Monday, March 17, 2008

Patriot Act

What "premiered right after 9/11 but...was created before the attacks"? The Patriot Act, right? Yes, and Jack Bauer! According to Pam Fessler this morning, on NPR's scummy commercial for Fox TV's 24, it "premiered right after 9/11, but Jack Bauer's character was created before the attacks."

And who "is always...torturing people" and "willing to risk...the Constitution." Bush? Cheney? Rumsfeld? Well, yes...and Jack Bauer, too!

Now, you might think that a legitimate news show covering a pro-fascist hero like 24's Jack Bauer would be interested in exploring how disturbing it is that a show like 24 has been so popular when it's sick values have had parallel expressions from the bunch of criminals running this country for the last seven years.

Of course that's expecting a lot of NPR. Instead of offering substance, NPR wants to lionize Jack Bauer. According to Inskeep "the 21st century has its own fictional hero [music from 24]. He's a ruthless counterterrorism agent who fights the clock to protect the nation." And Fessler has a hard time keeping her limited wits about her as she gets hot for Jack: "What is it about Jack Bauer that's so appealing?" she asks. She even asks the founder of a Bauer fan website if she's "bothered that we don't really have a Jack Bauer to save the day?"

In case any NPR listeners have a scrap of humanity or intelligence left and are thinking, "This is really sick," Fessler turns to pop culture pundit (pimp?) , Robert Thompson, to bolster her case. Thompson assures us "in a world in which we think that so much is out of control, it is incredibly satisfying to watch a human being who is so completely in control....If real life in the 'War on Terror' we are not going to be able to kick the enemy's butts in noticeable ways, then we are going to demand to see the enemy's butt kicked in our fiction." Fessler also takes comfort in the fact that fans of the show include Cheney and Chertoff!

Fessler manages to include ACLU officer Barry Steinhardt who is a fan of the show to reassure us that "it doesn't mean that you agree with everything that you enjoy; this is pure escapist entertainment." Then we get the morally bankrupt and stupid argument about torture not being utilitarian. "Steinhart points out that when Jack Bauer does it, it always seems to work" and then Steinhart chimes in "Well in the real world torture doesn't work [sounds of a torture session]." Well, I beg to differ. Torture works wonders. It worked for the US in helping Pinochet rule for over a decade, and for destroying Nicaragua, etc. I'm so sick of hearing how torture might be ok if it gave good intelligence. Who gives a crap? Shouldn't torture be condemned because it victimizes the innocent, benefits oppressors, and destroys the dignity of human beings and societies.


Porter Melmoth said...

Sorry, sorry, sorry days, these, when a great (?) nation futzes around with such erroneous issues as massaging an audience's basest instincts, all for the cause of ratings! It's a cliche that simply rules today. It's all been institutionalized. These are the standards today. I've never seen this Bauer character, and I don't know a thing about him or his show, but it sounds like he's a porno-like figure, ready to service the prurient needs of a panting American consumer class. Huh?
(Haven't had cable since 1991; yeah, that makes me irrelevant, right?)

I heard Jimmy Breslin on 'On Point' a few days ago. (WBUR, not NPR!!!) I guess I'm with Jimmy on many issues. We are a civilization in decline. That's not the worst thing for me to accept; I have a harder time with media outlets that are fiddling while Rome burns.

Flávio Américo dos Reis said...

I warned you, Matt--they announced this show the day before it aired on Minnesota Public Radio.

Wasn't it just sick? That is why I think the people at NPR don't have a conscience, never had a conscience.

And no, Port, it's OK: I haven't had cable since I lived with my parents in the 1980s.

Why would you pay $50+/month for 300 channels of commercials? So in effect, you would be paying for the crappy channels and the commercials.

Thank heavens for the internet.

big!pink!fuzzy!bunny! said...

In these times of infotainment (yikes, an Orwellianism!) the lines are not only gonna get blurred, but downright surrealistic! (the NoPR kiddies must've gotten a nice lil' kickback for such a fawning infomercial - unless they are really that easily fascinated?) De-evolution is apparently underway, thanks in part to the media robber barons leeching copius amounts of dumb-down into the airwaves. So call me a conspiracy theorist.

I actually used to watch 24 in its day (not reality tv, at least I can boast!); first season was okay (dealing with an agent's efforts to rescue his family from kidnappers) but it gradually sunk into a wheel-greaser for gov't sanctioned torture, and after so many hackneyed, beat scenarios of "Chloe, it's Jack" and a dark complected 'bad-guy' issuing threats to give him what he wants, I eventually came to the belief that they jumped the ol' shark with guns a-blazin'.

No cable here either, for exact same reasons as stated above (get on those converter box coupons real quick!) - just another way to karma-free livin' (in addition to hissing at NoPR at every available opportunity).