing steadily since the 1950s and 1960s, progressively desensitising audiences to basic human norms (another role of action movies like the Bond films).

In this case, a child (Mathilde) is used in the narrative as a human shield but in the end the film does not go so far as to actually hurt her – there are still some limits to what is acceptable in the public’s eyes.

Militarism

However, there seems to be very few limits to the extent to which the British government is creating new and targeted strategies to promote support for the military, for example:

“Armed Forces Day, Uniform to Work Day, Camo Day, National Heroes Day – in the streets, on television, on the web, at sports events, in schools, advertising and fashion – the military presence in civilian life is on the march. The public and ever younger children are being groomed to collude in the increasing militarisation of UK society.”

The role of these forms of militarism has been to encourage people “to see the military, and spying, in positive terms; to think of violent, military solutions as the best way to solve international disagreements; and to ignore peaceful alternatives.”

Children have long been drawn in through comics such as The Boy’s Own Paper, published from 1879 to 1967, and aimed at young and teenage boys.

For example the first volume’s serials included “From Powder Monkey to Admiral, or The Stirring Days of the British Navy” and promoted the British Empire as the peak of civilization.

Later comics about World War 2 were founded in the late 1950s and early 1960s, such as War Picture Library (1958), The Victor (1961) and Commando (1961) (which is still in print today) were popular for decades after the war.

According to Rod Driver, these comics:

“had a strong focus on patriotism and heroism. They stereotyped people from enemy countries as cruel or cowardly, and used derogatory terms such as jerries, huns or krauts for German people, eyeties for Italian people, or nips for Japanese people. A generation of children grew up with a very distorted view of the war and people in other countries.”

As for the adults, stereotypes and cruelty are still the stock in trade of culture producers and the James Bond films rejoice in them.

Recruitment campaigns

The significance of Nomi as a black 007 can be seen in new recruitment advertisements which feature a black female soldier.
Women represent less than 10% of the British Army, so they launched a new female-led recruitment campaign.
According to Imogen Watson, the ‘This is Belonging’ campaign:

“follows the army’s most successful recruitment to date.
Four days after the launch, the record was broken for the highest number of applications received in a single day.
After a month, 141% of the army’s application target was reached.
By March, it had surpassed 100% of its annual recruiting target for soldiers, for the first time in eight years.”

International institutions

In one sense James Bond films depict a reality that despite the many International institutions dedicated to promoting world peace, military build-ups continue apace.

In an article entitled ‘The False Promise of International Institutions’, John J. Mearsheimer writes “that institutions have minimal influence on state behavior, and thus hold little promise for promoting stability in the post-Cold War world.”[p7]

He discusses the differences between the ideas of Realists and Critical Theorists.

The Realists believe that there is an objective and knowable world while the Critical Theorists see “the possibility of endless interpretations of the world before them”, and therefore there is no reason “why a communitarian discourse of peace and harmony cannot supplant the realist discourse of security competition and war”.

However, there is a contradiction in that, for example, Americans who think seriously about foreign policy dislike realism as it clashes with their basic values and how they prefer to think about themselves in the wider world.

Mearsheimer outlines the negative aspects of realism that depict a world of stark and harsh competition, where there is no escape from the evil of power and which treats war as inevitable.

Realism goes against deep-seated beliefs that progress is desirable and “and with time and effort reasonable individuals can solve important social problems.”

One major problem is that while the international system strongly shapes the behavior of states, “states still have considerable freedom of action”.

He gives the example of the failure of the League of Nations to address German and Japanese aggression in the 1930s.

Thus, the role of international institutions may actually be to stave off war until countries feel ready to attack or defend themselves.

What he does not discuss however is the situations where ordinary people rose up to extricate their nations from imperialist wars, such as Ireland in 1916 (“We serve neither King nor Kaiser), and the Peace! Land! Bread! campaign of the Bolsheviks in 1917.

These campaigns show that while ordinary people are generally considered cannon fodder in times of war, it is possible for future mass movements to transcend the narrow triumphalism and national chauvinism encouraged by recruitment campaigns and blockbuster films.

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His artwork consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes as well as Irish history and cityscapes of Dublin. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country here.

Related Link: https://www.21cir.com/2021/10/no-time-to-think-the-changing-geopolitics-of-international-blockbusters/
© 2001-2024 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy