Got into watching FEAR THE WALKING DEAD–and then my interest in the show came to a sudden, screeching stop. I watched the show for awhile because I thought it interestingly answered questions the original show, THE WALKING DEAD, had raised and hadn’t gotten into before….Then I stopped, after the episode previous to last night’s. Why? Because the spinoff did one thing I cannot forgive or support. It positively dramatized the FALSE notion that “torture works”. A man (a member of the US Military!) was tortured by a man from Central America who was, yes, damaged by the US supported death squads down there, from the old days, and who had been in a way imprinted with cruelty, which appears under stress– so yes in a way it’s all our fault that he tortured this guy. Up to that point, I had no objection–okay, he was made psychotic, under some circumstances, by the trauma of the brutality of an American-backed regime, and was now prone to using vicious tactics. Fine, that I can buy. But then *his torture works*. He gets exactly what he and the other characters need by torturing the soldier with a knife. He learns about Operation Cobalt. He finds out what it is. Which is info they needed.
So the *production* of Fear the Walking Dead, the writers and producers, are SAYING THAT TORTURE WORKS. So hey, go for it, right? Now if I asked them about this, they’d say, “Oh no we’re saying this man was traumatized and turned to torture and clearly torture is horrible.” No–you’re saying, horribly or not, torture works. You’re taking a hard-right, beyond “conservative” position: it’s okay to dig knives deeply into people, torture them, beat them, for information “because it works”; that is, the show at least makes it seem as if torture works. But torture DOES NOT work to provide GOOD information, as has been often proved and even if it DID work in real life you’d still be wrong to advocate it even in extreme fictional circs…The show is helping spread the myth that torture works. It’s spreading it to a big audience. And myths widely spread about torture can help justify it in the minds of interrogators, and politicians.
If torture didn’t work in the story, then I would have no objection to its being a part of the episode. If the tortured character had not given valuable info, and the torturer was baffled–and someone got the information in a legit way…much better. But not only did the torturer get the info by torturing, one of the heroes of the show, the blond mom, was fine with it. She went along with it. Not cheerfully but with no real hesitation.
So that’s TWO votes for torture including one from a main protagonist. The worst one, though, is the third one–the vote for torture from the writers of Fear the Walking Dead…