“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into”

Jonathan Swift
"The Democrats have moved to the right, and the right has moved into a mental hospital." - Bill Maher
"The city is crowded my friends are away and I'm on my own
It's too hot to handle so I gotta get up and go

It's a cruel ... cruel summer"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

screw you, I watch 24

God, it seems a freaking lifetime ago that I argued with a sign-carrying religious rightie at the premiere of The Last Temptation of Christ. I asked him if he'd even seen the movie, and, of course, he said he hadn't. I scoffed. All us liberals, I was quite sure, were more intellectually honest than that. I am, in short, so old that I remember when liberals got upset about people who criticized things they didn't watch.

Not that there were many liberals in those days of Reagan and the first Bush. The few of us who existed hid in art galleries and the fringes of punk clubs. We've come so far since then.

But we've lost our soul.

Unless you believe that we're godless atheists who never had souls to begin with, in which case we've lost something even worse. We've lost our intellects.

You know it's bad when the most intelligent thing anyone has said about 24 so far was a joke on Bob and Tom's radio show.1 They were talking about people who name their cars and they had one of their fake call-ins from Jack Bauer. He said, "I name every one of my cars the same thing: YOURS. GET OUT!" So at least someone had seen the show.

I'm guessing that Keith Olbermann-- whom I normally respect and have watched since The Big Show, when the Days of Monica gradually drove him mad on-air-- probably actually watched some of it. But so many of the other critics have not, by their own admission. The girls on The View, apparently, didn't watch but felt free to criticize. They claimed the show instills fear and missed the point by saying it wouldn't be entertaining to watch nuclear explosions in L.A. (Since it was Valencia, not L.A., perhaps they didn't even talk to anyone who had seen the show.) They also claimed the show "plays into racial stereotypes of terrorists". A number of Daily Kos diaries (sporting badly-punctuated titles like No More "24" for Me, Thanks, '24' now driving the War on Terror, and Fox admits to (Right-Wing Scare) Agenda for "24" [based on a drudge post!]) felt free to announce that they weren't watching, and that you shouldn't either. At least Panhandle Truth Squad naysayers, who at least understand the difference between fantasy and reality, will only try to start a gen-X Clerks-style argument that the Flash or Aquaman or somebody could beat up Jack Bauer.

The wingnuts are mad, too. Too many characters advocate civil liberties in the new season. Jack is allied with the terrorist Assad, who now wants to morph into a peaceful, political leader. Jack even shot the bipolar agent Curtis because Curtis was going to take matters into his own hands and kill Assad. The fact that 24 is growing increasingly ambivalent about torture. Political correctness. Appeasing terrorists. Jack showing emotion. Blah. Blah. Blah. And the new President has "hipster facial hair."

I guess that's what they mean by "controversial," but, people, not everything is political. Even politically-charged fiction can be just entertainment. And some of us out here have reached the point at which-- if we have to be outraged about one more thing-- if we have to take sides one more time-- if we have to sort every last person, story and opinion into the good box or the evil box, our faces will explode like something out of an early Cronenburg movie.

And some of us, obviously, are addicted to outrage.


1 I loathe Bob and Tom, but my carpool listens. I heard this when I removed my earphones as we came into town.