Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Correction to the TV List

I can't believe that I forgot to put 24 on my list of favorite shows. This show is unrealistic and what makes it great is the way in which it is unrealistic. The fact is that federal law enforcement/intelligence officers are bureaucrats, yeah they have badges and guns but they're still bureaucrats. That means that if they have to choose between the national interest and their own pension and benefit package it's no contest (the winner will not be the national interest). The only exception to this is the protective side of the Secret Service. Those guys are hard-case true believers who get wood thinking about eating a bullet for the president. Other federal agents think that the SS guys are wackjobs, BTY.

Jack Bauer is different. He will get on the small airplane and fly it into remote desert and ride it into the ground so that the atomic warhead that it is carrying will not destroy a population center. When he needed to prove to a terrorist that he could be trusted he murdered a witness in federal custody waiting to testify against the terrorist and cut his head off with a hacksaw. He gave the terrorist the head in a duffel bag. He lead a raid into the Chinese consulate to extract a Chinese national who had information needed to stop a WMD attack on LA. When the Chinese government figured out what happened Bauer volunteered to spend the rest of his life in a Chinese prison in order to spare the US government the consequences of international exposure.

On Joss Whedon's excellent show Angel the title vampire explained that "Champions live like the world was what it should be in order to show people what it could be". In a nation where one political party has dedicated itself to causing America to lose a war against pure evil to enhance its electorial prospects - where the mainstream media, the supposed independant watchdog looking out for the interests of the "little guy", has transformed itself into little more than a Ministry of Propaganda and Enlightment for the party of treason - Jack Bauer serves his country the way it should be served in order to remind us of the way it could be served.