how the world sees america

How the World Sees Jack Bauer

"24" Season 4; 12:00pm-1:00pm. Two-dozen Muslim hostiles toting semi-automatics hold the U.S. Secretary of Defense hostage in a bunker outside Los Angeles. Within the hour they plan to execute him for war crimes. Why? “It’s Jihad,” explains the terrorist mastermind. Suddenly, U.S. agent Jack Bauer emerges through shadow and hurls a knife through the terrorist's neck. 24 and its hero Bauer, played by Keifer Sutherland, make for popular TV, with fifteen million U.S. viewers. But actor Maz Jobrani, who wouldn’t take the role of the terrorist mastermind, says the show is bad for him and for America.

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Maz, a bald, mustached Iranian American, grew up playing Li'l Abner and Batman in high school. In college, his Iranian parents pushed him to political science, which he dabbled in before deciding he liked the camera more than the lectern. But in the real world of Hollywood, auditions started coming in “for terrorist role after terrorist role” -- and “generic” terrorists at that “with no emotional or psychological complexity.” For an actor, it was boring. For an Iranian, belittling. And for Americans, Maz says, it's dangerously oversimplifying.

According to Maz, the problem with TV like this is that when average American viewers see a white American villain on screen, they think “‘Wow, that American’s crazy,’” but when they see a Middle Eastern or Iranian villain on screen they say, “‘Man those Iranians are crazy.’ They don’t distinguish.”

Within America, minorities need image-rehabilitation, Maz says, but the case for reshaping the standard villain is a bit less clear when we step outside U.S. borders. “It’s strange,” says Maz, but Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer are “immensely popular in the countries where they’re kicking ass. My grandfather loves Chuck Norris,” even though Chuck wrecked Maz in the made-for-TV movie The President's Man.

This made me wonder: How is Jack Bauer perceived in Mexico when he dupes drug lords, or in Turkey when he cuts down Jihadis, or in Eastern Europe as he mangles mass murderers? The other day I informally emailed a dozen students, PostGlobal panelists, and readers around the world to see if Jack Bauer was popular where they lived, and if so why.

jackbauer.gif
Bauer protects America at all costs. From: Kyle.
24 is a shot of adrenalin, I hear back, not a political ideology. Moreover, its villains are so absurd that host countries feel no affinity for them. Bauer’s attacking extremists, not Turks, not Mexicans. They distinguish, even while Americans might not.

So the real focus becomes Jack himself, as a symbol of American masculinity (as the Bauerism goes, “Men are OK with their wives fantasizing about Jack Bauer during sex because they’re fantasizing about him, too”), as an action hero (“Superman’s weakness is Kryptonite; Jack Bauer laughs at Superman for having a weakness”), and as a merciless operator (“Jack Bauer lost his keys. He tortured himself until he divulged the location of the keys”).

Though he's outrageous, Bauer is inevitably intertwined with America. He fights for it, after all, and embodies some of its stereotypes: multiple love affairs, an affinity for pyrotechnics, fierce patriotism, and most of all these days, a go-it-alone attitude. After the unilateral invasion of Iraq, America's belief in the individual, once embodied by on-screen heroes like Rocky Balboa and The Terminator, increasingly reads as a political mantra.

As Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein writes, Bauer’s use of “torture and the whatever it takes mentality is precisely why the U.S. is so despised right now.” From India, student Akshay Bawa writes: “Jack Bauer is James Bond on coke.” The cool, cosmopolitan imperialism of Britain’s 007 is replaced with the brutish patriotism of Bauer.

On the other hand, friends from Senegal tell me the 24 theme song is among the most popular ring tones in the 95% Muslim country. In Venezuela, Ibsen Martinez says cable TV “has been increasingly affordable even to the very poor. Many people went into cable TV to escape Mr. Chavez's protracted speeches on regular TV. And 24, just as much as Prison Break, is one of the most popular shows among Mr. Chavez's constituency down here.” However, Chavez recently banned the channel that aired Bauer so things might change.

Political or not, the world isn't as infatuated with Bauer as I seem to be. In Kazakhstan, I’m told by a Peace Corps volunteer, “We get no Bauer. It might be out of the price range. But we get the crappiest 70s and 80s actions movies you can imagine.” I imagine their plots aren't too different from 24 after all. I never saw 24 in Pakistan, though I did catch some people hawking pirated DVDs of Season 2 downtown. A young writer named Ali Sethi confirms my suspicions. “24 isn’t really popular here but Sex and the City certainly is.”

Don't tell Bauer that.

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Comments (100)

Anonymous:

god i love bauer, and i love this article!

Bauer:

Well said Jeffrey. I'll spare you...

Jeffrey:

Suraj and Lida, it's important to realize groups like Shiv Sena and other Muslim groups have both their political aims, and then their more radical members. We must distinguish between the two for they are not one and the same.

Shiv Sena have had radical leaders and practical ones in Mumbai. Same is true of Jamaat-e-Islami in India and in Pakistan. It is particularly tame in India.

And in regard to this post, one of the problems with 24 is it makes these groups seem homogenous and crazed. Some are, not all!

Suraj:

To Lida,
29 blown up in Pakistan, 8 arrested in Denmark, Allah knows how many in Iraq and Afghan....

Only a few Muslims are terrorists? What a joke!

lida:

Well Suraj,
You answered your own question. You want all 55 Nations and 1.5 billion Muslims to think alike???
Its Saudi Arabia our Ally who is the problem here!!!
And I don't know what are we doing in Iraq I guess Saudi-US ties are rock solid no matter what happens.
Hindus are only in a few countries and 99% of them are in India. Even they dont think alike. Tamils blew up Rajiv Ghandi does that mean all Tamils are terrorists????

Shiv Sena/ lasker taiba are all terrorists !!!!

MC:

Alright. I just wanna say; not everybody hates Americans. I'm canadian, and even though my friends aren't likely to jump up and down for the war in Iraq, or wear a T-shirt saying "Vote Bush", we don't despise Americans. We just laugh at Bush and joke around.

As for 24's part in this, yeah there are a lot of american views other countries might not agree with. Heck yeah, it's violent. But I don't think it's spreading american propoganda. I think President Palmer was most honourable, knowledgeable and overall best good guy in the series. They just don't make 'em like that anymore.

All in all, you have to remember it's just a TV show. You decide if it sways your opinion on torture. I hope you guys get it. As for me, I am definetly watching the next season. I hope Kim's in it.

