James Bond is the type of man that most men would love to be like. He is seen as brave, sophisticated, adventurous, and women just love him. An article by Eric Dodds on the Time website this week entitled Science Confirms that James Bond is an Alcoholic portrays 007 in a very different light.
James Bond definitely does not fit into the stereotype of an alcoholic; he is far too self-assured and successful for this. The reality is though, that stereotypes can be a very bad reflection of reality, and the evidence that 007 is an alcoholic is very compelling. James Bond drinks an average of 92 drinks per week – that’s about 13 drinks (about 7 pints of lager or 13 shots of whisky) per day – and this definitely would put him in the category of alcoholic. On some days he drinks as many as 50 units (that is about 25 pints of lager), and the fact that he can stand up after this is even more impressive than his antics when chasing the villains.
The news of 007’s alcoholism problem is revealed because of a study carried out by the British Medical Journal. The research involved looking at the information provided in the 14 books that Ian Flemming wrote featuring the hero. The researchers were a little surprised at how much mention there was to the drinking habits of James Bond – readers of the book You Only Live Twice witnessed Bond consuming 226 units of alcohol over the course of the book.
The safe weekly level for alcohol consumption is 21 units for men and 14 units for women, with no more than four of these units taken in one day. James Bond regularly consumes his whole 21 units in one sitting. His drinking would even be considered excessive when compared to other alcoholics.
The fact that James Bond is so successful at his job as a spy would be used as evidence by some that he is not really an alcoholic; they would use the justification of ‘work hard, play hard’. The reality is that 007 would be considered a high-functioning alcoholic, and most people who are addicted to alcohol would fall into this category. James Bond has the ability to perform his duty despite his addiction, but his behaviour would certainly have a negative impact on his life. It is also doubtful that he would be able to hide this problem indefinitely if he were a real person.
Many high functioning alcoholics have jobs that support their alcoholism, which is definitely the case when James Bond. It seems that most of the people he needs to socialise with also like to overindulge in alcohol, so he could justify his drinking by saying it were an important element of his work. This same excuse is often used by alcoholic business people who claim it is their job to entertain clients, which usually involves drinking alcohol.
James Bond glamorises excessive drinking, and it is almost certain that he has encouraged at least some people to follow his example. He has helped to promote the idea that heavy drinking can be a form of sophistication, but in reality this is not the truth. If James Bond really did exist and drank at the levels he is reported to drink, his life would almost certainly by falling apart by this stage. Maybe it is time to rethink the image of James Bond and realise that he may not be a very good role model after all.