It’s common knowledge that Ian Fleming’s James Bond spy thrillers were hardly politically correct. They were packed with outdated, but probably deeply-felt, sexism, racism, and, yes, even homophobia. (Not to mention the relentlessly kick-ass sadism.) Those who haven’t opened the books in a while may assume that Fleming’s old-timey notions lurked in the subtext of the novels. But a recent re-read of Goldfinger revealed the hate-speech was hilariously explicit.
Much of the racialist invective is reserved for Koreans, particular poor old Odd-Job. As a reward for showing off his karate skills, bad guy Auric Goldfinger gives Odd-Job a special treat:
Goldfinger took the cat from under his arm and tossed it to the Korean who caught it eagerly – “I am tired of seeing this animal around. You may have it for dinner.” The Korean’s eyes gleamed.
That’s right. Koreans love cat meat. Got it. (Clearly Blofeld and Goldfinger weren’t in the SMERSH kitty club. Too bad, that white Pekinese on Blofeld’s lap looked delicious.) Later, Goldfinger explains why he hires only Koreans:
“They are the cruelest, most ruthless people in the world… When they want women, street women are brought down from London, well-remunerated for their services and sent back. The women are not much to look at, but they are white and that is all the Koreans ask – to submit the white race to the grossest indignities.”
Okay, but Goldfinger is a bad guy, right? He’s supposed to be racist. However, later in the book, he tragically seems to have won Bond over to his point of view:
Bond intended to stay alive on his own terms. Those terms included putting Odd-Job or any other Korean firmly in place, which in Bond’s estimation was lower than apes in the mammalian hierarchy.
LOWER THAN APES? Oh James, how could you? We knew you were a little rough on the ladies, but a crazy backwards eugenic evolutionary theorist? Were you in MI-6 or the Klan? I’d love to see where the rest of humanity is fits in on “Commander Bond’s Official Ranking of Racial Superiority.” However, Bond soon redeems himself later by repeatedly making a point of calling Odd-Job “ape” to his face. A promotion to full ape? Not “lower than?” Good show, 007.
Okay. One more awesomely wacked-out notion, written about a woman who amazingly enough, rejected Bond’s advances (and, sort of, died because of that rejection).
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 women wanting to dominate and the men to be nannied. He was sorry for them, but he had no time for them.
Who know Bond harbored such a deep hatred for women’s suffrage? Does Q know about his homophobia? Because Q doesn’t just stand for “Quartermaster.” He’s Q, he’s here, get used to it.
Finally, at the end of the book, Bond redeems his rejection by “sexual misfit” Tilly by achieving every idiot male’s moron fantasy. He’s bedding Pussy Galore, who up until now has been described as 100% lesbian, when we get the following exchange.
He said, “they told me you only liked women.”
She said, “I never met a man before.”
As Bond later bragged to M, “Any girl who says she’s gay hasn’t met me yet.”