Polemics & Exchanges

On Law-Abiding Suspects

R. Cort Kirkwood’s article, “Jack Bauer, Agent of Anarcho-Tyranny, U.S.A.,” (Views, May) is the best article on the subject of encroaching tyranny I have ever read, bar none.

Frankly, when I first glanced at the May issue’s cover, and the title of the article itself, I thought, “Not another yahoo condemning a great edge-of-your-seat show, and one that even seems to give a nod to patriotism!  There are, after all, those who must do the tough jobs of protecting millions of innocents under dire circumstances, even if the job is not pleasant or nice.  If a biological or nuclear attack was imminent, I’d want someone like Jack Bauer.”

Mr. Kirkwood gave me a whole new perspective.  Without denouncing or disparaging 24 or its viewers, he explains why the show is compelling, just what it is about Jack Bauer that makes people like me who abhor torture and war games keep on watching.  Kirkwood’s short answer is that we are so tired of being pushed around, that we want our own Jack Bauer.  Meek, compliant citizens are the only faction that has no lobbyist and no protector.

Kirkwood deftly explains why real killers, maniacs, rapists, dope-runners, and so on, seem to get a free pass, while compliant Americans who carry only aspirin in their pockets keep getting hassled by...

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