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Author Topic: Anyone else a "24" addict
Pogo
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posted 06 April 2004 01:51 AM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is my only must see tv. I am hooked on the hokey story lines. I love recounting the incredible happenings with Louise. This year is not as good as last year when:

Jack finds the nuclear bomb set to detonate in LA only to find that it is a dud (after fighting off a rogue US army regiment). He then finds the real deal only to find it tamper proof and volunteers to fly it into the desert. Luckily his boss who has hours to live due to radiation exposure stows away and Jack is able to parachute to safety. He then pursues the culprits only to be captured. They stop his heart repeatedly, searching for information, but between trips to the 'paddles' he overcomes 4 armed terrorists and then with the help of the presdident's wife who was on the evil side captures the ring leader. The president who had just had his office reinstated (a bare majority had declared him mentally incompetent for not bombing a country for the hell of it), thanks Jack and divorces his wife.

There are lots of questions unanswered this year.


From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Marc
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posted 06 April 2004 02:23 AM      Profile for Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am definitely a 24 addict. I started a thread about it last week but few posted on it.

Last week's show was awesome.


From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
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posted 06 April 2004 02:37 AM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My name is Blake and i too am an addict. Problem is, i don't have a TV, so i have to rely on other addicts (my parents) to tape it. I go over to their place monthly and watch hours of accumulated 24's, almost like a binge.

There was a few weeks there without a new episode, so i'm happy to hear its back up again.


From: In Regina, the land of Exotica | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 06 April 2004 10:12 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Heh. Torontocentric me - I thought this was going to be a thread about the free subway daily news sheet here.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
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posted 07 April 2004 04:39 PM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Last nights show was again spellbinding. I am certain that someone in the president's entourage will turn out to be working for the dark side. My guess is the guard that helped him through his 'impeachment' last series. Maybe the brother (he is disposable to the storyline). Where is the vice president?

Meanwhile you have to wonder how many people will die in the hotel. Will they find a miracle cure? I can't see 400 people slowly diing a disfiguring death being good TV.


From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
weakling willy
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posted 07 April 2004 04:52 PM      Profile for weakling willy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Heh. Torontocentric me - I thought this was going to be a thread about the free subway daily news sheet here.

And I thought it was about beer!

From: Home of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
vickyinottawa
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posted 07 April 2004 04:53 PM      Profile for vickyinottawa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I confess....I am an addict. Of course, it might have something to do with my obsession with Kiefer Sutherland (I know, I know), but I do enjoy it, wacky storylines and all.
From: lost in the supermarket | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marc
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posted 07 April 2004 10:24 PM      Profile for Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I like the fact that finally something really bad has happened on the show. Hopefully there won't be a magic cure. Call me a sucker for sad endings!
From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
vickyinottawa
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posted 08 April 2004 12:43 AM      Profile for vickyinottawa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd say Jack's wife getting killed at the end of Season 1 was pretty bad....


is anyone else tired of the Sherry Palmer character/storyline? I mean, does that guy ever learn?


From: lost in the supermarket | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marc
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posted 08 April 2004 12:48 AM      Profile for Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I kinda like Sherry Palmer...
From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
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posted 08 April 2004 01:58 AM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The contest is between Jack and Sherry. They each have to take turns shooting a friend (yes this is a bit of a counterfactual for Sherry) until one gives up. Who wins?
From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Pogo
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posted 20 April 2004 04:46 PM      Profile for Pogo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well obviously we can now say that Jack wins.
From: Richmond BC | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
vickyinottawa
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posted 20 April 2004 04:56 PM      Profile for vickyinottawa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No kidding!

I never liked that guy anyway.


From: lost in the supermarket | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marc
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posted 20 April 2004 04:59 PM      Profile for Marc     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Poor Chappelle. He was a boring character anyway. It's on again tonight, right? I'm guessing it is...unless Bush decides to interrupt my TV watching schedule again.

[ 20 April 2004: Message edited by: Marc ]


From: Calgary, AB | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
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posted 20 April 2004 06:34 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow, last week's was great. It should be on tonight...
From: In Regina, the land of Exotica | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 17 January 2007 09:56 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It's especially unfortunate to see Kiefer Sutherland play the world's most popular torturer -- because his father, Donald Sutherland, has been a prominent antiwar activist since Vietnam days and starred in some great films critiquing fascist politics, including "MASH" and Bertolucci's "1900" -- and also because Kiefer's grandfather, Tommy Douglas, was Canada's first socialist premier, and was recently voted "the greatest Canadian of all time" -- because he introduced universal public health care to Canada. The grandson meanwhile is being paid $10 million a season by Rupert Murdoch to shoot kneecaps, chop off hands, and bite his enemies to death (Sunday's special thrill).

The show's connection to the Bush White House and the conservative establishment became explicit last June, when Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff appeared alongside the show's producers and three cast members at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation to discuss "The public image of US terrorism policy." The discussion was moderated by Rush Limbaugh. The C-SPAN store sells a DVD of the event--price reduced from $60 to $29.95. Sunday night's two-hour premiere again argued not just that torture is necessary but that it works -- and it's also really exciting to watch. The show as usual made the "ticking time bomb" case for torture: we need to torture a suspect, or else thousands, or millions, will die in the next hour.


Good article in AlterNet

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
jas
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posted 17 January 2007 10:35 AM      Profile for jas     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the link, M Spector. An important connection to consider for those who find themselves watching shows like this.
From: the world we want | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 17 January 2007 11:06 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really enjoyed the first season. It was new and exciting but I cringed at the overt and covert racism in it and now it is a show I absolutely refuse to watch.
From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 17 January 2007 02:15 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I watch it all the time. I just love to bitch and complain, I guess.

ETA: Related (and more recent) thread

[ 17 January 2007: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M.Gregus
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posted 17 January 2007 06:14 PM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Did anyone catch Shaun Majumder on the new season? I don't normally watch24 but his appearance on the show as a terrorist almost drove me to check it out. Almost.
From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 17 January 2007 09:32 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, and he blowed up real good!
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 17 January 2007 10:49 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, I've kept watching 24 as well, from its debut up to this latest season. I don't believe in letting my TV-watching be determined by some principled notion of which TV shows are ideologically proper and which aren't.

Besides, 24 is a bit of a mixed bag in that respect. They like to mix their technocratic militarism and motivelessly malign Muslims up with speeches and morality tales about the importance of civil liberties, embracing diversity, and a humane foreign policy.

But it's not holding my interest yet this year. Maybe it will once they toss out the initial storyline and kill off most of the new characters they've introduced, as they typically do (and as they've just done in a rather abrupt fashion). They're a lot better at the action scenes than they are at the didactic speechifying, and there's an awful lot of the latter. And even more so than before, the central role of technology in the show is leaving me cold. It's as if the gadgets are the main characters, and they use the human beings as vehicles to get from one place to another, or as weapons to attack other gadgets.

