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What Do Spys Do Exactly?

My favorite movie series is the James Bond franchise. Sure they have their goofy moments. We’re not exactly talking about the well crated realism of The Wire here. Still, I think at their best they try to at least trick you into believing that they’re somewhat plausible.

Most of the little things I can overlook. The guy who can throw a hat so hard it’ll cut the head off a marble statue? No problem. Christopher Lee building a laser powered by the sun, and run by a machine that needs vats of coolant no warmer than absolute zero, or the whole thing blows up? Sure, why not? But what gets me is that our hero, James Bond, and his team of crackerjack spys at British Military Intelligence never seem to have any idea what these bad guys are doing.

It’s a weird ritual at the beginning of most Bond movies that M calls 007 into his office to brief him on his target. Then Bond makes a show of already having this character’s case file memorized. He knows plenty of intimate details about this guy (and it’s always a guy), like what his vices are and where he vacations. But for some reason something like “he’s spent the past 3 years working on a team of dozens of engineers and hundreds of lackies building a supertanker that can swallow nuclear submarines” or anything to that effect.

So how are we to believe that this great, almost omniscient spy organization can consistantly miss something like this being built in the waters off Sardina:

Seriously? No one knew about this?This is the sort of thing that would cost millions of dollars! Involve hundreds of subcontractors. Use metric tons of steel. Necessitate some of the worlds best engineers. And MI6, the KGB, and the CIA were all caught off guard?

The net effect of years of Bond movies has been that I now see the world’s great architectural masterpieces as potential supervillian hideouts. The pyramid outside the Louvre? Obviously where they are creating an army of zombie/vampire hybrids. CN Tower in Toronto? Can transmit death rays at the drop of a hat. You laugh now, but do you really think that was built just to pull in the rubes? Who’s crazy now?

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