The following program contains mature subject matter. Viewer discretion is advised.

lmao:

of course.....there is always the notion that Jack Bauer stikes a chord not because such a stock character exists/existed...or that he is reprentative of America writ large or small....but that he reminds so many of how little others (owing to cowardice, "princple", or self-interest) are willing to sacrifice.....or how much they are willing risk while sounding high minded from the sidelines.

lmao:

rerc.....how do they feel about heading toward a dictatorship? other than the students...do any other segments of thier society recognize the path Chavez is on?

lmao:

VP...putting side your evident fascist intincts...
you don't have anything interestng to say.

sweeping generalizations with essentially emotional content are..well...boring!

as for the typos.....I'm more than able to hire you as a secretary...I promise that you will not be challenged by big ideas or leadership responsibiities! ust hit the right keys...you know....kinda like themindless mantra you have been chanting in this thread.

see you on the front lies pal!

CTAATGT:

VP COSMICUM:

My earlier post was for your benefit.

Security services monitor sites like these. They look for people expressing views portraying particular states of mind. They look for people with low impulse control. Don't think you can't be identified. You can be. No key stroke is ever lost on the web.

I believe you have made yourself interesting to serious people. People you don't want in your life.

Mike:

VP Cosmicum -


Tell us what superior country you are from. If you are so proud of your nation, tell us what it is.

My guess is that like most America-haters, you don't have the courage to identify your nationality. The reason that America-haters hid their national identity is to avoid aving your own faults pointed out It is so much easier to be an anonymous coward taking pot shots at the biggest target.

Let's see if ou can take as well a yu give. Step up to the plate, coward.

rerc:

I recall when visiting Morroco for vacation, a group of locals on my resort lobby couldn't stop looking at Jack Bauer's '24' and its 'Indiana Jones" type of missions, they were glued to the TV..... I couldn't stop laughing, though. I think this type of series do more harm than help; and that's because it gives an impression that counter-terrorism operations are like hollywood action films....which they're not. but if it comes to TV and its portreyal of the war on terror, I like more realistic series like Showtime "Sleeper Cell"......

P.S. I have to agree with Ibsen M. that anti-american rethoric by Chavez its only that, rethoric. I had traveled all over L.America and I haven't see a more pro-american society than the Venezuelan, and they love '24' indeed. lol

13571113:

VP Cosmicum:

But you claim dual nationality. You are half American, correct?

13571113:

VP Cosmicum:

But you claim dual nationality. You are half American, correct?


VP Cosmicum:

LMAO: Does what you wrote make any sense (even after correcting your mistype)? Did I claim to be a hero? Does anyone not need heroes? Is a soldier who masturbates about his gun and Jack Bauer a hero?

If I wanted to prove that Americans are either stupid or evil, I couldn't have asked for better responses than yours and Rambo's.

JRLR:

CTAATGT: Has anyone ever considered that US security services may post on sites like these?

They DO!

Milagros de Santana:

If a television program can surface this much bile and hubris, only one conclusion is possible, a reckoning is coming. And it will be terrible to behold.

CTAATGT:

Has anyone ever considered that US security services may post on sites like these?

Darden Cavalcade:

Aamir Ali: you are absolutely right. Immigrants make an indispensable contribution to the United States.

I did not say, and do not believe, that others hate Americans because of our freedoms. They hate us for who they think we are. A few may know us well and hate with good reason.

LIDA: I'm not Jack Bauer. And I am fully Americanized. "Cavalcades" immigrated to the Virginia royal colony in 1680 and finally reached the California coast in 1880.

The statistics I quoted come from The Economist, except for the information on nanotechnology which comes from a USG report on the results of the National Nanotechnology Initiative after two years.

I'm not in the entertainment industry, the defense industry, or the manufacturing sector. I am in the R&D sector.

And I'm 100 per cent American macho.

Suraj:

To Lida,
Don't you think that 55 Islamic nations on earth by calling themselves Muslim Republics insult other religions?

How come Saudi Arabia, the Islam's holiest site is the most intolerant nation on earth and sent us 19 blood thirst terrorists on 9/11?

It is not one Muslim. If that were true, terror would have ended long time ago. There are numerous terrorists and their billion silent supporters who take pride in them

Maria:

@Anonymous: In 24 we already had Swiss and Austrian Bad Guys. What are you talking about?

Sometimes I wish people would actually know the material they are talking about.

lmao:

VP COSMICUM...one can undertstand why you need hers....you certainly could never be one....

lmao:

don't be such an intellectuial fraud Amar......what, off the top of your head, might you imagine to be an energizing force for a large swath of these Islamofacist terrosists? perhaps a cultural backlash - underway for decades - to the decadence & violence that is standard fair for Hollywood?

as though 24 appeared as a watershed event a few programming seasons ago. this is why no one can take folks like you seriously. you're either stupid or grossly dishonest.

Anonymous:

Why don't we have any shows in which some Swiss, Danish, Dutch or Belgian guy is either the bad guy terrorist or the victim and the hostage?

Ditto for Austrians, Algerians, Spaniards, etc.

lida:

to Suraj:
"To Anthony- Take it easy, man. It is just a TV show and not an official US Government production.

And what seems to be your problem with the US? It is not the one spreading intolerance, hatred and terror around the world. It has the guts to take on Islamist terrorists at their own home rather than wait for them to come and blow us up again.

Many Aussies were blown up by Muslims in Bali. It is very strange to hear an Aussie have opinion like yours."

----------------------------------
Dear Suraj Mukhi,

What is this US/us business??? you have an indian name so go back to programming that code your manager gave you or attend that call from a dell customer.


Well if the above statement hurt then it was intentional.

Stop stereotyping Muslims by saying muslims blew up Aussies in Bali. That was an act by one person. To explain you in Hinduism, it was the act of Ravan and Ravanites don't represent Hindus.

Because "US" americans cannot tell a muslim apart from a hindu.

lida:

TV reinforces stereotypes. Thats why you don't see red indians in cartoons and red indian in stereotypical roles in westerns.

The ironic thing about America is every single person in America in an immigrant except the "red indians ;)" who I guess immigrated from bangalore before columbus "discovered" America.

I think its usually after you become 3rd generation American that you pick the the line "if you don't like it here you can go back to your country".

Here is one from a immigrant American who goes by Darden Cavalcade who is fully Americanized.


from Darden Cavalcade:
"The United States and Americans ARE despised. We always will be. Most of it is sheer material envy. We are less than five per cent of humanity, but we produce 30 per cent of global GDP, invest 40 per cent of global R&D, spend 53 per cent of global defense expenditure (yeah, more than the rest of the world combined), receive 70 per cent of global patents granted in nanotechnology, and more than 80 per cent of every dollar spent on an entertainment film on this planet is spent to see an American film. No other society has the economic, technological, military, or cultural impact of the United States...not the UK, not Australia, not Russia, not China, not India."

the funny thing is Darden has nothing to do with all of the above and is taking credit for all of it. Now thats what I call a Classic American Machoism!!!

DD:

"Moreover, its villains are so absurd that host countries feel no affinity for them. Bauer’s attacking extremists, not Turks, not Mexicans. They distinguish, even while Americans might not."

