Granted, Jack’s CV would give anyone pause: proficient in: firearms, explosives, harsh interrogation techniques, torture, and assassination. From the outset I knew it would be hard to inspire and sustain readers’ empathy for such a character. But I found perspective in the writing of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, an expert in the field of human aggression and the psychology of combat, whose work has been used as a resource at the FBI Academy and West Point.Is it too much to ask that next season have Jack be forced to waterboard Nancy Pelosi in an abandoned laundromat in Georgetown?
In On Combat, Grossman compares civilization to a flock of sheep. In that context, Jack is the sheep dog, the terrorists the wolves. Although the sheep fear the wolves and are guarded by the dog, the dog — with its fangs, claws and willingness to kill — has more in common with the wolves than with the sheep he protects. Despite the dog’s role as protector, he possesses the same predatory instincts and violent tendencies as the wolf, so he can never be a part of the flock. Jack is estranged from his daughter, constantly robbed of a normal life, admired by the audience but alienated by much of the fictional world he inhabits.
It’s no surprise Jack Bauer has become a lightning rod: In real life, soldiers and police are often similarly stranded on islands unto themselves, looked on with suspicion by some in the general public. Lately, however, it’s gone beyond wariness. We now live in a country where the brave men and women who’ve sacrificed to protect the people and ideals of this nation have become targeted for terror profiling by the very government they’ve put their lives on the line to protect.
I used to think Jack Bauer’s world was but a twisted version of our own. These days, I’m afraid our world is starting to look like Jack’s.
Monday, May 18, 2009
For 24 Fans (and Really, Who Isn't?)
Who is Jack Bauer, from the guy who did the novelization of the series: