Last night season five of Fox’s hit show 24 premiered. For the first four seasons, 24 has been an oasis on television – providing high drama excitement without a liberal sermon being shoved down the viewers throats. I worry the oasis will dry up.
Despite the ratings win, I do not know how long those involved with the show can withstand the liberal onslaught they face for not preaching the progressive message.
The show’s hero, Jack Bauer, is constantly threatening to “shove a towel down your throat until you start to digest it, then [he] will rip out your intestines through your mouth if you don’t tell me what you want” or some other increasingly painful promise. As Jack said in last night’s opener, “You are going to tell me what I want. It is just a question of how much it is going to hurt.”
Although the show has been critically acclaimed, I am beginning to think the gig is up. Last season the chorus of opposition rose as the questions of torture on 24 mirrored those in real life. On the show, the Secretary of State said that his peacenik son was using “6th grade, Michael Moore logic.”
Last season, the catcalls from Muslims eventually caused the show to run disclaimers reminding all of us crazed right-wingers that “not all Muslims are terrorists.” [At the opening of the season the bad guys were Muslim terrorists, but just as with every season of 24, the ultimate heel was someone different (almost always a white, European male).]
This season the show was skewered even before it aired and this time the anti-24 forces are not wasting any time – they are going straight for Godwin’s law. In a rambling, semi-coherent column in the Guardian, Slavoj Zizek calls Jack and his CTU cohorts “the Himmlers of Hollywood.”
The columnists equates the actions on 24 with those of Heinrich Himmler, the SS chief. Seeing the all-or-nothing attitude of Jack causes Zizek to get angry and pull out the Nazi comparisons, but it is the columnists who uses his words to dehumanize those he disagrees with.
While he is busy comparing the fictional CTU to the actual Nazi concentration camps, Zizek writes: “It is here that we encounter the series’ ideological lie: in spite of the CTU’s ruthlessness, its agents, especially Bauer, are warm human beings – loving, caught in the emotional dilemmas of ordinary people.”
It seems because the characters of 24 do not respond to high pressure “emotional dilemmas” the way Zizek would, they are not “warm human beings.”
He seemingly marvels at Jack’s willingness to die for what he believes in: “The agents treat themselves as expendable, ready to put their lives at stake if this will help to prevent an attack. Jack Bauer, embodies this attitude. He not only tortures others but condones his superiors putting his own life at stake.”
This is where liberals lose most Americans and why they are unable to understand 24. The majority of people in this nation believe that the US is the best nation, flaws and all, in the world and if needed many, if not most, would die to protect it. Most people see torture as an evil thing, but as a simple black and white issue, normally despised by liberals but now embraced.
This is why I am worried about 24. I am not sure how long a show can last on television once it has been classified as “conservative” (which 24 is basiclally apolitical). How much abuse can the producers and stars take at all the Hollywood functions before it begins to wear on them.
I hope Kiefer Sutherland has as much grit and determination as Jack Bauer or 24 may become West Wing 2 – propaganda with a plot.