Today I’ll offend a nation…
…by moderating the accolades paid to its favourite son who died earlier this week.
Sean Connery, for it is he, has just died at the age of 90 and, I have to confess that I am one of the minority upon whom his ‘big-screen charisma’ was entirely lost (and I’m not a great fan of tax exiles, either).
My minority status has been well and truly confirmed by the plaudits he has received from the worldwide press and Twitterati on his status as an iconic film star; the ‘best’ James Bond, a man’s man, a woman’s man and so on and on and on.
And that’s all well and good, but his is in spite of his first wife’s claim in her autobiography that he had abused her both physically and mentally, albeit an allegation that he denied.
Disregarding those claims, he is, nevertheless, on public record as having justified male violence against women:
In 1965, aged 35, he said that “I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong about hitting a woman- although I don’t recommend doing it in the same way that you’d hit a man. An open-handed slap is justified if all other alternatives fail”.
In 1987, aged 57, he reiterated that view. “I haven’t changed my opinion … I don’t think it’s good, I don’t think it’s that bad. I think it depends entirely on the circumstances and if it merits it … If you have tried everything else – and women are pretty good at this – they can’t leave it alone. They want to have the last word and you give them the last word, but they’re not happy with the last word. They want to say it again, and get into a really provocative situation, then I think it’s absolutely right.”
It took him until old age before he rejected his previous lifetime’s view, stating in 2006, aged 76, that “My view is I don’t believe that any level of abuse against women is ever justified under any circumstances. Full stop.”
It’s good that he changed his mind, but a shame that it took him so long to do so. So long in fact, that the damage had already been done and, for other than apologists for abuse (“typical of a generation and a certain type of man”), there will always be that stain on his character.
There once was an old-school male chauvinist
Whose character flaws can’t be dismissed,
‘Cos his words correspond
To the ‘charms’ of James Bond:
An antidiluvian misogynist!