It helps that I've started watching Lost. Now there's a show where they give a shit about writing an at least somewhat consistent plot, and about creating complicated characters who drive the story. They also assume some intelligence on the part of the viewers. And, at least on the island, there are no. Cel. Phones.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Legless-Marine
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posted 17 January 2007 11:06 PM      Profile for Legless-Marine        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stargazer:
I really enjoyed the first season. It was new and exciting but I cringed at the overt and covert racism in it and now it is a show I absolutely refuse to watch.

I'm with you on that one, Stargazer.

As I watch, I think of the millions of Americans who are having their views of Muslim/Arabs formed or confirmed by the show. I try to get a feel for what impression is being left on viewers. 24's efforts at creating balance, through the inclusion of a few uncle-taleb type arabs are token, and insufficient.

The real deal-breaker for me was the "tribute" at the end of the show to some fallen soldiers in Iraq. Cry me a f***ing river.

It's been a good 4 years, but it's time for 24 and I to part ways.


From: Calgary | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 19 January 2007 06:05 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jack Baur reminds me of Storm Saxon, the white supremisist action hero in Allen Moore's V for Vandetta.
From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Legless-Marine
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posted 19 January 2007 10:57 PM      Profile for Legless-Marine        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
Jack Baur reminds me of Storm Saxon, the white supremisist action hero in Allen Moore's V for Vandetta.

In what way?


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Steppenwolf Allende
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posted 19 January 2007 10:58 PM      Profile for Steppenwolf Allende     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sure, we watch it sometimes, warts and all. I can't stand the endless subtle praise of Corporate America and its great totalitarian state. But then again, you get that with most shows.

Kiefer Sutherland does actually, to some degree, carry the socialistic philosophies of his family. The fact he plays a secret agent cop doesn't change that.

The last episode I saw was a cliff-hanger, where some rogue group set off an A bomb in Los Angeles, and there were four more somewhere in the US.

Lots of actors are anti-capitalist-minded or at least highly critical of the system and its power structures.

Martin Sheen, Danny Glover, Edward Asner, etc. come to mind just now. Yet, especially the first two, have mostly played cops, politicians, military officers in their more well-known pictures.

For example, Sheen is in the West Wing, where he plays a US President. Glover, in (dare I admit) a favourite role as the key cop who single-handedly took on one of the coolest aliens on TV in Predator II (which was a whole lot better than Predator I starring Arnold the Idiot, which I couldn't be bothered to even see the ending).

I admit we often watch other US crime-related shows like the CSI (Miami, Vegas, New York), the various Law and Order series, Cold Case, and Without a Trace.

Just because they don’t question the legitimacy of the corporate/state power structures and their economics doesn’t mean they can’t be entertaining.


From: goes far, flies near, to the stars away from here | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 20 January 2007 08:58 AM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Legless-Marine:

In what way?


Storm Saxon is a tough, ruthless super dude battling hordes of brown criminals.
Jack Baur is a tough, ruthless super dude battling hordes of brown criminals.

With a couple of changes, 24 could quite easily be turned into Nazi propaganda.


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 24 January 2007 05:08 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I watched this week's episode (I watch the show for it's humour value). I was actually laughing so hard I nearly peed myself when Jack Bauer put the plastic bag over his own brother's head. Are we sure 24 isn't satire?
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 24 January 2007 10:31 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why would you think it's satire?

You don't remember when Jack interrogated his own girlfriend and threatened her with torture?

You don't remember when the Secretary of Defence of the USA authorized Jack's fellow spooks to torture his own son, just on the off-chance that he might disclose some tidbit of information that would help find the terrorists?

It's not satire; it's all in a day's work on 24.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 24 January 2007 12:37 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Why would you think it's satire?


Because it's just so ridiculous. I have trouble believing that an audience could actually mistake the events on 24 for anything even close to reality.

Besides, the best satire fools some people into thinking that it's actually serious drama. That's real art.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 24 January 2007 01:58 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:
I have trouble believing that an audience could actually mistake the events on 24 for anything even close to reality.
Yeah.

In the real world the US "counter-terrorists" would never dream of torturing someone to get information.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 29 January 2007 06:01 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Yeah.

In the real world the US "counter-terrorists" would never dream of torturing someone to get information.


For me, the satire is that Jack gets accurate information from the people he tortures. Unfailingly. Also, that he'll torture anyone (and kill anyone) who stands between him and the truth. I expect Cloe will become one of his victims this season.

Except that it's not really satire. Maybe it's sadire? Because it's sad that so many people consider these situations plausible.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 29 January 2007 08:46 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:
Because it's sad that so many people consider these situations plausible.


Uh-huh. It is about as “sad” as the fact that about the same number of people believe “James Bond” and his feats of daring-do are plausible.

It’s entertainment, for Christ’s sake!!


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 29 January 2007 08:49 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Way to read all my posts.
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 29 January 2007 08:55 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I read all of your posts, Briguy. I just think that the angst that some people feel about "24" and the "message" it is sending are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I find "24" to be entertaining escapism. For an hour, I stop thinking about work, all of the stuff that needs to be done around the house, politics, etc. and veg for a bit. It's about as serious as a Harry Potter story.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
jas
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posted 29 January 2007 09:03 AM      Profile for jas     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:

It’s entertainment, for Christ’s sake!!


James Bond doesn't make a habit of torturing his enemies, Sven. I for one do think it's a little disturbing that so many would consider depictions of torture "entertainment". Do you believe in television's capacity to normalize certain ideas and behaviours?


From: the world we want | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 29 January 2007 12:35 PM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
I read all of your posts, Briguy. I just think that the angst that some people feel about "24" and the "message" it is sending are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

I find "24" to be entertaining escapism. For an hour, I stop thinking about work, all of the stuff that needs to be done around the house, politics, etc. and veg for a bit. It's about as serious as a Harry Potter story.


Nobody's ever gone broke underestimating the intelligence of the average viewer. FoxNews still runs strong, after all.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 29 January 2007 02:28 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jas:
James Bond doesn't make a habit of torturing his enemies, Sven. I for one do think it's a little disturbing that so many would consider depictions of torture "entertainment". Do you believe in television's capacity to normalize certain ideas and behaviours?

Does television normalize certain ideas and behaviors? Probably. I don’t watch a lot of TV but there’s maiming and killing and raping and all kinds of nasty things being portrayed on TV all the time. And, that’s been the case for years. Same with computer “games”, like “Grand Theft Auto” (which is despicable). So, what exactly would you advocate? Censoring such shows (and games)? What is unique about “24” that makes it the target of such angst by many here at babble?


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 29 January 2007 02:48 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Because it really dosen't have decent scripts, Jack Baur is entirely one dimentional and the show's politics are very right wing.

Other programs play into the hands of "the right" (Angel, The West Wing) but those shows usually manage to make there ideological messages ambiguous. 24 is so obviously in lock step with the Bush administation, it's very defficult for many leftists to enjoy it.

[ 29 January 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]

[ 29 January 2007: Message edited by: CMOT Dibbler ]


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 29 January 2007 03:25 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
Because it really dosen't have decent scripts, Jack Baur is entirely one dimentional and the show's politics are very right wing.
I agree with the first two points (hell, ALL the characters are one dimensional) but not the third. So I'm not sure I can answer Sven's question. I suspect that many of the people who wring their hands about how nefarious 24 is haven't watched it, or have only watched an episode or two.