Wow. Good job insulting your audience. We're dumb Americans, how could we possibly differentiate between fiction and reality?

lida:

to Darden Cavalcade:

Are you Jack Bauer???

Come on I know its you because you sound just like him. Please please tell me its you!!!!!!
;)

"If your countries were interesting you wouldn't be watching 24."

that was a classic Bauer statement!!!!


Jack Bauer:

24 is a complete satire and mockery of the US government. Especially recent seasons which have been critical of the president himself (Logan)!

And if you watch the shows, the foreign people are actually working for someone within the US! So it always goes back to a bad guy being an American who is the 'terrorist' in charge.

24 actors in interviews have repeatedly stated how the show is anti-republican, anti-government, etc., and how they are surprised with such (ignorant) republican fans.

Shack:

Mike

"Our media is dominated by the extreme left."

Is this irony? If you reckon US media is dominated by the left your view of the world must make old Adolf seem like a hippy.

As someone who follows the media in a number of countries I can safetly report that the US popular media is one of the most right-wing in the world at present and it takes someone with a particularly narrow-minded view of the world to see it as being in any way "right-wing."

Observer in Tehran:

If one takes a look at American TV programing from the 50s to now, the trend is quite clear: less conversation, more action. More violence assures more success and customers.

Two points come to mind:

a) Why does the world's greatest nation needs to entertain itself with, or escape to, this kind of fantasy? Or remind itself that it is powerful? and

b) Let us remember that the current producers, directors and actors grew up to the tune of Pink Floyd:

We don't need no education....
We don't need no self control....

Anyway, it is baffling why violence is successful entertainment.


__kt__:

Lance Fox: Good luck out there to you and yours. Stay safe. You do us proud. There will always be people like VP. They are the people with cable access shows, and are best ignored.

Jeremy:

Frank, excellent point! Bauer's a bit like Tocqueville it seems, or some such.

Frank S.:

The funny thing about America's favorite TV hero is that he is played by a very Canadian Kiefer Southerland. How ironic.

Frank S.:

The funny thing about America's favorite TV hero is that he is played by a very Canadian Kiefer Southerland. How ironic.

Aamir Ali:

Darden Cavalcade:

American success has many contributions to it by immigrants. There are those who simply jealous of american power, western europeans being one, and there are those who have legitimate grievances against American policy, like Palestinians and Pakistanis.

You cant just shriek: "They hate us for our freedom" and then move on.

VP Cosmicum:

Lance - Now you be a good dog and don't bark unless your master says so. Don't let the IED hit you on the way out. AMF to you (but for real, as in "You may soon go with god").

And, just because you feel the need to bait me, I'll return the favour: I'm currently on vacation and enjoying a beautiful summer evening, where I can have as many beers as I want, watch whatever I want on TV, sleep in tomorrow until any time I want AND I don't have to kill any innocent civilans tomorrow.

Sucks to be you, I guess. If you make it out of Iraq, try some GED courses while you're in therapy.

Lance Fox -- USA:

Cum: whatever else you pretend to be in a chat room...member of the literati, Venezuelan revolutionary, 12 year-old school girl...don't pretend to be "half American (by birth)." Punk, you aren't an American by anything, not even accident.

I've finished my beer, checked my e-mail, and now it's time to clean my M-4. AMF.

VP Cosmicum:

DC Drunk: Is that a problematic collection of US heroes? I would also include Muhammad Ali and Eugene Debs -- does that make more sense?

Maximillan de Fontaine:

Who cares how the world regards Jack Bauer?

Bakshi, your series began just fine. But now it's just inane. Truly worthy of the comments above.

DC drunk ass again:

"Stephen Colbert, Noam Chomsky and Chuck D."

WHAT?!?

VP Cosmicum:

Lance, you are truly an idiot, and I feel sorry for your family. I bet they had higher hopes for your future than cannon fodder.

There you are, at the sharp end of your empire, ready to die for warmongering cowards like Bush and Cheney.

Maybe if you had paid more attention in school, you would at least have been literate cannon fodder. As it is, Lance, you are likely to die for a cause you cannot even articulate.

So sad.

Lidugu Endorga: The Gambia:

24 is many of great tv in place The Gambia Africa!

But thought were debate wrong issue! Jack Bauer fight for freedom feeling. Hate slavery! If many countries decide good Jack Bauer than many people less slaves in world. Good!

Lidugu Endorga: The Gambia:

24 is many of great tv in place The Gambia Africa!

But thought were debate wrong issue! Jack Bauer fight for freedom feeling. Hate slavery! If many countries decide good Jack Bauer than many people less slaves in world. Good!

Lidugu Endorga: The Gambia:

24 is many of great tv in place The Gambia Africa!

But thought were debate wrong issue! Jack Bauer fight for freedom feeling. Hate slavery! If many countries decide good Jack Bauer than many people less slaves in world. Good!

Lidugu Endorga: The Gambia:

24 is many of great tv in place The Gambia Africa!

But thought were debate wrong issue! Jack Bauer fight for freedom feeling. Hate slavery! If many countries decide good Jack Bauer than many people less slaves in world. Good!

Lance Fox -- USA:

Cosmic Cum: says it all.

My heroes are Corporal Angel drinking a beer by the stereo, PFCs Albright and Stans cleaning their M-4s in the cots next to mine, and the team just coming in from patrol. I don't have to go to jail to see punks, I see their remains two/three times a week.

When you fight the best, you die with the rest.

Milagros de Santana:

Patriotism will be the end of us all if we fail to take care.

Those offended by American cultural imperialism should not pay for cable television to be entertained by it.

Those offended by American economic imperialism should not buy American products if they can tolerate living without them.

Those who fear American military imperialism should tell Washington to remove its armies, air forces and navies. And if they still don't feel safe, they should create their own.

And those who hate Americans, as many posters above doubtless do, should come to the United States and see the place and the people, as I have done. You will be surprised.

VP Cosmicum:

Lance Fox: nice name; says it all. I'm the punk? Visit one of your great country's jails and they'll show you a punk in the mirror. Better yet, travel outside your country's borders and see what kind of reception your bravado BS gets.

My American heroes are people you probably despise. They are brave Americans who are not afraid of truth, like Stephen Colbert, Noam Chomsky and Chuck D. Do your "heroes" include cowardly idiots like Dick Cheney, Oliver North and George W. Bush?

Darden Cavalcade:

Reading these posts is amazing. Apparently, many can't tell the difference between fiction and reality, culture and commerce, and don't want to try.

