Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Duns - Raping Women Is Not Acceptable.

Jeremy Duns has once again been telling the world how much he admires Ian Fleming. In the LA Times, he sings the praises of 'Casino Royale'.

‘Casino Royale’ is probably my favorite novel by Fleming: It’s a taut, brutal, devastating book. I also love his short stories, particularly ‘Octopussy’ and ‘The Living Daylights,’ which also show the more human side of Bond. I enjoy the series most when there’s a friction between the thrilling fantasy of this globetrotting superman and the real and dirty world of espionage, and that’s something I guess I’ve tried to re-create in my own work.” - Duns. 

I think that statement is perfectly clear. 

Duns thinks Casino Royale is one of the best books he has ever read. He does not have a word of criticism for it. 

So consider this point. 

Casino Royale is one of the most extreme women-hating books in modern British literature. There may be worst stuff in hardcore porn. But in books published by mainstream publishers, this is as bad as it gets.

I have pointed out before that the book ends with the line: 'The bitch is dead', in reference to the heroine of the story, Vesper Lynd.

But that is far from the worst of it.

What about this line?

"And now he knew that she was profoundly, excitingly sensual, but that the conquest of her body, because of the central privacy in her, would each time have the sweet tang of rape."

(There is a reference here if you want to read it).

Near the beginning there is this line -

 "women are for sex only, on the job they get in the way with their emotional baggage"

The sweet tang of rape? Women are for sex only? How can anyone get away with supporting this kind of writing. 

 Of course, Fleming is full of this kind of stomach-churning sexism. Take this line from 'The Spy Who Loved Me'. "All women love semi-rape. They love to be taken."

(There is a reference here.)

Now, I know that Duns's little army of rape-deniers and abuse-deniers will immediately jump onto the comments section of this blog, and start arguing that the world was very different when Casino Royale was published in 1953. And they will say it is just a piece of fluff, not to be taken seriously. 

Wrong, wrong. 

It is true that the world was more sexist in the 1950s than it is now. Women were not allowed into the workplace, or into politics, in the way they are now. But it was also more respectful towards women's bodies, even within the paramenters of male ownership. I do not believe it was normal in the 1950s for writers to refer to the 'sweet tang of rape'. Show me four or five other books from that era, or films, or songs, that use that kind of extreme women-hating language? 

They just are not there. 

Casino Royale was not typical of its times. It was an extreme women-hating book then, and it is now.

Also, this is not fluff. The whole point of a feminist analysis of society is that it is cultural sexism that matters the most. While women may have legal equality, they are very far from having real equality, because men still treat us as objects, and threaten us with violence everyday. So books like this are the real problem. When men like Duns (right-wing and public school, as you might expect) champion them, what they are doing is championing a culture in which rape and violence against women is seen as acceptable. 

Perhaps the worst of it is that Duns actually describes himself as feminist. 

No doubt he thinks that makes him look cool and right-on - and might even sell a few of his books. 

But no feminist could possibly cite Casino Royale as one of thir favourite books.

You are not fooling anyone. 

You are a women-hater, who through his work turns women into victims of violence every day. 


  1. I'm sure the usual small group of rape-deniers will be commenting here soon saying I should be attacking Stephen Leather instead. Fine. If they want to attack Leather, they are free to do so on their own blogs. This post is putting forward a serious argument about why it is wrong to glorify a book like Casino Royale because it promotes rape. If you want to attack Leather, go elsewhere....

  2. That is a good idea. The heroine could work at phone sex because she is out of funds and out of resources. It's innocent enough--not real sex. But then a guy calls--by mistake and, well, there's a story in there somewhere. A very interesting blog.
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