Multiple conservative critics condemned a recent James Bond novel for vilifying former President Trump and other conservative politicians in a story about a dastardly international plot against King Charles III.
Author Charlie Higson had been authorized by Ian Fleming Publications, who own the rights to the James Bond franchise, to write a new book to celebrate King Charles III’s coronation.
Higson touted that his new book, “On His Majesty’s Secret Service,” would feature “sex, violence, cars, a colorful villain with a nasty henchman, and of course, Bond himself, so well-known and yet so unknowable.”
But in early September, conservative culture critics from multiple outlets condemned the novel as yet another beloved franchise that has been corrupted by modern “woke” political messaging.
The New York Times opinion columnist Ross Douthat scorched the novel in a piece headlined “How America Made James Bond ‘Woke,’” warning that it juxtaposes a progressive version of the globetrotting spy against a caricature of conservatism, “007 is charged with protecting King Charles III from a dastardly plot hatched by a super villain,” Aethelstan of Wessex, who can be described as a “Brexiteer, a right-wing populist, apparently the true and natural heir to Goldfinger and Blofeld.”
He goes on to note that Bond, known for womanizing in the past, is in a romantic “situationship” with an immigration lawyer he permits to sleep with other men, and that his mission is that he “must travel to Viktor Orban’s Hungary to infiltrate the vast right-wing conspiracy and avert a terrorist attack at Charles’s coronation.”
Douthat lamented it as yet another example of “American-style wokeness” asserting its power throughout the Anglosphere or countries culturally and linguistically connected to England.
Joel Abbott of NotTheBee, the real news offshoot of the satirical humor website The Babylon Bee, wrote a similar review mocking the book for pandering to far-left cultural politics.
UK politician David Kurten posted an excerpt from the novel where Bond sees a villainous conservative among a gathering of evildoers, the book describing him as being “famous for promoting COVID/vaccines/mask-wearing/5G conspiracy theories, which had spilled over into the usual anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-BBC, anti-MSM, anti-cultural Marxist, Climate Change Denial pronouncements,” noting that this villainous Englishman had made an infamous “anti-trans diatribe.”
On that same page, Bond notices that this villainous gathering has a lack of “diversity” or “disabled” representation.
“Bond was struck by something. It was a long while since he’d been at any kind of function that was almost exclusively full of men. It felt strange. There was not even a pretense at diversity here,” the book wrote, later noting Aethelstan “hadn’t been the least bit concerned about ensuring that half of the people he’d hired to carry out his coup should be women, non-White, or disabled.”
Abbott responded by writing, “The woke create these idiotic straw men out of anyone who doesn’t think exactly like them, then imagine them to be the supervillains plotting to destroy the world,” later adding, “This is why Hollywood can’t write good villains anymore.”
Critic Niall Gooch wrote a scathing review in The Spectator headlined, “Meet the awful new progressive James Bond.”
He suggested the main villain of the “outstandingly terrible” novel is a clear reference to Brexit proponent and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Bounding into Comics writer John F. Trent summarized that the novel, essentially, portrays “White men who oppose wokeness as the villains.”
Trent quoted another purported excerpt of the novel where Bond observed that the villainous right-wing figures were discussing “how global warming was a con, and sooner or later came round to the Big Woke Conspiracy, Black Lives Matter, the Great Replacement, and what are we going to do about the Muslims?”
He also quotes a speech from Aethelstan where he warns “The greatest enemy is not a foreign invader,” but rather can take the form of a “biased BBC journalist with a hidden agenda, a beardie from Islington who thinks we should all ride vegan bicycles and worship at the altar of Karl Marx, or a man in a dress who insists we call him ‘they.’”
In May, Higson spoke about his book on “The Bond Experience” podcast, where he noted that rather than an “international globalist Illuminati,” the real modern equivalents to Bond villains are conservative political leaders and those who fund them.
He argued that “what is causing the most amount of instability in the world today” that spy agencies would be concerned about is “polarization of politics and the rise of this sort of populist far-right nationalism.”
He went on to argue that the current “conservative government” in the UK is one such example for its “dog whistle culture war politics,” later noting that America’s equivalent, former President Trump, “has managed to completely destabilize the United States.”