The United States and Americans ARE despised. We always will be. Most of it is sheer material envy. We are less than five per cent of humanity, but we produce 30 per cent of global GDP, invest 40 per cent of global R&D, spend 53 per cent of global defense expenditure (yeah, more than the rest of the world combined), receive 70 per cent of global patents granted in nanotechnology, and more than 80 per cent of every dollar spent on an entertainment film on this planet is spent to see an American film. No other society has the economic, technological, military, or cultural impact of the United States...not the UK, not Australia, not Russia, not China, not India.

We are a violent, dangerous, successful society. And yes. Our leaders are idiots who make the mistakes of idiots. Isn't it great to be so powerful that even a diaster or two can be taken in stride? And yes, we're self-absorbed. If your countries were interesting you wouldn't be watching 24. You would have never heard of it.

24? It's just TV. The important point is that it couldn't have been made by anyone else, syndicated as successfully by anyone else, turned into a printing press for MONEY by anyone else. Could anyone imagine a Venezuelan television program interesting a worldwide audience?

The same polls that record how much the rest of the world despises Americans also record that we Americans actually like you. Pray that the delusion continues. When Americans decide to hate, Iraqs happen.


A drunken ass in DC who watches too much TV:

Some context here folks:

First, I've seen all of the seasons and don't recall Jack being the torturer all that often. Normally it's a CTU professional torturing say the Secretary of Defense's own son, or more often, a bad guy torturing Jack.

He'll threaten torture, but aside from him electrocuting Audrey's new boyfriend (which, frankly, was kind of tough to watch, and out of character I thought), I don't recall him being the actual torturer.

Second, there's a huge disconnect between any torture and real life: Jack once died while being tortured and was beating up the baddies 30 minutes later in "24 time."

Don't get me started on the true disconnect, which is how he can get around Los Angeles in 5 minutes when it'd take 45 even with a police escort knifing through traffic...

Third, don't foreget that the first season was in the can -- completed -- well before 9/11. I recall it debuted shortly after and read then that the producers had to cut a sequence of an exploding 747, which had been bombed by a team member of a presidential assassination squad.

The politics of the show don't exist: the thing was cooked up prior to 9/11, the initial good guy president was in all likelihood a Democrat, and we've since had a dead ringer for Republican Nixon who committed treason. It's simply futile to ascribe any political meaning to the show other than that people like to watch Jack yelling "Dammit there's no time" and huge 'splosions.


Anyhow, I found this post via washingtonpost.com. I'm very impressed with the discussion above.

You all should check out the Bauerisms. My fave?

"Jack Bauer once had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We now know this beverage as Red Bull."

Lance Fox -- USA:

Danny of the UK: glad your still able to speak English, dude. If not for my grandfather and five million of his pals, you might have been speaking German.

And as I recall it, it was the UK that pestered the hell out of us until Clinton agreed to bomb the bejesus out of Serbia. And that's because you didn't have the muscle or stones to do it by yourself.

And as I recall it, the Queen's government murdered dissident Irish republicans wherever the SAS could find them, including a famous incident in Gibraltor where the SAS killed unarmed men. Jack Bauer's all.

And as I recall it, the UK's last mess cleaning had to do with Sierra Leone. The US has never intervened, occupied or expressed much interest in SL. Up yer's, Danny boy.

Cosmo: your half American? What's the other half? You have American heroes? Who are they? You've got a lot to say. Tell us who you are, punk.

VP Cosmicum:

Anonymous:

Yes, I do think Chavez cares about human beings, even Americans, who suffer needlessly because of the greed of their own compatriots. The real question about the discounted oil is why PDVSA-Citgo was the only oil company to respond the U.S. senate's request for help?

While I agree that countries tend to act in self interest, most tend not to structure a foriegn policy of interference in other countries' domestic policies by covert political funding, black propaganda, assassination and war. It comes down to this: would Americans tolerate other countries interfering in U.S. politics to thesame extent the U.S. interferes elsewhere? Obviously not.

Anonymous:

VP Cosmicum said: "The U.S. acts not in benevolence and altruism but rather to further the interests of its ruling class."

You could of course remove U.S. from the sentence above and replace with the name of any country in the world. Every sovereign nation acts in its own self interest. Do you really think Chavez "cared" about the poor americans he gave cheap oil to?

Casting stones.:

Danny - UK:

Actually, much of what we do outside our boarders is cleaning up the post-imperialistic mess left by the UK.

"The Sun never sets over the British Empire. Until it does and then someone else has to clean up the godawful mess."

VP Cosmicum:

John Gault: You complain that "the world wants to tell the U.S. how to do its job"? Are you serious? Your words indicate that you style yourself a conservative and something of an isolationist, but you whine as though the U.S. is a victim rather than the culprit. The U.S. acts not in benevolence and altruism but rather to further the interests of its ruling class. Those interests tend to conflict with the interests of the people who live in countries that contain oil and other things of value to the U.S. ruling class. Your country's foreign policy causes problems. Accept and deal with that instead of waiting for armageddon.

John Gault:

Oh, yeah. And while we're cleaning up our house here in the U.S., how about the rest of you whiney hypocrites see to your own dirty little patches of Earth? So many of you are in such a tearing hurry to bad mouth us and point the finger, that you don't have time to clean up your own messes? Oh, wait...that's right. Most of you can't say Jack (hehe) about your governments and societies because you'll be prosecuted or shot just for speaking up. Maybe that's why so many try to get into this country, even with it's occasional self-inflicted clubbing of the Constitution. To all the jealous has-been nations of the world stage, those too poor (usually through corruption or perpetual infighting), or those who think everything should be handed to them...you'll miss us when we're gone. Try this stuff when China is the big monster on the world stage! LOL

John Gault:

Yes, the world despise us. Yes, they want us to leave them alone. Yes, Jack Bauer is a manifesto of American hegemony in prime time. Now that we've got that down, how about we look at what the real issue is? Every one "hates America" because, like the policeman on the beat, they don't want us around until they need us, then they want to tell us how to do our jobs. As far as a lot of us are concerned, the faster Bush is gone and we get our butts out of every little Third World corner of the globe, the faster we can take care of our own internal problems at home. The rest of the world can pound sand for all they help they've ever given us (except, paradoxically, France in the 18th/19th centuries). Bauer does go overboard and stupid kids (and simple minds) shouldn't look at his antics as what it means to be an American in today's world. Now...let's all just go to our seperate corners and wait out the verdict on who's right.

VP Cosmicum:

William: I take your point regarding the possibility that Jack Bauer's actions are a result of the post-apocalyptic circumstances prevailing in the US on the show. But when the show is invoked by REAL soldiers as justification for torture, I'm not sure that the difference between the fictional and real worlds matters.

