Please don't hate me. I watch "24"
My biggest challenge on Monday nights is that I’m usually not home and need to record two TV programs simultaneously at 9:00 — NBC’s Heroes, of course, and...gulp...Fox’s 24. I’m relatively low-tech (i.e., no Tivo), so I’ve got my old VCR hooked up to the living room TV and a DVD recorder plugged into the bedroom cable outlet. Now, I know I don’t have to rationalize my adoration of Heroes. But as a radical libertarian, my fascination for and addiction to 24 over the past five years is much harder to defend.
Matt McCaffrey writes about his guilty enjoyment of 24 this morning at Mises.org (“The Orwellian Ideology of 24”). And he’s spot-on. As McCaffrey points out, the series does glamorize the more hideous actions of the State, including illegal searches, theft, kidnapping, torture, and the destruction of property. “As enjoyable as 24 is on the surface,” he writes, “a more than cursory glance makes it obvious that the show is attempting to justify and even celebrate an ever-expanding Orwellian state.”
In defense of the folks behind 24, I’ll say that they were also responsible for two earlier series — Nowhere Man (1995-96) and La Femme Nikita (1997-2001) — that refreshingly and uniquely dramatized the struggle of the individual against authority. But philosophically, 24 is impossible for me to defend.
Still, these guys can tell a compelling story. And 24 remains on my "must watch" TV list. Sometimes, I don't know how I can live with myself.