24! Huh! What Is It Good For?

February 20th, 2007at 07:11pm Posted by Eli

Carlson’s snarky “Oh, grow up, people!” tone makes me want to smack him, but his “Magazine Reader” column today has some interesting and horrifying follow-ups on the real-interrogators-ask-24-to-lay-off-the-torture story:

When the general arrives at the studio, wearing a uniform decorated with countless ribbons, people figure he’s an actor playing a general and they ask when his scene will be shot. Then, at the meeting, one of Finnegan’s experts suggests some non-abusive interrogation techniques including — get this! — “giving suspects a postcard to send home, thereby learning the name and address of their next of kin.”

And when the show’s lead writer, Howard Gordon, hears that, he slams his fist on the table and says, “You’re hired!”

(…)

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching “24,” and it is a pleasure if you have a strong stomach, here’s a bit of background: The Emmy-winning show depicts the amazing adventures of agent Jack Bauer, who specializes in stopping terrorists from blowing up America. Nearly every week, terrorists torture Jack, or Jack tortures terrorists, or both. In one episode, the president orders a Secret Service agent to torture his national security adviser, whom he suspects of treason.

The show, as Gordon tells Mayer, consists largely of “improvisations in sadism.” Not surprisingly, “24” is very popular in the Bush administration.

Last March, Rush Limbaugh hosted a dinner for “24’s” executive producer, Joel Surnow, and invited Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia, who works at the conservative Heritage Foundation…. Inspired by the dinner, Virginia Thomas organized a full-blown Heritage symposium with the wonderful title ” ’24’ and America’s Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction, or Does It Matter?” Michael Chertoff, the real-life homeland security secretary, showed up to praise the show, saying, “Frankly, it reflects real life.”

After the symposium, Surnow and other “24” honchos went to the White House to dine with Karl Rove, Tony Snow, Lynne Cheney and Mary Cheney.

“People in the administration love the series,” says Surnow, who described himself to Mayer as a “right-wing nut job.”

He was joking, sort of, but he does hang out in what might be called the “right-wing nut job community.” He’s pals with the twin blond bomb throwers of the right — Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham. Coulter and Surnow have discussed collaborating on what Surnow describes as “a movie that depicted Joe McCarthy as an American hero.” And Ingraham invited Surnow on her radio show and then informed the world that while she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, “it was soothing to see Jack Bauer torture these terrorists, and I felt better.”

Given my own tastes, I can’t really begrudge someone enjoying violent entertainment, but that’s… a bit creepy.

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture,TV,Wankers


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