The show's politics are entirely opportunistic, with a mix of right-wing bromides, liberal angst, and narratives about evil corporate-military conspiracies, in an effort to please everyone. It's kind of like the X Files that way. The difference is that the X Files was on during the Clinton administration, with any number of major ongoing news events but no single defining theme, and 24 has been on since late 2001, with the "war on terror" being the main political theme of the day (except for the first season, which was largely written and filmed earlier that year).

24 reminds me of Oscar Wilde's line about how "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well-written or badly written." I don't quite agree with the sentiment insofar as it might apply to 24. I think it would be POSSIBLE for 24 to be nothing more than pro-Bush-administration propaganda. I just don't think that it IS.

24 annoys me because the writers don't care about creating a coherent storyline, or about characterization, and they think the viewers are simpletons. (I suppose perhaps the problem could be that they're right, and most of the viewers ARE simpletons.) As for the politics of the show, they don't annoy me any more than the politics of the US as a whole annoy me. Which is still a fair bit, but I don't think the writers are on any particular side.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 29 January 2007 03:32 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by CMOT Dibbler:
24 is so obviously in lock step with the Bush administation, it's very defficult for many leftists to enjoy it.

My suggestion to anyone who dislikes something on TV is: Don’t watch it.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
CMOT Dibbler
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posted 29 January 2007 04:15 PM      Profile for CMOT Dibbler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I agree with the first two points (hell, ALL the characters are one dimensional) but not the third. So I'm not sure I can answer Sven's question. I suspect that many of the people who wring their hands about how nefarious 24 is haven't watched it, or have only watched an episode or two.

I have only watched the first season. I didn't really like it.
Upon reflection, I don't think it's the politics of 24 that bother me. Characters on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its sister show Angel exist in the same sort of black-and-white comic book universe, where the bad guys are really bad(and they have the skin problems to prove it!) And the pretty white good guys are never beyond using violence to get what they want. The thing that separates these two programs from 24 is that they are (for the most part anyway) well written. 24 isn't. If it was, I could tolerate Jack doing all kinds of horrible things, simply because he would be a well drawn character, with complex emotional states.


From: Just outside Fernie, British Columbia | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
jas
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posted 29 January 2007 10:42 PM      Profile for jas     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by obscurantist:
Which is still a fair bit, but I don't think the writers are on any particular side.

It doesn't matter if they are or not. But if the end result is that the show's fans begin to equate the justifications for sick violence in fiction with those in reality, then it's a sick situation.

This will sound puritanical and judgemental, but I sincerely don't understand the appeal of torture, pain, violent sex (or the suggestion of it), hateful abusive behaviour, and other sundry blood and guts for audiences. I think it points to serious psychological disturbance in a population. I guess this is why I would wonder why "progressives" consume this, and whether they're really being honest with themselves about their consumption, and whether it's possible to be a peace-loving person who enjoys violent fare. I guess I'm suggesting it's not.

And for those who suggest that violence in television or video games has no effect whatsoever on viewers and consumers, I'd say you are living in deep fantasy ka-ka land.


From: the world we want | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 29 January 2007 10:54 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not one of those puritans who think there is no place for sex and violence on TV.

My objection to 24 is not that it depicts violent or sadistic acts; it's that the storyline presents those acts as morally justified, because they are done by the "good guys" and they are effective in defeating the "bad guys." The subtext is that not only are these things justified in the fight against terrorism, but they actually work.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Legless-Marine
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posted 29 January 2007 11:07 PM      Profile for Legless-Marine        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
The subtext is that not only are these things justified in the fight against terrorism, but they actually work.

Well observed, MSpector.

[ 29 January 2007: Message edited by: Legless-Marine ]


From: Calgary | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 29 January 2007 11:15 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes there are certain parallels between the show and real life, but it doesn't automatically follow that people will suddenly become desensitized to the idea of torture as a legitimate means to an end. The fact is though that violent actions take place in reality, so people need something to seem somewhat plausible even if unpleasant, if they want to suspend their disbelief. Most good fiction will include trials and tribulations.

As a viewer of the show, I'm no where nearer to advocating torture, then I was before I started watching the show. (Which is to say, I was anti-torture before, and I'm as much if not more anti-torture now.) Also, considering the extent of Jack's torture, and the fact that he was released during the first hour, yeah I think this show is pretty fictitious. Because obviously no real person would've dealt with it as well as he did. Personally, I don't like it when "progressives" buy into the "bad influence" rationale for censorship of shows that they don't like because of certain political aspects of that show. If you don't like it, don't watch it.


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 30 January 2007 04:51 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:

My suggestion to anyone who dislikes something on TV is: Don’t watch it.


To refute your last two points, I never suggested censoring or changing anything. Nor would I. As I stated, I still watch the show for it's humour value. Dr. Helicopter (old ER reference) is both Jack's brother _and_ the bad guy (for a couple of hours, anyway)! That's comedy gold!

I just expressed worry that some people could take the show seriously. Just like some people take Rush Limbaugh seriously. I'd like to avoid those people, if at all possible.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stargazer
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posted 30 January 2007 05:03 AM      Profile for Stargazer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't recall any one of us who chose not to watch it advocating for censorship. We're adults, we can all turn the channel. No big deal. However, I don't think that all people are really able to take 24 and separate it from the "war on terror" going on today. There will always be the people who say "You see that, that could happen to us. Those Middle Eastern people are nuts." That is actually something pretty close to what I have heard someone say. People can quite easily extrapolate from this show to the "War on Terror".
From: Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist. | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
jas
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posted 30 January 2007 07:45 AM      Profile for jas     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What Stargazer said.

[ 30 January 2007: Message edited by: jas ]


From: the world we want | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 30 January 2007 09:52 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The present storyline in 24 is such that Jack apparently must torture his own brother (who we happen to know is evil), or at least threaten to do so, in order to stop the terrorists from detonating four nuclear bombs in the USA. In the story, one nuclear bomb has already gone off in a suburb of Los Angeles.

If a poll were taken among "24" viewers today, what proportion do you suppose would agree with the proposition that torture is justified in order to avert terrorist attacks on the US? I suspect it would be very high.

It's not a matter of being "desensitized" to torture by viewing it onsceen; very few people who would answer the above poll in the affirmative would say that, after seeing it depicted on "24", torture ain't so bad. It's rather a matter of cold, calculating "logic".

[ 30 January 2007: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 30 January 2007 10:07 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Vansterdam Kid:
If you don't like it, don't watch it.
Why is it inevitable that in any discussion of the merits of a particular TV show, there will always be someone who will respond to thoughtful criticism with this inane slogan? Is it because they don't have an answer to the criticism?

Or is it because they really believe that one has no right to criticize an aspect of culture unless one is compelled to experience it?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 30 January 2007 05:24 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jas:
What Stargazer said.


