I sought relief from my post-election depression this week with a new James Bond movie, Skyfall, and a new Tom Wolfe book, Back to Blood. Both were distracting, but didn’t get the job done.
As for Skyfall, Daniel Craig is a credible James Bond—he has muscles, shoots straight, and has nine lives—but l miss the real Bond, Sean Connery, and his sophisticated British banter with both babes and bad guys. I miss his martini, shaken, not stirred.
I met Sean Connery once at a Scottish event in Washington. I found myself jammed up against him as the crowd converged on the podium for the formalities. Given the occasion, he was dressed to the hilt—kilt, knee hose, and a sporran in front that looked suspiciously like a dangling flask. He had a drink in his hand. We nodded, but didn’t speak. Or, as they sometimes say in Texas, we howdyed, but didn’t shake.
I wanted desperately to ask him whether his drink had been shaken or stirred, but I couldn’t because the drink was a Scotch, not a martini. So, since I couldn’t say the cool thing, I said nothing at all.
Shaken not stirred has gone by the wayside. The new Bond has more muscles, but less sophistication. He had a martini, but he couldn’t have cared less whether it was shaken or stirred. Subtlety and nuance are no longer appreciated. Yesterday’s audience didn’t notice. Not enough old guys.
Tom Wolfe is my favorite author. Bonfire of the Vanities is my favorite novel, followed closely by A Man in Full. I Am Charlotte Simmons was a step or two down, but was still a page turner. That’s about all you can say for his latest, Back to Blood. Like the current Bond movie, it lacked the linguistic appeal I had come to expect. There was no “lemon tart” as in Bonfire, or “take the safety off the ring binders” as in A Man. It had insufficient nuance.
Which brings me to the election, in which every attempt at nuance, and reason, was pounced upon and punished, even more so than in previous elections. There were too many litmus tests. Each side had to remain pure, ignoring Ogden Nash’s caution that “Purity is Obscurity.”
I could elaborate, but you know what I mean.
Well, at least, Texas A&M beat number one Alabama today, and Georgia beat Auburn. That helps.