Frank Zappa allegedly once said, “Hollywood is just the entertainment arm of the Pentagon.” This is absolutely true, and what started as a joke often wasted on Facebook on numerous comment threads has ended up becoming an entire dissertation for me. Zappa also said once that “government is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex,” which is also true. Personally, I don’t like the term, Military Industrial Complex (M.I.C.), all that much because it’s just as much of a cynically calculated misnomer as the term “Corporate America,” in that it works as a red-herring to pull people off the scent of the actual issue of concentrated private power (A.K.A. feudalistic aristocrats/plutocrats hiding behind corporate structures, foundations, and think-tanks).
Were it not for Hollywood, military recruitment probably would’ve dropped even further, long before 9/11, believe me. If not for Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Tom Cruise, they might’ve had to reinstate the draft after we attacked ourselves to start this current never ending War of on Terror, bringing me to the original source of my joke. But rather than get all sidetracked into a lengthy digression about the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, Stanford Research Institute, the RAND Corporation, and the social engineering shenanigans of the Hollywood studio system, I’ll just tell you my joke.
“If you ever wanted to know what the Anglo American Establishment was really up to, just watch 24, they’ll tell you.”
24, starring Kiefer Sutherland, is actually one of my favorite shows of all time for this very reason. Because if there is one thing I can tell you about Fascists, they’re not exactly what I would call creative. They pull the same gag over and over again.
“All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”
Not to go all Building 7 here, but anyone with a rough idea of how the Hollywood studio system works already knows that a television show doesn’t just come out right away. 24 premiered in November of 2001, just two months after the September 11th attack. Incidentally, CDR Richard Marcinko, USN, SEAL was technical advisor to this show which coincidentally came out right after 9/11. As an ex Navy guy familiar with old Demo Dick, I find it awfully coincidental that he was technical advisor to a one-hour, live-action, counter-terror drama series that was already developed, pitched most likely to several different producers long before finding the one who could actually walk it into a network like Fox, cast it, shoot it, and meet deliverables deadlines to be ready for broadcasting at too coincidental a moment in history to be anything less than a pattern. Coincidentally, Dick Marcinko often crows about how he doesn’t believe in coincidence either, mind you. Those of you not familiar with Dick Marcinko, he was the founder of everyone’s favorite go-to SEAL Team of arbitrarily ignorant reference, SEAL Team 6 (now commonly known as DEVGRU). Everyone’s favorite television counter-terror operative, Jack Bauer, is allegedly based loosely on his experiences.
But 24 is more than just a television series, it is without a doubt the finest imaginable salesmanship mechanism for not only the War on Terror but for the overall American political narrative as well, in that it’s helped to change attitudes, reinforce stereotypes, and normalize torture in the perceptions of millions of people whom normally would have found it morally repugnant less than 20 years ago. One could even go so far as to call 24 a high rated torture porn, but we’ll get to that shortly.
I remember a time not all that long ago, where if you were to mention torture in casual company, it would’ve been frowned upon. But somehow, the Fox Television Network action-drama, 24, had this insidious way of bringing a pro and con torture debate into numerous episodes with the obligatory, “but we’re America, we don’t do that, it’s against the Geneva Convention,” etc., subsequently followed by, “but he’s got a bomb, he’s got a nuke, he’s got a virus, he’s going to kill the _______,” and torture would win the debate, even if it meant that old Jack Bauer had to “go dark,” with everyone hot on his tail with shoot to kill orders nipping at his butt, just to get ‘er done.
Jack can get ‘er done, no?
To ensure that you forget that Jack Bauer just tortured somebody to get the doohickey that was going to blow up something or another, the bad guys will capture Kiefer Sutherland and give him a good torturing too, to further remind the American psyche that it’s okay to torture the bad guys because their guys are probably torturing our guys too, no?