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Looking Back on the James Bond Franchise Through James Bond Day



Sean Connery as James Bond in Licence to Kill, holding a gun up to his face and smiling

The official Global James Bond Day fell on Monday, October 5th this year. It marked the 58th anniversary of the first film in the series, Dr. No, which was released in 1962. The franchise is rolling towards six decades of being a part of World cinema, it contains a total of 25 main films marking an impressive accomplishment in filmography.

To properly honor James Bond Day, here is a list containing take-aways from the movies. Things that you may perhaps make use of in your own life, or maybe a savory piece of trivia worthy of admiration that you can hold on to.

The Connery Years — and That One Lazenby Film:

Dr. No (1962):

Indiana Jones has ophidiophobia, and Michael Schenker wrote an album called Arachnophobia, which are just some simple reminders that fear is often genuine. In Dr. No, Quarrel is killed by the “dragon” rumored to exist in the Bahamas, which is actually a fire tank, a presence that is the product of the film’s antagonist, Dr. No.

One may realize from watching the film that Quarrel could have saved himself, but his death emphasizes how significantly fear can influence not only our reactions to a situation in general but our reaction time as well, should we choose to react. Some people simply freeze in fear, an element dramatized in media entertainment, while some are quick to react carelessly or otherwise, which is best illustrated in horror films.

From Russia with Love (1963):

Arguably one of the best takeaways from this film is that you’ll always be presented with bait in a high-stakes situation, and under general circumstances, taking it will work against you. Bond does manage to flip Tatiana Romanova, although one could argue that it is more of a decision she makes on her own.

A fair comparison could be made to Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, since she initially antagonizes Batman, as well as encourages his capture, but later digs into her conscience to assist him for the greater good.

Goldfinger (1964):

Many college campuses across the country have students who intend to be service members, or who were once service members, and Goldfinger is a firm reminder to not underestimate the power of the U.S. military.

Their response at the tail end of the film illustrates how absurd antagonist Auric Goldfinger’s plan to destroy Fort Knox from the inside really was. But, of course, the art of storytelling left him only a few seconds from being able to achieve that goal.

Thunderball (1965): 

It’s completely reasonable for one to think that people would not deliberately attempt to steal nuclear weapons from a major power to satisfy their own goals; that is exactly what Thunderball decided to investigate.

You Only Live Twice (1967):

Ninjas were once crucial warriors in Japanese warfare during the samurai era, and You Only Live Twice gives them a modern touch with guns. The more grim undertone presented in the film, though, is that the world’s nuclear powers are truly one warhead launch away from permanently changing the state of the world and its environment.

Even without some organization like SPECTRE, we still live under this threat, which is arguably more dangerous than if SPECTRE or something like it was real. Questions for our dear philosophy majors are as follows: Does living twice include the afterlife? Do you even live in the afterlife? How does one live twice?

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969):

It’s fairly difficult to avoid noticing all the sports being tossed around in this film, especially since Bond participates in three during the important points in the film. Sports can help establish the amount of time a person needs to participate in an exercise-oriented activity each day, and different skills from different sports can be manipulated for use in other tasks, with everything from focus to reaction time.

By college, it’s fair game to say that a significant portion of people, if not the majority, have an understanding of this concept, while others simply find another way to activate or reinforce the skills that are of interest to them.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971):

Taking place mostly in Las Vegas, there couldn’t be a more appropriate location for the vices that Bond films have to offer. People who can be considered as “evil” are more likely to have body doubles, something the film establishes more than once.

The Roger Moore Years:

Live and Let Die (1973):

If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ll recognize the title sequence, as Paul McCartney penned the track of the same name.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974):

One could argue that the most satisfying part of the film, especially if you’re a Star Wars fan, is seeing Count Dooku many years before he would get to be that character. Sir Christopher Lee plays the antagonist, Francisco Scaramanga, whose pistol is just as unique as Count Dooku’s lightsaber hilt. This film is also the only one in the series where a side character that actively contributes to the plot is a dwarf.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977):

The British and Soviet spies find out that they are looking for the same person, believing along the way that each other is the problem. As the saying goes, the enemy of your enemy has great potential in being your friend. Karl Stromberg’s plans to start World War III are defeated, although he nearly succeeded, as nuclear warheads were launched only to end up destroying each other in flight.

Moonraker (1979):

Tim Curry once said that he would go to the one place not corrupted by capitalism: space. Unfortunately for him, villain Hugo Drax made sure capitalism would get him and his plan there. Drax actor Michael Lonsdale, who had an extensive French film career along with what he has done in English (including Moonraker), passed away on September 21st.

