This article appears in the new March issue of The American Spectator. To subscribe to our monthly print edition, click here.
James Bond on Jack's Turf: Taunts Bauer Again, Calls Him "Rubbish"
-- New York Times headline, February 30, 2007
After months of transatlantic bickering and tabloid name-calling, the public feud between Jack Bauer and James Bond has taken on an ugly new coloring. The battle for espionage bragging rights, now affecting U.S.-UK relations, has become a classic barroom brawl, as the clandestine torture tactics championed by both principals is bandied about in television spots, print articles, and YouTube videos the world over, aided and abetted by the New Media Youth.
In an effort to calm the dispute, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a statement yesterday calling on the two men "to begin acting like gentlemen again. Their countries expect a certain degree of decorum from them, not adolescent temper tantrums." She added, "This is not, and never was, a competition." In London, Conservative Party leader and Calvin Klein model David Cameron struck a more partisan note. "Brits know about a stiff upper lip," he said, "and Commander Bond will show Mr. Bauer just what that means."
At U.S. detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, this "spy war" is all too real. Detainees are terrified that the celebritized "torture tactics" championed by Mr. Bauer might tsunami their peaceful Caribbean retreat. A statement released through an ACLU-court-appointed-human-rights-free-of-charge lawyer said, "We prisoners of conscience worry we will lose our three daily, politically correct squares in an effort to boost the tough guy image of Jack Bauer." The Bond-leaning EU and ICC are considering sending "food troops" to the base to ensure that religiously ordained, and nutritious, meals are in fact still being served.
Despite mounting pressure from both governments to "hold the high ground," neither man appears willing to resist upping the ante. Commander Bond made a pre-emptive appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman Monday night, one day after being snubbed at the 79th Annual Oscars in Los Angeles. Asked by Letterman if he was Mr. Bauer's moral as well as tactical superior, Bond responded, "I don't try to have it both ways, Dave. I make decisions and let the chips fall where they may" -- a none too subtle allusion to Mr. Bauer's rather conflicted decision-making patterns. Letterman clearly understood, telling his guest, "That would imply you think Jack Bauer hasn't defended his country to the best of his ability." Bond merely smiled his famous "come hither" smile.
And with that, the fists began to fly again. Bond had to engage an extra security detail to escort him from the CBS Studios through the gauntlet of angry Bauer sympathizers arrayed outside.
To respond to Bond's accusations, Mr. Bauer immediately booked himself on a special world telecast sit-down with Ms. Oprah Winfrey, or Oprah, as she is popularly known. He said of the quarrel with Bond, "I am just a simple man with simple tastes. I believe in God. I believe in the love of a woman. I believe that good always triumphs over evil, and I believe in ice hockey." "But," Oprah prodded, "now that Congress is cutting funding to Homeland Security, won't that affect your ability to get your job done in order to protect us?" "I don't need fancy pants cars, watches, and the rest of it to do my job," Mr. Bauer intoned.
In a rare evening edition of the Guardian, 007 snapped back, "I can get down and dirty with the best of them, too!" Poll numbers, however, suggest that Bond is losing favor, even among his strongest demographic, the prep school educated Alpha male set. To bolster support for the MI6 agent, the BBC is putting together a special report entitled, "Men of the Shadows: Why the British Provide More Comforts and Resources to Special Forces Than the Yanks," to air on BBC Prime, a channel not available in the United States, but popular in India and points farther west.
As the feud rages on, pro-Bauer and pro-Bond websites and blogs are popping up all over the Internet, with Wall Street hearing rumors that should the clash continue, Google or MySpace will attempt to buy out a majority on one side in order to capitalize on the awesome advertising opportunities opening up as the entire world watches and waits for the next blow to land.
Amy K. Mitchell is managing editor of The American Spectator. This article appears in the new March issue of The American Spectator. To subscribe to our monthly print edition, click here.