I want to write and tell stories.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

TV influencing torture concerns?

We have all seen the discussions online about the methods the govt’s are using to torture suspected terrorists. Maybe fly them over to another country or use sanctioned torture methods at Gitmo, etc, etc.

There is a school of thought that, hey, they’re terrorists, who the f**k cares. While I can often understand, and sometimes even sympathize with that view (generally when you hear of suicide bombers killing dozens of innocents), IF they are definitely terrorists. I am definitely more along the lines of thinking that we shouldn’t stoop to their level. It would be a lot harder for the people actually charged with that job of getting information if they have seen kids blown up, friends killed, etc. I am sure their viewpoint would be very different to my nice little safe, suburban view, I fully acknowledge that.

However, I have been wondering lately if, (and this is a pretty long bow to draw, I know), some people are viewing the torture as acceptable because they watch 24, and are swayed by the scenes where Jack has tortured people. They see the stakes that Jack is playing for, and he makes that decision to cross the line, for the greater good.

Is this influencing some of the public to then morph this into accepting/approving governments performing these acts in real life without questioning it too much, because it is for the greater good?

I am in no way having a go at 24, its staff, writers, etc. It is a show that is there for entertainment, and anyone who lets it blur their judgment definitely needs a reality check, as with any show on TV.

It was just a thought that has been bubbling away their for a while and thought I would put it out there.



At 2:07 pm, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

Just have them watch any episode of 7th Heaven. Now THAT'S torture.

At 2:49 pm, Blogger Konrad West said...

Yeah, that's something I've been thinking too.

Torture is wrong under *any* circumstances, because we can never be sure they *are* terrorists, and innocents inevitably get caught in it.

People who say torture is okay would say something different if they were framed for something and then were tortured to get information they didn't know.

It is reprehensible to promote acceptance of torture by having the main character everyone likes to want to torture and believe it's right before, during and after, without a context like irony, satire, comedy, etc.

(See American Psycho for a main character that likes murdering people, but is placed in the context of satire so a mature adult can see there's no implicit promotion of murder.)

And I *am* having a go at the writers/etc of 24.

At 4:17 pm, Blogger Steve Peterson said...

Hola Dave -- time for some memeing before you get hit up by too many other people.

Actualyl I was going to talk about this for a bit too. I'll jump off your post sometime later.

In the meantime I just wish TV producers would remember how malleable and susceptible to influence a politician's mind is. These 60 year old men see something on TV and they just gotta turn right around and do it themselves. Perhaps a warning label or disclaimer at the end...

At 6:03 pm, Blogger Grubber said...

Damn you to hell Steve, now I have to figure out what a verb IS! :)

At 2:13 am, Blogger Robin Kelly said...

Whether torture is morally wrong is debatable, I suppose, but the main thing is it doesn't work - in terms of getting accurate and reliable information anyway.

But I still love 24. In real life I expect governments to behave responsibly and humanely but in fiction I want the catharsis of seeing the bad guys be tortured and killed. Is that wrong?

At 11:15 am, Blogger Grubber said...

I suppose, but the main thing is it doesn't work - in terms of getting accurate and reliable information anyway.

You are correct from what I have read. I think this mainly applies to very violent torture. I think the mind games they play do work, but from what I read the violent torture often gets them to just confess anything.

Not wrong at all, and I think the majority people would be the same.


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