Friday, 1 August 2008

America and the torture scenes

Actually, its more 24 and how right-wing is it really.

I'm kind of curious if, because 24's reliance on being a military show, has ties to military, seems to be very right-wing to me. As a Brit, anything that's not squeamish on the military instantly feels to be right-wing. I'm not sure if some of it is cultural, in how America has shown itself as a country (the country always feels very militaristic and unthinking, no matter who is in charge).

As an outsider, there is always a sense in America that it doesn't feel its actions, that there's a repression to actual cause and effect (in the same way Britain has the rap on repression over sexual matters, although America likely has that too, to some degree). There seems to be this blankness in many cultural expressions, that everything has to lead to a joke or a moment of clarity, everything tied to the needs of an individual or one side of an argument.

In 24 the terrorists (or a view of don't torture someone) are always horribly written. I don't know if the writers mean this politically or not but simply they cannot write nor imagine the other's point of view. This leads to an atmosphere within the show of aggression towards imagination, curiosity, that even if the writers are not what a non-American feels as being right-wing, it feels that they are thoughtless, are the cliched terrified types that the rest of the world fears. There's no balance in so much of the fiction. Everything is pulpy and based on fear, imaginings simply on base emotions never expressed with clarity beyond anger. Most of the romance scenes are awful, selfish, always sub-literate in expressing basic human needs, is hopelessly immature. Is this how America, below the hyped media , experience life and the world? If so, this feels psychotic and very worrying.

Essentially, the crafting failures, something spread to many American shows, and what it suggests about American character, lead to many outside America to think America is based as being right-wing morons. Thus 24 always feels like right-wing trash, even though I'm not sure if that's always the intent with some of the sub-plots, and kinda like the show. Yet I am a left-wing Brit. I'm oddly fascinated by its weirdness because at least with 24 its weirdness is so obvious, within its structure. It is a sort of odd, crazy unself-conscious art piece.

Yet Battlestar Galactica has an even more militaristic set-up (and has saluting) and I would never call that right-wing. Mainly because a lot of it is about dysfunctionality and how that ties into sacrifice, feelings of honour or betrayal. It's a show about the mess that is left behind by any decision, where the military is a lot of the time the savior but also the antagonist. The torture in Galactica put 24 to shame, as it shows complex humans within these situations, leaving a mess that can never be solved. Most things are like this in Galactica while 24 always insists on things being solved to some degree, until the next action set-piece, which is rarely emotionally tied to events earlier in the show. Galactica actually feels much more of a progressive, mature show, seems to be the product of a far more mature culture. Yet it has awful ratings, with cult-level in viewers. so where does that leave us?

With a very immature society reflected in immature representation in subject matter.

(by the way, 24 season 6, which I watched, was fun but not great. pulpy as hell)

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