Steve Watson alerted me to a column on the CBC News website from last Monday. Heather Mallick discusses the torture scenes in "24" (see Less Torture in "24").
The column is wonderful. Here's are some excerpts.
Eventually I quit 24 cold turkey. It wasn't hard; I just couldn't take the same plot device 48 times. It's the "ticking time bomb" scenario where all of California will be deleted by a nuclear bomb unless Sutherland's Jack Bauer, the smartest agent in American counterterrorism, can torture the password out of an unnervingly calm, prescient Muslim madman about to destroy the American landmass with a team of three.It wasn't as easy for me to give up "24". I couldn't quit "cold turkey." In fact I still watch a bit of some episodes—at least until the torture starts.
The problem, as Jane Mayer pointed out in the New Yorker this week, is that ticking time bombs almost never happen in real life. How embarrassing then that it occurs once a week every season of 24, which means 24 weeks of presenting the case that torture is necessary and indeed good.
Joel Surnow, the creator of the show, is a right-wing, torture-approving "patriot" who thrills to parties with Rush Limbaugh, Lynne Cheney, Karl Rove, Tony Snow et al. He's a strange, cold man who attended Beverly Hills High, a notoriously cruel collection of stars' and billionaires' children. Surnow's dad was a travelling carpet salesman. The family lived in a crappy apartment and Surnow slept on a cot. His schoolmates knew that.
Back to Orwell, who also once wrote "probably the greatest cruelty one can inflict on a child is to send it to school among children richer than itself." Orwell came out of school with a hatred of others' suffering, while taking a bleak enjoyment in his own. Surnow came out of school with a black heart.
I was at a fundraiser with the wonderful actress Shirley Douglas, whom I know and adore. Her face in profile is flat yet perfectly formed. She is a genuine beauty. Her mouth is the mouth all women should have. She is the daughter of Tommy Douglas, father of Medicare, and the man I thank when I stagger into emergency saying "Oooooh, it hurts." Good socialists all. She is the mother of Sutherland, who earns $10 million a year playing the torturer Bauer.
Sutherland is a left-wing dual-citizenship Canadian and a truly great actor. But he is the Republican Party's performing flea. Imagine that.