The exclusion of women from the corridors of power concerns me more than James Bond's sexual antics
We live in confusing times.
Lovable children's TV presenters turn out not to be so lovable after all and Jim'll Fix It badges are so reviled they're currently commanding upwards of £200 on eBay.
(Don't ask me how I know that.
I was just...
And now there's Bond.
He's a spy.
You may have heard of him.
His latest outing, Skyfall, has smashed all previous Bond records and been widely praised as a more psychologically complex Bond than we've seen before (in a nutshell: he has Mummy issues).
So rave reviews all around, until Thursday, when Times columnist Giles Coren took to Twitter to lambast it for its misogyny and linked it to a column on the subject that the Times had declined to publish and which he had instead posted on his wife's blog.
A few hours' later, he announced it had received 40,000 hits.
And some time after that the London Evening Standard published it in full.
"For your eyes only," it said. "The piece they tried to ban."
In case, you've managed successfully to avoid him thus far, Giles Coren is the Times's food critic and is to the culinary world roughly what Jeremy Clarkson is to the motoring one.
Previous Twitter-related incidents include the time he responded to a reader's complaint by calling her "a barren old hag".
Yet here he was, railing against the flick for being "so vile, sexist and sad that it made me feel physically sick".
In particular, the moment when the spy seduces the baddie's girlfriend who "was kidnapped and enslaved as a child by human traffickers" and who "gives no sign of being sexually interested in Bond".
And yet "he creeps uninvited into her hotel shower cubicle later that night, like Jimmy Savile, and silently screws her because he is bored".
The problem with this analysis is that she previously gave him her address and looks crestfallen when he doesn't show up.
And he's Bond! The entire franchise is predicated on the idea that women find him sexually irresistible.
Because what woman wouldn't want to sleep with an emotionally distant trained killer?
It's really neither here nor there if I think that Daniel Craig has all the sexual allure of a bouncer from a Bolton nightclub doing a bad Ross Kemp impression and Bond's relationship with women might best be described as "pathological".
He's Bond! And this is a straightforward rescue fantasy.
True, the shower scene does have overtones of Psycho but, even within the context of the film, we're invited to see him as an emotionally stunted commitment-phobe.
But it is confusing, I'll admit.
I, for one, never thought I'd need the likes of Giles Coren to defend my feminist principles.
But then we've never been so confused about the representation of women and why it is or isn't a problem.
When I got back from watching Skyfall, I switched on the TV to see the echt-Jeremy Clarkson chairing Have I Got News For You, a programme Coren has appeared on and which usually manages to muster up a lone female to make it look like it's trying, but it's just, like, really, really hard to find a woman who's even moderately amusing or vaguely well-informed.
Last week, however, it didn't even bother to do that: there were five men and a sum total of zero women.
So forgive me if I think the sexual politics of a fictional superhero and his treatment of the girlfriend of a villain so cartoon-like he has dyed orange eyebrows is of rather less import than a weekly BBC programme that exists to satirise political issues.
Because this is an issue.
It is an issue! I must have written about it, or similar examples, at least once a year for the best part of a decade.
A whole load of other people have done the same.
It is a sodding issue.
The BBC is currently taking a long, hard look at itself.
Well, look a little harder.
Don't think the answer is the kind of ridiculous tokenism of the kind that Newsnight employed last week when it declined to allow a tax expert to come on and discuss his research but, instead, invited a "fashion blogger" who, as she wrote on the aforesaid blog, assumed the only reason she had been asked was to tick the "young, female box".
It's just a coincidence that the Savile scandal kicked off a matter of weeks after the BBC declined to appoint either of the two highly qualified women who applied to be director general.
Maybe they weren't the right people for the job.
But then a woman has never been the right person for that job.
Is this a problem with women or with those who appoint them? Who decline to select them for panel shows? Who think that the way to "balance" a male authority is to pitch him against a 25-year-old female know-nothing? Or who are quite happy to describe women as "barren old hags" and then leap into protect them from horrid misogyny?
But it's also time the BBC did something about it.
The sexual etiquette of made-up spies is one thing.
The ongoing, indefensible absence of women on air, and in the higher echelons of power, is another scandal whose time it is finally to blow.
Hotmail? It's only for us hipsters
The most astonishing thing about the news that Gmail, Google's email service, has finally overtaken Microsoft's equivalent, Hotmail, is that anybody still uses Hotmail.
It's about as fashionable as Bros or white stilettoes.
Gmail has been the go-to email address for years now.
Who would bother with Hotmail?
Apart from me, of course.
I was gobsmacked to discover that, according to official figures, 286.2 million people use Hotmail (as opposed to 287.9 million who now use Gmail).
I thought I was the last person in the world to have a Hotmail address.
Besides, you know, from the Nigerian scammers and the women in strange forums who use flashing kittens as their avatars.
Last week, I almost cracked.
The server went down and left me locked out of my account for 12 hours.
I thought that the time had finally come… and then I read that white stilettoes are back.
The editor of Vogue is wearing them, so it's only a matter of nanoseconds before they're in Primark and they go from common to posh back to common again.
Technology is as much about fashion as fashion is and I like to think that, at some stage, Hotmail is going to start looking retro cool.
Give it time and it will be the internet's very own hipster beard.
It's probably not sensible to have so much of our lives on either Microsoft's or Google's servers.
But all of us are making casual compacts with our privacy, our personal lives and large multinational corporations.
Mine just happens to be a less fashionable, slightly square compact, that's all.
And they say dogs look like their owners.
Comments will be switched on later today
BBCJames BondGenderCarole Cadwalladrguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
All rights reserved.
| Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds... See Complete Article @ Guardian