During an arbitrary thought this morning, I pondered why the letter X has been, and remains to be, such a popular symbol within social culture.
For instance, there was a TV show titled Agent X; when you’re searching for treasure the map advocates ‘X marks the spot’; its a symbol which’s been used to signify adult movie content; it’s a chromosome shared in the make up of both male and female; and if you’re deemed talented you’re said to have the X-Factor…… The letter is even used to signify an affectionate kiss on text messages……. Yes, you name it and the alphabet’s 24th letter seems to be top of a copywriters ‘go to’ symbol list.
Footnote – When referring to the X chromosome being shared in the makeup of both male and females, I’m of course referring to its presence in human genetic science, not facial cosmetics.
As inferred in my above example of the TV drama Agent X, the letter’s a particularly popular choice within character names for those intent on maintaining anonymity. As I continued to mull over all things X, I couldn’t help ponder why that was the case. What’s the story behind screenwriters apparent keenness at utilising the letter with predominance over all others.
After all, surely using a pseudonym Agent K, instead of Agent X, wouldn’t diminish the projects overall quality – Would it? ….. Me pondering further that bestowing your work with a title of, say, Agent H really wouldn’t/shouldn’t detract from a shows kerb appeal for the discerning TV viewer.
For instance, I can’t envisage witnessing a BBC trailer for a show called Agent L leading to chuntering from the sofa of “Oh my God, there’s no way I’m gonna watch a programme titled Agent L…. All agents should have an X suffix; it’s the only letter to use when signifying anonymity…… L is just too unbelievable to make that idea work!….. I’m gonna avoid that steaming pile of horse poo like the plague”?
Anyhow, to my mind the letter’s the least of the moniker’s concerns. Personally, the first thing I’d undertake is to ditch the word Agent from the title – A show named X, or K, or whatever the hell letter you chose, introduces greater mystery. Not to mention, calling yourself Agent immediately gives the game away there’s a scent of espionage afoot – Playing into the hands of your nemesis….. Where’s the enigma in that Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms (delete where applicable) Screenwriter?!….. Keep your powder dry!!
I mean James Bond introduces himself with the iconic gambit “My name’s Bond……James Bond.” not immediately giving the game away by foolishly revealing “My name’s 7…… 007.” Fair enough, some of his adversaries do get to know his codename, but that’s rarely consequential of the British agent’s indiscretion. The likes of Dr No, Scaramanger and Goldfinger got wind of Bond’s code through….. errr, well I don’t know, but I doubt it’s from 007’s loose lips.
Anyhow, as is my want, I’m probably overthinking things. I guess whether a show’s called Agent X, or just X, doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
The key element of any espionage show isn’t it’s name. No, it’s ensuring it incorporates scenes with car ejector seats and an attache case housing a concealed dagger, a metallic sheath of bullets and a leather strip of krugerrand…… On reflection, perhaps I need to update my spy movie/TV show references.
In my defence, though, at least I’ve managed to shake off the more misogynistic, outdated traits borne from watching decades of James Bond movies. Celluloid offerings which, along with watch ‘Carry On…’ films, formed the capricious relationship guides during my formative years….. Bloody hell, no wonder I’m so screwed!!