This article investigates the utopian visions of extreme sports as a postwar phenomenon by contrasting it to the violence of the extreme sport practitioner par excellence in postwar/cold war cinema: James Bond. Continental philosophy and cultural studies furnish extreme sport as a manifold of wholesome, meaningful, sustainable, life-enhancing, and environmentally intimate practices, less orientated toward human rivalry than its traditional namesake. Certain attention is thus paid to the movement of sliding in extreme sports that thrive on powerful natural forces such as air, wind, snowy slopes, and big waves, creating an ambivalent field between mastery and letting oneself go. Sliding, or glissade
, is treated as a “figure of thought” that Bond is mustered to embody and enact with his extreme athletic repertoire. The analysis of James Bond’s extreme sport sliding is contrasted to the musings of glissade
philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Serres. It is concluded that if there is utopianism in James Bond’s extreme sport performances, it is in the sliding itself, while the attaining of that state is paved with violence towards everything material. The article reinforces the concept of the extreme in relation to sport as a processual tool, rather than a category describing a fixed set of characteristics adhering to a certain practice.
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