Monday, January 12, 2009

That was then, this is now 

There was a 1979 episode of MASH on tonight, the one where BJ and Hawkeye are trying to protect a North Korean spy from being interrogated by a South Korean officer who, it is rumoured, tortures his prisoners -- much to BJ's horror and Hawkeye's disgust.
Hawkeye calls him a son-of-a-bitch, the first time these words were ever heard on TV. That's how strongly Americans used to feel about torture.
You can now laugh ruefully and shake your head.
As Avedon Carol says:
The thing about torture, you see, even though it's always gone on, is that we used to recognize it as something so bad you never admitted if you did it. You knew that no decent human being would approve. And you knew that it would be bad for us if we went around bragging about torturing people.
Yes, it has been.
Eight more days.

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