Rush Limbaugh thinks the next James Bond should be played by a white actor. It's not fair. White people get all the good roles -- like the actor who currently plays the comical Rush Limbaugh character.
Coincidentally, Rush Limbaugh would make a fabulously convincing James Bond villain.
Hollywood rumors suggest that Idris Elba, a highly regarded black actor, might play the legendary superspy once Daniel Craig becomes too old for the role... which, if Bond movie history is any indication, should be around the time Craig turns 80.
Limbaugh compared a black James Bond to George Clooney portraying President Obama on film. I'm probably not the first to point out the obvious difference. Barack Obama is a real person. It would be absurd- and without credibility- for a white man to portray the nation's first black president. But James Bond is a fictional character, like Harry Potter and Spiderman and Queen Elizabeth. James Bond can be anyone. A better analogy would be to compare a black James Bond with a white John Shaft. Though to be honest, I thought those 1970s Shaft blaxploitation films would've worked better with Paul Reiser in the title role.
It stands to reason that James Bond would change. Throughout its cinematic history, the Bond movies themselves have continuously changed -- from silly to serious, from campy to gritty. The only common denominator is they're always about 15 minutes too long.
James Bond movies are a simple formula; one mysterious man with super skills singlehandedly tries to save the world. It's like the complete opposite of Donald Trump's life. And this formula has been copied so often that, by now, the only thing that really separates the Bond films from all the other action flicks is the name of the character. Skyfall would be no less entertaining a spy thriller had Daniel Craig played Agent 008, Marty Wu.
James Bond could make the transition to black or Asian or gay or deaf by simply clicking his state-of-the-art, weaponized gadget pen. And, for the most part, America wouldn't give it much thought. In fact, I suspect that even Rush Limbaugh would quickly get used to the idea. I heard they're remaking Ghostbusters with a female cast. Eh, I still prefer Bill Murray and Harold Ramis. But I'll get used to the idea. And if it looks good, I'll go see it. And if it looks bad, then I... well, I'll probably still go see it. Hell, it's Ghostbusters!
Rush Limbaugh isn't racist for being uncomfortable with Idris Elba as James Bond. Limbaugh thinks James Bond should be white. That's his opinion, which is about as newsworthy as anyone else's opinion. Real racism is a destructive form of prejudice, asserting that one race is superior to another. Real racism is the vast social power structure that has led to the historical inequality and economic stratification that continue to fuel America's racial conflict. Rush Limbaugh's recent comments? Not a big deal. I doubt Martin Luther King would've cared who plays the lead in the next James Bond movie. Martin Luther King was concerned with bigger issues, as told in the critically acclaimed Selma, the new bio-pic starring Ryan Gosling as Martin Luther King.
Rush Limbaugh's comments are not so much about race as they are about change. Limbaugh, like so many people, is afraid of social change. Tea Party members are insistent on preserving America's innocent, peaceful past, a simple time when everyone happily accepted traditional roles and the social hierarchy. Unfortunately, society was never innocent. And the fictionalized "past" that conservatives daydream about is about as real as Die Another Day, the James Bond movie where Pierce Brosnan drives an invisible Aston Martin through a giant ice palace.
I'm sure Rush Limbaugh and his followers don't hate the idea of a black James Bond. And they're fine with black heroes starring in other action films. It's just that they're comfortable with the familiar. They're secure with what they already believe. They know white James Bond... or at least they think they know him. Similarly, the Tea Party members, I'm sure, didn't want the police to overexert their power in killing Eric Garner, a nonviolent street criminal played, in real life, by a black man. But it happened. And rather than rationalize the situation or make excuses, wouldn't it be better to just acknowledge that, like so many aspects of society (like, for example, the film industry), there was a racial component? Race exists and we are not a color blind society. And once we accept this, we can make changes. Because sometimes change is good.