The Rinky Dink crowd has always verbally spit out wads at the TV show “24”. Listening to them carping from the sidelines, you even hear the dreaded ‘fascist’ word being hissed. There was even a minor league campaign to ‘shame’ star Kiefer Sutherland, a Canadian, for ‘betraying’ his late grandfather Tommy Douglas, a Canadian leftist politician. And, like reverse Red-baiters, they mention that Kiefer’s father, Donald Sutherland, was a leftist who was part of Jane Fonda’s FTA Tour during the early 1970s.
Two things wrong here. Tommy Douglas, a former Premier of Saskatchewan, merged his Co-operative Commonwealth Federation with forces from the Canadian Labour movement to form the New Democratic Party. And Douglas was the father of Canada’s health care system. But Douglas and his party were social democrats, part of the Second International. They supported the USA in the Cold War. In fact, social democrats were often major players (e.g. Clement Atlee in Britain & Guy Mollet in France.) I don’t think Tommy Douglas is rolling in his grave because his grandson plays a counter-terrorist operative on American TV.
As far as Donald Sutherland’s politics go, I have no idea. Probably none. But it’s safe to say that he didn’t go the way of his contemporary Jon Voight, who when his peter went dead, got religion and became a Republican. (Which, if you think about it, is a splendid metaphor for Republican Party, at least its dominant 8-Ball/Sourpuss Faction, mis-named ‘conservatives.’)
But what we’re really talking about here is not the grandson of a soft Left hero choosing to become an actor, and probably being apolitical. And the Rinky Dinkers probably don’t like Kiefer’s personal life as a noted barroom brawler. But what’s at issue here is they consider the TV show ’24” itself to be ‘fascist.’
Technically speaking, the show can’t be ‘fascist’ since fascism was based on a national capitalism which doesn’t exist anymore. Marx & Engels have been turned on their heads; its the Transnational Elite which doesn’t have a country. It used to be the bourgeoisie which was patriotic, now it is the working-class.
Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland, is a counter-terrorism operative who will use means fair & foul to defend his country. As befits a show which hearkens back to the movie serials of the 1930s and 1940s, Bauer will use roughhouse methods including a little torture. The Rinky Dinkers view this as a defense of the Bush-Cheney Junta’s ill-starred (and woefully misnamed) ‘War on Terror’. That might even have been the intent of one of show’s creators, Joel Surnow, a born-again Neo-Con.
But there’s more to “24” than meets the eye. And it may definitely have surpassed whatever the creator’s original intent. Here, D.H. Lawrence’s aphorism, trust the tale not the teller, comes to mind.
Quite simply, “24” gives a more realistic portrayal of how the world actually works. Certainly more realistic than that now mercifully dead liberal wet dream, “The West Wing.” In “24”, you see corruption in government. You see traitors in government. As in Richard Condon’s THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, often the traitors are those who wear of mask of patriot and conservative most fully.
This is over the heads of the Rinky Dinkers. Only if Jack Bauer launches a crusade to pull the troops out of Iraq and send them to a shithole like Darfur will the Rinky Dink crowd be happy.
To be sure, Zombie Republicans probably like “24” for the wrong reasons. Vicarious thrills for a vicarious point of view. Besides, with deadened private parts, you need some sort of thrill.
“24” is probably in its last season. It’ll be missed.