On this comment board, we're arguing about how "24" influences the world's opinion of the US. I doubt the people of world, many of whom have suffered American imperialist violence, are going to stop and consider why Jack Bauer the torturer is in a delicate mental condition because his country has suffered inevitable foreign policy blowback.

william:

Messed up the last paragraph: (Take two)

My point is that the proposition "Jack Bauer is popular worldwide despite an American" is a non-starter; Jack Bauer's America is a fictional hostile wasteland that only vaguely resembles reality. Rather, Jack Bauer is popular because he is an epic hero. And humanity has celebrated epic heros, for good or for awesome, since the dawn of civilization.

As a matter of fact, it's one of the defining characteristics of civilization... so there!

William:

Something that seems to be repeatedly ignored in examining "24" is the difference between the United States of "24" and the one in reality.

The United States in "24" is a horrible place: It has been the subject to multiple nuclear attacks, biological weapon attacks, and conventional weapon terrorist bombings. Enemies of the United States have succeeeded in killing high-ranking government officials and notable statemen (including a former president), one year there was a coup against the President by the vice-president, and in another year: one of the most dangerous enemies of the United States was the president of the United States.

In this context, Jack Bauer is a post-apocaplytic avenger akin to "Mad Max" or "Judge Dredd" or "Bat Man" (From "The Dark Knight Returns") like those other hyperbolic characters, his own ruthlessness is a reflection of the merciless world that created him through subjecting him to one soul-destroying personal catstrophe after another. In one season his wife is brutally murdered, in another season he is literally forced to kiss his wife's killer "in the line of duty", only to be forced later on to kill her under circumstances that ensured that there would be no catharthis. While ruthless, Bauer is hardly stoic. He looks like pure heck, and at the end of one of his adventures, he just breaks down and sobs like a baby.

My point is that Jack Bauer is not popular worldwide, but because he is an "American"; because his America is a fictional hostile wasteland that only vaguely resembles reality. Rather, he is popular because he is an epic hero. And humanity as celebrated epic heros, for good or for awesome, since the dawn of civilization. As a matter of fact, it's one of the defining characteristics of civilization.

So there.

VP Cosmicum:

Marc Schneider: I have no "visceral hatred of all things American", just abhorrence for the violent imperialism that has been bipartisan US foreign policy at least since Teddy Roosevelt.

And I stand by the comment about acquiescing to Bush & Cheney even if you didn't vote for them. For one thing, the apathetic voter turnout puts the lie to your claim that Bush/Cheney were elected by a "majority of Americans" (a "majority of voters whose votes were counted", perhaps, but that's a different thing). But my point is not that Bush/Cheney were elected by a minority, rather that they are criminals (both by domestic and international standards) and the US public refuses to take the actions necessary to remove them from office and thereby redeem your country in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Now, you will no doubt whine that the US has no need for approval by people outside its borders, but that would only be true if the US were self-sufficient. The US is not self-sufficient and the sooner it stops trying to take from others and dictate other countries internal politics, the better off the world will be. Until then, characters like Jack Bauer (whose actions and justifications are not dissimilar to your real life administration war criminals) will continue to convey an arrogant and bloodthirsty message to those outside your borders.

Finally, you are wrong about my lack of knowledge of the US. I am half American (by birth) and I have visited the country many times. Many of my personal heroes are Americans, both living and dead, and I believe they would share my critique of your country. Just because you refuse to acknowledge that your country's sickness is much deeper than Bush/Cheney doesn't mean it isn't true. While not alone, America is the chief culprit in driving the world towards war and away from respect and good will. "24" is both a symptom and exasperating agent of this process.

And regarding your lame attempt to bypas US responsibility for the 2002 Venezuelan coup: Chavez acknowledged responsibility and went to jail for his actions in 1992. How many of the current administration will spend time in jail for their crimes?

Tom Wallach:

well, i ruined my erudite post with my inability to post it only once.

Tom Wallach:

what I dont understand is why conservative voices take the time to read articles like this (which don't seem to have an inherent bias, unless you think asking other people what they think about us is an inherent bias) and come out with guns blazing on the weakness "wacko"-ness, and in general lilly-livered liberalness they somehow embody. If it is liberal to give any credence to opinion in the rest of the world, count me in i suppose.

I personally just think its interesting, and I also am personally for smaller government in many ways (the classical stance of the conservative, lost seemingly forever in the new jingoistic religous incarnation of the once proud party of Lincoln).

A truly interesting aspect of this article, and the fascinating bit to me, is that when polled, a broad selection of people did NOT seek out the chance to lampoon and demolish the image of the united states. Sure, the sample population is clearly educated and well off, as indicated by their access to email, and fairly willing to interact with others of different opinions, as evidenced by the very fact that they participate in this forum. But to be honest, most of the more vociferous opponents of our beloved nation tend to be fairly well educated, and fairly rich (cough, cough, Osama?)

there seem to be so many ways you could attack Bauer as a symbol of American woes and flaws on the global stage (and yes my jingoistic buddies, other countries are far worse, but do you really think its a good thing to just be more responsible and more loved than Iran? comparing yourself to sponsors of terrorism, and repressive religious or other sorts of dictatorial governments, and saying "hey, at least we aren't those guys" is an empty sort of ranking system) and everyone around the world seems willing to say, "hey, i like watching stuff get blown up as much as the next guy, howsabout we just chill out for a bit and watch these action packed shenanigans." It is a sign of common humanity, and common interests, and a sign I find encouraging, a reminder that despite all our differences, in the end, all gods chilluns bleed red(when jack bauer tortures them).

Tom Wallach:

what I dont understand is why conservative voices take the time to read articles like this (which don't seem to have an inherent bias, unless you think asking other people what they think about us is an inherent bias) and come out with guns blazing on the weakness "wacko"-ness, and in general lilly-livered liberalness they somehow embody. If it is liberal to give any credence to opinion in the rest of the world, count me in i suppose.

I personally just think its interesting, and I also am personally for smaller government in many ways (the classical stance of the conservative, lost seemingly forever in the new jingoistic religous incarnation of the once proud party of Lincoln).

A truly interesting aspect of this article, and the fascinating bit to me, is that when polled, a broad selection of people did NOT seek out the chance to lampoon and demolish the image of the united states. Sure, the sample population is clearly educated and well off, as indicated by their access to email, and fairly willing to interact with others of different opinions, as evidenced by the very fact that they participate in this forum.

there seem to be so many ways you could attack Bauer as a symbol of American woes and flaws on the global stage (and yes my jingoistic buddies, other countries are far worse, but do you really think its a good thing to just be more responsible and more loved than Iran? comparing yourself to sponsors of terrorism, and repressive religious or other sorts of dictatorial governments, and saying "hey, at least we aren't those guys" is an empty sort of ranking system) and everyone around the world seems willing to say, "hey, i like watching stuff get blown up as much as the next guy, howsabout we just chill out for a bit and watch these action packed shenanigans." It is a sign of common humanity, and common interests, and a sign I find encouraging, a reminder that despite all our differences, in the end, all gods chilluns bleed red(when jack bauer tortures them).

