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January 31, 2006

Torture On TV - A Question

-- by Dave Johnson

Just a question. How many TV shows have you seen lately that have one of the character using torture? I'm watching a Tivo'd episode of Surface now, and one of the main characters is torturing someone. I was just thinking I've been seeing a lot of torture on drama shows for a while now. Just asking.

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 31, 2006 10:31 PM

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Are you counting the torture perpetrated on us via television tonight when they introduced the Supreme Court justices or just the kewl Jack Bauer kind?

Posted by: DeeLuzon at January 31, 2006 11:15 PM

I'm more used to watching SF shows like Stargate where only the evil characters use torture. There have been some fairly heinous episodes, like where one bad guy tortures the protagonist to death, then reanimates hiim just so he can torture him to death again, over and over.

Posted by: Charles at February 1, 2006 12:45 AM

I've seen it too often on 24. Seeing it on these shows will change the peception of torture for many viewers who will start to believe it is normal.

Posted by: Pat DeVita at February 1, 2006 2:27 AM

The whole purpose of "24" appears to be to desensitize the public to the use of torture by the "good guys".

Posted by: Pinata at February 1, 2006 4:29 AM

I haven't seen any because I avoid shows like "24" or Surface like the plague they are. Maybe I'd better start watching to get some idea of what the sociological effect is likely to be.

Posted by: MJ at February 1, 2006 7:11 AM

We're simply being conditioned to accept it. Why? Because our government loves it and it's no secret that the CIA offer "advice" to TV and movie scriptwriters. "24" has "CIA" written all over it. Ain't gonna watch!

Posted by: A-dub at February 1, 2006 8:10 AM

You may recall that even good-guy (in the movie and in "real life") George Clooney tortured onfromation out of a guy who supplied infrastructure to "terrorists" in the film THE PEACEMAKER. This country is going to hell very, very rapdily.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 1, 2006 10:05 AM

In case you're wondering "onfromation" is "information" to a guy with typelexia.

Posted by: richard [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 1, 2006 10:07 AM

Charles - Battlestar Galactica. Good-guys torturing.

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 1, 2006 10:11 AM

There was a torture theme in Stargate Atlantis 2 episodes ago. There was an explosion set to go off that was the work of a terrorist infiltrator and everyone suspected this one scientist whom no one liked at all. The base command discussed the torture option and a burly alien badass volunteered for the deed. Then, just at the last minute, a more careful analysis of the intelligence logs revealed that the perpetrator was a much-liked member of the command group who turned out to have come under alien influence. The torture victim-to-be came to no actual harm because he'd fainted before anything could happen. There was pause.

Come to think of it, Battlestar Galactica has worked an anti-torture storyline into its last few episodes. My advice is, watch SciFi Fridays for carefully considered ethical conundrums.

Posted by: natasha at February 1, 2006 10:56 AM


Pro or Anti, actually it is presenting both sides. They justify torturing the Cyclons because of the terrible dangers they face (9/11) but they also show their ... humanity and the pain they cause.

But in my own humble opinion it's still torture presented with ANY justification. So I think it has to have a desensitizing effect, no matter how much of an anti-torture statement they might think they are making.

Posted by: Dave Johnson [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 1, 2006 11:25 AM

I saw a couple teens torture another on Law and Order a few weeks ago.

Posted by: grannyinsanity at February 1, 2006 2:42 PM

Dave: note that the torturers in Battlestar Galactica were clearly the "evil good guys" as the heroes stand up to them to stop the torture at the risk of execution.

Posted by: Charles [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2006 11:05 AM

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