Well, it sounded like you where advocating censorship, because you wondered why "progressives" would want to watch this. With emphasis on the word progressives in quotes, implying that they're not truly progressive for watching the show in the first place. It implies that they should censor themselves for the sake of political purity, its inane.

quote:
It's not a matter of being "desensitized" to torture by viewing it onsceen; very few people who would answer the above poll in the affirmative would say that, after seeing it depicted on "24", torture ain't so bad. It's rather a matter of cold, calculating "logic".

I don't think that's particularly logical, because it assumes that violence in fiction is directly linked to violence in reality. I'd say that also assumes that desensitization leads to more acceptance, and examples of violent behaviour. I'd say, within western society anyways, we're less violent now then in the past. Yet violent forms of media, throughout the west (sans the US) have been increasing, whereas violent crime has been decreasing. As has support for corporeal punishment, as acceptable forms of punishment, for a variety of offences, perceived or otherwise. So it might apply the US, I don't know, they're a weird country - with a somewhat bizzarly conformist political culture for a developed country - whose population is easily scared into doing X or Y thing. For other developed countries I don't think that's true.

[ 30 January 2007: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 30 January 2007 08:16 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Vansterdam Kid:
I don't think that's particularly logical, because it assumes that violence in fiction is directly linked to violence in reality. I'd say that also assumes that desensitization leads to more acceptance, and examples of violent behaviour. I'd say, within western society anyways, we're less violent now then in the past.
I'd say that as usual you've got things completely backwards. I was questioning whether desensitization to torture is actually taking place; and yet you managed to read that as me assuming that desensitization to torture leads to "more acceptance".

In fact I was saying the opposite of what you said I was assuming: I was saying that acceptance of torture by viewers of "24" as a legitimate activity of the state was occurring regardless of "desensitization." It was occurring, rather, as a result of the belief that torture "works" - part of the central message of the program.

That's nothing to do with desensitization.

You obviously didn't bother to read the link posted earlier in the thread to Good article in AlterNet. Now would be a good time to correct that error.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 30 January 2007 09:25 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not going to say, I'd ask you, I'll just ask you: Is there a reason you're always so unpleasant, and passive aggressive? Just get to the point, and maybe you'd encourage better responses, unless you're board - which I suspect you are.
From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 30 January 2007 09:28 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Me? passive?

Is there a reason you're always so annoyingly oblivious to what other people are actually saying?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
oreobw
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posted 30 January 2007 09:40 PM      Profile for oreobw     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't watch 24 but might in a year or two via DVD.

But, allowing for a little thread drift... does anyone watch Battlestar Galactica? (the new series, not the old one).

It has sex, violence, nucs, religion, and maybe a little torture, in a SiFi setting.

[ 30 January 2007: Message edited by: oreobw ]

[ 30 January 2007: Message edited by: oreobw ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 30 January 2007 09:56 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
Me? passive?


So you admit your unpleasant? Excellent.


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 30 January 2007 10:07 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
If a poll were taken among "24" viewers today, what proportion do you suppose would agree with the proposition that torture is justified in order to avert terrorist attacks on the US? I suspect it would be very high.

Alan Dershowitz wrote an interesting op/ed piece some time ago on the subject of torture. I seem to recall that he put in a moral context: If torture of an individual could prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb that would kill hundreds of thousands of people, it would be immoral not to torture that individual. He said that the safeguard would be to permit torture on terms similar to a search warrant (it would have to be approved by the judiciary on a case-by-case basis).

Dershowitz presupposes one thing: That torture can elicit useful information from someone. That's debatable.

But, let's say, merely for the sake of discussion, that torture can elicit useful information. In the scenario where the torture of one person is likely (although not "certain") to elicit information that would save the lives of a hundred thousand people, in such an instance would torture be morally justified?

For those who answer, "No", what would happen politically if a hundred thousand people were killed and it later came to light that the torture of one key individual may have prevented that carnage? As a leader who opposed torture under any circumstance, what would be the message you would give to your fellow citizens after such an event?


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 30 January 2007 10:25 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sven, I think I remember that article, and I'm pretty sure it had a lot of logical inconsistencies in it. Such as your false dilemma. The reason I call it that, is because I can't accept the validity of your scenario. If someone was complacent in the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, then it's logical to assume that they'd be a fanatic who wouldn't be susceptible to torture as a means of getting information. They'd likely be willing to die for their cause, or give you false information, to make sure that their plan goes off. If they where in the same city as the nuclear device, it's likely they'd plan on being incinerated for their "cause" anyways.

[ 30 January 2007: Message edited by: Vansterdam Kid ]


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 31 January 2007 04:48 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by oreobw:
I don't watch 24 but might in a year or two via DVD.

But, allowing for a little thread drift... does anyone watch Battlestar Galactica? (the new series, not the old one).

It has sex, violence, nucs, religion, and maybe a little torture, in a SiFi setting.


I love BG. I think it's bloody brilliant. The writers are doing the opposite of all human cultures at war: They are taking a completely dehumanized enemy and gradually humanizing them. I hope the producers allow them to continue in this vein.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 31 January 2007 04:50 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:

Alan Dershowitz wrote an interesting op/ed piece some time ago on the subject of torture. I seem to recall that he put in a moral context: If torture of an individual could prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb that would kill hundreds of thousands of people, it would be immoral not to torture that individual. He said that the safeguard would be to permit torture on terms similar to a search warrant (it would have to be approved by the judiciary on a case-by-case basis).

Dershowitz presupposes one thing: That torture can elicit useful information from someone. That's debatable.

But, let's say, merely for the sake of discussion, that torture can elicit useful information. In the scenario where the torture of one person is likely (although not "certain") to elicit information that would save the lives of a hundred thousand people, in such an instance would torture be morally justified?

For those who answer, "No", what would happen politically if a hundred thousand people were killed and it later came to light that the torture of one key individual may have prevented that carnage? As a leader who opposed torture under any circumstance, what would be the message you would give to your fellow citizens after such an event?


You are working on a completely disproven premise. My only suggestion is that you should stop watching 24 and stop reading Dershowitz if you believe torture actually illicits useful information. I will continue watching, as I am immune to the particular lie it spreads.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 31 January 2007 05:46 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Vansterdam Kid:
Sven, I think I remember that article, and I'm pretty sure it had a lot of logical inconsistencies in it. Such as your false dilemma. The reason I call it that, is because I can't accept the validity of your scenario.

I didn't ask you to accept the validity of that scenario (or, more accurately, to accept the premise that torture can elicit useful information). I said, for the sake of discussion, assume that torture can elicit useful information. With that assumption, how would you answer the moral question?

Now, I am able to answer the question if the assumption is reversed (i.e., that torture cannot elicit useful information). If that was the assumption, then the answer would be obvious: The individual should not be tortured.

So, now that I have (hopefully) clarified what I'm asking (and what I am not asking), how would people address the moral issue of that hypothetical question?

[ 31 January 2007: Message edited by: Sven ]


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 31 January 2007 05:48 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:
You are working on a completely disproven premise.

And you are answering a question I didn't ask (please see my explanation to V.K. above).


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 31 January 2007 05:56 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The answer is clearly a Spockian "yes", based solely on the false premise being non-false. But the false premise is false, so what's the point?
From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 31 January 2007 06:05 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Briguy:
The answer is clearly a Spockian "yes", based solely on the false premise being non-false. But the false premise is false, so what's the point?

A "Spockian yes"...

Okay, I think nearly all people, given the two alternative assumptions, would answer the hypothetical "Yes" (if torture can elicit useful information) or "No" (if torture cannot elicit useful information).

My question then is: Is it accurate to say that the premise can only be answered with a binary (or, as Briguy has aptly put it, with a Spockian) "Yes" or "No"?

In other words, is it absolutely proven, without any doubt or uncertainty, that torture can never elicit useful information?


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Briguy
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posted 31 January 2007 06:30 AM      Profile for Briguy     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
In other words, is it absolutely proven, without any doubt or uncertainty, that torture can never elicit useful information?

It's proven that torturees will tell torturers what they think the torturer wants to hear, in order to end the torture. Whether this coincides with the truth is anyone's guess, and probably depends more on the torturer's assumptions going into the investigation than anything the torturee knows. To use another Star Trek reference: "There are four lights!"

Investigators have many other tools at their disposal: trickery, bargaining, intimidation, appeals to decency, etc. The results from these methods are proven, to a degree, and as a bonus they don't physically or emotionally destroy innocents who happen to be caught up in the investigation.


From: No one is arguing that we should run the space program based on Physics 101. | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 31 January 2007 10:07 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
Okay, I think nearly all people, given the two alternative assumptions, would answer the hypothetical "Yes" (if torture can elicit useful information) or "No" (if torture cannot elicit useful information).
My answer would be No in both cases.

Even if torture can elicit useful information that doesn't mean it should be used.

Torture does not always elicit useful information. What percentage of cases where useful information is elicited would be required to make it morally justified? One case out of two? One case out of ten? Out of 100?

And the terms are too vague.

How "useful" does the information have to be to justify torturing to get it?

How certain do you have to be that the person you want to torture has information you regard as useful?

How much torture is OK? Do you draw the line anywhere?

Is there any proportionality rule to be applied to decide how much torture is OK, in accordance with how important the [potential] information is? For example, is it OK to cut off an arm in order to get the combination to a safe that may or may not contain "useful" information?

Does it matter whom you torture? Is it justifiable to torture the innocent child of a suspect who is resistant to being tortured himself?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 31 January 2007 11:49 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Those are all great questions, M. Spector. I'm going to mull over those a bit.

In the mean time, let me ask you two question related questions:

Are their any circumstances where the torture of an individual would be the morally right thing to do? For example, an individual very likely has key information, knowledge of which would likely prevent a catastrophic mass killing of thousands, and torture may cause that individual to disclose that information.

Second, if, even under such circumstances, you conclude that torture would be immoral, how does your moral calculus result in an answer that it would be better to avoid extreme pain to an individual than to avoid mass death, injury and suffering by thousands?


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
jas
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posted 31 January 2007 01:07 PM      Profile for jas     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Vansterdam Kid:

Well, it sounded like you were advocating censorship, because you wondered why "progressives" would want to watch this. With emphasis on the word progressives in quotes, implying that they're not truly progressive for watching the show in the first place. It implies that they should censor themselves for the sake of political purity, its inane.

Political purity is not my concern, in this case. But I did perhaps mistakenly equate progressivism with peace activism, when in fact it's obvious many of the posters here support, to differeing degrees, military intervention, notions of justified force, and perhaps even torture tactics (although no one's yet admitted the latter).

My concern pertained more to supposedly peace-loving folk (which I erroneously construed from the term "progressive") who regularly and with little self-reflection consume cultural products that depict or espouse violence, torture, hatred, abuse, and other obvious examples of severe psychological disturbance.

The comment that I deleted from my subsequent post suggested that, just as it's inappropriate for progressives to censure each other puritanically, it's equally inappropriate to cry "Censorship!" when all that's being asked is an examination of your own cultural consumption choices, in the light of what you know about culturally hegemonic practices, being a progressive.

As for the debate on violence in popular culture: De-sensitization is one argument; that popular culture can and does serve to Model and Normalize codes of ethics and conduct are more pertinent and relevant, imo. And those stats on violent crime you cite would need to be defined and measured over a meaningful period of time.

[ 31 January 2007: Message edited by: jas ]


From: the world we want | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 31 January 2007 03:02 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:
Are their any circumstances where the torture of an individual would be the morally right thing to do?
Maybe if the victim was GW Bush.

But seriously, I can't answer that question without knowing what torture means. So I go back to the questions I raised in my previous post.

I could say torture is never morally right, but one could then imagine an extreme (and very hypothetical) situation where a teensy amount of torture has a good chance of producing extremely useful information. Or I could say sometimes torture is morally right, but then how can I arbitrarily draw the line that separates the moral from the immoral use of torture?

So your question is a trap, whether you intended it to be or not.

quote:
For example, an individual very likely has key information, knowledge of which would likely prevent a catastrophic mass killing of thousands, and torture may cause that individual to disclose that information.
Again, you are merely restating the proposition that I raised all those difficult questions about in my last post.
quote:
Second, if, even under such circumstances, you conclude that torture would be immoral, how does your moral calculus result in an answer that it would be better to avoid extreme pain to an individual than to avoid mass death, injury and suffering by thousands?
Good question. Again, it's highly hypothetical, in part because you don't know what the outcome will be, and the morality of the act does not depend on your advance intentions, but on its actual outcome.

There's more to the anti-torture position than just avoiding extreme pain to an individual. There is the whole question of what it does to the rule of law and our justice system once we countenance torture as a tool.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 31 January 2007 03:51 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by M. Spector:
So your question is a trap, whether you intended it to be or not.

No. It was not intended to be a trap!

You've really raised some super points in your questions and I think you've really touched on why sanctioning government torture is so problematic. I think I'm going to kick off a specific thread on the subject of the morality (or immorality) of torture because I think there's a lot that is worth discussing. But, for the moment, I'm without time to devote to the questions but will do so soon. In the mean time, I'll noodle on your comments and questions.

Thanks.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 31 January 2007 08:51 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's a hypothetical question for you.

Would it be morally acceptable to torture George W. Bush in order to force him to withdraw US troops from Iraq, thereby saving the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of USian soldiers, not to mention thousands of Iraqi lives?

Supplementary:
Does it make any difference to your answer whether he capitulated to your demands (a) before you really started to inflict serious pain; (b) after 72 hours of sleep deprivation and loud punk music; or (c) after you had subjected him to prolonged waterboarding?

Supplementary:
Would your answer be different if it turned out that, after withdrawing the US troops and saving all those US lives, Iraq's civil war escalated and thousands more Iraqis died?


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Disgusted
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posted 01 February 2007 02:22 AM      Profile for Disgusted        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't believe torture should ever be allowed, for any reason. Anybody who does it should be prepared to suffer the legal consequences if caught.

I think that the message of 24 is insidious and appalling. It has helped put the idea of torturing people in the public awareness, thus assuring its place in popular culture and mores. How long will it be before little kids are torturing each other, in play or otherwise, because they saw their hero Jack doing it on tv? Humans are basically gullible idiots. That's why advertising works so well.

It's sick, sick, sick.


From: Yukon | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
Brett Mann
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posted 01 February 2007 06:06 AM      Profile for Brett Mann        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm starting to get hooked on 24. I'm intrigued that it seems to be the only major tv series dealing with the loss of civil rights in the US. This is emerging as a counter-point sub-plot to the "action" scenes and presents us with the president's sister appalled at the racial profiling of Muslims in the US (in the story) and telling everyone who will listen that this will do more harm to the nation eventually than terrorism itself. Say what you will about 24, it seems to be the only mainstream program discussing these issues. Because of this, 24 can't be pigeon-holed as simply a rightwing fantasy - the producers do appear to want to raise broader issues.
From: Prince Edward County ON | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 06 February 2007 05:53 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
'24': Television for a Post-9/11 World
quote:
Centered on a fictional CIA Counter Terrorism Unit based in Los Angeles, the show has become a favorite of those seeking "good guy vs. bad guy" moral clarity in America's battle against Islamic terrorism. Indeed, the lead character, Special Agent Jack Bauer, has become something of a counterterrorism icon. Played by actor Kiefer Sutherland, Bauer represents the take-no-prisoners approach to combating terrorism, complete with remorseless killings and torture. At the same time, the terrorists he fights have no qualms about using whatever means are at their disposal, including weapons of mass destruction, to take out as many civilians as possible.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 12 February 2007 04:58 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An interesting article in the New Yorker sheds light on the right-wing wacko Joel Surnow who is the executive producer of 24, and proves beyond a doubt that those who see liberal motives behind the program are deluded:
quote:
The show’s appeal, however, lies less in its violence than in its giddily literal rendering of a classic thriller trope: the “ticking time bomb” plot. Each hour-long episode represents an hour in the life of the characters, and every minute that passes onscreen brings the United States a minute closer to doomsday. (Surnow came up with this concept, which he calls the show’s “trick.”) As many as half a dozen interlocking stories unfold simultaneously — frequently on a split screen — and a digital clock appears before and after every commercial break, marking each second with an ominous clang. The result is a riveting sensation of narrative velocity.

Bob Cochran, who created the show with Surnow, admitted, “Most terrorism experts will tell you that the ‘ticking time bomb’ situation never occurs in real life, or very rarely. But on our show it happens every week.”...

...the show obviously plays off the anxieties that have beset the country since September 11th, and it sends a political message. The series, Surnow told me, is “ripped out of the Zeitgeist of what people’s fears are—their paranoia that we’re going to be attacked,” and it “makes people look at what we’re dealing with” in terms of threats to national security. “There are not a lot of measures short of extreme measures that will get it done,” he said, adding, “America wants the war on terror fought by Jack Bauer. He’s a patriot.”

For all its fictional liberties, “24” depicts the fight against Islamist extremism much as the Bush Administration has defined it: as an all-consuming struggle for America’s survival that demands the toughest of tactics. Not long after September 11th, Vice-President Dick Cheney alluded vaguely to the fact that America must begin working through the “dark side” in countering terrorism. On “24,” the dark side is on full view. Surnow, who has jokingly called himself a “right-wing nut job,” shares his show’s hard-line perspective. Speaking of torture, he said, “Isn’t it obvious that if there was a nuke in New York City that was about to blow—or any other city in this country—that, even if you were going to go to jail, it would be the right thing to do?”
....

Throughout the series, secondary characters raise moral objections to abusive interrogation tactics. Yet the show never engages in a serious dialogue on the subject. Nobody argues that torture doesn’t work, or that it undermines America’s foreign-policy strategy. Instead, the doubters tend to be softhearted dupes....

Howard Gordon, who is the series’ “show runner,” or lead writer, told me that he concocts many of the torture scenes himself. “Honest to God, I’d call them improvisations in sadism,” he said. Several copies of the C.I.A.’s 1963 KUBARK interrogation manual can be found at the “24” offices, but Gordon said that, “for the most part, our imaginations are the source.
....

Finnegan, who is a lawyer, has for a number of years taught a course on the laws of war to West Point seniors—cadets who would soon be commanders in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. He always tries, he said, to get his students to sort out not just what is legal but what is right. However, it had become increasingly hard to convince some cadets that America had to respect the rule of law and human rights, even when terrorists did not. One reason for the growing resistance, he suggested, was misperceptions spread by “24,” which was exceptionally popular with his students. As he told me, “The kids see it, and say, ‘If torture is wrong, what about “24”?’ ” He continued, “The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do.”

Gary Solis, a retired law professor who designed and taught the Law of War for Commanders curriculum at West Point, told me that he had similar arguments with his students. He said that, under both U.S. and international law, “Jack Bauer is a criminal. In real life, he would be prosecuted.” Yet the motto of many of his students was identical to Jack Bauer’s: “Whatever it takes.”
....

Although reports of abuses by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have angered much of the world, the response of Americans has been more tepid. Finnegan attributes the fact that “we are generally more comfortable and more accepting of this,” in part, to the popularity of “24,” which has a weekly audience of fifteen million viewers, and has reached millions more through DVD sales.
....

David Nevins, the former Fox Television network official who, in 2000, bought the pilot on the spot after hearing a pitch from Surnow and Cochran, and who maintains an executive role in “24,” is candid about the show’s core message. “There’s definitely a political attitude of the show, which is that extreme measures are sometimes necessary for the greater good,” he says. “The show doesn’t have much patience for the niceties of civil liberties or due process. It’s clearly coming from somewhere. Joel’s politics suffuse the whole show.”



From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Catchfire
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posted 12 February 2007 05:18 PM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That is a super article.
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jas
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posted 12 February 2007 10:16 PM      Profile for jas     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
“The show doesn’t have much patience for the niceties of civil liberties or due process."

Yes how silly to expect the steamroller of American Justice to be halted by considerations of international law or civil liberties when it's so selflessly paving the way for Democracy and Freedom to all the dark, evil corners of the world?


From: the world we want | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 13 February 2007 05:07 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, thank God you brilliant folks have it all sorted out, because I guess I'm still "deluded."

Joel Surnow could have posters up on his wall of Rush Limbaugh, or Dick Cheney, or even Michael Ignatieff for all I care. He may have co-created the show, but as the article points out, the bulk of the writing is done by someone else, Howard Gordon. And Gordon doesn't seem to have the same ideological agenda that Surnow does.

I realize that any piece of fiction touching on politics is not going to be completely neutral. So in using torture as a plot device (and sometimes the torture "works" in eliciting information, sometimes it doesn't, as was the case the other week -- it really depends on the cheesily contrived storyline at any given point), 24's treatment of it is not particularly critical.

This being American network TV in the '00s, I'd be quite surprised if 24 were to successfully remake itself as a TV show critical of the drift of American political culture toward empire and fascism. That said, I think Gordon and the other writers are trying in their own modest way.

I mentioned before how season 2 provided a clear criticism of the buildup to the Iraq war by showing a drive to start a war on the basis of fabricated evidence, as well as showing military officers and corporate CEOs willing to exploit a terrorist attack to further their own self-interested objectives. And season 5 more or less recycled this storyline, showing top White House officials selling chemical weapons to terrorists in order to justify American military involvement in central Asia.

(Jas, in your prosetylization of the WTC controlled-demolition hypothesis, you'd feel right at home among the 24 writers, you really would.)

The new season shows a struggle between two presidential advisers, which came to a head in the episodes a few weeks ago. One of these characters, Tom Lennix, wants to respond to a series of terrorist attacks by enacting even more repressive domestic measures (admittedly, perhaps not that much more repressive than those currently in place). The other, Karen Hayes, sees this as the worst possible response, likely to make the situation worse by antagonizing sympathetic members of the American Islamic community, in addition to being wrong in itself.

Lennix recites all the far-right talking points, with some articulacy, talking over Hayes like Limbaugh shouting down a liberal caller. But Hayes is the sympathetic character. Lennix is shown as being an unscrupulous, disingenuous bully, who thinks the Constitution is just some outdated piece of paper, and who has some ulterior (as yet unspecified) agenda. (In a subsequent episode, the character of the U.S. president is shown rejecting Lennix's proposal, siding with Hayes' arguments against it.)

The writing is ham-handed -- 24 doesn't really work that well as a soapbox -- but it does suggest that the writers see themselves as having some responsibility to do something positive with the medium, and that insofar as they have any sort of political message to convey, it's not a straightforward pro-war, pro-torture, pro-administration message. You could dismiss the elements I mention as mere dramatic devices, or as a sop to liberals. But then you could say the same about the right-wing aspects of the show, substituting "conservatives" for liberals.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 13 February 2007 05:28 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by obscurantist:
Lennix recites all the far-right talking points, with some articulacy, talking over Hayes like Limbaugh shouting down a liberal caller. But Hayes is the sympathetic character. Lennix is shown as being an unscrupulous, disingenuous bully, who thinks the Constitution is just some outdated piece of paper, and who has some ulterior (as yet unspecified) agenda.
I'm not so sure that Prof. Finnegan's cadets at West Point (you did read the New Yorker article, didn't you?) found Karen Hayes such a sympathetic character. I suspect most of them were cheering Lennox, who speaks for a sizeable proportion of the USian right.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 13 February 2007 05:52 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's the thing though. Sure, I'm cheering on Karen Hayes. And maybe the West Point cadets are cheering on Lennix.

But in this case the writers aren't presenting two points of view in a neutral manner and letting viewers pick a side. They're going out of their way to make Hayes a sympathetic defender of hard-won American freedoms and Lennix into a nasty advance agent of authoritarian rule. I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining that. Just as I'm pretty sure I wasn't imagining it when in the fourth season an American civil-liberties lawyer was shown as being unduly hung up on the niceties of due process when millions of innocent lives are at stake.

So yeah, the show goes back and forth in its politics, and throws in a little something for everyone. But if people are stupid enough to interpret the current season's liberal editorializing as support for their own fascist views, I'm not sure what can be done about it.


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 13 February 2007 07:47 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The liberal handwringing always goes on at the margins, away from the real "action". Jack Bauer never has the luxury of sitting around an office having debates on torture. He's right there in the thick of it, torturing away, and getting results.

And just to balance it all off, the bad guys are torturers as well. So there's a nice moral equivalency at work.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
obscurantist
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posted 13 February 2007 08:11 PM      Profile for obscurantist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'll agree to this much: In relying so heavily upon torture as a plot device, the show unintentionally risks normalizing torture in the eyes of the TV audience, as the presumption is that torture is effective at least some of the time. (It sometimes doesn't, as was the case in the episode where Jack tortured his brother, but arguably those instances are exceptions to the general pattern.)

And yeah, while it's an ensemble show with multiple storylines, the show's focus is on Jack's character.

But insofar as the show is about political topics at all, as opposed to pure action drama, I don't see a debate between two presidential advisers (and decisions made by the president) as being "at the margins."

[ 13 February 2007: Message edited by: obscurantist ]


From: an unweeded garden | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
laine lowe
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posted 13 February 2007 08:53 PM      Profile for laine lowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've been watching 24 because it really is over-the-top and cartoonish and I can't help but see how far worse the plot developments will go.

Anyway, the torture that Jack gets away with has become bothersome in that it does seem to suggest that torture under the right contexts is moral (just like Dershowitz).

So I guess I wasn't to surprised to see this in my inbox this morning:

quote:

Dear xxxxxx,

U.S. soldiers are imitating torture techniques from TV.
They are in serious need of clear guidelines.
Click here TODAY to demand oversight from Congress!

Remember when only villains on TV tortured? Today, American heroes on TV dramas like "24" and "Lost" routinely use torture to save the day. 

These shows are intended as entertainment. But their impact is anything but fictional: Junior soldiers have imitated the interrogation techniques they have seen on television - on the notion that they work.

In addition, these shows - and the increase in torture scenes - reinforce the idea that torture is necessary in certain situations. This goes against the guidance of those who have actually performed interrogations. 

Human Rights First has launched the Primetime Torture project to address the negative impact of the portrayal of torture on TV. To learn more about this project, visit www.primetimetorture.org or read the recent Associated Press article.

Hollywood writers, of course, do not set U.S. policy.  At the heart of this problem is the Bush administration's flawed interrogation policy - and here's where you can help. The administration maintains that the CIA can operate a secret detention program with a secret "alternative set of procedures" not authorized by Congress. But military investigators found that CIA abusive interrogation practices infected military interrogations, leading to more and more abuse. We need all U.S. personnel to comply with the same public standard of humane treatment. 

We need to act now! Until it is clear that no U.S. official can engage in any form of torture or other cruel treatment, these forms of official cruelty may still occur - in America's name. We need a public investigation into the enforcement of anti-torture laws, specifically through congressional hearings in the Intelligence, Judiciary and Armed Services committees.

As recently as last September, the President said the CIA may interrogate detainees in secret prisons with an "alternative set of procedures." In the past, such techniques have included simulated drowning, sleep deprivation, and exposure to severe cold temperatures. These are illegal.

The glaring need for clarity from the top down is reinforced by the fact that interrogators in the field are literally copying torture techniques they see on TV. Said Tony Lagouranis, an interrogator who was stationed in Iraq: "We had no official doctrine about what to do, so people were watching movies and watching TV and they were getting their ideas from that."

We are working with prominent military leaders, former interrogators and Hollywood figures to address this issue, but we need your help to strike at the root of the problem. By holding hearings, Congress can make sure torture never again happens in America's name. 

Ask your Senators and Representative to make sure Congress holds much-needed hearings on the Bush administration's interrogation policies. 

To learn more about torture on TV, its effect on soldiers, and what Human Rights First is doing, please visit www.primetimetorture.org. At the site, you can sign up for a free copy of our Primetime Torture film, expected to be completed in the spring.

As always, thank you for standing with Human Rights First as we work - from Capitol Hill to Hollywood - to end torture once and for all.

Sincerely,

Jill Savitt
Human Rights First

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From: north of 50 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 13 February 2007 09:50 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for that link, laine!

Here's an excerpt:

quote:
Political leaders across the spectrum often backpedal when asked if torture should be used in emergency situations – the so-called “ticking time bomb” scenario. Last fall, Senator Hillary Clinton said: “The decision to depart from standard international practices must be made by the President … alternative interrogation techniques” might be employed.

A few weeks before that, Vice-President Dick Cheney told a radio interviewer: a “dunk in the water” is a “no-brainer” if it can save lives.

The American public seems to agree: in a 2005 Associated Press-Ipsos poll, 61 percent of Americans agreed torture is justified at least on rare occasions.

All of these views are wrongheaded, proceeding as they do from the mistaken belief that (1) the ticking time bomb scenario is common and (2) that torture provides reliable information. Fear, of course, is at the root of these assumptions – fear of another attack, fear of the enemy. This fear is only exacerbated by the spate of television shows – shows such as 24, Lost, The Wire, and Alias– that portray scenes of torture during interrogations, scenes that are always emergency situations and where torture always works.

These shows are intended as entertainment. But their impact is anything but fictional: Interrogators report that junior soldiers have imitated the interrogation techniques they have seen on television – on the notion that they work. Military academies report that Jack Bauer, the hero of Fox’s 24, is one of their biggest training challenges. And these shows – and the new spike in torture scenes -- reinforce how Americans, including policy-makers, think about torture: as necessary in certain situations.



From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 17 February 2007 02:57 AM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The funny thing about 24 is how predictable it is. Or how cheesy it is. It's just so easy to pick the show apart, and thus difficult to take it seriously beyond the entertainment value that it provides. So far it seems like last season was much better, mostly because Gregory Itzin's portrayal of the President was so good and multi-dimensional. And that plot development actually was surprising at one point, whereas this year I can see where the show is going. I'm really not all that surprised that the new President Palmer is going to face a coup, or death threat. It seemed like that was obvious the second he told them that he's not going to approve of Lennox's plan.

In any case, it's interesting that those polling results were raised. What exactly is the point of highlighting them? That the show should be removed from the air because it's a bad influence - that's behind, or one of the causes of, a majority of Americans to rationalizing torture?

From what I understand torture in itself is unconstitutional, or at least prisoners aren't supposed to be cruelly and unusually punished. My suggestion would be to simplify the talking anti-torture talking points, to point out why torture doesn't work. M.Spector's exchange with Sven over that was interesting, but it was a bit too intellectual.


From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 17 February 2007 12:00 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Vansterdam Kid:
My suggestion would be to simplify the talking anti-torture talking points, to point out why torture doesn't work.
Talking about torture without talking about morality is in itself immoral.

We don't persuade people that stealing or committing vandalism are wrong by arguing that they "don't work".


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 26 February 2007 10:48 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
If you need any more evidence that the American public has gotten blasé about torture, consider the hit Fox action drama "24." The show featured 67 torture scenes during its first five seasons, and most of those depicted torture being used by "heroic" U.S. counter-terror agents.

In this week's New Yorker, Jane Mayer [YouTube video] reported on the efforts of human rights groups, interrogation experts and military leaders to persuade the show's producers to stop glamorizing torture. A few days after her story was posted on the New Yorker's website, executive producer Howard Gordon announced that "24" will indeed have fewer torture scenes in the future — but not because of the complaints. The reason for the shift? Torture "is starting to feel a little trite," Gordon explained. "The idea of physical coercion or torture is no longer a novelty or surprise.


Source

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 02 March 2007 08:48 AM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rick Salutin weighs in

Heather Mallick weighs in

[ 27 March 2007: Message edited by: M. Spector ]


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 02 March 2007 09:38 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The French used torture in Algerian extensively. Guerrilla, according to the movie the Battle of Algiers, written and directed with the help of FLN leaders, noted that the security procedures for FLN cells was to ask prisonser only to resists torture for 24 hours, and then talk all they want. This gave associates enough time to change location, so they could not be caught.

By no means full proof, putting a time frame on how long a subject has to resist no doubt really helps people keep up their morale, as well such a simple procedure undermines the whole ticking bomb scenario. It is also likely in my view, that having key members of a cell under arrest, would activate other simple security procedures, such as advancing the clock on immeninent operations.

I am sure there are many other tricks of the trade that I can not think of.

Torture, to be starkly honest is a deterent, not and investigative tool for the most part. This is why the US had very little compunction in displaying the obviously nasty circumstances that prisoners were to be exposed to in Guantanmo, right from the get go.

The Battle of Algiers is an execelent account of urban guerilla war, and honest enough to show attrocities committed by both government and guerilla forces, though it is clearly pro-FLN.


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Vansterdam Kid
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posted 12 March 2007 02:21 PM      Profile for Vansterdam Kid   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jack Bauer is no right-winger.

quote:
But then 24 is a kind of Rorschach test -- how one sees TV's answer to inkblots reflects as much about the viewer as the show. And the brain trust that drafted Jack must have been looking at the wrong smear.

People like Rush Limbaugh celebrate the show as a vote for patriotism and all things authoritarian. Loony conspiracy theorists see the show as a part of a corrupt government's propaganda campaign to persuade its citizens to accept the use of torture.

But in spite of the political posturing, no one actually sees 24 as a kind of how-to manual. If the Bush administration did, they would have pulled it off the air when last season's Big Bad turned out to be the president.

President Logan pretended to be a doofus surrounded by nasty advisors, when in reality he was a ruthless, evil mastermind who conspired with terrorists and sent Americans to their death for his own personal gain.

Sound like anyone we know?

A pal claims actor Gregory Itzin was channelling Nixon when he created Logan, but either way, there was no doubt that the corrupt chief was a Republican.



From: bleh.... | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 12 March 2007 05:01 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I stopped reading that drivel after this sentence:
quote:
But even if they think having a fictional character lecturing the troops is a good idea, why would they expose the rank and file to an actor who plays a soldier whose defining quality is his contempt for authority?
Jack Bauer has contempt for authority? It is to laugh.

He would willingly chew off his own right arm if the President told him to do so. He has a fanatical devotion to his country and a quasi-religious reverence for its institutions of government. He only disobeys orders when he is convinced that what he is doing is in the best interests of his beloved country and his beloved President. He's more interested in getting the job done than in following the rules. To extrapolate from that the idea that he is a "rebel" or that he has contempt for authority is absurd.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 14 September 2007 04:07 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It's not just for military academies any more:
quote:
Hey university students! Looking to learn about the ramifications of 24 and all the “legal issues concerning counterterrorism”? "The Law of 24" is for you.

Taught by Lt. General Walter Sharp, staff director for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, the spring course at Georgetown University is based on the Fox hit drama.



From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 23 February 2008 01:05 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
First thing we do, let's torture all the CO2 emitters.
From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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