Tom Wallach:

what I dont understand is why conservative voices take the time to read articles like this (which don't seem to have an inherent bias, unless you think asking other people what they think about us is an inherent bias) and come out with guns blazing on the weakness "wacko"-ness, and in general lilly-livered liberalness they somehow embody. If it is liberal to give any credence to opinion in the rest of the world, count me in i suppose.

I personally just think its interesting, and I also am personally for smaller government in many ways (the classical stance of the conservative, lost seemingly forever in the new jingoistic religous incarnation of the once proud party of Lincoln).

A truly interesting aspect of this article, and the fascinating bit to me, is that when polled, a broad selection of people did NOT seek out the chance to lampoon and demolish the image of the united states. Sure, the sample population is clearly educated and well off, as indicated by their access to email, and fairly willing to interact with others of different opinions, as evidenced by the very fact that they participate in this forum.

there seem to be so many ways you could attack Bauer as a symbol of American woes and flaws on the global stage (and yes my jingoistic buddies, other countries are far worse, but do you really think its a good thing to just be more responsible and more loved than Iran? comparing yourself to sponsors of terrorism, and repressive religious or other sorts of dictatorial governments, and saying "hey, at least we aren't those guys" is an empty sort of ranking system) and everyone around the world seems willing to say, "hey, i like watching stuff get blown up as much as the next guy, howsabout we just chill out for a bit and watch these action packed shenanigans." It is a sign of common humanity, and common interests, and a sign I find encouraging, a reminder that despite all our differences, in the end, all gods chilluns bleed red(when jack bauer tortures them).

shaman7214@sbcglobal.net:

Jack Bauer is who Bush wishes he was, and how the guy who produces it, a howling right winger, wants us to see America. The good guys, who take on the bad guys wherever they are while keeping the world safe for democracy. In reality, Jack Bauer is working for the military/industrial complex, which controls our government and keeps inventing reasons to go kick other countries around, while looting them of their resources. But America is not the military industrial complex, and America is not George Bush. America is a bunch of mavericks who started this country for the sake of fairness and justice and opportunity. We want to be the good guys. Right now our government lies to us, spies on us, uses our sons and daughters as cannon fodder in a needless war, imprisons us without recourse, and tortures anyone they want. The military gobbles our tax dollars, while social and environmental needs go unmet. I would think most Americans would agree that these are not our values. My question is, where's the disconnect?

shaman7214@sbcglobal.net:

Jack Bauer is who Bush wishes he was, and how the guy who produces it, a howling right winger, wants us to see America. The good guys, who take on the bad guys wherever they are while keeping the world safe for democracy. In reality, Jack Bauer is working for the military/industrial complex, which controls our government and keeps inventing reasons to go kick other countries around, while looting them of their resources. America is not the military industrial complex, and America is not George Bush. America is a bunch of mavericks who started this country for the sake of fairness and justice and opportunity. We want to be the good guys. Right now our government lies to us, spies on us, uses our sons and daughters as cannon fodder in a needless war, imprisons us without recourse, and tortures anyone they want. I would think most Americans would agree that these are not our values. My question is, where's the disconnect?

Danny - UK:

24 is just the latest example of American imperialism. American's think they own the world. Their blood thirsty imperialism has crushed small countries around the world. They think they own the world.

N. Hillman Cohen:

In response to Mark Schneider: "his idea that Americans "idolize" Jack Bauer is complete nonsense. I doubt very many viewers are saying, oh, good, Jack is torturing someone--I like that. It's just as likely that people are laughing at it and thinking how ridiculous it is when Jack tortures friends and enemies alike."

Well, Mark, West Point disagrees with you! They invited Kiefer Sutherland to speak to their students after seeing a disappointing trend of new recruits condoning torture.

http://www.hollywood.com/news/US_Army_Invites_Sutherland_to_Give_Anti_Torture_Speech/3662740

HOLLYWOOD - 24 star Kiefer Sutherland has accepted an invitation from the U.S. military to teach army cadets it is wrong to torture prisoners.

Sutherland, who plays agent Jack Bauer on the show, has agreed to talk to cadets at the West Point military academy in New York state after army chiefs claimed the show's torture scenes are influencing its newest recruits.

Earlier this month, Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan visited the set of 24 to urge its makers to cut down on torture scenes.

He told the show's producers, "I'd like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires. The kids see it and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about 24?'

"The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do."

and

http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_sherwood_070224_fox_tv_series__2224_22_e.htm

After interrogators began torturing Iraqi prisoners using methods they saw on Fox TV's popular "24", Army's Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan warned the show's producers "24" is negatively impacting the training and performance of American troops.

Finnegan, dean of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, accompanied by veteran military and FBI interrogators, met with "24's" creative team in Southern California last November to tell them "I'd like them to stop. They should do a show where torture backfires," according to an article in the Feb. 19-26 issue of The New Yorker by Jane Mayer. "24" is said to have a weekly audience of 15-million viewers and reaches millions more through DVD sales.


The general, who said "24" is popular with his students, told Mayer, "The kids see it, and say, 'If torture is wrong, what about '24'?"

Patrick :

Marc: I do the worst thing possible to the networks and their advertisers to protest: I don't watch.

Jason:

It takes a Neanderthal to know a Neanderthal.

Marc Schneider:

Patrick,

That's a silly comment. "24" no more reinforces the idea that that's how the world works than did "The Brady Bunch." You seem to think that all Americans are just boobs that just mindlessly accept a TV show. You again are reading far too much into a damn TV show.

Patrick :

The fictional portrayal of Bauer saving the world week after week reinforces the notion that the real world operates in much the same way. This makes it much easier for the administration to convince uninformed citizens that torture and the reduction of civil liberties is necessary to keep them safe. I do the worst thing possible to the networks and their advertisers to protest: I don't watch.

Marc Schneider:

"The longer Americans idolize characters like Jack Bauer, the longer they will acquiesce to real-life political leadership by war criminals like Bush and Cheney. And when the bill comes due for the U.S. government's real-life terrorism, it will result in more than having to fill an hour's worth of primetime programming."

That's the most ludicrous comment I've ever seen. First, lots of people, including me, like "24" but don't like (and voted agaisnt)Bush. It's just a TV show. And people don't idolize Jack Bauer. If you can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, you have a real problem. As for "acquiescing in Bush and Cheney" you act as if they got 99% of the vote. Just about half the country voted against them. That's hardly "acquiescing." You and Jessica T simply are adopting simplistic views of the United States based, I assume, on not having been here or knowing little about it.

