The New Hammerhead was a perfect cowboy. He was vicious & stupid & ignorant of everything except his own fears and appetites. He beat the mortal shit out of anything that made him uneasy, for any reason at all. The Hammerhead was a perfect warrior. He defended the flag. Any flag. He learned to understand words like “orders” and “patriotism”, but the secret of his success was an animal taste for blood. He thrived on motion. But he was brainless; he had to be aimed.
-Hunter S. Thompson
Meet Jack Bauer. He’s America’s newest hero, a pop culture icon in the land of ignorant fear and bigoted loathing, a land that routinely bestows honors on phony pigs the likes of John Wayne, John Rambo and Ronald Wilson Reagan. Here is an ugly little secret for the deep-seated television addicts in our attention deficit democracy - Jack Bauer is also an ultra violent latter day Nazi with a savage psychopathic mean streak and a king-sized hard-on for torture. Torture has become one of a growing number of previously unthinkable and utterly abominable acts that can now be wrapped in an American flag as some type of a sick endorsement of what constitutes super patriotism under the pathologically amoral regime that is the Bushreich.
Jack is a hero for that much trumpeted by the neocon junta 'post 9-11' wordview, he is their champion, a thuglike doppleganger for law enforcement in the authoritarian police state. The need for Jack's way has been somewhat forgotten by those traitor Democrats (according to capo Tom DeLay, a media darling on the bloviation circuit where he whittles away his time while awaiting trial) who would roll out the welcome mat for the terrorists (according to America's mayor Rudy Giuliani on whose watch the big day occurred) whose sissified liberalism has been decried as sympathetic to the evil doers who they would rather pack off to head shrinkers rather than the toe cutters in the CIA prison gulag. In fact Jack is even MORE necessary now than ever before as the fear rolls out of the electronic crackpipe in waves. Last night's big bait and switch on CBS's 60 Minutes promised former CIA kingpin George Tenet exposing lies about the war and to some extent it did but the Georgetown drama queen more effectively used the half hour segment to deliver an infomercial for the fear just in time for the Monday news cycle.
An alleged plot to assassinate Al Gore will get be repeated ad nauseum without any mention that such an act puts Osama Bin Laden firmly in the camp of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and all of those other brave Americans of the Republican base and here is some food for thought -Al Qaeda (why in the living fuck are there so many spelling variations on this in the MSM?) also means The Base. Tenet's book - At the Center of the Storm also resurrects the 'smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud' talking point with the allegations of a myriad of nuke threats and what better illustrates the need for a guy like Jack Bauer when there is a ticking bomb in an American city and a captured suspect has ten fingers and ten toes to cut off to get him or her to squeal on the location of it.
But I digress...
The lead character of FOX media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s smash hit 24 is played by washout actor Keifer Sutherland whose flagging post Lost Boys career was rescued by the war party’s need to indoctrinate television nation as to the real new rules by rolling out an infomercial for torture. Jack Bauer is the logical final product that evolved from another Sutherland character, Lt. Kendrick from A Few Good Men. Remember him? He was the sycophantic suck-up lackey of Colonel Nathan Jessup, the rotten little bootlicker who did the dirty work so his superior officer wouldn’t actually have to get blood on his own hands.
Code Red? Jack’ll show you a motherfucking Code Red that you’ll never fucking forget.
Then again ‘Brat Packer’ Sutherland’s portrayal of Jack Bauer is the perfect example of the lost children of Ronald Reagan, some countries lose entire generations to bloody, ill conceived wars but at least the sacrifice of the pissed away lives of those wasted can be wrapped in the cheesecloth of valor, duty, nationalism, patriotism or whatever other rote horseshit platitudes and clichés that the priests, pastors and politicians so often resort to as the stock of their trade.
The true tragedy of utterly fucked generation that was weaned on the revisionist history and propaganda of Reagan as American icon is that they are all still fucking alive while other societies were able to rebuild and in their shame at being hoodwinked into sending their young into bloody morasses to die for their collective fucking ignorance they were at least able to avoid repeating the tragic mistakes that non-revisionist, unvarnished, non-sugar coated history is all about. And nations have evolved and with notable exceptions like Nazi Germany have emerged as better and more compassionate.
Jack Bauer however is the product of the evolution of the bizarreness of the 1980’s where think tank folderol about a great American resurrection pimped out through blatant maudlin fraudulence like ‘Morning In America’ and the preponderance of a degraded cable television explosion that was mainlined into millions of homes as E-Soma consumerist garbage like MTV, Dynasty, Dallas etc while our mega plexes were overflowing with paramilitary revenge trash jingoism like Rambo, Chuck Norris’ violent celluloid polemics, Red Dawn, Universal Soldier and every ultra-violent box office smash Commando featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger that made wisecracking while dispensing bloody retribution a cool thing -"Remember when I said that I'd kill you last? I lied".
24 is a perfecto hit of mainline e-crack into the public consciousness in an era when the Geneva Convention rules barring torture have been deemed “quaint” by the highest ranking law officer in the land and the Constitution has been rendered obsolete, a relic from another time prior to the ascent of a revolutionary power bent on reinventing fascism by wrapping it in red, white and blue and peddling it as being as American as apple pie. The relic of a document that stood as a check on state power for over two-hundred years has even been referred to as “just a goddamned piece of paper” by the unitary executive who claims the divine right of a king to do “just as he goddamned” well pleases with Americans. Look at the fine example made of Jose Padilla the test case who was so broken that his lawyer referred to him as being transformed by government sanctioned brutality to the point that he was: "so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture.’ ” With the Geneva Conventions and Constitution reduced to so much toilet tissue it was no surprise when habeas corpus – which has stood since the fucking Magna Carta – was also tossed away via the Military Commissions act.
