Monday, April 02, 2007
I was totally hooked on the first season of the FOX cliffhanger “24”. We watched it back-to-back on DVD over two nights staying up into the wee hours. But as things went on I found my self more and more uncomfortable with the glorification of violence on the show. As an artist I'm against censorship, but I also believe we artists have a moral responsibility for the kind of statements we make through our art. With every season the show seemed to get worse and worse, until I had to just turn it off. But now I heard a news story that is just over the top:
NPR reported recently that both the U.S. Military and Human rights groups are teaming up (very strange bedfellows) to try to convince the producers of the show "24" to ease up on its positive portrayal of violent and brutal torture as effective and patriotic.
A study done by the human rights organization Human Rights First found that U.S. soldiers were imitating the techniques they have seen on television. This may sound unbelievable at first, but keep in mind that many of the troops are just 19 and 20-year-old kids with no psychological or professional training who were encouraged to be "creative" in their techniques. Former Army interrogator Tony Lagouranis, who was at Abu Ghiraib says, "people were watching movies and TV and getting their ideas from that".
Based on this study, The New Yorker reports that this past November, Human Rights First teamed up with the dean of the United States Military Academy at West Point, U.S. Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, and three of the most experienced military and F.B.I. interrogators in the country, to fly to Southern California to meet with the creative team behind “24”. These military experts told the show's producers that the positive portrayal of torture on the show was having two terrible effects: giving the public image world wide that the U.S. condones abuses such as Abu Giraib, and worse, inspiring US soldiers to implement the techniques they see on the show in real life.
Despite the fact that it was the US Military asking for FOX's cooperation (asking in the name of the "war on terror" no less), the producers of "24" refused to comply. Which goes to show that FOX is not conservative, they are simply amoral and money hungry. In the same way that other shows glamorize adultery by portraying it as the "only way" out of an unfulfilling relationship, “24” glamorizes and desensitizes people to abuse. I think it's time for Christians to boycott the show.