Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Can Jack Bauer Save the World?

24 is One Hollywood Production That Displays Conservative Values

Recently on C-SPAN Rush Limbaugh led a panel discussion on the hit television show 24. Why Rush would associate himself with the show in the first place is the fact that 24 is finally a major Hollywood production that espouses conservative principles and fundamentals that apply to our dangerous times. Another difference in this show, reportedly, is that many of the show's creators are actually conservatives, although which ones are not revealed.

The event was hosted by Limbaugh, sponsored by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, at the Reagan Building. It also had Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the front row and Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff with the introductory speech.

Alongside the producers and cast members of 24 at the session were actual officials of Homeland Security, who said their work was not really like that of CTU – but they looked as if they wished it was.

The Show

24 is a current Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning American television series, created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran, and produced by Imagine Television. It is broadcast in the USA by the Fox Network and syndicated worldwide.

Each season covers the events of a 24 hour period in the life of federal agent Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland) as he tries to prevent one or more domestic terrorist attacks, set largely in Los Angeles. The show also follows Jack's colleagues at the Counter Terrorist Unit, largely referenced as "CTU", Los Angeles office, as well as the actions of the terrorists or in some cases, actions of the conspirators, a civilian family and typically an important political figure such as a senator or president.

The Panel Discussion on C-SPAN

All of the actors on the panel deliberately stayed non-political in their responses. Two of the three actors on the panel, actress Mary Lynn Rajskub, who plays Chloe O'Brian, and Carlos Bernard, who plays Tony Almeida, seemed uncomfortable with the conservative implications of the discussion and diverted attention when asked anything political. Mary Lynn came off like a typical Hollywood liberal airhead, making it clear that she just wanted to look cute and avoid saying anything of substance.

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Carlos did a similar thing by turning every answer into a joke. “I do know more than you, Rush,” he said with a smile, letting everyone know he was half-kidding, but also saying nothing of substance. So, I got the impression that these actors were your typical Hollywood leftists, thrilled with the success of their show, but unsure what to do now that they were surrounded by the enemy—the dreaded conservatives.

Rush did not do a very good job emceeing the show. He appeared as if he was not prepared, repeated himself in his questions, gushed over the show and cast, and came off like a smart, tongue-tied schoolboy trying to impress his beautiful teacher. He had a difficult time too tying together the intellectuals on the panel with the two airhead actors. The conversation swung back and forth from the sublime to the ridiculous. A big moment was when Rush kissed Mary Lynn on the mouth. She rejected him at first, but then could not resist his good-natured insistence. This moment, by the way, got the most press for the event.

Conservative Principles Evidenced by 24

What are the conservative principles the show seems to follow? Just a few actually, but fundamental to the show’s outlook on the world.

1. The United States is the good guy. The terrorists are the bad guys. Jack Bauer, played by actor Kiefer Sutherland, the show’s star and Everyman, who everyone would like to be, is a conservative hero. He is willing to do anything to protect the people of the United States, and his friends and family. He will sacrifice himself. He will die. Anything that must be done.

2. There are forces of evil and corruption in the U.S. government, yes. Even the President (Charles Logan, played by actor Gregory Itzin, who is a Nixon on steroids type character who will even murder to get what he wants) is evil; but there are a core of good people, represented by CTU (which has its own intrigue) who are fundamentally good people, who believe in love and family and justice.

3. The United States, the good guys, are always resourceful enough to find a way to win, to beat the bad guys. The heroes in this show are the ultimate can-do people, from Chloe, who can work miracles with a computer, to Jack, who will always get there in the nick of time to torture the terrorist and get him to reveal where the ticking nuclear bomb is before it goes off.

4. The heroes of 24 realize that the first human right is survival. Survival of friends, family, colleagues, and country. Once that right is secured, you can fight for the other rights.

Conservative Excess?

One part of the show the liberals will glom onto is the fact that torture is regularly used, even and especially by the hero Jack Bauer, when information is needed now to save somebody. Conservatives are qualitatively different on the issue of torture, I have to admit. I, for example, am a moderate on the issue. I don’t believe in giving terrorists a spa vacation while they are incarcerated for doing things like blowing up babies, but I oppose torture because I don’t want our detainees tortured. I have no sympathy, however, for terrorists, and would not wince for a moment about the thought of terrorists suffering pain. I would restrain myself from inflicting it not for humanitarian reasons, but for the practical reason of protecting our troops.

Another part of the show the liberals will decry is that the hero, Jack Bauer, and a few other characters, are always ready to skirt and even break the law to save the world. This offends liberals, who want us to behave nicely to those nasty terrorists, and to follow the letter of the law always (unless a Democrat is in power. Then, it’s okay even to lie under oath.)

The Philosophical Debate

Though the show is popular with liberals and conservatives alike, liberals will be aghast at the underlying philosophy of the show. Liberals want to make nice-nice with terrorists, not kill them. They want terrorists to have prayer time five times a day, not be forced to tell the truth. Liberals want us to understand why these poor little baby-killers got the way they are because of American imperialism, instead of stopping these monsters from detonating their weapons.

24 is another example of how Hollywood gets it right sometimes in the movies or on television, but not in real life. Several Hollywood characters are conservative in their outlook, from John Wayne characters to Superman to Spider-Man, to Jack Bauer. Yet, in real life, many of the actors who play these heroes are liberal airheads—anti-American, moral cowards who badmouth America anytime it defends itself from the bad guys.

