Time Is Scarce Essay

1808 words - 8 pages

Time: “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.” In the television series, 24 time is a justification for every action. 24 is a fictional series that follows the actions of Jack Bauer, a Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) agent. Each episode unfolds the events that occur in one hour of the same day. The plot mainly consists of Jack Bauer racing against the clock to save the United States from terrorist attacks and plots. In the series the pressure of time is used as a justification for threatening, torturing, and murdering. The representation of time conveys to the audience that in the event of a possible terrorist attack the United States government will exhaust all resources in order to protect its citizens. Jack Bauer is not the only individual in a race against the clock. The producers, editors, and creators of the show must also determine the best techniques to use in order to convey their message to the viewers in the allotted amount of time. In addition many now believe that it is important for citizens to re-instill or strengthen their faith in the government. Inkoo Kang writes in his article, “How Fox News, Terrorists, and Truthiness Ruined The X-Files for Me,” that “when the ‘9/12’ moment came, people needed to put faith in their government again, not question its motives.” Time is represented as critical and scarce in order to re-instill the viewers’ confidence in the U.S. government.
The opening scene of the episode introduces viewers to the cruelty of torture, while justifying it through the representation of time. It is widely known that the use of torture is illegal, but in this show the United States is involved in brutal torturous acts unfamiliar to the audience. Media depicts torturing as a trivial or comedic matter. For example, newscasters from Fox News Network and CNN voluntarily endure waterboarding and tazering in order to “truly” experience torture. The torturing scene in 24 does not appear jovial in any way. The prisoner is bound by various frightening contraptions that are overwhelming and almost unimaginable. Because the scene takes place in Korea, one can conclude that the torturers are of Korean descent and torturing a man of Asian descent. The scene implicates that because the torturers and victim are of Asian descent, the U.S. is not responsible for these actions. The reality however, is that U.S. personnel are sitting in an adjacent room waiting to receive the information extracted from the NSA. The U.S. is able to receive the information necessary to protect its country without “getting its hands dirty.” Many will argue that the U.S. is still, to an extent, accountable for torturing a man. The show however cleverly justifies its involvement by the scarcity of time. Alan Dershowits’s ticking time bomb scenario comes alive in the Fox Television series. The ticking time bomb scenario, poses the question of whether a government is justified to...

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