Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Speaking of Torture

We Americans are an angry, paranoid, ignorant and vengeful people. Our popular movies, TV and music reflect it as perfectly as our laws - or at least the application of our laws.

Tasers are routinely used by police to torture innocent people who have not broken any law and whose only crime is being disrespectful toward their authority or failing to understand their "orders." There is ample evidence that police often take no more than 30 seconds to talk to citizens before employing the taser, they use them while people are already handcuffed and thus present no danger, and are used often against the mentally ill and handicapped. It is becoming a barbaric tool of authoritarian, social control.


Representatives of the government torture innocent citizens into unconsciousness, on camera, in United States courtrooms with tasers. They use them on prisoners and on motorists and on political protesters and bicycle riders, on mentally ill and handicapped people and on children And it's happening with nary a peep of protest.

America's torture problem is much bigger than Gitmo or the CIA or the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The government is torturing people every day and killing some of them. Then videos of the torture wind up on Youtube where sadists laugh and jeer at the victims. It's the sign of profound cultural illness.

  Digby at Glenn Greenwald Blog

One sign amongst many.

....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


  1. What do you expect of the country that produced 24?

    'America: love it or leave it.'

    So I did. Haven't looked back since.

  2. i don't know 24, but i'm guessing it's one of the many puerile TV shows that serve to mold and distract - and most of all consumerize - the populace. when i look around, however, i see only the same in japanese, mexican, and much british TV.

    over the course of history, it's obvious that people are the problem - people of any country. i keep trying to think of a place on the globe where people are educated and reason-able, cooperative and compassionate...and the weather is warm (very important - cold makes me cry like a baby). i'm not having any luck.

    one time when george bush was planning to invade iraq and the "conservative" masses were screaming and shouting at us to get out of the country because we didn't support that move, a fellow non-supporter suggested we take our families and move to an island. i had to remind him that that is how this country got started.

    there ARE things about this country that i love, but there are things i find so abhorrent that i think about getting out...and then i remember it all boils down to people. and people are everywhere. i don't blame you for leaving. there's lots of reason to. and i hope you are having a better life where you are.

    best wishes, and thanks again for the opportunity to think about things and discuss them with a reasoning, thoughtful person.

  3. p.s. i should have said that japanese, mexican and british TV are the only others i have seen. and i will readily admit that british TV on the whole is much, much less juvenile and mind-numbing than american. and british news casts from the bbc actually still seem to have some independence from the government, unlike american "news".

  4. British TV can be wonderful, but it can also be abysmal. A lot of that is, I think, due to the influence of the vast quantity of US TV that's imported and shown here. But when it's good, it's great, even if it isn't quite as good (in my humble opinion) as it was perhaps twenty years ago.

    But, yes, people can be shit no matter where you are, and it's certainly true here as anywhere.

    I think I felt that, once I realised there was nothing particularly special about the States, that there was no reason to prefer living there to anywhere else, so I'd give that somewhere else a try. I also wanted my family to experience life elsewhere, so they would know — in a way that simply watching on television doesn't match — that there are ways of life other than The American Way, and that many of these ways are as good or better (and, of course, some are worse).

    Frankly, I think if everyone in the US were required to spend 5 years living in some other country, the world would be a better place, simply because it would teach (most — some are hopeless) Americans that there was, in fact, a world out there, full of people who don't think the way they do.

  5. yes, yes. i have said many times that there should be an overseas living requirement of a certain period of time for every citizen. and i considered at one point the possibility of living with my children overseas - maybe a peace corps stint - so they would know what it was like to live for some other reason than to have stuff, but i never did it. i salute you. i did live in mexico for several months, but it was after my kids were on their own.

    my younger son and i got hooked on 'red dwarf' years ago and still watch the old episodes. on the whole, british wit is much sharper and cleverer than what passes for wit here. and they don't place a premium on the way actors/actresses look versus their acting talent as is done over here. much, much higher quality TV, but that's not saying much. we have had the odd good TV show (twilight zone, and boston legal, eg), but generally speaking, TV/movie quality can't get much lower than we have - although they do manage worse in mexico. but when you consider that TV shows are filler for commercials and the ever-decreasing intelligence quotient of your average american, it's no wonder we have the caliber we do.

    we do get some pretty good independent films. the australians put out good movies, but i don't know about their TV.

    of course, it's all a matter of taste, i suppose, and we all think good taste is whatever matches our own.

    cheers and thanks.


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