We recently got Hulu. My wife and I like The Handmaid’s Tale, which is on Hulu and we’re waiting for the new season to come out. In the mean time, I scanned what was offered and found that Hulu has the James Bond collection. That was an exciting find for me. So, I decided to watch the Bond movies in order.
Dr. No was the first one. It was made in 1962. The Bond series has been going on for a long time. I just finished From Russia with Love the other night – that was the second movie. I’ve seen most of the Bond movies before. They are a fun indulgence and of course there are some serious problems. Bond has some corny lines, there’s an over the top sexual objectification of women, and some of the plots twists are predictable. But the good guys win and the bad guys lose. It’s how the world is supposed to be in the end.
For some reason, I started paying extra attention to the bad guys – the villains. The villains in these films come from a certain mold of characters. They are are wicked smart. But with all that brain power, imagine what they could do to help the world out.
The villains are always seeking money and power. Which is ironic considering that they often already have plenty of money and run powerful organizations. But then again, when you are a narcissist, there is never enough to satisfy yourself.
And the villains are pretty narcissistic. They will throw anyone under the bus when they become useful or fail in a task. Which begs the question – why would anyone willingly join such crackpots?
I don’t think we have to look too far though. While the Bond villains are interesting fictional characters, there are plenty of real world villains that do the same things. And yes, there are real world henchmen who willingly sign up. And yes, the villains throw their henchmen under the bus to save their own skins.
The bad guys, whether we are talking about villains in a Bond movie or in real life, are all the same. They are predictable. Considering how intelligent they supposedly are, you’d think they would be more creative. But they aren’t.
Here’s what the bad guys always do – regardless of their goal, they use means that are manipulative, abusive, based on lies, and cheat. They use violence, or the threat of violence, to get their way. Probably because their way is not natural or normal and no one in their right mind would go along with it. People resort to violence when words and ideas fail.
Look around. We don’t like to consider real life bad guys. But they exist. There isn’t a shortage of them unfortunately. You can spot them pretty easily based on their methods and who they surround themselves with. And the amazing thing – the thing that always leaves me puzzled – is why someone willingly gets on board with the bad guys. Have they not seen the movie before? Bad guys don’t trust other bad guys. Because they know they aren’t trustworthy themselves.
Abusive systems act the same way – they project out what is true about them. That is why violence is often used by abusive systems and abusive people. It’s why people use manipulation, abuse, lying, cheating, extortion, destruction, and killing.
What comes out shows what is on the inside. Jesus talked about this in Matthew 15:18 – “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles.”
So pay attention to what is spoken and what is acted out. It will show you everything you need to know about someone else. The point here is not to judge others, but to be aware of others. To know who to avoid. We are called to love all people. And in order to love someone, it helps to have a better sense of who someone is. And sometimes the best way to love someone is to pay attention to who they are and how they act. And if they project abuse, then the most loving thing you might do is to avoid them, so as not to cause harm to them, or to others if you go along with their antics.
Bad guys are real, not just movie characters. Pay attention. And then be Christlike, which means offering a contrast to what someone who is abusive may be projecting – not responding in kind and confirming their own worldview.