in which Richard Cohen makes a thinly-veiled dirge to his increasing inability to sex up young women

so let me just say that as soon as i FINALLY put the finishing touches on the update i am for-real, i-swear wrapping up for 11.16, i’ll put some kind of emergency “HOLY SHIT IT’S FINISHED” link at the top of the page. i mean, it’s not going to be GOOD when all is said and done, but it will at least be finished and i’ll be able to die unhappy. for right now, however, we’ll have to settle for running with a moderately more current update in which we examine the creepy behavior of the Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen. he’s talking about Skyfall… or Daniel Craig… or something vaguely related to it for some reason…

Richard Cohen
Richard Cohen: his creepy face is helping to take this article to a whole new level

James Bond and the new sex appeal

so, to be honest, i really don’t understand this concept based on the title alone, because a) i have always operated under the premise that James Bond was supposed to be a sex symbol and b) on first glance, there’s nothing “new” about the current Bond’s sex appeal: he’s a good-looking secret agent who fucks all the ladies WELL and murders all the evil guys. this is pretty much the formula we’ve been running with since the beginning of James Bond, if i am not mistaken. but, okay, let’s indulge this conceit and climb into the article:

“In the new James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” Daniel Craig takes off his shirt and examines his wounds. There appear to be two of them — small holes on his skin from bullets fired at the beginning of the movie. He touches his wounds and winces. So do I. Bond is in pain from his wounds. I am in pain from all the hours he has spent in the gym.”

so i am GUESSING this is going in the direction of “i find the good looks of Daniel Craig distressing for some reason,” unless i am supposed to believe that Richard Cohen has some kind of weird Gamera-Asagi bond with Daniel Craig that results in him being injured whenever Craig is injured. in fact, that IS what i now choose to believe. throw that more reasonable assumption right out the damn window for this new train of pure ridiculousness!

“This Bond ripples with muscles. Craig is 44, but neither gravity nor age has done its evil work on him. Nothing about him looks natural, relaxed — a man in the prime of his life and enjoying it. Instead, I see a man chasing youth on a treadmill, performing sets and reps, a clean and press, a weighted knee raise, an incline pushup and, finally, something called an incline pec fly (don’t ask). I take these terms from the Daniel Craig Workout, which you can do, too, if your agent and publicist so insist. Otherwise, I recommend a book.”

at this point, i guess i have to go back to my “Richard Cohen’s jealous rage” theory, which DOES make more sense than anything involving Gamera, but there appear to be two major flaws in Cohen’s reasoning already:

01. that’s there’s something WRONG with a 44-year-old man running on a treadmill, lifting weights and doing other exercises to stay in shape. look, 44 years of age is NOT the prime of your life and you CAN enjoy keeping yourself fit. that’s how you fight the gravity and age! i understand if the average guy doesn’t have the means or time for that level of workout, but let’s not act like it’s INCONCEIVABLE;
02. that Daniel Craig’s workout for the movies doesn’t involve steroids in the way that the workout of every single actor who makes action movies where his shirt comes off does.

“”Skyfall” is a lot of fun — don’t get me wrong — but it still says something about our culture that, in the autumn of my years, I do not like.”

you’re right, Cohen, let’s pause to briefly note whether or not the movie we’re talking about is any good. that can’t be of more than minimal importance.

“To appreciate what I mean, contrast this new Bond to Roger O. Thornhill, the charmingly hapless advertising man played by Cary Grant in “North by Northwest.” Like Bond, Thornhill pulls off some amazing physical feats — his mad frantic escape from the crop duster, the traverse of Mount Rushmore — and like Bond he wears an expensive suit.”

this is a WEIRD comparison for a couple of reasons:

01. North By Northwest is a 1959 film, whereas the first real James Bond film came out in 1962. so wouldn’t a more accurate reflection of the difference between culture then and culture now be to, i don’t know, COMPARE JAMES BONDS?
02. James Bond is an action star, first and foremost; i don’t know what exactly you call Thornhill, but i know you don’t call him an action star.

“Unlike Bond, though, when he takes it off we do not see some marbleized man, an ersatz creation of some trainer, but a fit man, effortlessly athletic and just as effortlessly sophisticated. Of course, he knows his martinis, but he also knows how to send out a suit for swift hotel cleaning. He is a man of the world. He is, in short, a man of a certain age — 55 at the time, to be more or less exact.”

and using the COMPLETELY arbitrary age of 55 is important, you see, because Bond has never been 55. when they began to portray Bond, Connery was 32, Lazenby was 30, Moore was 46 (and remember, he was deemed TOO OLD to play Bond when Connery got the job), Dalton 41 or 43 (i don’t know why Wikipedia thinks his age is considered debatable, but here we are) and Brosnan 42. so while they’ve been trending older with Bond (although more to chase long-wanted actors, i suspect).

i also don’t understand the major distinction between “an ersatz creation of some trainer” and “a fit man, effortlessly athletic,” since BOTH of these would seem to be the unreal example of manhood that Cohen is finding unfair, so the only thing i can think of is that he couldn’t really argue Cary Grant wasn’t good-looking and in shape, so he has to pretend that Cary Grant somehow has the looks and physique of an average man.

