That Joke isn’t Funny Anymore

Dear @DailyMailUK,

I don’t read your newspaper, but my parents do, and I’m sure they’d have garnered much amusement this morning at your (quite blatant) April Fool’s Joke that Olivia Coleman will be the next James Bond. Please note that I have no desire to promote any more click-throughs of this story by giving you even one from my tiny, insignificant backwater site, but I did get out the green text especially for you, because it seemed quite apposite. I realise, with a sense of disbelief and dread, I have become the very indignant, mouthy dissenter that used to be laughed at in my youth when they complained about some ‘modern’ thing that would ruin society and everything it stood for. In this case, it is the presumption that that this most British of institutions could consider a woman at its helm.

I know why you think this is funny, and for such a large proportion of your readership it will undoubtedly be just that. You don’t destroy the sanctity of a British staple just because times are changing. That’s why this country needs to leave Europe with all swiftness, after all: we’re an island, bastion in the World sea of stupidity and violence that is so much better if things never change and everyone just pretends this is the 1950’s. Nothing good ever came of giving women the vote or allowing people to be openly homosexual: that’s what you do behind closed doors where nobody talks about it. I hate to break it to you, but there’s always been that radical in the village. You can burn them as a witch or enslave them or spend your life finding ways to keep them out of power or downtrodden, but without these people you’d all be dead now. The human race would be buried, consigned to history, and there’d be another species walking the Earth (probably cats if I think about it) because without the indignant voice and the free speakers and the revolutionaries?

There is no progress.

The man who split the Catholic Church was a revolutionary. That bloke who suggested the Earth wasn’t flat, he was too. MEN did all this, not women. Men began to grasp and understand the World around them as being something more than just themselves. I’m in no way suggesting that women are exempt from the problem in this equation, because we’re not. I’m looking at blokes here, those who thought it would be clever to make this gag to begin with. You’ll respect your Mum and bend over backwards to keep her happy and safe and you’ll love your wife but as soon as anyone suggests that you want a woman in charge then someone decides that what matters most is how they look and what they wear and whether their skin care routine is as important as their choice of breakfast food AND JUST STOP IT. Having a woman Bond is obviously not how the author envisaged his world in the 50’s. I wonder, if Fleming had written Bond now, how would that change his outlook? You guys with the 50 year old backwards facing attitudes on everything don’t grasp the basic issue here: it isn’t about times changing. It is about you changing with the times.

Personally, as a woman, I’d rather have Idris Elba as Bond, but as I find Ms Coleman very attractive both physically and mentally, I’m not that fussed. I’d also be quite happy with an openly homosexual 007, but that’s going to mean that the ‘Bond Girl’ role will need some extensive reconsideration. My point here is simple: what you consider a joke is actually a quite savage indictment of the world we now live in, and how institutions such as yourselves dictate the pace of change. Of course, you don’t want that, because you’ll be partying like it’s 1959 right up until this country sinks slowly into the rising waters from the polar ice caps melting due to Global warming that was never your fault to begin with.

I’ve never felt the need to write a letter to a newspaper before, because there was never a moment up to this point where I read something that was just so utterly and monumentally stupid. Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe that bad photoshopping’s meant to be post-ironic, and those quotes about emotion behind the hard shell are genuine. Perhaps I’m the fool here, that could become so indignant about something that clearly is a shoe in in this modern world where you can have female US Presidential candidates and political leaders. The thing is, I know that on the day when I should be enjoying the happiness and sheer joy of bonkers news stories, I became what I fear most on the Internet. I have evolved into the reactionary, knee-jerk idiot who is the perfect audience for what passes for news on your Website.

Congratulations on what is probably the best subversive conversion technique I’ve ever seen. If this is how the the older generation recruit their converts? I want nothing to do with ageism or your stupid rhetoric now, or at any point in the future. If you’ll excuse me I’m off to reinvent myself and forget that I ever wanted to be a grown up.

– Name Withheld
49, Mother of Two.