We all know what a powerful role the media plays in our lives. From the time we are children up until adulthood, cinematic stars are often branded as heroes and role models that we aspire to become. In today’s age that feels even more prominent, with larger-than-life characters like Iron Man and James Bond. Interestingly though, a new study out of New Zealand has identified many of these icons as alcoholics and dangerous to the eyes of an influential audience.
Bond, who has been a silver screen hero for multiple decades, was particularly singled out. Researchers studied all of the books and films that feature the character and came to the undeniable conclusion that he is a raging alcoholic. Not only that, his behavior is considered reckless and 007 may indeed be glamorizing addiction.
In Bond’s last big screen outing, the hit film Quantum of Solace, he drank six vesper martinis; a heavy vodka-based cocktail that can do damage to the liver. In one of his novels, researchers pointed out that Bond consumed 50 units of alcohol in just one day. But that was only the beginning.
“As well as the amount of drinking Bond does, the activities he performs while apparently under the influence are also potentially hazardous,” the researchers wrote in their report. “These include getting into fights, driving vehicles, operating complex machinery and having sex with unknown women, sometimes with guns or knives in the bed.”
The Guardian pointed out many other celebrated media characters who appear to have a severe drinking problem. Marvel’s Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) has been portrayed as an alcoholic both in his comic books and on the big screen. Their writer pointed out that he is boozing it up in the first scene of Iron Man 1 and mixing cocktails when villain Loki confronts him in The Avengers.
The Simpsons patriarch Homer Simpson is also identified as an alcoholic. Throughout the show’s 10 plus seasons, he is constantly seen at the neighborhood bar and neglecting his parental duties to go out drinking with friends. He is even shown to be violent, “jokingly” choking his son in multiple episodes.
Other consistently drunk characters include Game of Thrones’ Tyrion Lannister and even Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid. We’re sure if look close enough at your own favorite movie and TV heroes, you’ll see the same thing.
The bottom line is, yes alcoholism is real and it is understandable to see it portrayed in these media franchises. But whenever possible, let’s avoid the glorification and show the real damage it can do to these characters’ families and friends.