December 15, 2013
James Bond: Alcoholic And Sexually Hopeless
A team of doctors in the UK have been analyzing all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and have concluded that the glamorous, debonair spy is actually a drunk whose problems with booze are so desperate that they could leave him impotent. Not to mention at risk of early death.
According to the report in the light-hearted Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal, “James Bond’s level of alcohol intake puts him at high risk of multiple alcohol related diseases and an early death. The level of functioning as displayed in the books is inconsistent with the physical, mental, and indeed sexual functioning expected from someone drinking this much alcohol.”
He drank an average of 92 units a week, more than four times the recommended amount for men. Some days, though, he well surpassed that, drinking half of that figure in one day.
The stats take into account the days when Bond was in hospital or prison. Surely he should have been able to get a drink in there somehow? A lot worse substances get into prison, and he is James Bond; it isn’t that difficult to imagine that if he really is an alcoholic he could have found a way around the simple fact that he was in prison.
Which leads us to conclude (along with all of the narrative, obviously) that actual drinking is just part of his lifestyle, in which he indulges himself in all of life’s pleasures while coolly saving the world. He isn’t the only figure in history (fiction? what?) to have managed to function at the highest levels, with all of our lives in their hands, while enjoying a bit too much grog. Winston Churchill, the illustrious British leader during World War Two, famously enjoyed more than a drop. Ulysses S Grant, the great Union general and two-term president drank so much whiskey that some felt it necessary to raise the problem with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln replied that he wished to know what brand Grant was drinking, so he could give to all of his generals.
Whilst heavy drinking can, of course, be a major problem, the idea that we are all screwed if we have more than a glass of wine with dinner may be a symptom of a guilt-ridden angle to public life which rides paradoxically alongside the heavy marketing of indulgence. Bond and Churchill may have drunk more than doctors recommend, but doctors wouldn’t recommend very much, would they? That’s their job (before anyone goes and gets cirrhosis of the liver on my advice, I should admit that they’re obviously more qualified than me to judge, but I’m just sayin’…).
Bond’s drinking equated to about a bottle and a half of wine a day. Over the course of a day, I would say that is the same as your average, long-living person from the Mediterranean region drinks, as part of their much coveted healthy lifestyle. Churchill tended to drink mostly at meal times, rather than swigging a bottle all day, and would admonish others for drinking too much.
The doctors who conducted this light-hearted study even felt the need to point out that it didn’t interfere with their day jobs! If we live in world where we have to make sure that doctors aren’t so irresponsible as to do jokey studies at Christmas, what hope is there for us to enjoy a drink in peace?
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