For Your Eyes Only (1981):

The concept of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” could not be more true in Roger Moore’s 1981 appearance as Bond. He unknowingly works with his enemy, Aristotle Kristatos, who only allows the relationship to happen because of his plan to dispose of Bond at the right moment. Bond’s “enemy,” Columbo, turns out to be the person he needs to work with if he has any hope of securing the ATAC device.

With Kristatos about to conduct the handoff with the Soviets at the end of the film (as the ATAC is a British device), Bond is able to acquire it just seconds before the handoff and eliminates the value of the ATAC by destroying it. The Soviets’ reaction illustrates the relationship that Bond has built over the past several films with General Gogol, as the two mitigate Cold War tensions whenever possible. As a whole, For Your Eyes Only arguably has some of the most enjoyable side characters in the entire franchise, at least in regard to allies, whether it be Columbo and his pistachios or Melina Havelock and her crossbow.

Octopussy (1983):

It goes without saying that the film’s title automatically catches one’s attention. Like Pussy Galore from Goldfinger, there is a female character that also has a name with the word “pussy” in it: Octopussy, the cult leader.

For obvious safety reasons, do not let an octopus make contact with your face. In fact, that rule applies to virtually every sea animal, especially nowadays. If you are fond of the performing arts, you ought to pay attention to the second half of this film, as well as how it is foreshadowed in the beginning sequence.

A View to a Kill (1985):

There isn’t a better Bond film to encourage you to think about Silicon Valley, given that it’s the setting. Christopher Walken remains mysterious as usual with his character Max Zorin, while Dolph Lundgren makes his film debut in a minor role.

A monopoly in big tech, or in any industry, for that matter, should not be held with open arms for Americans, yet progress so far this century makes it appear that this direction is being taken. Duran Duran’s theme song for the film is arguably one of the best in the entire series; Americans, in general, seemed to think so, with the song going to #1 on the Billboard charts.

The Timothy Dalton Years — Perhaps the Coldest Bond of Them All

The Living Daylights (1987):

The ideal way to lure you in here is the fact that a-ha (the creators of your good old favorite “Take On Me”) wrote the title track for Dalton’s debut as Bond. The film is the only one in the series where Bond slips in a war that was active at the time: the Soviet-Afghan War, which would go on for another two years after the release of the film.

Licence to Kill (1989):

Bond has his license to kill revoked in this film due to an infraction, but decides to pretend that he has it anyway. The antagonist, played by Robert Davi, will look quite familiar to those who have watched Die Hard, as this film was released the year after Bruce Willis’ compelling debut as John McClane. It is also the only film in the series where Bond fights a cartel, in contrast to other kinds of criminal organizations.

The Pierce Brosnan Years:

GoldenEye (1995): 

GoldenEye was meant to be Dalton’s third Bond film, but it took so long to make that the role shifted to Pierce Brosnan. Thus, the Brosnan era was in full swing.

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997):

This film is particularly interesting because the plot surrounds a media company’s broadcasting rights in China; it is worth making a comparison to the current day, as companies like Disney seek the approval and happiness of China as much as possible.

The World Is Not Enough (1999):

If you pay attention carefully, you will notice that this phrase is used all the way back in Lazenby’s film. The joke in the conversation where this phrase is used points to Bond’s lifestyle. Many of the Bond films have a healthy reminder that the friends you make along the way always have a purpose, and it’s in your best interest to allow them to display their higher competence for the skill required in the given situation.

For example, Dr. Christmas Jones, who has to be one of my favorite allies in the whole series, has a nuclear physicist background that allows her to not only defuse a nuclear bomb in a tunnel but also do so while moving at 80 miles per hour. And because being in confined spaces once is not enough, the final combat scene takes place inside a submarine.

Die Another Day (2002):

Madonna seeming to have little to no prior songwriting experience for this film’s theme song, even after so many years in the industry, is a surprise — just like quite a few other things in the film. It is technically the first film where an entire country, North Korea, is treated as the villain.

The Daniel Craig Years — the Noticeably Shorter and Also Blonde Guy:

Casino Royale (2006):

The remake of the non-EON Casino Royale served as Daniel Craig’s Bond debut. Some may remember the film all too well for the torture scene in which Bond is ironically saved by someone that he must kill at the end of the film. Chronologically, the film is meant to take place at the earlier parts of Bond’s career, but technological progress and the number of films in the series at this point make it appear otherwise.

