Ages ago, I started watching Rush Hour 3 while on a flight to China. I was actually looking forward to the movie as the first two were mindless fun. From the start, I felt it was too much Tucker and not enough Chan, too much stupid and not enough smart. But then there was the torture scene. Tucker’s character was all into it. Chan’s character, while hesitant, went along with it. I just turned it off at that point. I had expected more from Jackie.
Torture doesn’t work. There is no scenario where the bomb will be disarmed or the children saved though torture. Torture is evil, that’s why the bad guys do it. It’s done for just a couple of reasons: sick pleasure and hearing what you want to hear.
Yet, it seems to me, more and more good guys are doing it. Rush Hour 3 wasn’t the first example I’m sure but it stuck with me because I had a 10 hour flight to kill and Jackie Chan had let me down. Most recently, having got a Netflix account, I started watching their “Daredevil” show. In the second episode of the first season, our hero is torturing a bad guy to find a child. Our hero isn’t alone in the act, he’s getting helpful advice from a nurse. At least our hero is honest in that he’s doing this because he likes it. But, we are not suppose to believe this and the nurse’s spoken doubt gives voice to this disbelief.
Rescuing the child cliche is the door opener for the audience’s general acceptance that the hero has important goals and tough choices to get to them. It’s a trope tiresomely trundled out to show that hero is dark, dark troubled heroes have got to torture.
I guess Stephen Harper is trying to be a dark hero. I find it beyond understanding how a Canadian leader could stand by torture. I am sickened that our government would allow the use of information gleaned from torture, information that can not be considered reliable and the use of which only bolsters individuals and entities that Canadians would find despicable and deplorable.
Harper isn’t a closet Daredevil. With Bill C-51, his endorsement of torture, and the myriad of other issues, neither is Harper the Good Samaritan in Fisk’s version of that parable. While Harper might believe that he would be the Samaritan of that story, he is more akin to Fisk’s “ill intent.”
Update, late off the press: Is Harper the worst prime minister in history? I really dislike headlines like that – Is X the worst Y in history? It’s like a odiferous puff of dried bullshit wafts off the mouse click as the browser goes to the page. So, don’t read the page looking for Harper’s ranking but look at his track record in office — ill intent.