Late to 24, and feeling uneasy about the show

September 16, 2012 | By | 5 Replies More

My daughter recommended that I watch a season of the TV show 24 on Netflix. Over a period of a month, I did so. It was riveting, smartly written and incredibly well acted. But it left me uneasy for it’s carefree stamp of approval on torture. And, no, the ends don’t always justify the means. This article by James Parker in The Atlantic captures my own reaction. We all love the roller-coaster ride of a Hollywood thriller, but when it’s over we don’t always feel good about enjoying the “entertainment.” Maybe it’s because we know that entertainment harbors implicit lessons, including lesson on what is acceptable conduct. And in the case of 24, some of those lessons fit hand-in-glove with the American Neocon outlook on life.


Category: Entertainment, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but I heard or read somewhere (sorry, it’s been a while and I don’t remember the source) that the show ’24’ was produced by people with close ties to the Bush Administration, and that one of the apparent goals of the show was to lessen possible public outcry over the Bushites’ use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Even if that was not the case, the show almost certainly had that result, and unquestionably distorts, often quite grossly, the (im)morality of torture.

  2. Adam Herman says:

    TV purposefully sets up unusual situations in order to make a moral point. There are a very few situations where torture is justified. Like the German cop who started strangling a suspect to get him to tell where a little girl was that he kidnapped. Saved that girls’ life. But most situations aren’t ticking time bomb situations. There was never a reason to torture anyone in US custody. In a real life situation, it would only make sense within minutes of capture. That’s how Allen West got drummed out of the military, trying to get information on an ambush that he thought was coming.

  3. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    For the most part, torture is useless as an interrogation technique.

    One can be tortured to get a confession, but the tortured one will most likely say anything to stop the torture, and as a result intel gathered through torture is much more likely the operant bias of the torturer than any thing useful.

    The only real reason to torture someone is to boost the ego of the torturer. It’s a bully thing.

  4. Adam Herman says:

    It got that child in Germany saved. If the information can be verified right away and the prisoner knows it can, they’ll tell the truth, if they know it. In a case where lives are at stake, it makes sense. And in the real world, people will almost always do it when lives are at stake. I think you would too. I don’t mean hanging someone up and attaching electrodes to their genitals, but if a little girl was in a warehouse and you were a cop, you’d put your hands around that suspect’s neck and threaten to strangle the life out of him, I bet.

  5. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Did torture REALLY save the child?

    Adam, I have not been able to find any info about a German cop strangling a confession from a child abductor that resulted in saving a child.
    There are several cases where a child predator has confessed the location of the bodies of his victims under the threat of torture. Can you provide a reference?

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