I was raised by a single mom who had to care for three children. As the youngest of three brothers, I was put in their care a lot of the time, and that meant I watched whatever they watched. Which meant, instead of watching cartoons, I was raised on John Wayne Westerns and James Bond. It was an unusual childhood full of sex, violence, and Sean Connery.
Many people say he was the best Bond there ever was. Personally, I really like Daniel Craig, but it’s hard to compare the two. In hindsight, it’s interesting to note the similarities I have between the fiction I was exposed to as a child and who I became as an adult:
- My favorite bond movie as a child was the Japanese centered You Only Live Twice
and I took up Judo as a teenager and was strongly influenced by Sensei Vince Tamura during my formative high-school years.
- Peter Parker (a chemist) was the fictional character with whom I identified the most, and I later got a degree in Chemistry.
- Neither John Wayne nor James Bond showed any fear in the face of gunplay, and, as it turns out from a real life incident, neither do I.
Goldfinger was not my favorite Bond movie growing up, because a lot of bad things happen to Bond. Unlike most other Bond movies, Goldfinger features a string of bad things for our hero: his opening sexual trist ends in her death; his next romantic interest is killed relatively early in the movie; his super gadgety spy-car gets twarted by a mirror; he is then captured, interrogated at laser point (“No Mr. Bond, I want you to die!”). In essence, the movie is one long string of bad things that happen to Bond. He prevails in the end with a little help from Pussy Galore, but the movie seemed quite the downer.
What I now find amusing about the movie was the evil villainous plot of Mr. Goldfinger. This Bond villain is maniacally obsessed with gold and seeks to increase the value of his gold holdings by, in essence, severing the link between the dollar and gold bullion. In the movie, this was to be done by exploding a dirty bomb in Fort Knox thus rendering all of the gold the United States held as unusable. According to the movie, this would create an economic calamity in the West, which was the desired result of Goldfinger’s Eastern Block partners. The movies themes of gold lust and gold’s indispensable economic value to our society seem very alien today. After all, Goldfinger’s evil plot to severe the link between the dollar and gold was carried out, not by a dirty bomb, but by the decree of President Richard Nixon.
It seems the movie was right though, it has caused economic chaos, and not just in the West. In our modern interconnected world, this unfolding depression is global in its span. China is not supplying Goldfinger with nuclear material in the hopes of toppling the US, it is instead simultaneously watching as its exports drop (some 22.6% according to the Wall Street Journal) while the value of its $1.7 trillion in US dollar denominated instruments continue to erode. To further up the stakes, should China seek to diversify its assets it would destroy the value of the dollar worldwide. In an ironic twist of Ian Fleming’s plot, China wouldn’t need to bomb Fort Knox to destroy the value of the dollar, they’d just need to sell their US Treasury holdings.