1. The Guardian article on Edward Snowden, including a video interview of him, may be found at
2. See, for example, Box Office Mojo, http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=bond23.htm, and Skyfall, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyfall, downloaded on October 15, 2013.
3. This contemporary anxiety and sense of an approaching, apocalyptic ending is surely reflected in the many, contemporary movies about the threat of the dead coming back to life. There is long history of zombie movies, e.g. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene 1920), I Walked with a Zombie (Jacques Tourneur 1943), and Night of the Living Dead (George Romero 1968). Nevertheless, the number and varied nature of such movies in recent years have dramatically increased, e.g. 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle 2002), Dawn of the Dead (remake)(Zack Snyder 2004), Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright 2004), 28 Weeks Later (Juan Carlos Fresnadillo 2007), Day of the Dead (remake)(Steve Miner 2008), Diary of the Dead (George Romero 2008), Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer 2009), The Crazies (remake)(Breck Eisner 2010), Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies (Richard Shenkman 2012), and World War Z (Marc Forster 2013). There is also the recent phenomenon of the zombie movie as an ongoing series both on the theatrical, e.g. Resident Evil (2002—2012) and television, e.g. Walking Dead (2010—) screens.
4. The Motion Picture Association of America’s 2012 report shows that the largest theatrical market outside of the U.S./Canadian market is now China. MPAA 2012 Theatrical Market Statistics,
5. For a fan-like tribute to the Aston Martin as an icon of the Bond franchise, see http://www.emanuellevy.com/comment/bond-films-loyal-to-aston-martin/, downloaded on October 15, 2013.
6. The commercial incentive for resurrecting a successful franchise knows no bounds. For example, the “Alien” series resurrected its central character, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), by keeping her in hyper-sleep for 57 years (Aliens 1986), secreting an alien onboard while she is again in hyper-sleep and then crash landing her on a prison colony (Alien 3 1992), and cloning her 200 years later when she has previously thrown herself into the fire of a burning furnace (Alien Resurrection 1997).
7. Friedman, Thomas, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006. Friedman, who has popularized the notion of a “flat,” global economy fails to draw the connection between that “flatness” and the means of control through government technology, that is, its dependence upon the technology of those global, commercial ventures. See, for example, his editorial in which he attacks Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the massive surveillance by the NSA in the U.S. (and elsewhere) on the basis that they will potentially lead to yet more surveillance. “Blowing a Whistle,”
8. See, for example, Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2012 (“’Skyfall’ keeps us caring, intensely, for a hero who, by any rational measure, is a vestige of a vanished era.”) http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324894
There are also those critics who would see in Skyfall’s seeming endorsement of the “old ways” and the resulting commercial success of the movie an adherence to the “action spy formula” in contrast to the “realist spy film”. From that perspective Skyfall is part of the “fantasy-based cycle of the spy film [that] still reflects the traditional theme of society as a rigid, ruthless organization but [that] tends to take it for granted, placing more emphasis on life-saving action instead. It abandons the realism of bureaucratic spy work in the favour of heroic fantasies…” Luis Garci-Mainar, “The Return of the Realist Spy Film,” CineAction, no. 88 (2012) at page 12. That a film is commercially successful would, however, suggest that it reflects more accurately its cultural moment in appealing to the emotional tropes of its audience. Realism is hardly a guarantee of truth.
9. Daniel Craig’s Bond differs in that respect from many of his predecessors. For example, in his first role as Bond in Casino Royale (Martin Campbell 2006) Craig falls in love and resigns as a consequence from MI6—only to lose his love in an emotionally dissatisfying ending that calls into question whether Craig, as a 00 agent, can ever allow himself to fall in love. That type of narrative, including the tortured character Craig has consistently portrayed, would have been unthinkable for a predecessor actor such as Roger Moore who played Bond for 12 years. [return to page 2]
10. In an example of real life imitating cinematic art, the whistle blower Edward Snowden has claimed that the disclosure of U.S. “assets”, which included the identity of its agents in the field, was wholly irrelevant to his intention:
He elaborates elsewhere as to his intention:
11. William Shakespeare, Othello, Act V, scene 2.
12. For a brief description of the war now conducted through computers by nation states, see, for example, “U.S. Helps Allies Trying to Battle Iranian Hackers,”
“China Seen in Push to Gain Technology Insights,”
and “U.S. and China Move Closer on North Korea, but Not on Cyberespionage,”
The participation in the U.S. by Silicon Valley’s private industry in surveillance programs by the U.S. government is described in “Tech Companies Concede to Surveillance Programs,”
Following Snowden’s disclosures, the press has written extensively on the NSA’s computer surveillance of its supposed allies. See, for example, “New NSA leaks show how U.S. is bugging its European allies,”
and “NSA spying: Ally anger justified?”
12a. The “prism” slide may be found at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data.
