Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When Entertainment Informs Our Political Lives It's Not "Just" Entertainment

Yesterday noon, I found this comment from Steve Simels:

You went on about 24, and I guarantee you've never watched a single episode. And if you claim you have, everyone will know you're full of shit, so don't even bother. on Blithering Brain Trustifarians At Noon

I didn't have time to write a response so I posted the piece from Eric Deggans about how the TV and Hollywood depiction of torture "working", of the brave cop or government agent bending and breaking the law and using torture to find the ticking time bomb, was causing real problems for real government agents and leading their sadistic colleagues in other departments into using torture, which the real experts in interrogation were talking about.

And, after that, what did Simels do, he posted this.

So you never saw any of this stuff? Quel surprise. 

Well, since I was able to locate it, copy it and put a disclaimer on it in about seven minutes during my short lunch break, obviously I'd seen it before, it and similar things I've seen online, with clips pirated from 24 showing what the FBI experts and torture opponents were criticizing is what informed my criticism of 24, Keifer Sutherland, his hypocrisy as a prominent member of the leftish New Democratic Party of Canada and associated matters.   I think it's a pretty good guess that what Sutherland does in 24 has far more real effect in the real world than his mealy-mouthed memories of his grandfather, one of the founders of the NDP, which has never held a parliamentary majority in Canada.    I suspect his association with the NDP is better for him than his for the NDP.

The simple non-thinking of the comments to me aren't especially surprising or interesting coming from my volunteer lab rat in the befuddled thinking of the conceited "reality community" in which everything, no matter how obviously self contradictory or contrary to facts, must work out meaning they're right.   Which might really be what's at the bottom of all fundamentalist thinking, right-wing Republican and pseudo-leftist liberalish-libertarian.  Not caring about the transcendent category of thought, the truth, their goal isn't to find it but to find some pretended way to make what they want to be the case, be the case, even when the disconfirmation is plain as the monitor in front of their noses.

I am afraid that the ability of people to choose what they watch to inform their thinking leads to this kind of cul-de-sac thinking, something which, when they got their information from a regular news programs which had some degree of objective choice in what was discussed, was less likely to happen.  I think it accounts for some of the hardening of opinion, especially that which isn't informed by reality but is formed on the basis of what people like.   That process will, I suspect, always lead right and not to a real left which is dependent on two things, an informed concept of the real world and, even more so, an honest pursuit of things which are not especially gratifying to the narrow self and which are not infrequently not what gratifies our selves.   The Bible says, You will know the truth and the truth will make you free, not "you'll think what you'd like to be true and that will make you free".   I'm afraid, as the polls show, more people probably have heard of 24 and Kiefer Sutherland than have bothered to look at the Senate report on torture or even heard a news report of what it said.   It's 24 that informs their political choices, not reality.

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