You Know My Name?

The other morning, when I was unsuccessfully resisting consciousness, I thought back on the two times I’ve seen the new James Bond movie. First reflection: the Chris Cornell theme music has grown on me. The first time I heard it I was unimpressed, but the second time I caught myself humming the theme for days afterward.

But (second reflection) the theme plays on the main character’s self-introduction and the scene in which he has broken into M’s apartment. “Your name is —” Judi Dench cuts him off and admonishes him not to utter her name.

Didn’t we just see her leaving a hearing with Parliamentary leaders who’ve been grilling her about Bond’s misadventure in the Nambutu embassy? What do they call her? Are there any governmental officials in the contemporary world whose names we don’t know?

M’s identity can’t be a secret.

Mark says:

M has a name. “M.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t at least one or two people who go by names that aren’t their names, working in government.

[Well, sure, some people operate under pseudonyms at various times — but are we expected to suppose that Judi Dench’s character appeared before Parliament, and members addressed her as “M”? I wouldn’t be surprised if there were press coverage (she implies as much in the movie); Does the paper that reported “Bomber Killed By British Agent” (or whatever the headline said) go on in the lede to say, ‘According to MI-6 head “M,” the agent in question. . . .’? Daniel Craig’s healing capacities I can strain to believe; a CIA or MI-6 chief who goes by an initial, whose name and occupational history remain secret, I can’t believe.

Now, Mark knows a lot more about the inner workings of government agencies than I do, so he may be hinting that Michael Hayden is pretending to be head of the CIA, whereas some mysteriously initialed character really pulls the strings. I’ll bet that even the compliant Congress of recent years would evince some reluctance to abide by that arrangement. If they knew.]

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