Friday, January 19, 2007

Jack Bauer – American Hero or Racist Swine?

Do you watch "24"? I didn't for the first 3 ½ seasons. But then I made the mistake of watching an episode, and quickly got hooked.

In fact, I even bought a "Season 1 Box Set" to catch up with. But in a way, it's better to watch the broadcast version… the commercials give you a chance to catch your breath. That is one HIGH TENSION teevee show!

If you don't watch… Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, works for the CTU – Counter-Terrorism Unit. He works out of the L.A. office of that super-secret agency, which is conveniently nearby the Fox sound stages, etc. Each season is one day (24 hours, hour-by-hour) of Jack's crime-fighting life. But he's not doing battle with jaywalkers, or even bank robbers. His enemies are the international dudes – think "Doctor Evil" – who have plastic explosives, nerve gas, or a big flippin' bomb they want to set off in the U.S.A. Jack Bauer foils their plans while the rest of us sleep.

"24" has a huge following. Not huge like "American Idol," or "You're Fired!," but kinda huge. I saw Kiefer Sutherland the other day on Charlie Rose. He said their fans run the gamut from VP Dick Cheney, to Barbra Streisand. (So, the show is beloved by both Nazis and Commies! Hahahaha)

But this year, the accusations have renewed.

In the 4-hour premiere event (broadcast January 14 and 15), Jack fell into the hands of MUSLIM fanatics, who are intent on killing him, and then setting off their Suitcase Nukes around the Fruited Plain, to bring America to her knees. Fortunately, Jack escapes. But at the end of the 4th hour, despite his best terrorist-fighter efforts, one of the fictional nukes goes off, fictionally blowing up a bunch of fictional L.A.-area citizens. Jack was all set to retire, but that single event made him decide to stick around for 20 more hours, to deal harshly with the bad guys. Who have 4 more suitcases. AWESOME!

The Muslims are upset about how they are portrayed in "24." They see it as bad P.R. – Muslims blowing people up. An unfair stereotype. Some kook might blur the line between fiction and reality, and get the wrong idea about Muslims.

I know "24" has changed my life.

The other day, some lady was riding in the elevator with me. Had kind of a Russian-like look about her. I was instantly suspicious. She started talking on her cell phone – IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE! I did what Jack Bauer would have done – wasted her. Single 9mm in the forehead. And then got off on the next floor, being careful not to leave fingerprints on the elevator button.

And – the very next day (!!) – I saw a guy driving a taxicab. Definitely not from around here… he looked Muslim! I figured that Russkie gal had probably been talking to him on her phone, before I could take her out. So I wasted the dude. He slumped over the steering wheel, and his taxi careened down Bannock Street and ran into a telephone pole.

But seriously… a couple points to consider.

1) I find it REFRESHING to watch a television drama where the villain, or window-peeper, or rapist, or whatever-threat-to-society, isn't a Christian white guy. (And most often a CONSERVATIVE Greed-Driven suit-wearing Evil Businessman.)

Fox said in their prepared statement about the Muslim accusations: "24 is a heightened drama about anti-terrorism. After five seasons, the audience clearly understands this, and realizes that any individual, family, or group (ethnic or otherwise) that engages in violence is not meant to be typical. Over the past several seasons, the villains have included shadowy Anglo businessmen, Baltic Europeans, Germans, Russians, Islamic fundamentalists, and even the (Anglo-American) president of the United States."

2) If the Muslims are concerned about being stereotyped as suicidal, wild-eyed, bomb-wielding crazies, maybe they should first try to influence their suicidal, wild-eyed, bomb-wielding crazy fellow Muslims to scale it back a little, before attacking the poor misunderstood Hollywood people! Just a thought.


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