March 27, 2009

Television and Torture

Bev Clucas, University of Hull School of Law, has published "24 and Torture," in Torture: Moral Absolutes and Ambiguities (B. Clucas, G. Johnstone and T Ward eds.; Nomos: Baden-Baden, 2009). Here is the abstract.
In this chapter, I explore and reflect on the underlying themes concerning torture and legitimate action in 24. I begin with a short introduction to the TV show itself, highlighting the many different instances of torture, as well as some of the general criticisms leveled at it. I then proceed to consider some of the moral issues associated with the dissemination of information about torture in general, first in relation to factual instances of torture, and then fictional. This discussion informs a more detailed analysis of the depiction of torture in 24. Having considered the express intentions of the program makers, I apply a scheme of analysis on 'speech acts' devised by J.L.Austin, and developed by Langton, to argue that the real intention of the program makers is better understood as pro-torture propaganda: an instance of double immorality, as not only does the show push a pro-torture message, but also, it does so under the pretense of pure entertainment.

Download the essay from SSRN here.

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