tv stuff

(apparently I’m in a post-y sort of mood…)

How Fox Helped Make Torture Happen – apparently the interrogators at Guantánamo Bay are big fans of 24. I’m all for realism in TV shows, but at some point TV shows do affect popular culture and if 24 glamorizes torture (which it sounds like it does) to the point that it encourages government officials to do it…well, something’s wrong there.

I’m a big LOST fan, and I’ve been doing their ARG this summer/fall, which was to apply to a position in the Dharma Initiative, take some tests and then…well, it turns out the ARG was cancelled because of the financial crisis. At first I thought it was all part of the ARG, but no! You can see the email sent today. If you haven’t been watching LOST, or forgot what’s been happening since it’s been six months since the Season 4 finale (grumble grumble), you can see the LOST Starter Kit (password is “lafleur”), which is kinda like the “What the Frak?” summary of Battlestar Galactica.

11 thoughts on “tv stuff”

  1. Eh, this is like holding trying to hold the daily show accountable for not asking hard hitting questions when it is a *comedy* show. Only this isn’t even a comedy about real life issues…it’s a suspense/drama fiction show that portrays…and really does not glamorize…the use of over the top torture and how it can be effective. It does raise the hard morale questions of when do the ends justify the means and brings up a lot of those ‘impossible situation’ moments. Basically if we start holding shows like 24 accountable and start censoring them because people are retarded enough to mimic it, that pretty much means we should scrub all of TV everywhere since most of it is garbage. Anyways I saw on Fringe I can talk with dead people if I float in some water and take some LSD, so I’ll be doing that tonight

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    1. Yeah…I guess it’s just kinda depressing that people will see something on TV and then assume it’s a valid situation or has some kind of moral authority or whatever.

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      1. Well it is partially about desensitizing people to things. The military does this already. They invest lots of research dollars in making games like America’s Army not only as a promotional tool, but also as a way to get their people ‘ok’ with shooting another person, and doing so as a reaction to stimuli instead of delaying to do the moral math as it were. The people who torture are ultimately responsible (and their commanding officers as well) for their actions, but it should be noted that there is an element of media “peer pressure”.

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    2. I mostly agree but I also think it’s ok to call propaganda what it is, propaganda. I’ve read that a lot of the minds behind 24 are Republicans who are specifically concerned about our approach to terrorism and that the show is somewhat their attempt to advertise their side of the story and “win the hearts and minds of America”. It is unfortunate that so many people are easily swayed by emotionalism and well fiction and lies.

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      1. To be more specific, if watching an action tv show changes your opinion about torture and your approach to terrorism, I think it’s fair to call you an idiot.

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      2. Mm, I don’t know that I’d call such people idiots. I think each of us has our own set of issues about which we care enough to have researched and developed well-informed opinions. For these issues, we are readily able to denounce propaganda that contradicts our beliefs. However, I suspect we all have a separate set of issues that we have not encountered too personally and therefore have not given as much thought to. These are the things that we may not be consciously prepared to identify and hence ignore (i.e. don’t question or even pay close attention to) in the news or media. Our ideas about them, then, are more easily formed slowly and subconsciously by outside influences instead of internal deliberation. These are the things to which we might be more easily desensitized. So, in this paradigm, while an action tv show could indeed influence your opinion about torture, it’s not such a conscious decision. It’s certainly something to guard against, and pursuing informed opinions should always be an ongoing process, but I’m just saying that experiencing subconscious/emotional influences is a common human experience and doesn’t automatically qualify you as an idiot. It just affects people regarding different issues.

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      3. I’d say 24 does a good job of posing this question: You know this man has information you could use to save millions of people, but you are going to have to torture the crap out of him to get it, does the good of many overshadow his individual rights and who gets to make that call? Now if you are Jack Bauer, then yes, the potential of saving many people basically makes an individual life meaningless to him. Who gets to make that call? he does. Who is accountable? Well he is, but since he saves millions of people nobody cares. In the 24 world, I totally support torture. It is effective, fast, and saves millions of lives. In the real world nothing is ever as clear cut, nor are the potential rewards from torture ever as drastic (maybe they are, I dont know..if they were then we do live in a scary world where we are on the verge of death every day) I’m basically glad I don’t have a job where day to day I have to evaluate whether someone should be tortured in order to potentially save lives. And I hope whoever is doing that in our government isn’t influenced by 24.

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      4. This is probably the most effective way 24 has influenced the debate about torture – everyone knows about the “ticking time bomb” situation where a bomb’s gonna blow up in like 5 minutes and you really need to know where it is or billions of people will die, so torture’s OK, right? Once you get people to agree that it’s useful in some situation, no matter how ridiculously hypothetical, then the idea of torture is desensitized. Just presenting the hypothetical situation is enough to influence how people think about it.

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      5. I do enjoy that this discussion of desensitization is taking place between someone who has killed 9367 creatures….3132 of them being humanoid..and someone who has killed 13,303 creatures…4682 of them humanoid. According to quality people like Jack Thompson I am a trained cold blooded destroyer of worlds. Hell we both are. I should be pretty desensitized to death and killing, but I’m pretty sure I’m not about to go out and wreak havoc…and I’m pretty sure I’m not OK with others doing so. But there are areas of our culture where we ARE ok with killing other people because our culture has built in desensitizing(i.e. war) Really my opinion is people are too sensitive to begin with, the more we expose them to, the more they think about things, the more they desensitize themselves…the less offended or more understanding they will be when things pop up along the way. For an extreme example in the other direction, let’s talk about those training seminars they have for Manners. The entire thing is bullshit, nobody should care what fork you use first, how you split the bread, the proper angle to rest your napkin and your elbows. The entire point of it is to sensitize people to really stupid stuff…which in turn leads to them being insulted or grossed out when I use my salad fork on my steak.

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