Monday, 8 February 2010

Drown and out

Hooray - 24 is back and badder than ever. Jack Bauer may have mellowed into a caring grandfather with a conscience, but that leaves the other rogue agents to cut off suspects' hands with a circular saw just to ask for directions to the nearest Subway.

As the controversy over the show's emphasis on torture scenes runs and runs, the impact of its over-reliance on crocodile clips and uncomfortable chairs continues to be felt.

The concern is that, as one of the most popular shows on US TV, 24 endorses the use of torture in extracting confessions and other vital intelligence. In doing so, it seems to legitimise the illegal activities taking place in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

But even Jack Bauer would probably question the behaviour of Joshua Tabor, a US soldier accused of waterboarding his four-year-old daughter when she failed to recite her alphabet.

Although he had only recently won custody of the little girl, he decided that the CIA torture technique was the most effective way of encouraging her to remember her A-B-Cs. Choosing the punishment because she was terrified of water, the nominee for 'father of the year' held his little girl's face in the water three or four times.

What's not clear from the reports, is whether or not the child was able to complete the task. But then, that's the problem with violent interrogative techniques - torturers rarely manage to extract the information they need.

But it leaves me wondering what will happen if Sesame Street's ratings ever start to flag. If Elmo wants to know which letters are sponsoring the episode, will he roll up his fuzzy red sleeves and get his hands wet?

1 comment:

  1. I guess we can ask, did the military let this “mental deficient” into their ranks or did they make this normal guy in this “mental deficient”. Even Ronald Reagan said that water boarding was torture, but I guess Cheney and his gay daughter are the brain trust on this lie that has been perpetuated onto the American people and signed off by the GOP.