007 Rest In Peace; Dave Chappelle Lives to Fight Another Day
By Guy Shepherd

The rising tide of woke just broke on the smart, rock-hard stand-up of Dave Chappelle. If cultural appropriation is wrong, what MGM is planning to do to the 007 franchise is a war crime.

007 Rest In Peace; Dave Chappelle Lives to Fight Another Day


What do Dave Chappelle and James Bond have in common?

They both laugh at the cartoonish villains who try to defeat them.

News of the 007/Bond franchise public suicide was not a closely kept secret.

Two stand-out events happened this month that have deeply affected me: Dave Chappelle’s latest and maybe “last” Netflix special, The Closer.  And the latest and maybe last in the 007 franchise,  No Time to Die. Both made their public debut in October. You need to watch both.  Both are deserving of your time, attention and wallet.

Dave Chappelle’s stand-up performance girds the mental loins.

Fortunately, I watched Chappelle first.  I suggest you follow the same route.  His stand-up performance girds the mental loins. It prepared me for what MGM is planning to do to lovers of 007.  I was made aware of Chappelle’s Jolly Roger performance by Andrew Sullivan. I knew The Closer was in the works, that it was being billed as his “last” because he was to speak his mind on human biology and the trans-movement.  Sullivan was ready and ably defended Chappelle’s truth said in jest.

I saw Andrew Sullivan’s defense of Chappelle on Substack—an increasingly popular platform for the thoughtful—on RealClearPolitics—another platform deserving of our attention.  For those who don’t know Andrew Sullivan, his essay in defense of Chappelle is an introduction to a truly independent mind and a man with courage and skill.  Andrew is one of our generation’s greatest men of letters.  His latest collection of essays, covering over 30 years, is aptly called Out on a Limb.  You can find this column here, and sign up for his Substack column here.

I read the first quarter of Andrew’s piece before I realized that I could be watching Chappelle right now!  So that’s what I did. I came back to Andrew’s review and defense of Chappelle after seeing it for myself. Andrew, thank you for standing up for Dave to “your people.” Andrew Sullivan is among the most courageous, independent, popular and necessary voices at this death-of-common-sense moment of ours.   He tells the truth as he sees it, and for the most part, I think he has good eyes and a genuinely liberal heart and mind.   Here is a taste: 

“The Closer is, in fact, a humanely brilliant indictment of elite culture at this moment in time: a brutal exposure of its identitarian monomania, its denial of reality, and its ruthless tactics of personal and public destruction. It marks a real moment: a punching up against the powerful, especially those who pretend they aren’t.” 

Now to Chappelle: You put your Mark Twain Award to immediate good use.  After what you did in this “last” special, I think you deserve a Presidential Medal of Honor.  I’m sorry Andrew, before I returned to your piece, Reed Hasting’s algorithm resulted in this clip of David Chappelle getting the Mark Twain Award—the highest award given to comedy conducive to social comity.  It’s a rare insight into the mind of the comic and the thinking behind his art.  While, I am not a fan of folks who call themselves a GOAT—the greatest of all time—there is a GOAT in him.

With the regard to the special, you need to watch it and see for yourself.  I love it for reasons that I happy to share.   Three things that stood out to me: 

First, Chappelle’s defense of the genre and craft of comedy and the comedian—and its role in a free and pluralistic society—is spot on.  The comedian is the canary in democracy’s coal mine.  The toxic air of ideological totalitarianism is choking our culture and public discourse.  And most importantly, it’s killing comedy.  Fortunately for comedy’s sake, Chappelle is not an eat-me-last type of guy.

The toxic air of ideological totalitarianism is choking our culture and public discourse.

Second, Chappelle captured in his own language the genuine grounds of tolerance.  Chappelle does not deny another human being’s experience and the right to pursue and follow his or her muse.  You don’t like your sex? Feel free to change it.  As long as you don’t hurt other people, have it.  That is your right. What is not your right its to make everyone else bend a knee to your beliefs and pay for it.  This is the ground from which Chappelle pushes back—and in doing so,  he is on the side not just of comedy but truth as well.  Tyranny in the name of minority is still tyranny.   

Lastly, Chappelle’s heartfelt love for Daphne Dorman—a trans women who came to David’s early defense and was pitilessly attacked by Twitter mobs—is moving.  Sadly, Daphne succumbed to suicide after seven days of the Twitter mob punching down on her. The idea that those defending the rights of trans people would mercilessly attack an openly trans comedian who had special insight into the mind and heart of an under siege comedian, who was not “punching down” but only “punching his lines,” is a hallmark of ideology run amok and it must stop.

