Sure, torture is such an issue on 24. It’s pretty much everywhere. It’s attracted a lot of attention, mostly the unwanted one, but if you ask the folks behind the show, it’s a matter of being as real as possible—although they probably meant the grisly details, rather than with the interrogation itself. It’s pretty weird, then, to see that life has somehow imitated art—before we knew it, torture has become a point of political conversation, and if the show did something, it was predict (somehow) what would soon become a convention of sorts.
And it’s attracted controversy to 24. There’s talk of members of the military liking the show very much, to the point that they’re imitating the interrogation techniques shown on the show. Sure, torture on the show may border on the extreme, but some argued that if torture is legally wrong, why can 24 get away with it? Insert Kiefer Sutherland, on yet another interview about this bit, this time with British newspaper The Guardian.
“What Jack Bauer does is all in the context of a television show,” he started off. “I always have to remind people of this. We’re making a television program. We’re utilizing certain devices for drama. And it’s good drama. And I love this drama! As an actor I have had an absolute blast doing it … But I know it’s not real. The other actor certainly knows it’s not real. And up until a year ago, everybody else knew it wasn’t real.”
And then it became real. Some from the military picked up the show for ideas, and when the spotlight went to torture—on suspected terrorists and all that—the blame was thrown on the show. 24 is aiming for authenticity, Sutherland contended, but eventually they were being blamed for affecting military training. So, should they stop? It’s an issue that gets the star (and executive producer) of the drama passionate, to say the least. Perhaps annoyed.
“I’m just going to tell you outright, the problem is not 24,” he said. “To try and correlate from what’s happening on a television show to what the military is doing in the real world, I think that’s ridiculous … [If] that’s actually happening, then the problem that you have in the US military is massive. If your ethics in the military, in your training, is going to be counterminded by a one-hour weekly television show, we’ve got a really big problem. If you can’t tell the difference between reality and what’s happening on a made-up TV show, and you’re correlating that back to how to do your job in the real world, that’s a big, big problem.”
You’ve probably heard of this, but if not, then representatives from West Point actually came to 24‘s producers to discuss the matter. Reports say Sutherland didn’t attend the formal meeting, but later talked with the generals, where he apparently expressed his worry about the show’s effect. The Democratic Party supporter says that second meeting didn’t happen—let’s cancel the expletive he used. “I declined to meet them because I found it to be so deeply manipulative,” he said. “When the entire country was looking at the US military’s behavior in places like Abu Ghraib, I found that whole thing was a real effort to slide the blame on to something else, and I wasn’t going to be a part of it.”
So, if it’s eventually proven that 24 has indeed had an effect on changing practices in the military, would Sutherland change a thing? Quite simply, he won’t. “[We] are not responsible for training the US military,” he said. “It is not our job to do. To me this is almost as absurd as saying The Sopranos supports the mafia and by virtue of that HBO supports the mafia. Or that, you know, Sex and the City is just saying ‘everybody should sleep together now.’ I have never seen … an average citizen in the US or anywhere else who has watched an hour of 24 and after watching was struck by this uncontrollable urge to go out and torture someone. It’s ludicrous.”
-Henrik Batallones, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: The Guardian
(Image courtesy of Fox)