The “upstream”slide may be found at
13. Alexander Cockburn, “James Bond at Twenty-Five,” American Film, July/August 1987, Vol. XII, No. 9, at page 26.
14. See Ted McGowan, “Should the Dark Knight have risen?” Jump Cut 45 (fall 2012)
15. The British government, according to documents made public by Edward Snowden, has worked with the U.S. government in its efforts at digital surveillance. “New Leak Indicates Britain and U.S. Tracked Diplomats,”
In fact, the British government through its own agency is also collecting massive amounts of data and then sharing that data with the U.S.. “GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications,”
16. Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston) to Hank Quinlan (Orson Welles) in A Touch of Evil (Orson Welles 1958).
17. Thus, the British government detained the partner of Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda. Greenwald had assisted Snowden in disclosing the NSA’s surveillance and Miranda was then detained at Heathrow airport and his electronic equipment seized. “Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/glenn-greenwald-guardian-partner-detained-heathrow.
The British government then effectively compelled the Guardian in the UK to destroy its files relating to the materials provided by Snowden. “NSA files: why the Guardian in London destroyed hard drives of leaked files” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/20/
“Guardian told to destroy NSA files for national security, says Clegg”
17b. See, for example, Clapper v. Amnesty International (2012),
18. See, however, “Comparing Two Secret Surveillance Programs”,
Given the supposed legality of these surveillance programs by the U.S. government, the disclosure of such programs itself becomes unlawful, “Ex-Contractor Is Charged in Leaks on N.S.A. Surveillance,”
19. In Maryland v. King (2013)
20. The connection between government and Silicon Valley’s private industry has been characterized in a variety of ways. A benign description views Silicon Valley as resistant to government demands for data:
“Secret Court Ruling Put Tech Companies in Data Bind,”
A less benign description views the cooperation between government and industry as commercially beneficial to both:
‘We are all in these Big Data business models,’ said Ray Wang, a technology analyst and chief executive of Constellation Research, based in San Francisco. ‘There are a lot of connections now because the data scientists and the folks who are building these systems have a lot of common interests.’”
“Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders,”
21. Miller, Toby, Spyscreen: Espionage on Film & TV from the 1930s to the 1960s, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, at page 44.
22. “The 21st century mole demands no payments for his secrets. He sees himself instead as an idealist, a believer in individual sovereignty and freedom from tyranny……Just as antiwar protesters of the Vietnam era argued that peace, not war, was the natural state of man, this new breed of radical technophiles believes that transparency and personal privacy are the foundations of a free society.” “The Geeks Who Leak,”
23. Transcript of a video interview of Edward Snowden by The Guardian,
24. One such person who declined to comply is the “Lavabit founder [who] refused [the] FBI order to hand over email encryption keys,”
See also “2 E-Mail Services Shut Down to Protect Customer Data”
25. That providers have tracked consumer movements and transactions online is well-known and indeed is the business model for online commerce, namely revenues for targeted, online advertising. Only recently have consumers begun to question those practices and the associated privacy issues. See e.g., “Google Accused of Wiretapping in Gmail Scans,”
Government agencies in some instances then purchase that commercial data. “NSA paying U.S. companies for access to communications networks”
In other instances, however, they have acquired data by decrypting data transmitted through the “pipelines” of the Internet, such as cables. See “Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security,”
“N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web,”
“Secret Documents Reveal N.S.A. Campaign Against Encryption,”
“Unlocking Private Communications,”
The presence of cameras has become so prevalent that we largely take their presence for granted.
Google glasses are a well-publicized extension of that practice, and Google now promotes its eyewear.
Interestingly, perhaps in reaction to the use of cell phones to record public behavior, the police have recently adopted the practice of recording their own activities. “In California, a Champion for Police Cameras”
The expanding presence of cameras would, of course, be exponentially intrusive if and when facial recognition technology becomes feasible. “Facial Scanning Is Making Gains in Surveillance”
26. The NSA annual “black budget” was only recently disclosed. “U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary” http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/
As to Snowden’s
“Bolivia: Presidential plane forced to land after false rumors of Snowden onboard”
In that context, the silencing of an academic seems an afterthought. “The NSA's next move: silencing university professors?”
27. One reporter has been ordered to testify at a criminal trial against his source, USA v. Sterling (4th Cir. 2013),
Another has been labeled a co-conspirator in the alleged unlawful disclosure of classified information. “DOJ Calls Fox News Reporter James Rosen 'Co-Conspirator' In Leak Case; Journalists Outraged”
And one of the original reporters to assist Snowden in his disclosures has found as a consequence her life forever changed – and not for the good. “How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets”
28. “Jeff Bezos Bought The Washington Post. But So Did Amazon,”
29. “C.I.A. Warning on Snowden in ’09 Said to Slip Through the Cracks”,
Snowden has disputed the accuracy of that account. "Snowden says he took no secret files to Russia," http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/world/snowden-says-
30. “Hollywood Ponders Movie on Book About Snowden,”