Salute to 24

Though of course I, and even Rush, do not condone torture, nor breaking the law, I salute the underlying premises that 24 represents. This is a “can-do” attitude that recognizes that the world is not nice, and that you have to play rough when dealing with bad guys. There really are bad guys out there, and they want to kill us, and we need to be willing to fight like the characters in 24, with every resource in our power, to stop this enemy, defeat them, and, if possible, kill them.

Rock

(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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3 comments:

SGT DUB said...

Rock, I've gotten through the first season while I've been deployed this time and am looking forward to getting caught up on the rest of the series. Of course, being who I am, I love the show, both for entertainment value and with out a doubt, what it represents. What our media refuses to acknowledge (while they continue to harp on the few instances where American troops have crossed the line)is that with EVERY American civilian or soldier you can garuantee that they will be tortured, video-taped making absurb demands and then executed. This once again just shows the hypocrisy of the liberals in America. Being a police officer back home and a solier here, I believe in the law, but as you have pointed out, we need to be more adapt at fighting guerilla warfare in a manner that will make the point. If I'm correct, it was General Pershing that executed 49 out of 50 Muslim insurgents and buried them with pig guts, allowing the lone survivor go to warn the others, and there was peace for a time. If they are willing to die to go to their maker for rewards, then take away that option by using methods that would get them rejected by their maker. Of course, this is my opinion and not the opinion of the U.S. Government or any of it's enities.

Rock said...

Sgt Dub, nice as always to hear from you. You said:

Rock, I've gotten through the first season while I've been deployed this time and am looking forward to getting caught up on the rest of the series. Of course, being who I am, I love the show, both for entertainment value and with out a doubt, what it represents.

Great show, isn’t it?

What our media refuses to acknowledge (while they continue to harp on the few instances where American troops have crossed the line)is that with EVERY American civilian or soldier you can guarantee that they will be tortured, video-taped making absurd demands and then executed. This once again just shows the hypocrisy of the liberals in America.

This is a common trait of liberals Sgt. They admire people like Castro and Chavez and demonize real heroes. I don’t know what screwed up their psyches so much that they literally see black as white and vice versa. It is a strange view of the world.

Being a police officer back home and a soldier here, I believe in the law, but as you have pointed out, we need to be more adept at fighting guerilla warfare in a manner that will make the point. If I'm correct, it was General Pershing that executed 49 out of 50 Muslim insurgents and buried them with pig guts, allowing the lone survivor go to warn the others, and there was peace for a time. If they are willing to die to go to their maker for rewards, then take away that option by using methods that would get them rejected by their maker. Of course, this is my opinion and not the opinion of the U.S. Government or any of its entities.

I’m with you. Unfortunately, we won’t get to the point where we were in WWII for a long time, if ever. Political correctness has taken over the country like an illness. Patton would roll over in his grave. All the more reason why I admire you and your fellow soldiers and police officers. You guys are even more the heroes since you are so restricted in what you can do. We might come to our senses one day if and when our situation gets so serious that the nonsense of the left becomes apparent for what it is.

purpleXed said...

Some media outlets and their pen soldiers have a long tradition of keeping the specter of war vivid by stoking fears and harping about
some real but many more imaginary threats. TV channels have a long tradition of popular series about official agencies, from the police and the military to the secret services featured as headstrong mavericks who refuse to play by the rules, they're still public employees who work for the state. Hence, the viewer can't help being manipulated into a kind of complicity with the machinery of officialdom, warns Adam Sweeting and asks: “So are TV's legions of secret operatives, surrogate outriders for official government policy, warning us of the bottomless pit of horrors lurking within the global anti-terror struggle? As surveillance and state intrusion soar to disturbing new levels, are the telly-agents helping to soften us up for further systematic repression of personal freedoms?”

After Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and White House guidelines about what kinds of torture are officially acceptable, many have been struggling with the realization that the use of torture is no longer one of the ways by which you can recognize the bad guys. Not for Fox’s super spy opera star Sutherland's Jack Bauer and his fellow agents, there's never any question of civil liberties or other liberal wimpishness taking precedence over the urgency of their mission. For Surnow, there's no question that torture can be a legitimate counter-terrorism tool. It's shocking to find this once-deplorable practice embedded in a TV drama, as if it's routine enough to serve as a mere strand in TV's entertainment mix.

Interestingly, self-appointed media activists such as Cliff Kincaid do not elaborate if their fondness for the serial is also an endorsement of the approaches advocated in pursuit of its objectives?

Mainstream press points at a flawed tendency that is increasingly visible recently. According to New York Times, the U.S. has imposed more restrictions on reporters in Afghanistan than in any previous U.S. war, but Hollywood has carte blanche to make feel-good "reality TV" shows about the adventure as in '24'. Maureen Dowd notes that that the Pentagon is teaming with Jerry Bruckheimer, for producing a TV docudrama about the war on terrorism. "I'm outraged about the Hollywoodization of the military," says Dan Rather. "Somebody's got to question whether it's a good idea to limit independent reporting on the battlefield and access of journalists to U.S. military personnel and then conspire with Hollywood."

Instead of taking notice of how “entertainment is being metamorphosed into propaganda, daydreamers like Kincaid wish to see an episode of ‘24’ where Jack Brauer will take out the real enemies i.e. Television channels like Al-Jazeera English ….players in the global information war whose work, when taken seriously, results in America letting down more of its guard.”

I wonder if media activists will check the present tendency where a spectre of make-believe-terror threats and imaginary foes is marketed and capitalized upon as primetime entertainment. One wonders if all this is driven by a fetish to feign a gung ho mentality. The question is to ask to what extent such reel world image will help American secure their economic stakes and protect security the interests in the real world?