The same social forces that produced Jack Bauer also are responsible for Cho Seung- Hui, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, Ann Coulter, Left Behind and other creatures and products that tap into the most animalistic instincts of the darkest recesses of the soul. The need for vengeance, the more cruelty and violence exacted in the process makes it even better. And this was BEFORE video games brought the desensitization and kill factor into millions of homes. As a delivery device FOX is the propaganda beacon that drives home the fascist agenda of the Bush-Cheney-Rove Axis of Evil and their version of the new American century – and Jack Bauer is their top pitchman. Watch an NFL game late in the season when audiences are highest and chances are that you’ll be bombarded with previews for 24. Despite the recent denunciation by the Army as a bad influence that actually encourages torture the Bushreich is so ecstatic over the show’s psy ops value that it’s operatives practically scream endorsements at the top of their lungs.
The show's connection to the Bush White House and the conservative establishment became explicit last June, when Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff appeared alongside the show's producers and three cast members at an event sponsored by the Heritage Foundation to discuss "The public image of US terrorism policy." The discussion was moderated by Rush Limbaugh. The C-SPAN store sells a DVD of the event--price reduced from $60 to $29.95.
A piece in a fairly recent edition of The New Yorker entitled "Whatever It Takes", profiles the FOX show’s creator Joel Surnow who is a certified, gold-plated Republican asshole. Mr.Surnow is a self-proclaimed “right-wing nut” who counts among his intimates none other than the GOP’s grand poobah of propaganda Rush Limbaugh. According to The Smoking Gun he was also one of the pigman’s traveling partners during his infamous visit to the sex tourism Mecca in the Dominican Republic last summer when a Customs search in Miami found a mysterious bottle of Viagra in lard-ass Limbaugh’s luggage. By the way, Father Coughlin redux has his own pro-torture spiel, in the aftermath of the revelations of the Abu Ghraib sadosexual perversions Radio Fat Republican broadcast that the heinous pictures that shocked the world by revealing the twisted brutality of the occupiers as well as the desperation of the neocons to condone such practices as being no worse than fraternity hazing. Just good ole boys, never meaning no harm..
Writer Dave Trotter examined the allure of 24 as well as the value that the show represents to the fascists in power with this piece "Softening Us Up for Torture, 24 Hours at a Time" that I am going to provide a good sized piece from here:
Ironically, Bush’s fear-mongering reveals yet another duality for the neoconservatives: the contradiction of an energetic push to strip dissident citizens of their liberty in order to silence them with Bush’s push to enable illegal aliens by the millions to impersonate citizens and imbibe of the entire spectrum of taxpayer-funded infrastructure (or to paraphrase those marching masses of illegal aliens, to get their "rights").
Their torture rationale continues that if the unitary executive has the authority to enforce his discretion in the course of prosecuting a "war" (even if undeclared by Congress), then he can also withhold details about the intelligence that led to this discretionary action in the first place – all in the name of protecting national security.
Here’s how the writers illustrate the concept: in episode 18 they make the distinction between torturing: (1) suspects who've been actually charged with a crime, and (2) suspects who haven't been charged but who still might know something.
They pose the question as an over-the-top ethical issue, and the Arab supervillain plays the system expertly, using an Amnesty International clone agency lawyer like an IED to sidetrack CTU's "hot on his trail" investigation.
So the lawyers advocating due process for the suspect are working for the terrorists! I knew it! (Dang you, Osama! Dang you, Zarqawi/Saddam/Goldstein!)
The problem is that the writers linger on the distinction that Jack wants to torture a suspect but has insufficient evidence to charge him. By this point, Spring of 2005, most citizens had seen enough wild precedents in the four years since 9/11 to recognize that the "material support" hurdle of the Patriot Act is a low one indeed. They couldn’t charge this guy?
Somebody was trying to make a point.
But never fear – Jack Bauer knocks out a pawn-like Federal Marshall escorting the suspect and breaks every bone in one of the suspect’s hands until he talks, which of course renders exactly the information they need, just in the nick of time. Thanks, God, for Jack Bauer, who has the stomach and the temerity to pummel my face – or yours! – into concrete in the name of national security! Finally, a hero emerges!
Never mind that we've moved far afield, by this point, whether the predication for any of this executive activity is legitimate. We're in a damned fervor, here. We ain't got time for discernment!
It's easy to rationalize when the "worst-case scenario" mentality really takes root, too. It was that guy's hand or millions of innocent lives, right? How do any of us stack up against that?
This premise is fatally flawed, however: in life – in reality – our only source of data, our only means of verifying that these discretionary executive quests are legitimate, ultimately comes straight from the executive branch itself – which has a vested self-interest in avoiding self-incrimination.
So why would we believe any of it?
Of course the byproduct of all this rationalization and acceptance is that most citizen viewers will likely apply the same mental precept when they encounter a similar situation in real life.
That's the whole point of propaganda, after all
The ugly truth of that matter is that with a rogue administration intent on bestowing dictatorial powers on a ‘unitary executive’, a bloodsucking legion of authority worshipping zombies who will loyally follow such leader not only to the gates of hell but inside as an enabling brownshirt force who comprise at LEAST one third of the populace, a court system that has been rigged and packed with compliant jurists down with one party rule and an increasingly desperate and megalomaniac cabal slowly being backed into a corner and you know what they say like cornered animals – they become downright mean, they become psychotic just like Jack. And they have a gulag system already in place along with a blueprint for martial law and a ruthless mercenary army called Blackwater to enforce it.
When we peer into that flickering glass Jack Bauer is us and our voyeuristic Pavlov’s Dogs type of involuntary salivating at depictions of wanton cruelty that appropriately belong in a Schutzstaffel training manual is a damning condemnation of a rotting society that has through our decadent ignorance, callous indifference and general meanness become a pox on the rest of the planet.