On Wednesday's edition of Countdown, Keith called out '24' creator Joel Surnow for dodging a meeting with Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan of West Point who was concerned the show's torture scenes were sending a dangerous message to soldiers. Well, it appears the message got through to the creators who have decided to tamp down the torture scenes (because it was becoming "trite" and not because of pressure from the military and human rights groups, they say).
Fox's 24 will become less torturous, but not because the U.S. military, human rights groups and children's advocates want it to.
The decision to cut back on torture is driven by creativity, not criticism, according to Gordon. In its sixth season, 24 has become so torture-heavy that it borders on cliche, he says. Read more...
Jane Mayer of The New Yorker has an extensive piece on Surnow and the objections raised by General Finnegan and others:
In fact, Finnegan and the others had come to voice their concern that the show’s central political premise—that the letter of American law must be sacrificed for the country’s security—was having a toxic effect. In their view, the show promoted unethical and illegal behavior and had adversely affected the training and performance of real American soldiers. “I’d like them to stop,” Finnegan said of the show’s producers. “They should do a show where torture backfires.”
Finnegan, who is a lawyer, has for a number of years taught a course on the laws of war to West Point seniors—cadets who would soon be commanders in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. He always tries, he said, to get his students to sort out not just what is legal but what is right. However, it had become increasingly hard to convince some cadets that America had to respect the rule of law and human rights, even when terrorists did not. One reason for the growing resistance, he suggested, was misperceptions spread by “24,” which was exceptionally popular with his students. As he told me, “The kids see it, and say, ‘If torture is wrong, what about “24”?’ ” He continued, “The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do.” Read more...
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