Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 28, 2005
By: Kevin Drum

24 BLOGGING....An email from a reader reminds me that intellectual integrity demands that I do some followup 24 blogging. So here it is.

Those of you who care may recall that a couple of months ago I theorized that this season's casual and frequent use of torture was actually a trick: since the torture never actually worked, the writers were sending a subtle but definite anti-torture message.

Well, this theory was always a little shaky, and the past couple of weeks have blown it completely out of the water. To recap: last week Jack shanghaied a suspect and used a taser to force him to reveal the location of the primary bad guy. At that point my theory was hanging by a thread.

[UPDATE: My bad. Jack tasered the federal agent who was guarding the suspect. The suspect himself got his fingers broken. Thanks to skeptic in comments for the correction.]

This week the thread snapped: it turned out that the torture worked perfectly. The location the bad guy coughed up was accurate and Jack & Co. promptly surrounded the bad guy's working headquarters (though he subsequently escaped). But it's actually worse than that. Not only did the torture work, but Jack did it despite specific instructions from the president not to. Because of this, the president (who was VP until a couple of hours ago, when Air Force One got shot down) was very clearly presented as an indecisive wimp who was unable to make manly decisions like authorizing the torture of suspected terrorists. The writers have left us in no doubt: not only does torture work, but real men approve of it while wimps stand around wringing their hands about consulting the the attorney general. This is not an anti-torture message.

So I was wrong. Really, really, wrong. Tomorrow I will turn in my TV merit badge and retire from pop culture criticism.

On a different note, though: way to handle an assault rifle, Chloe! IT nerds of the world unite!

Kevin Drum 1:29 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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