What can you say about an urbane, epicurean super spy for Queen and Country who became a geek? That he liked digitization? That he went liberal?
In an alarming development for Bond devotees everywhere, the digital colosssi Apple and Amazon are reportedly seeking rights to the 007 franchise. The implications of this possibility are quite stunning, as we contemplate what a new 21st century Bond would be like, embracing the cultures of Seattle or Silicon Valley. The outcome could be similar to the concept of creative destruction first identified by the Austria-Hungary born economist, Joseph Schumpeter.
In this spirited new world of espionage, there would be no need for the Double-O Section of the British Intelligence Service, known as MI6, that issues a license to kill. And there would be no sleek Walther PPKs chambered in 7.65 mm toted in shoulder holsters. Such behavior and weapons kit are not compatible with the collaborative, egalitarian values of the technology sector. Even villains desiring to annihilate the Earth or to cause conflict among the great powers could be seen as precious — indeed, people to be nurtured for their intrinsic worth and discoverable talents. Bond’s duty weapons would be his unbridled idealism and apologies on behalf of the Anglo-American alliance.
The highly authoritarian and well-tailored “M,” the head of MI6, would be dismissed. There would be no need to direct clandestine affairs from a paneled office studded with maritime paintings by famous artists. With an open source culture, Bond would sit in a collegial environment at a round, modular table festooned with plugs for electronic devices. Tradecraft would be continuously enhanced with many millions wired in, all giving advice and counsel. Espionage would be a giant matrix of laterally interfaced human elements: command and control protocols would not be seen. Not since Woodstock would there be such collective ecstasy. Bond and colleagues would gush over their rights, but there would be no talk of responsibilities.
Vodka martinis, shaken not stirred, would not be ordered. At the headquarters of MI6, an environmentally savvy Bond would sip Pellegrino mixed with freeze-dried organic kale powder with a sprig of cinnamon — a heady brew laden with vitamins.
On the job, Bond would furtively dart into Starbucks to queue up for a robust caffè misto and a pumpkin cream cheese muffin, while updating his Facebook Page. The recent acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon for $13.7 billion would offer Bond an array of exotic body lotions naturally fragranced and made only from obscure flora of the Amazon.
There would be no Aston Martins or BMW Z4s. Indeed, a socially committed Bond would drive a small electric car, and for short odd jobs, he would swipe an encoded MI6 credit card and rent a Divvy bike for a few hours — a means of transport perfected in Chicago.
There would be no need for Savile Row or the haberdashery arcades of Jermyn Street. A 21st century Bond would be a habitué of Old Navy with a closet full of gray T-shirts and hoodies. He would be a value shopper, unmoved by elite fashion. And who needs Turnbull & Asser when you have UNTUCKit?
Bond’s kit would not include a svelte English lid over brief case, as we saw in From Russia with Love. To the contrary: Bond would strap on a unisex backpack, bristling with flaps and pockets for digital gear — and a pouch for a water bottle, his cherished hydration system.
As for music, the familiar electric guitar melody dating to the release of Dr. No in 1962 would be replaced with “Shiny Happy People” done by the rock band, R.E.M. As commanded by the song, Bond would put his love “in the ground where the flowers grow.”
The mutant Bond of the 21st century would be a darling of the Left: espionage, the world’s second oldest profession, would at last become politically correct.