Moreover, it's not so clear what the politics of "24" (to the extent they exist) are. This idea that Americans "idolize" Jack Bauer is complete nonsense. I doubt very many viewers are saying, oh, good, Jack is torturing someone--I like that. It's just as likely that people are laughing at it and thinking how ridiculous it is when Jack tortures friends and enemies alike. In other words, "24" is at least in part satirical and you would recognize that if you were able to get beyond your visceral hatred of anything American. People like you have just as black and white views of the US as you accuse Americans of having toward the world.

And, just as an aside, Chavez complains about US support for the coup attempt, but he doesn't exactly have clean hands himself given that he was originally involved in his own coup attempt. And anyone that has a TV show deveoted to hours of his own rantings is problematic in my opinion.

Rory:

"24" might be pro-American - sort of - but it is not propaganda. Like so much else in the U.S., the market dictates what sinks or swims, not some secret government agenda. If a show is popular, it sticks around and eventually gets exported. Our legendarily cumbersome and incompetent government couldn't even stop "wardrobe malfunctions" in the Super Bowl so it's a bit of a stretch to suggest it's actively spewing out successful action shows.

As for our good friend Chavez, however, I can't help but feel sympathy for Venezuela. Chavez claims to track Cuba (a dubious proposition in itself) but is really following the Zimbabwe Economic Model: forced redistribution and collectivization of private farms, the closing of any newspaper or channel with even a hint of critcism, the censure and (if they're lucky) expulsion of critics, topped off with the classic socialist cherry: mandatory 6 hour speeches. The very same model that is now generating amazing 10,000% economic returns in Zimbabwe, at least as far as inflation goes. It's going to take 40 years to undo the damage Chavez has done, and that's without him becoming President for Life and the oil market immediately collapsing.

Robert:

Hey, 24 isn't only for conservatives. I'm also an "Unrepentant Liberal" and I love it. The difference is that liberals see the show as great fiction while conservatives see it as the world they wish they lived in.

Think again:

So Jobrani says Americans stereotype, they don't distinguish between average Iranians and terrorists?

Who's stereotyping whom? It may well be he fears stereotypes but seriously, Mr. Jobrani, give your own people (Americans) some credit.

Take a look at 24 again. Sure, there are cut-out bad guys everywhere, but there are good guys of all persuasions in the show. That's kinda the point.

Sheesh.

Unrepentant Liberal:

Damn, here I live in the US and haven't even bothered to watch it. I do hear the manly conservative men all have "Larry Craig like" crushes on Jack Bauer though, not that there's anything wrong with that of course.

Mahima:

There's a really funny article about 24 on The New Republic, you might enjoy it Amar.
Cheers

VP Cosmicum:

Ibsen Martinez erroneously writes: "The US Marines Corps have only payed us courtesy visits to play baseball games. The now almost forgotten Caracas riots during Nixon's ill-timed trip to South America , back in 58, is just about the only "Yankee go home" episode we can recall."

Hmmmm...perhaps because compliant U.S. puppets ruled Venezuela through the puntofijista era, the U.S. never found it necessary to overtly intrude. Nonetheless, when Chavez ended Venezuela's compliance with US diktats, the US did have a role in the 2002 coup that was resisted and defeated by popular protest of over a million Venezuelans.

My question: How about that for a "Yankee go home" episode?

Mahima:

There's a really funny article about 24 on The New Republic, you might enjoy it Amar.
Cheers

Jessica T.:

VP, I couldn't have said it better myself. Jack Bauer, blood dripping from his mouth, is a short line away from Bush with blood dripping from his. It's going to take a lifetime to save the world from what Bush's done, not a few hours.

VP Cosmicum:

If 24 isn't evidence of America's spread of terrorism, hatred and intolerance, then I clearly don't understand the meaning of those words. The show embodies American exceptionalism (i.e. the idea that the US is not bound by the same rules to which other countries are held) and glorifies the violence that is required to maintain American exceptionalism.

The longer Americans idolize characters like Jack Bauer, the longer they will acquiesce to real-life political leadership by war criminals like Bush and Cheney. And when the bill comes due for the U.S. government's real-life terrorism, it will result in more than having to fill an hour's worth of primetime programming.

Jily:

Wacko? Mike, please. And the name of this project is How the World Sees America, not China. I see you comment across the site and it's always angry. Find something better to do with your time, or I'll let Jack Bauer loose on you.

Kazakhstan:

I have not seen 24 on TV here. It might just be a financial thing; the Russian TV stations buy the crappiest 70's and 80's action movies, and my family just laps them up. I think Chuck Norris might be out of their price range. MTV does play those car chase/crash shows though, which are very popular, as is Southpark. Actually, come to think of it, I think my friend watches CSI: Miami too.

Mike:

Bakshi gives us another article explaining "why the U.S. is so despised right now". Yawn.

So what countries are "loved" now? China? Russia? France? Japan? For all of the thousands of articles explaining how much we are hated, I have yet to see a single one expaining wich (if any) countries arent despised.

Th reason for this lack of curiosity is simple. Our media is dominated by the extreme left. They want to claim that our policies cause the world to hate us, where they naturally would love us.

Maybe if wacko liberals like Bakshi weren't myopically focused on pointing out Ameria's faults, our perception would not be so bad. In addition, if wacko liberals like Bakshi ever bothered to point out the faults of other nations, we would not appear to be the world's monster. For instance the whole world knows about Abu Gharib, an isolated atrocity. Most of the world does not know that China is sponsorig the genocide in Darfur for oil interests. Our media is too bus hating America, to be bothered pinting out the falures of other nations.

JB, DC:

What would you rather watch? Jack Bauer do whatever is necessary to stop a nuclear weapon from being detonated or a whiny liberal who wants to ask Osama about his childhood?

Jack Bauer is better TV and better reality than whiny liberals.

More lying about Chavez:

"However, Chavez recently banned the channel that aired Bauer so things might change."

The channel wasn't "banned." And it certainly wasn't because of 24.

Chavez refused to renew its license because it actively supported the attempted coup.

(That would be like Fox News advocating violent revolution in the streets, and giving people inclined to such behavior the media go-ahead and providing them with strategic information.)

Chavez didn't ban or shut down the station. He refused to renew its license, kind of like could happen here if CBS shows another nipple.

We used to have an FCC that actually LOOKED at licensees to see if they actually SERVED THE PUBLIC INTEREST in their use of public airwaves, but the US hasn't exercised oversight in decades. Fairness Doctrine went down and vicious jingo'reilly Rushbaganda took its place. Something about campaign contributions . . .

Don't help it along by printing lies about what happened to the TV stations in Venezuela--not even little white lies of omission.

ff:

Amar should never have included the stuff about 24 in this article, as it distracts people from the talented entertainer he is actually interviewing. Maz Jobrani is hilarious. Go watch his segment in the Axis Of Evil Comedy Tour; you'll crack up. The bits about being cast as a terrorist, or the Iranian leadership drunk-dialing America are classics...

ff:

Max Jobrani is hilarious. Go watch his segment in the Axis Of Evil Comedy Tour; you'll crack up. He has a bit about being cast in stereotypical terrorist roles that's classic... meow!