“In “North by Northwest” and other movies, Grant — for all his good looks — represented the triumph of the sexual meritocracy — a sex appeal won by experience and savoir-faire, not delts and pecs and other such things that any kid can have. He was not alone in this. Gary Cooper in “High Noon” wins Grace Kelly by strength of character, not muscles. He was about 50, and Kelly was a mere 23.”

i suppose if it wasn’t clear by now, Cohen’s major complaint in this piece is that much younger women don’t want to have sex with him, to which i can only say it sounds like much younger women are the wise ones in this whole discussion. he’s right that Gary Cooper was about 51 when he was in High Noon, but somehow i suspect he’s STILL not the spitting image of the average man, as well as having my doubts about Grace Kelly being all over him if there wasn’t a paycheck involved. still, look at this level of delusion that finds someone continuing to argue that CARY FUCKING GRANT was a sexual icon because of his “savoir-faire” and not the dazzling looks. i have never heard my sibling remark on all the “experience” you can see on Cary Grant.

“Maybe the best example of the unmuscled hero is Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca.” Bogart was 15 years older than Ingrid Bergman and it did not matter at all.”

because apparently what Bogart brings to the table is nothing more than “being old” and “having an unimpressive physique?”

“He had the experience, the confidence, the internal strength that can only come with age. As he did with Mary Astor in “The Maltese Falcon”— “I don’t care who loves who, I won’t play the sap for you” — he gives up the love of his life because age and wisdom have given him character. These older men seduce; they are not seduced. They make love. They do not score.”

…jesus christ, Cohen, just buy one of those magazines where the girls ain’t got no clothes on and take care of business, man.

seriously, though, here’s the thing: Cohen is making a long-winded argument that he, not the robust muscles of Daniel Craig, possesses what used to make the loins of young women open freely. except if this is true, shouldn’t he be sexually satisfied and thus NOT writing this bullshit in a major newspaper. and if he’s not –and i presume this is the actual case– then doesn’t that shoot his theory down? is the purpose of Hollywood to make movies that allow 50-plus-year-old men to more easily bang 20-year-olds? what about the ART, man?

“The new Bond is a zeitgeisty sort of character. “There has been a striking change in attitudes toward male body image in the past 30 years,” Harrison Pope, a Harvard psychiatry professor, recently told the New York Times. He said the portrayal of men in what amounts to the Bond image is now “dramatically more prevalent in society than it was a generation ago.””

it is at this point that i will remind everyone that 50 years ago, a 32-year-old man with a trim physique played James Bond.

“That same Times story reported that 40 percent of middle and high school boys work out with the purpose of “increasing muscle mass.” Many of them also use protein supplements.”

but since we’re talking about the change in the onscreen image of men in their 40s and 50s, what the hell does the fact that kids in middle-school want to increase their muscle mass have to do with that?

“This is all very sad news. Every rippling muscle is a book not read, a movie not seen or a conversation not held. That’s why Sean Connery was my kind of Bond. He was 53 when he made his last Bond film, “Never Say Never Again.” Women loved him because he was sophisticated and he could handle a maitre d’ as well as a commie assassin. Western civilization was saved not on account of his pecs but on account of his cleverness and experience.”

of course, as i JUST SAID, he was also 32 when he made his first Bond film and, let’s be honest, he had pecs of note at the time. the “53 when he made his last Bond film” line is a scam, considering that Connery was essentially Bond for nine years –1962-1971, or ages 32-41– and then was lured out of retirement at age 53 to make that one non-Eon film Never Say Never Again at age 53. so you can see how a) ages 32-41 is clearly more indicative of what Connery brought to the table as Bond and b) Cohen’s argument dwells entirely in a realm of bullshit.

at this point, i don’t think he’s every actually watched a Bond movie; instead, i suspect all he does is look at photos of actors with their shirts off and get FURIOUS.

“I know the movie market skews young and kids want action, and I take it as a good thing that Daniel Craig’s Bond is older, world weary, and, in sports lingo, has slowed a step.”

…which is weird because you’ve been arguing that Bond USED to be slowed a step, but now has this crazy unrealistic physique that’s ruined everything you know about life, Cohen. i’ll leave the fact that ACTION MOVIES tend to contain ACTION aside for now- wait, no, i won’t! kids want action in their action movies; the realm of old men who look awful and do nothing is not action movies.

and i won’t dignify the ending of this piece where Cohen compares himself to Bond by comparing their drinks by quoting it. i will not do this. in summation, Cohen, if you want to have sexual intercourse with some much-younger women, stop expecting Hollywood to do the legwork for you. instead, i recommend you use the method older, sadder men have used since the dawn of time: cash money.

and in unrelated news:

Astra Constable

at this point, i don’t think papercraft Travis Bickle is jealous as much as he is pleased to see that i am 50% of the way towards my collection of Taxi Driver guns. which is not creepy at all. not at all.

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