Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hey, Red, let's not forget TV apologetics!

So the first episode of the last season of "Lost" came on last night. I haven't watched it yet, so I don't know if it contains any scenes of Ben torturing Jack or Sayid torturing Sawyer or Kate torturing ... I don't know, Hurley?

But I will know, as soon as I get some time alone with my DVR. Then I'll get the information out of it.

Oh yeah, I know what buttons to push.

Then there's always "NCIS." That's one of my dad's favorite shows, and I often watch it with him when I'm having dinner at his place. Man, that Gibbs really knows how to put the screws to the bad guys without, you know, leaving scars that can be traced back to him. Although in the last episode I watched, Ziva was getting a little soft about breaking and entering without a warrant. What's up with that?

Also a big fan of "House" because he's not afraid to push the envelope of medicine to find The Truth. One tough dude. He doesn't let anyone push him around, and he doesn't care how much it hurts the patient - even if it kills the patient - as long as he gets the answer he needs.

My favorite, though, has got to be "Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit." Violence with a consistent undertone of sexual perversion. Now that's what I call a show for Americans. I mean, a show that they advertise with a scene of Stabler asking his cohorts in crime-fighting, "What's your favorite form of torture?" - how can you go wrong?

It's not like watching this stuff makes me think that violence is normal, or even sometimes right. Sure, I'm not as shocked as I used to be by it, and yeah those old episodes of "Magnum P.I." and "The A-Team" look pretty mild by comparison. But it's not like it really affects me.

It's just TV, after all.

And by the way, those fast food commercials don't really make me hungry, either. I mean, I was hungry already, right?

Oh yeah, and pornography doesn't stir up my libido at all. What? What's wrong with appreciating the human body?

Anyway, back to TV: any clear-sighted thinker can see the difference between what's real and what's absurdly unrealistic on those TV shows. I mean, at least I don't poison my mind with that evil "24"!


  1. You know, Robert, even though you're being sarcastic here, there's a good point to be made about our desensitization to violence in the popular culture, and how that plays into the torture debate. I've been shocked at times at the level of on-screen violence in prime time television shows, but those pale in comparison to some of the "slasher" variety of horror movies.

    I know we're all tempted to think things were much better in our childhood days, but this is one area where I think it really was true. I can't remember a TV show from my younger days where anything but a fake punch or kick and the resulting colorful bruise was ever shown--and usually it was the good guy on the receiving end, and the thugs on the other.

    But in fairness, I didn't watch much of the cowboy/Western variety of programming, with the gunning down of various people on both sides, so I may be seeing the past through an undeserved roseate hue.

    What do you think? Is popular culture more openly oriented toward violence-as-entertainment, and is that influencing this debate?

  2. I'll have to defer to someone more media-savvy than myself. I've heard water-cooler talk that movies are getting PG for what used to be PG-13 material, PG-13 for what used to be R, and R for what used to be X/NC-17 ... but I don't have any evidence to back it up.

    I do find it disturbing that the horror genre seems to have shifted from creepy monsters to torture plotlines: the "Saw" series, "Hostel", and maybe some others. I haven't seen these, simply because the previews and plot descriptions were enough to disturb me deeply.