Suraj:

To Anthony- Take it easy, man. It is just a TV show and not an official US Government production.

And what seems to be your problem with the US? It is not the one spreading intolerance, hatred and terror around the world. It has the guts to take on Islamist terrorists at their own home rather than wait for them to come and blow us up again.

Many Aussies were blown up by Muslims in Bali. It is very strange to hear an Aussie have opinion like yours.

Miklos Vamos, Hungary:

You won't believe it: in Hungary 24 is absolutely unknown -- as of today. I presume the series is too expensive for the Hungarian TV channels.

Still, I heard and read about it, and I know that it would be a raving success whenever it would hit the Hungarian TV screens.

The Hungarian viewers will take it as a true reportage about the American life that has an extremely high reputation over here. Good (expensive) cars, apartments, furniture, food, furniture, equipment still impress Hungarians in films and on the TV. The basic idea of simultaneity can also be tempting here since in Eastern Europe time passes usually faster than the real time.

I hope the owner of the series, reading these lines, will give a big discount for a Hungarian TV channel, so 24 will be aired here soon, and this last small difference between Hungary and the rest of the world will disappear. Goody...

Soli Ozel, Turkey:

24 is very popular in Turkey, certainly among a certain class of people. There was some tension about a couple of years ago when the villain of the episode was Turkish etc. It's strongly associated with America; you can bet on that.

Magee McIlvain, Senegal:

24 is very popular in Senegal. For the most part, it is the middle and upper classes that have TVs with satellite and can watch it regularly. However, in a country where there only a couple of channels, one of which plays 24 quite regularly, the show has gained a lot of popularity/exposure.

In a largely Muslim country, with pro-America leanings, I would say that the people I spoke to were more infatuated with the fantastic action of the show, which is comparable to viewers like you or me. Jack Bauer is hardcore, and the show is action packed. That is the draw, not the politics of it. I don't think people in Senegal were viewing it as a form of American propaganda, though it very much is, which is why I think some leaders fear it (ie Chavez) and its popularity. It is an interesting paradox given the culture and religious make up of the Senegalese population.

Devina Badhwar, New Delhi:


Ok.. My favourite topic of discussion.. I love Jack!

"24 is a tantalising show which focuses on crimes that are committed mostly by terrorists in the States that the common people aren't even aware of. Its focuses on the dedication and hard work on part of the Counter Terrorist Unit group to put their life at stake of saving others.

Jack is a true hero of the show. He's had to lose his wife and his daughter almost to ensure the safety of the citizens of the Unites States. Everbody loves hischaracter on the show and feel there would not be a 24 without him! He is extremely intelligent, seems to be aware of dangerous factors that would otherwise not be obvious to anyone else working with him and in the end even though he takes his chances and has got fired three times, he always ends up coming out as the hero.. and his decisions are corrrect every single time!

Yes, he does seem to represent America as he gives the impression of being a true American ready to sacrifice his life for the country."

Anything else babe? There's so much I wanna say about him actually but not being able to find the words..

Antony Loewenstein, Australia:

24 is highly popular here in Australia, though I don't think for purely political reasons. The show is catchy, witty, brutal and simply fun to watch. Many, I suspect, don't really consider the program a biting analysis of the post 9/11 world. For others, however, myself included, it seems to reek of the worst kind of America unashamedly unleashed by the Bush administration. Torture and the whatever it takes mentality is precisely why the US is so despised right now, and most importantly, unhinged from its so-called founding principles (let's not romanticise the past, though as successive US administrations have used torture as a means of obtaining dubious information for decades. Latin America in the 70s and 80s, anyone?)

If 24 convinces people that Abu Ghraib is a lone example, they'd be mistaken. George W. Bush is arriving in Sydney this weekend for the APEC conference. Most Australians don't like him, the war in Iraq or his policies. Our Prime Minister John Howard may think that his flagging electoral fortunes will be enhanced by standing next to the Texas torturer, but alas, it won't be the case. Australia, like many Western countries, has discussed the rights and wrongs about torture, and 24 is a potent contribution to the mix. If Jack Bauer is the new face of America, I hope that many Australians will look elsewhere for sycophantic support.

Author blogs at http://antonyloewenstein.com/

Ibsen Martinez, Venezuela:

There is absolutely no controversy surrounding the show 24.

Though it may sound strange, anti-Americanism in Venezuela might be essential to Chavista official rhetoric but it is not a generalized attitude among my fellow countrymen.

You will find out by yourself. I have a pet theory on this: unlike most other countries in the Caribbean basin, Venezuela never went through an American military intervention during the 20 century of the kind that really can instill everlasting anti American attitudes. The US Marines Corps have only payed us courtesy visits to play baseball games. The now almost forgotten Caracas riots during Nixon's ill-timed trip to South America , back in 58, is just about the only"Yankee go home" episode we can recall and it was crefully staged by mall, highly effective Communist cells aided by Mr.Nixon's arrogance.

Yhios might have an explanation in a deeper level: We soon will be celebrating 200 years of Independence from Spain and almost 100 years in the oil business with our main client always being the US. That mere fact brought about a lot of cultural changes, good and bad, but anti-Americanism, as a typical Latin American attitude, is not one of them. So the notion that Mr. Bauer's deeds, as depicted in a cable TV series, can stir ant imperialistic uproar seems to be quite ludicrous.

Allow me one final comment on cable TV itself. It has been increasingly affordable even to to the very poor. Many people went into TV cable to escape Mr Chavez's protracted speeches on regular TV. And "24 hours", just as much as "Prison Break", is one of the most popular shows among Mr Chávez's constituency down here.

Leon Krauze, PostGlobal, Mexico:

Jack Bauer and 24 are very popular in Mexico. The series is followed on cable and the yearly appearance of 24’s DVDs is widely promoted. As has been the case with other characters “made in America”, Bauer has become part of the collective imagination of Mexico’s TV viewership. The show is particularly popular with Mexico’s middle and upper middle class, who are, after all, the ones that are able to buy the DVDs or pay cable. It is not uncommon, though, to find illegal – pirate – copies of 24 DVDs outside Mexico City’s subway stations. My guess is that the majority of 24 viewers in Mexico see Jack Bauer as an entirely fictional character, though I’m sure that, for many, the similarities between the show’s harsh narrative and some of America’s recent policies don’t go unnoticed. It would be interesting to see what would happen in Mexico if Bauer were to deal with the border and illegal immigrants in his usual no-nonsense way.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send your comments, questions and suggestions for PostGlobal to Lauren Keane, its editor and producer.