Seth MacFarlane will probably do a good job hosting the Oscars, although he’s bound to rub some people the wrong way. Indeed he’s already started, with this little jibe at James Bond.
Not that anyone really objects to poking fun at Bond, of course (especially during the Brosnan era). But the joke hinges on the idea that real martinis are always shaken, as Bond prefers, rather than stirred. Which is crazy talk. A prescriptive attitude toward food and drink is usually a bad idea — who am I to judge another person’s abiding love for deep-fried Twinkies? — but when it comes to martinis, it becomes time to lay the truth on folks. And the truth is: stirring is clearly preferable to shaking. (I used to be more agnostic on the question, but age has conferred wisdom.)
The problem is that, while the superiority of stirring is widely accepted amongst the cognoscenti, many silly reasons are put forward therefor. The most common is that shaking “bruises” the gin, as if gin were the kneecaps of a spirited youngster. As far as I know, there is no evidence that this actually happens (corrections welcome). More plausibly, it is claimed that shaking dilutes the martini with water. This does make sense, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing; you would have to shake for a really long time to dilute the liquor noticeably, and a small amount of water can help release the flavors of a spirit. The real reason stirring is better is simple: shaking introduces tiny bubbles into the martini, giving you a cloudy drink. It’s a matter of looks, not of taste; the perfect transparency of an ideal martini can only be attained by stirring. (And any competent stirrer should have no trouble bringing the drink to the appropriate temperature. To wit, very cold indeed.)
Of course, James Bond prefers a vodka martini, which every right-thinking person recognizes as an abomination. And he wears dive watches with formalwear. So why was anyone ever tempted to follow his lead on anything at all?