Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"This is entertainment. This is fun."

Now Horizon is doing a show on sensory deprivation (with a celebrity comedian!), a well researched torture technique, they innocently claim it to be about- what does it do to a person? There is no shortage of literature on the subject (will they quote from the CIA’s torture manuals I wonder?) and even if they suppose this program demonstrates what an effective ‘interrogation’ technique it is for making people say what you want them to say and acts as a warning, to ask the question is to presuppose there is real debate about this method of torture. There is none, only war criminals are pretending it’s an open question (and the American Psychological Association, which I guess makes them liable too), this is realtime education in exactly how societies perpetrate great evils, hope the producers are proud. It is also no coincidence that the series is increasingly funded in conjunction with an American broadcaster, this has been going a while and it has lead to lighter weight less demanding programs paced to take advantage of commercial breaks. In short Horizon has been going downhill for a while and now it is playing the Alan Dershowitz game of saying how awful something is, but if you wanted to do it, here’s how. A nadir if you will of ratings grabbing stunts replacing serious scientific documentary making and now more sinisterly it is part of the false debate on torture, marked by its newspeak use of the term ‘interrogation’. In fact what it most reminds me of is intelligent design advocates claiming there is huge debate (or as they say ‘controversial’ to connote any issue where the facts are known but they conflict with powerful groups intentions), which is ironic for a science program, oh except, is that going to be their next show?
The quote of course is from RickB of Ten Percent. The video clip ("This is Entertainment") is by Cabaret Voltaire from around 1980. I'm sure this will catch on in the US, with torture as entertainment the next wave of the so-called "reality" teevee boom. Yeah, we can all laugh as contestants undergo sensory deprivation, electric currents through the 'nads, ad nauseum as they compete for the remote possibility of winning a million dollars (which of course is the American Dream). That should make it easier for our rulers to sell the public on the notion that what we all should know is torture isn't really torture - it's no worse than a "harmless" reality show. After all, "this is entertainment; this is fun." Praise the Lord and pass the remote.

Or better yet, just kill your television.

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