Phew -- that was close. The creators of "24," Fox Television's thriller-diller starring Kiefer Sutherland as counter-terror super-agent Jack Bauer, almost put together a compelling television series rooted in the onerous reality of the war on jihad terrorism. But thanks, apparently, to a few helpful suggestions from the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), they managed to steer clear of all political and historical relevance.
This couldn't have been easy. After all, CAIR didn't even come to their rescue until after the show's season had begun with a couple of episodes that featured a typical Islamic sleeper cell embedded in a typical American sleepy suburb. After these and other obvious blunders -- a terse exchange of "Allahu Akbar" between terrorists, for instance -- the creative types behind the hit series managed to get their act together and save the world for political correctness.
How? Two things: They laid down a suitably distracting Chinese subplot, and cast a bunch of Midwesterners, instead of Middle Easterners, to wear the key black hats. There was the ex-Air Force pilot -- obviously blond, obviously disgruntled -- who shot down Air Force One; a nefarious ex-marine; and a Patty-Hearst-like commando who just shot whatever.
By this week's season finale, Marwan, the head jihadist, had been comically stripped of all religious identity and motivation, and cloaked in a heavy disguise of moral equivalence. As in: You think we're evil and we think you're evil. This is pretty much what hero-Jack actually said to Marwan, the terror kingpin, who had just that day blown up a train, kidnapped the Secretary of Defense, sent multiple nuclear plants into meltdown and lobbed a nuclear warhead at Los Angeles. Oh well. Marwan was ultimately overshadowed by someone worse -- the president of the United States.
Still, maybe the creators of "24" deserve a medal, considering the total silence of their fellow movie- and television-makers when it comes to the war on jihadist terror. War, what war? Culture clash? What culture clash? Freedom -- what kind of freedom? Hollywood and the media may be "brave" and "bold" in fearlessly depicting sexuality, violence and the perversions therein, but they're cultural cowards when it comes to depicting, even mentioning, matters of war, Islam and jihad. Call it dhimmitude, Hollywood-style.