A gay villain in a James Bond movie? The world has definitely changed since I started reading 007. bit.ly/SEM6gI
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) November 11, 2012
When ex-Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz greeted the world on Sunday morning with his uncomfortable feelings about the new James Bond movie, it only took professional Twitterer Jack Shafer two minutes to respond with, “You have bad gaydar.” And this is probably true! How could anyone claim to have read the Ian Fleming books and not picked up on Ian Fleming’s delightfully English combination of fascination/disgust with The Gays?
Besides, as the Twitter people quickly pointed out, the gay couple of Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd went from Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever to the movie version without any kind of straightening.
“For a lady,” ah ha ha ha.
The fey Bond villain shows up again and again in Fleming’s books and, depending on the actor, in the 007 movies. Fleming usually writes as a third-person omniscient narrator, approvingly listing Bond’s tastes and fetishes. (An exception is the The Spy Who Loved Me, written as the first-person diary of the young heroine, Vivienne Michel. It is basically James Bond slash fiction written by the actual author of the Bond books.) And in the process of filling out his slim manuscripts with Bond’s thoughts and prejudices, it’s clear that The Gays occupy a lot of space in the brain of Fleming/Bond.
Bond came to the conclusion that Tilly Masterson was one of those girls whose hormones had got mixed up. He knew the type well and thought they and their male counterparts were a direct consequence of giving votes to women and “sex equality.” As a result of fifty years of emancipation, feminine qualities were dying out or being transferred to the males. Pansies of both sexes were everywhere, not yet completely homosexual, but confused, not knowing what they were. The result was a herd of unhappy sexual misfits—barren and full of frustrations, the woman wanting to dominate and the men to be nannied.
Andrew J. Peters writes on his blog, “Think about the many fey villains in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, their apathy toward women the perfect foil to Bond’s rather active heterosexuality.” He doesn’t find Fleming to be especially worse in this regard than other thriller writers of the time. There’s nothing in the Bond books as horrifically homophobic as any random page in a Mickey Spillane thriller.
As far as the Skyfall villain that gave Kurtz skeevey feelings, both Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem claim their sexy scene is not gay at all! It’s just what dudes sometimes do together, when one of them is tied up to the chair and the other one is caressing him gently and then the one who is tied up says it is maybe not his first time, that is all! Hardly anybody called Christopher Hitchens gay and he wrote a whole book about his various boyfriends, one of which was not Martin Amis, son of second-rate James Bond author Kingsley Amis.