Quantum of Solace (2008):

There literally is not a better film to talk about fire safety with, as Bond nearly dies after trapping himself in a burning building. While Bond films tend to have impressive environments, this film is noticeably dull and overall the least impressive of the Craig films, which probably explains all the times that it randomly happened to be on television.

Skyfall (2012):

With the fate of Judi Dench’s M proving that “I’m fine” is one of the greatest common lies of all time, the best thing you can do is acquire as many details as you can for a high-stakes situation, and perhaps even treat it like an L.A. Noire case, if it comes to that.

Spectre (2015):

A lesson that stands out the most in this film is that there will always be times where you cause pain and suffering to people you know because one course of action was considered better than the other; it is a deep test of your moral consciousness. On the other hand, doing good things for one person can be the same as doing bad things for another, which sparks an endless line of ethics questions, such as what can even be considered as justice and goodwill.

No Time to Die (2021?):

The title speaks for itself; if one was to die, they would not be able to see the film. Bond can’t afford to die either, so I look forward to seeing what is offered for the end of the Craig era.

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The Devastating Side of Fast Fashion



An H&M storefront.

What is Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is cheap, mass-produced clothing that is often made trendy by celebrities and fashion designers. Retailers such as H&M, Forever21, Zara, Gap, Fashion Nova and Topshop are some of the most popular fast fashion brands although there are various others just in the U.S. Prices at these retail stores are low, which is part of the problem with fast fashion. If you buy a five-dollar shirt, you are likely to dispose of it more quickly than if the shirt is $25. This is because we tend to see cheap clothes as disposable. Over half of fast fashion pieces are thrown away in less than a year

Environmental Effects of Fast Fashion 

Teens and other shoppers sometimes don’t think twice about where their clothes are coming from or if the brands they shop are sustainable. But fast fashion comes at a price, and the environment is paying for it. 

The fashion industry produces around 8% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. And the production of clothing requires a lot of water. Making a single cotton shirt requires 455 gallons (1,750 liters) of water, and one pair of jeans requires 780 gallons (3,000 liters). This has damaging effects on the environment, especially when so many of these clothing items are barely used. 

The fabric the clothing is made out of is a source of many environmental issues. Over 60% of materials are synthetic, which means that when this fabric ends up in landfills, it will not break down. And unfortunately, around 85% of textile waste ends up in landfills in the U.S.

Mass Production of Clothing 

Environmental sustainability isn’t the only concern when it comes to fast fashion. The production of the clothing is unethical. Garment workers are paid very low wages and typically suffer from hazardous working conditions. Many of these workers are located in developing countries that have low minimum wages. In Bangladesh, women who work in clothing factories often work upwards of 12 hours a day. They are paid minimum wage, which in Bangladesh is $68 a month, an insufficient salary. 

Racks of clothing in a store.

Fast fashion brands are choosing to sell cheap, mass-produced clothing and to pay workers the lowest possible wage. If wages are “too high” in one country, fashion companies will sometimes hire their workers in a different country with lower wages. Garment workers are not paid for the true value of their labor. 

The Popularization of Fast Fashion 

Social media culture has popularized fast fashion to the point where it is now the new norm. Influencers and celebrities will post a picture in an outfit and then are never seen wearing that outfit again, normalizing the idea that you can’t be seen wearing the same clothes twice. I think many teenagers have learned from these influencers that they idolize, and these teens are contributing to fast fashion without necessarily knowing. 

Fast fashion is also being popularized by trends. There is a quick turnover in trends, and many stores keep up with trends by coming out with new collections every week. With each season, there are new “must-have” items, and our society has become accustomed to buying new clothes each season. The average consumer purchases 60% more clothing nowadays compared with15 years ago. In order to combat the culture of fast fashion, we as consumers must start changing our habits.  

How to do Your Part in Saving the Earth

  1. Educate yourself about sustainable fashion brands.

There are many companies that are ethical and have fair trade products. These brands are eco-friendly, which sometimes means they are more pricey. But remember, you are less likely to get rid of more expensive clothing quickly. 

  1. Buy secondhand clothing.

Find a local thrift store to shop at. Or shop secondhand items from home. For example, Depop is a popular app where you can buy used clothing. This is a cheaper option than many sustainable brands but still helps the environment by reducing textile waste. It’s also a great option if you are a college student on a budget. 

Racks of secondhand clothing.
  1. Donate, reuse or sell old clothes. 

Rather than throwing away old clothing, donate it to your local charity or Goodwill store. It is also very beneficial to reuse old clothing. You can turn the pants you’ve grown out of into shorts, or make old shirts into dust rags. There’s almost always another use for your old clothing. Even selling old clothes on Depop, for example, is a good way for clothing to be reused and for making a little money. 

