Here we go again.
In a previous post, I was jokingly pointing out to Matt that 24 was in fact a fictional series, as he seemed to be waging an argument against torture with the plot of 24 as the other end of the argument (not surprisingly, 24 was providing a pretty shitty argument for the case of torture). This seems to have upset Jim Henley quite dearly.
In a post that is almost too lengthy for me to summarize, Jim argues (and argues and argues and argues) that I should not mock Matt’s insistence on comparing the fictional 24 to reality, as- after all, this is fiction, and therefore ripe for esthetic criticism (why do I always want to put an ‘a’ in front of esthetic?).
If that were all Matt were doing, I would agree- because that is all Jim was doing in his post here and here, which were referenced in Matt’s post, and which I read. And surprise, surprise- I didn’t tease Jim for his posts. Why?
BECAUSE IT WAS CLEAR THAT JIM WAS MAKING ESTHETIC JUDGEMENTS ABOUT THE SHOW. In Matt’s class, it appeared as if he as viewing a real news report, or at least real torture policy, and providing counter arguments for any policy warranting or calling for torture. It appeared to me that Matt was taking the show a little too seriously. Check out these statements:
I watched the second season of 24 religiously, then rented season one on DVD, but somehow never got into season three. Watched the first episode of season four last night, and was a bit sorry to see the show making just about the most juvenile case for terrorism one can imagine. That’s about all the watching of this season I intend to do.
I’ll just add that Episode One’s portrayal of torture as an easy, moral method of rapidly acquiring accurate information from suspected terrorists sort of undermines the whole show’s plotting. If you can really get the bad guys to fess up in 90 seconds by putting a bullet in someone’s knee, then Bauer should be torturing people all the time and not pussyfooting around with all this satellite surveillance, deception, etc. But now all of a sudden what was a great idea Sunday night doesn’t even seem to be on the table. If only CTU would abandon these liberal pieties and start organizing some death squads, then we could lick this problem.
I doubt the writer’s were thinking of 24 as a vehicle for easing moral qualms about torture. In fact, I am willing to bet that the scene was written that way just to get to the next scene. They do have 24 hours to fill, you know?
Now, as I am not in favor of torture (unless it involves people whose children scream in public places or people who damage other peopel’s cars in parking lots), it is not my obligation to provide arguments *FOR* torture. And I won’t. Not even for fake torture in fake shows. But I will spend this time to point out that a fictional show that markets itself as ‘realistic’ has no obligation to be real, and that anyone who watched the first two seasons and was capable of swallowing the amazing exploits of Kim Bauer should be able to handle the fictional use of torture in season Four (I would link to all of Matt’s previous posts about 24, but about every 6 months he seems to lose his archive).
And, once again, Jim. I was just teasing Matt.
*** Update ***