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Washington Post columnist thinks 24 critics need to 'get a grip'

by Meredith O'Brien, posted Feb 22nd 2007 1:02PM

Jack Bauer on 24A Washington Post columnist was stunned while reading a New Yorker article about 24, which featured concerns from military officials -- including some from West Point -- that torture scenes in 24 adversely affect how U.S. interrogators behave in the field.

Writer Peter Carlson couldn't believe that educated officers emerging from West Point would actually think that they were mini versions of Jack Bauers who could torture people just like on TV.

He quipped, "Gee, if these cadets can't tell the difference between TV and reality, I sure hope they're not watching 'Superman' reruns. They might try to fly out windows or catch bullets."

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Dead wrong A_B.

This Brig Gen is dean at West Point and has not been in the field observing interrogations since 24 first came to air. The article even stated that he was more worried how the show made the country appear.

He has no way of knowing if this show influences his students anymore than a college professor has of knowing if Grand Theft Auto influences his students.

Maybe you should stop to think that it is entirely possible that videos of civilians getting their heads sawed off with a knife by a terrorist, may cause some to toss the rules of law out the window during interrogation than some Hollywood TV show.

February 24 2007 at 7:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No, the analogy is terrible, although I'm sure it appeals to fans of "24" desperate for a defense, any defense of the show.

Let's put it this way: who are you going to believe about the impact of "24" on West Point cadets: A TV writer for the WaPo who dismisses the concerns, or the Dean of West Point who talks to the cadets?

If you answered WaPo TV critic, you failed.

I imagine it can be difficult to find out that something you like is actually harmful, and this produces a cognitive dissonance such that any rationalization is welcome. But if you're endorsing the dismissive attitude of a guy writing about TV shows, over the concerns of a Brig. Gen. and Dean of West Point, then you need to take a step back and look at your biases.

February 22 2007 at 3:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thank you Peter Carlson! I'm a die-hard liberal who's a major fan of 24, and I'm getting sick and tired of people discriminating against it because it's too violent or too right-wing. Doesn't anyone understand mythology? The Superman analogy is spot on. Jack Bauer IS the post-modern Superman (or Batman, if you prefer). Don't all pulp superheroes use some form of violence to save the world? 24 may be more gory, but I see it as a natural progression in the pulp art genre.

February 22 2007 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Shades of Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown! But of course that was the Vice-President 'allafeared' for the morals of 'merica.

February 22 2007 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Agreed, but it's important to note that most of the criticism is politically or racially motivated, and has little to do with the actual show. The military guy criticizing the torture scenes? His visit to Hollywood was "sponsored" by a "Human Rights" organization. And CAIR is the group that complains about 24 every season, while itself financially supporting confessed terrorists.

That doesn't mean 24 isn't worthy of criticism; I personally love the show, but find it dancing a bit too sweetly with the shark tank this season.

I got 5 bucks that says the writers make the kid Jack's son.


February 22 2007 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Carlson hit it spot on. It's bad enough when people say kids are going to shoot up a school because of a video game, but to think a tv show is going to influence how an adult acts is beyond ridiculous.

February 22 2007 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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