  1. Don’t overwash your clothing. 

Obviously, it is important to do laundry and wash your clothes, but there is such a thing as overwashing. When you wash clothing too frequently, it shortens its lifespan by shrinking or fading the clothes. This often causes the clothing to end up in a landfill far too soon. Overwashing also breaks down fibers of synthetic materials into microfibers that can end up in oceans. This can have detrimental effects on the environment, specifically on marine life. 

By changing our shopping habits and being aware of the dangers of fast fashion, we can reduce fast fashion’s negative impacts.

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Are Plant-Based Diets The Future or a Thing of The Past?



A plate full of various plant based foods.

Sticking to a plant-based diet is a thing that people have always done, but recently has made a comeback as a popular lifestyle choice. People on plant-based diets eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, tubers, grains, and seeds, or concoctions that consist of one or more of those ingredients. You will not see people on these diets eating that much meat, such as beef, poultry, and fish, nor eggs or dairy, however, these foods are not always given up completely. 

Plant-based diets have existed and been followed for a very long time for various reasons. While some people decide to stop eating animals for moral reasons, others live by a plant-based diet because of the many health benefits. Different forms of plant-based diets include being vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, fruitarian, and flexitarian, which allows for the consumption of some meat and dairy. 

Just because someone decides to live a plant-based lifestyle does not mean they have to give up eating meat or dairy completely. Most plant-based diets are flexible in the sense that you will not be breaking any rules if you eat a piece of meat here and there. Eating plant-based is more of a mindset in which one prioritizes eating plant-derived foods rather than eating mostly meat, fish, or dairy. A whole-food diet is a diet where people eat foods that are as close to their natural state as they can be, staying away from all processed foods, added sugars, and unnatural chemicals.

A popular plant-based diet is called the whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) diet, which consists of elements of both a plant-based diet as well as a whole-foods diet where a person does not eat any processed foods, artificial sweeteners, added sugars, refined grains, or hydrogenated oils. The WFPB diet also recommends people stick to eating mostly whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. 

Heads of broccoli laying on a green background.

Are Plant-Based Diets Beneficial?

There are many studies and claims saying that eating a strictly plant-based diet is in many ways incredibly beneficial for people’s health. These studies say that some benefits of this diet can include, lower total cholesterol, lower risk of developing type two diabetes, improved cardiovascular health, improved glycemic control, loss of weight if needed, protection from various forms of cancer, improved neurocognitive function, and prevention and management of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study in 2017 that looked at the effects of a fully conformant WFPB diet and compared them to the effects of someone on a plant-based diet but also ate processed foods. The results showed that people on WFPB diets were much less likely to have any sort of heart disease, while a plant-based diet that still includes processed food actually increases the overall risk of heart disease. More research that has been done over time has shown that sticking to a WFPB diet can also possibly decrease a person’s requirement for certain medications such as statins, medication for blood pressure, and various diabetes drugs. 

Even though there are many potential benefits of a plant-based diet, there have also been studies that show the opposite, claiming that plant-based diets can be more detrimental to someone’s health than beneficial.

“A plant-based diet sounds like it’d be inherently healthy, but that’s not always the case. Refined grains, added sugars, and vegan fast-food are all plant-based—but not the healthiest. Fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and some proteins make for more nutritionally sound choices,” Dietitian Nutritionist Kelly Plowe said.

Ensuring that you stick to the right diet that isn’t only plant-based but also naturally healthy is essential in getting the proper benefits that a plant-based diet can lead to. 

Some downsides of following a WFPB diet include the fact that like any diet, it becomes an obligation to pay more attention when preparing and planning what you are going to eat, as it is hard to constantly find affordable healthy foods that are not processed. Also, once meat has been omitted from a diet, it becomes a challenge to consume the amount of protein and other nutrients that are recommended and required to survive.

People who follow these diets need to ensure that they eat enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12. It is true that eating a plant-based diet can potentially lead to a lower intake of necessary daily nutrients. However, if the proper time and effort are put into meal planning, eating the right nutrients should not be a huge problem for most people who want to stick to WFPB or any plant-based diet.

A picture of a plant based burger in packaging called 'Beyond Burger'.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has dietary guidelines that include recommendations on what foods to eat to maintain a healthy plant-based diet that still includes a bit of meat. Some of the foods that the USDA mentions include vegetables, dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, and green beans. Fruits, berries, grains, oats lean meats such as chicken breast, fish, or turkey breast. Beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, dairy such as milk and cheese, as well as natural oils are also on the list.

