’24’ and a greater tolerance for torture

May 25th, 2005

“…I was conscious of the menacing and stereotypical image of Arabs. Although I wonder how much you can actually counteract it even when you’re aware of it. Also, I wonder how many viewers were even aware of the extremely distorted image and how it affected them. I lost count of the number of terrorist characters who killed themselves rather than be taken alive and tortured by Bauer to get whatever information he was after…

…While a viewer might be able to filter out the ‘evil Arab’ image, the acceptance of torture as a necessary strategy was more difficult to resist. Carried along by the suspense and the looming disaster, it was easy to think Bauer was justified [in his use of torture]…

…I started wondering if the show was programming viewers to have a greater tolerance for torture. The season coincided with the continuing revelations about the torture of prisoners at Abu Graib, Guantanamo Bay and … the torture deaths of two prisoners at the Bagram detention center…

…The show’s depiction of torture also was unrealistic. After breaking a few fingers, or whatever method he used, Bauer always got the information he needed. Experts say torture rarely results in reliable information because the subject will say anything to stop the abuse.

Maybe I’m thinking too much about a show that you can’t stop to think about. On the other hand, the messages of a popular television program that demands viewers suspend their sense of what’s plausible could be having more of an effect than we realize.”

source : www.insidebayarea.com

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