Author: Michael Griffin

James Bond Films in Response to Growing Tensions During the Cold War

Finally, my pièce de résistance for Digital Humanities is complete. This project’s main goal is to show the connections between the precedents set in Cold War influenced reality and how they compare to the fictional life of James Bond – Britain’s most powerful propaganda film series amidst rising tensions during the Cold War. By doing so, I establish the connections that show the way in which the U.S. and Britain had each other’s backs during one of the most anxiety-inducing times in global history.

My project sets out to accomplish traditional humanities work by explaining the allied relationships between the U.S. and Britain during the height of the Cold War. It’s important to show this relationship because of the severity of crisis at the time. The James Bond films, while brilliant popcorn movies, served a large role in defining British and American nationalism during a period where morale was down and peoples’ level of fear was up.The idea of nuclear annihilation, as well as devastation resulting from the Soviet Union’s nuclear stockade, was present in the minds of the British and Americans alike. With the help of these movies, people took solace in knowing that James Bond, who is a representation of British nationalism as well as American hardheadedness, would ultimately end up taking out the enemy – Britain always wins in the end, he has never failed to complete his mission.

By using the arcGIS Map Journal platform, my project goes above and beyond the ways traditional humanities work could have portrayed these connections. The interface of the online program makes it easy to navigate the five sections that I have created.

http://https://imgur.com/a/mXtPf

Above is the homepage that the viewer first sees when they click on the project. On the left is an introduction of the project, as well as what its main goal is. On the right is the map section of the website. Here you can see several locations on the map, all of which are color-coded and correspond to their respective movies.

As you scroll down through the webpage, information about the movies appears on the left. For all of my sections, the first paragraph explains, briefly, the plot of the movie in order to help the viewer understand the relationships better. Following the summary of the film is where the meat of the project is – the information that draws parallels between the films and reality. Also as the viewer scrolls down, the map limits its focus on the points where the the setting is explained. Every point on the map is specific to each movie, but they all serve the same purpose of explaining why the setting of the film is important. This serves the purpose to help solidify the ‘bonds’ between reality and fiction in each film.

As well as key metadata and textual information on the left-hand side, I also decided to implement video clips from each movie. Luckily, all of my arguments were supported by the clips previously uploaded to YouTube, meaning I didn’t have to purchase all five movies and rip clips from the original film. This not only saved me time (and money), but it also puts the reader in the movie. By adding clips, the viewer can see, first-hand, the dynamics between the Bond and/or the villains in each section of the respective films.

I did not have many problems with my project, for it was all pretty straight-forward; however, there were a few tool errors that impeded on how quickly I was able to compile my data. For example, the image below shows the administration screen that allows me to edit the data placed in the pointed spots on the map. Whenever I tried to save the the data, it would, however it would not update on the original screen. The solution to this, while easy enough, proved to be quite time consuming. Every time I was to save my data, I had to refresh the admin page, save the data on the main screen, and only then could I actually save the textual information on the administration page.

This project taught me a large amount of information about the importance of using digital tools to expand on social problems. Earlier in the semester, I looked at a site called, “The Story of the Stuff,” which is a website dedicated to promoting the importance of human kindness by providing information on the amount of hand-written cards and other sentiments that were sent to Sandy Hook Elementary. At the time, I didn’t understand why the use of a digital platform served such a large purpose, but in my own project, I now understand that by digitalizing the humanities, the level of understanding through the viewer becomes more thorough wile remaining easy to understand. I enjoyed my time in class this semester, and I will be sure to use the digital tools I learned in the class in the future.

Progress: Cold War Constructs and How They Relate to the Bond Films

I’ve finally decided on a platform – WordPress. The simplicity of the layout, the editing tools available, and the interface all prove to be most effective in displaying my project. We’ve used WordPress before, but I had never spent much time playing with certain features or other tools.

After deciding on the layout, I began getting to work. I changed up the theme, font size, font color, the header image, the site icon, and much more.

My project, which can be viewed here, aims to provide evidence that shows the connection between the James Bond films and the social/political constructs at the time of production. Out of all 24 (well, 27 if you include the films not produced by Eon Productions), I tailored down a list of six films that I will use in order to establish these connections, all of which is mentioned in the synopsis of my project, on the project’s website.

Some challenges i’ve had in my work so far is StoryMaps. I haven’t worked with StoryMaps before, so when I tried integrating a blank map onto my WordPress page just to see if ti would work, I found myself confused and I ultimately gave up. I’ll have to come back to StoryMaps seeing how it is an essential part of my project, but for the time being the challenges it’s given me have been too much to focus my time on.

This would just add to the list of changes I’ve had to make to my project since the thought first arose. I was originally going to try and compare all 24 James Bond films to their social counterparts in society, but doing so would have taken much more time than I have to work on the project. Since I had to scrap my original plan, I came up with a new idea. I decided to just choose six films instead of 24. And instead of focusing on the general cultural reactions the movies had, I decided to shift focus on the relationships between the films and the era of the Cold War/Space Race. This way, I will still be able to influence the reader to analyze the James Bond films, but I can do so using a more time-efficient method.

 

Another change that I’ve had to make to my project is shifting my focus. As I briefly mentioned, I shifted focus from a broad view of the cultural constructs to the way that the Bond films respond to larger problems created by the Cold War and Space Race. This was harder to do because it meant that my list of films decreased. There were only a certain amount of films produced within the ten-year span that I’m covering. Fortunately for me; however, I have already picked specific scenes that are going to help further my exploration.

The Story of the Stuff

The Story of the Stuff” is an interactive, multimedia project that provides insight to the relief efforts that the people of Newtown, CT suffered on the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. This project focuses on the items donated to Newtown and the overwhelming support that came with those items in a time of tragedy. This project greatly benefits from becoming digitalized because it shows, through the use of pictures, videos, interview recordings, and a timeline of other related events, that the information is readily available in the most easily accessible way.

 

The use of the timeline above provides useful information about the severity of other mass tragedies as well as the Sandy Hook tragedy itself being on the timeline also. The Story of the Stuff uses an interactive timeline provided by TimelineJS, an open-source, easy to learn tool that allows for the easy organization of time and events. Using this timeline allows the reader to compare the relief efforts of Sandy Hook to the relief efforts of the OKC Bombing, Columbine High School shooting, etc.

The projects main goal is to share the goodness that is unified among people when tragedy strikes. When a horrific event such as the Sandy Hook shooting occurs, the public are quick to help with the grieving process. By navigating through the site, you will learn that the town of Newtown was heavily unprepared for the mass amounts of gifts and other physical items that show condolences. The image below represents the amount of gifts the town received only days after the incident.

By digitalizing this project, it emphasizes the idea that with tragedy, the best part of people shines bright. No conflict or disagreement can hinder the support people give to one another in times of grief and suffering.