While not eating meat and dairy technically does not meet the USDA guidelines of a healthy, well-balanced diet, it has been shown and proven that with the right planning, it is absolutely possible to take in everything necessary in order to continue to thrive by following a plant-based diet.

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Pounds over Promise: The Cycle of Diet Culture and New Years Resolutions



Food sitting on a white plate on a table with a fork and knife beside it.

At the start of a new year, everyone wants to start fresh. A few new styles, some changes to the daily routine, and sometimes, a big resolution. A very popular New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. How to do it? There are answers everywhere! Scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, there’s bound to be someone talking about a new diet they’re trying. Influencers have been infamous for peddling dangerous diets to fanbases of young women and girls. Even mothers are not free from their reach. Bloggers like lonijane on Instagram showed how her body looked before and after cheating on her vegan diet. The combination of New Year’s resolutions and these various diets is a recipe for disaster. Diet culture around the first month of the New Year is intense and even dangerous. 

What is “diet culture”? 

Diet culture is described as a desire to lose weight at all costs, and puts losing weight over wellbeing. It is a combination of advertisements and what the advertisements make us feel. The feelings of inferiority or discomfort with your body are precisely what the industry feeds off of. Whether it’s a new diet every week, or even directly associating worth with weight, it is hard to escape.

Especially around the start of the New Year, diet culture is pervasive. Even on January 1, it’s been shown that topics surrounding dieting and exercise spike in search volume. Some particularly cruel advertisements from gyms feed into a sense of inferiority and reap the profits. In 2017, about 10.8% of subscriptions to over 6,400 gyms happened in January. The nature of what a diet should be is also constantly changing: keto, juice cleanses, the baby food diet, paleo… reading through the advertisements is enough to give someone whiplash.

Impact of influencers on diet culture

The advertisements don’t only come from the corporations— or not directly. Influencers are a major way for corporations to boost their product. Ads are nothing new, but the personal nature of Instagram, where people will also post parts of their life, is something different. What’s especially worrisome is that these influencers often have a huge following of minors, intentionally or not. More than one-third of teenagers in Germany aged 14 to 17 deliberately seek out influencers. Over 84% of the content from female influencers is related to health, diet, and fitness. Attractive and uniform, they promote a singular way of living and looking. It’s easy and profitable for them to do it that way. The issue is that there are a wide variety of bodies that exist. There is no “one size fits all” for health. Allergies, chronic conditions, and genes are all important factors. 

An old newspaper clipping for the blitz diet.

How might influencers impact young people later in life, girls especially, as they can closely control their diet? 

Guilty over existence

There are worries about “quarantine pounds”, as people have been stuck inside due to COVID-19. Nutritionists are worried that individuals will be more susceptible to weight loss advertisements. The guilt over quarantine pounds stack up, on top of the pre-existing guilt instilled by advertisements.

A poignant way that advertisers promote body shame is “before and after” shots. To show the efficacy of their product or program, diet companies will show the amount of weight lost after using their product. These pictures directly associate the “before” picture with bad or undesirable. People with these bodies are being shamed, and repeatedly seeing those images will have a lasting impression. Especially at the start of the year, when seeing one’s stomach after holiday meals, insecurity digs in. 

These insecurities start young, but it’s not only by influencers. A study of mother-daughter pairs showed that daughters of dieting moms would start dieting before they were eleven. Given how close-quartered people are during quarantine, it’s likely that children will pick up on their family’s habits. Recently, there have been movements to stop mentioning weight around children. Whether the discussion is about the child’s weight or the parent’s, the children pick up on the criticism. Even people who aren’t parents can have a lasting impression. “She said, as if talking to herself, ‘Pretty face… have you ever thought about trying to lose weight?’” wrote a NYT contributor on her teenage experience with a friend’s mother. These comments linger and dig in, and around the holidays, they are especially amplified. 

Hope for body positivity

Very recently, with stars like Lizzo proudly showing their nontraditional bodies, there has been an emphasis on accepting various looks. Plus-size models have made their ways onto catwalks and into major magazines, without necessarily acknowledging that they are plus size. YouTubers have made videos specifically showing how influencers may take their photos, so young girls may feel better about themselves. While the holidays are still bombarded with advertisements and commercials, there are still people reminding you of your worth.

An old newspaper clipping on how to lose weight in 30 days.

Don’t feel ashamed for enjoying holiday food or eating more during winter! There’s a reason bears hibernate, and given the exhaustion of 2020, I think we all deserve it.

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