Sunday, December 7, 2008

24: The Inquisition of Galileo Episode?

The Bush Administration’s “mishandling” of terror suspects is now universally compared to Grand Inquisitor Tom├ás de Torquemada’s handling of the Inquisition. Will a 24 episode based on this be still topical?

By: Vanessa Uy

I’ve thought about the concept almost three years ago after getting hooked on the Bush Administration’s War on Terror-inspired TV series 24. After witnessing scene after scene of CTU agent Jack Bauer interrogating suspects with wanton disregard on their Civil Liberties, one of those ideas flashed in my head. What if CTU agent Jack Bauer worked for the Inquisition back during the days of Galileo?

Even though the Inquisition might be busy prosecuting their warrant issued against that sodomite Caravaggio. At about the same time, the discovery of indisputable proof by Galileo that the planets orbit around the Sun is seen as the most heretical idea in his time. Just like Osama Bin Laden’s violent campaign of establishing a global Caliphate, is seen by Bush Administration Neo-Conservatives as “heretical” today. And the same still holds true today as it is back then; the powers-that-be still relies on an army of underlings to do their “dirty” work.

Imagine the scene as “Inquisition agent” Jack Bauer threatens to throw Galileo from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa wile held at gunpoint with a Bohemian made blunderbuss (a 17th Century equivalent of today’s Czech made sig sauer handgun). While Jack Bauer says to Galileo: “Why won’t you recant your heresy?” Then Galileo says: “My discovery is not heresy, and I will not recant.” Uttered as a show of defiance. As Inquisition agent Bauer threatens Galileo on which will hit the ground below first, a large silver coin or Galileo himself to demonstrate an earlier experiment done by Galileo on the top of that same tower.

As what everyone knows today as it is back then, confessions obtained under duress are seldom truthful. The one interrogated usually will say anything – truthful or not – in order to end on-going torment or to avoid one in the first place. But given the slow pace of 17th Century Italy; a 24 episode based on that period would surely be seen by 24 fans as “boring”, when compared to the present-day equivalent. Given that legal precedents that we in the civilized West now take for granted like the Fifth Amendment rights, individual Civil Liberties, and the Posse Comitatus Act were virtually nonexistent back in the 17th Century, our fictitious Inquisition agent Jack Bauer could practically do anything that he pleases. Even doing the right thing. Its the sort of thing that could "irk" outgoing US Vice President Dick Cheney don't you think?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

24: Paving the way for an African-American President?

Did the TV series 24 allay the doubts of most Americans with regards to the idea of an African-American or black president, which culminated in the Obama victory?

By: Vanessa Uy

The idea of an African-American president had since been a frequent staple in fictitious US government scenarios in TV and movies. Remember the famous actor Morgan Freeman as the US president on that comet bound for Earth movie Deep Impact? But in media exposure and popularity terms, the hands-down winner is probably the one on the TV series 24. President David Palmer – who is played by Dennis Haysbert – not only paved the way that the idea of a black or African-American US president is not just plain plausible, but also to heal the rift of a race-centered culture clash that divided the American society since the Civil War.

The TV series 24 is indeed groundbreaking not just because of the aspect of the idea of an African-American being elected as the president of the United States. It even spawned a college course for law students in the US that’s centered around the legal aspects law enforcement statutes – often being violated – on various episodes of the TV series. And even before the one millionth surfer checked out on Wikipedia about what is the “Posse Comitatus Act”, the series spawned legions of fans who are ever glad that it is not their own civil liberties that is violated by CTU agent Jack Bauer. At least 24 did made America less skeptical about the “idea” of an African-American president. Maybe President-elect Barack Obama should invite the main cast of 24 to his January 20th Inauguration this coming 2009.