'Oh James': 007 as International Man of History

How a fictional secret agent came to epitomize the Anglo-American relationship and interpret the evolving Cold War for the movie-going masses.

Issue: Winter 2002-2003

The Right won the battle of ideas in the late 20th-century, rendering Marxism so rapidly obsolete that states which had openly avowed their communism were happy to embrace the market and seek Western capital. But has the West also won the battle of images? This is an important question in an increasingly cosmopolitan political culture that takes its idioms, aspirations and views from visual sources, particularly television and film. Here there are two challenges: the destructive and sociopathic, or at least anti-social, character of much of the visual material produced within the West; and the decidedly mixed way in which a predominantly Western-dominated media is perceived elsewhere in the world.

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