Thank you David and Andrew for your bravery under sustained, merciless fire.  Rest In Peace, Daphne. 

Now to Bond, James Bond and No Time to Die.   If you love the franchise, this last installment will not disappoint.

I was was raised on James Bond.  My father, would call his five sons in from a beautiful summer day if a James Bond-007 marathon was on.   He would say, “Watch this man, learn from this man, be like this man.” My dad liked to say, “Sex is like credit, not everyone gets it.”  Bond’s FICA score was legendary.

The latest is a much-watch. It’s damn good, maybe the best Bond ever. Courage is only courage, if you, too, can die. Spoiler Alert:  James Bond dies.  So there is no “Bond, James Bond”  going forward.  The passing of the torch ends in No Time to Die:  Connery to Niven and Lazenby back to Connery, Connery to Moore, Moore to Dalton, Dalton to  Brosnan,  Brosnan to Craig, to  The End.  Rest In Peace. Bond, James Bond, no more.

The blunder by MGM to kill Bond ought to be considered the high watermark of Peak Woke lunacy.

This blunder by MGM ought to be considered the high high watermark of Peak Woke lunacy.  One of the most storied and successful of global brands made an unforced, eyes-wide-open choice to culturally disembowel itself.   Kudos to the idiots at MGM. The Bond Franchise has been making Hollywood rich—$7 billion, so far—and the world better for 60 years.  (This is $1.4 billion less than Amazon agreed to pay for MGM this May.) 

When you watch it, you ‘ll see that it made no effort to be a passing of the torch film.  They put up a straw-woman 007 cutout to elicit a contrived negative response. Lanshana Lynch, they used you.  Phoebe Waller-Bridge, creator of Fleabag, was billed as the “patron saint of compelling female characters” but she failed you.  Contrast the undeniable electricity of the dance of death that Bond has in Cuba with a fellow badass femme fatale professional, you get my point.  They wrote a role for you that would die with Bond.  They didn’t even give you a last name.  Just “Nomi”. The only explanation I can up with is that it was purposeful and that the 007 franchise will die with Bond, James Bond.

They put up a straw-woman 007 cutout to elicit a contrived negative response. Lanshana Lynch, they used you.

News of the 007/Bond franchise public suicide was not a closely kept secret. The previews were were composed of rivals hunting for lost market share.

The King’s Man—the prequel to the Kingsmen franchise — is happily ready to take the bond franchise viewers as their own.  Hilariously, “M”—the chessmaster at the head of the Her Majesty Service/MI6 played by Ralph Fiennes, turns out to be starring as the founding father of The King’s Man and the originator of its catch phrase “Manners Maketh Men”—is double agent at the box office.   Good for you, 20th Century Studios, for understanding the 21st century movie makers have lost their minds and with it their market share.  To the Kingsman, may it live a hundred years! 

Bill Burr—another comic for this canary-in-the-coal mine moment—said to a female reporter that women should stop bitching, moaning and complaining about what guys have and go out build their own shit. That is an “undeniable” observation. Undeniable talent shines through and wins the day.

Actress Jessica Chastain—of Zero Dark Thirty and Molly’s Game fame—is such a talent and her production company Freckles is has taken the idea of taking a sexy, Bond-like, lady spy to United Nations-levels with 355.  The premise for 355 is this was the code name that General Washington gave to a female  Revolutionary spy who helped birth our our nation.  Fast-forward and beautiful female spies from all over the world create a just-her league and save the world from those who wish to do their families, countries and world harm.  I’ll definitely give it a try.

We are told constantly by our mainstream minders that cultural appropriation is wrong. Well, 007 is a universal men’s brand reaching across generations.  Sadly, instead of creating their own cultural brands like 355, the vandals at MGM are hell-bent on destroying ours in the name of the new cultural chauvinism of the woke. (It should be noted that women—and particularly Mrs. Shepherd—are fans of the idea of a manly Bond.)

It is as if mainstream minders think that they could put WNBA players in NBA jerseys and no one would notice or care.  Sorry, we have noticed and we do care.  It might take a while, but eventually MGM and their Gillette-like fellow travelers will go broke by going woke.  

Mr.  Hastings, keep up what you’re doing. Stand up for Dave Chappelle and a marketplace for all.  And Ms. Chastain, please continue to bring your insight for strong female characters to scale.  If you do so, real progress can continue.