I’m a little late, but this is worth commenting on:
Idris Elba has posted a cryptic tweet suggesting he could be the next James Bond.
Days after reports that a producer of the franchise is tipping him to be 007, he posted: “My name’s Elba, Idris Elba”.
Fans are taking it as a big hint that he could be about to take on the role when Daniel Craig leaves next year.
There’ve been rumours linking Idris to the Bond role since 2014, which he’s neither confirmed nor denied.
Taken in isolation, this isn’t too bad an idea. Idris Elba is a decent actor (although he has turned in some awful performances), and like Daniel Craig he has both physical presence and suavity. Personally I think the James Bond franchise should have been binned once and for all after the godawful Spectre, but if they’re going to insist on flogging this dead horse you might as well cast Elba as anyone else. Sure he’s probably too old and many will wonder how MI6 ended up recruiting a Baltimore drug dealer as their top agent, but neither of these should count against him. Again, taken in isolation, nor should his being black. A black James Bond might seem a little odd and out of whack with the books, but that ship sailed a long time ago. So in itself, and as a comment on Elba’s suitability for the role, I don’t have a problem.
However, any decision to cast a black actor as James Bond cannot be separated from the culture war which is raging around us. It would be nice if people could adopt the same attitude to Elba as rugby league fans did to Ellery Hanley when he became captain of Great Britain in 1988, or damned near everyone did when Daley Thompson cleaned up in 1984. I understand this era was pretty awful for black or mixed-race kids at school or on the street, but nobody in those days was trumpeting the achievements of a talented black person as being a victory over whitey. People cheered for Frank Bruno, Jason Robinson, Martin Offiah, Nigel Benn, and Chris Eubank as well as the numerous black performers and musicians in Britain’s cultural scene without resorting to zero-sum race war score-keeping. But we live in a different era, one where we’re told that a black person taking a nominally white position is hugely important in itself, a redressing of the balance currently tipped in favour of “white privilege”. And unfortunately, after a decade of poisonous identity politics, they are right: Idris Elba playing James Bond would be important in itself, and not in a good way.
Something the ZMan has pointed out is that minority groups are increasingly acting as though they’ve won the decisive battle in a war. Pulling down the symbols and statues of one’s enemy is the act of a conquering army, and that’s precisely what’s happening in the UK, US, and Canada. Meanwhile, within mere weeks of the Supreme Court ruling in his favour over his refusal to make a cake for a gay wedding, the Colorado baker is back in court after a transgender woman filed a discrimination suit against him. When someone decided to remake Ghostbusters in 2016 with an all-female cast, it was presented by culture warriors as a victory for feminism. When it tanked, misogyny was blamed. The forces behind identity politics spare no efforts in seeking opportunities to capture ground, celebrate a victory, and in it rub the noses of those they see as their enemies, i.e. ordinary white men and their families. Indeed, New Labour’s entire immigration strategy seems to have been created purely to spite the native British population by shoving “diversity” in their faces and calling anyone who complains a racist. Within minutes of the rumours of Elba playing Bond hitting social media it was full of SJW’s delighted by how much this would upset “racists”, by which they mean anyone getting a little fed up of identity politics being rammed down their throats twenty-four-seven. For instance:
There is plenty of this sentiment echoed on Twitter, and they might have a point if the only people who have mixed feelings about the idea are racists who don’t like blacks. But what I suspect is bothering many people is that Elba cast as Bond will deepen the wounds of the ongoing culture war. We’ll have endless Guardian articles telling us on the one hand that a black James Bond shows how wonderfully multi-cutural and diverse Britain is, while on the other it’s still steeped in racism and unable to move on from its colonial past. Anyone who objects to such extrapolations from a single casting will be denounced as racist and, probably, banned from Twitter – along with anyone who gives the actual film a less-than glowing review. And if there was not at least one article in a mainstream media outlet demanding a transgender James Bond, I’d be astounded.
As the Zman said, the SJWs and militant minorities believe they’ve won and are enjoying what they think are victory parades. In reality, the war has barely got started and all we’ve seen so far are small, opening battles which is shaping up to be a long and bloody campaign which can only have one winner. Given where we are now, compared to even five years ago, I’d hazard a guess a lot of people uncomfortable about Elba playing Bond are less concerned with the colour of his skin than how it will be used by sections of the left to further and deepen the ongoing culture war. It was not the racist right that created identity politics but the woke left; ordinary people have been fervently wishing this war would end but, with no prospect of that in sight, increasing numbers have decided enough is enough and started to push back. Unfortunately, this means fighting on the ground the left have chosen, and in this case it’s Idris Elba playing James Bond. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but sadly it is. It’s a shame because Elba seems like a good sort and I’m sure he didn’t ask for this, but as Trotsky didn’t quite say, culture war is interested in you.
I don’t think there’s anything to the rumours of Elba playing Bond – they’ve been circulating for years – but if the producers move ahead with it, they should prepare themselves for an shitstorm that may render the film unmarketable. It won’t be a question of right wingers objecting to Elba’s casting per se, but of its inevitable weaponisation by those who want to see them eradicated, or at least cowed into silence. Nobody batted an eyelid back in 2006 when Felix was played by a black man in Casino Royale, and I doubt a black Bond would have done much other than raise a few eyebrows and cause some muttering. Alas, that was a long time ago. We’re now neck-deep in a nasty, vicious culture war which is taking no prisoners, and until recently has been heavily one-sided. But now the other side is turning up, the rules are about to change. Depressingly, this probably means a black James Bond is a near impossibility – at least for a while.