If you watch 24 and think that it’s merely some pro-Bushist Fox propaganda, then you’re probably among the crowd that saw the movie Traffic as a pro-drug-war compilation.
The New Yorker has a hit piece on the show, citing military officials that say that it’s affecting how their cadets think. The New Yorker is the arbiter of what passes for decent among Northeastern libs, who, probably never having watched something so gauche, know the 25-word version of what goes on in the show, something like: this guy goes around a kills terrorists and tortures them to save America, and Rush Limbaugh likes it. (Rush Limbaugh likes football and wine too. I still watch and drink, God forgive me.) It must be bad.
Here’s an example: “The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do.”
Some? Watch 5 minutes of the very first episode and five minutes of any season after 3. As Stephen King put it, the psychic cost on the man is extreme. Patriotism is such a loaded word. It’s not like he’s doing it for the GOP flag. He does it because he honestly believes it will serve the greater good.
Clearly, people who have a certain mindset will watch a show like this and say, “See, torture is justified,” and “All muslims are evil.” These are the same kind of lukewarm intellects that will shoot up a school allegedly because of a video game. But any suggestion that this show has some inherent conservative bias is being stupid.
First of all, aside from Bauer, the clearest heroes of the entire series are the Palmer brothers, who are basically black Kennedys, and clearly identified as Democrats. The current Palmer, Wayne, smacked down his chief of staff in order to stop interment of muslims, and the former one was almost removed from power trying to stop a nuclear war against some framed middle eastern countries (Cuban missile crisis, anyone?), and then shot by a conspiracy involving a subsequent president with an astounding resemblance to Richard Nixon.
Second, the contention that the show is anti-muslim is stupid. The show has featured islamic radicals, yes, but only along with Serbs, Mexicans, Russians, and other Americans. And is it incorrect to say that islamic terrorists are gunning for us? C’mon. This season, one of the heroes is a reformed terrorist who is trying to bring peace.
So, as rabid of a liberal as I am, I hardly find this show unacceptable. Torture isn’t effective, and it’s illegal, but I don’t think everything I see on TV is ok. (Do people really?)
What pisses me off about this is that I expect more from The New Yorker. I expect some sort of literary analysis about this. Instead, we get a graf or two on the things I mentioned, and then a bio of the show’s creator, Surnow, who turns out to be your typical conservative who got that way in reaction to his daddie and “dirty hippies” living off their parent’s money. (That makes them wrong, right?) Well, that’s boring, and I don’t give a shit what he says. (But he does criticize the Iraq war.)
The problem is, none of that matters. The show is entertaining, and it does not fail to confront the problems raised by objectors. Even if the answers aren’t always PC, you at least have to grant that they are tougher calls than most people have to make.
The critics of 24 are critics because of Bush and the show’s creator being conservative: they’re not critics because it sucks. This is just the same as conservatives who pee their pants when there’s an accidental boob during the Superbowl. (Good thing it wasn’t Barbara Streisand’s boob…. for multiple reasons.)
Just chill the fuck out. While we’re nitpicking entertainment, people are dying in an illegal war and the globe is about to climate change its way into the oblivion on millions. Let’s fry those fish.