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  Texas : Features : Humor : Column - "A Balloon In Cactus"

Jack Bauer

by Maggie Van Ostrand
Maggie Van Ostrand
No matter how much is written about Jack Bauer, it's never enough for lovers of Fox's Emmy-winning show, 24.

"Jack Bauer for President!" shout fans of the show, who don't seem to care if Jack's fictional or not. That's proof of how much we need a hero, real or fictional. If he announced his candidacy for president in the 2008 elections, he'd win.

The fictional character of Jack Bauer elicits 2,840,000 hits when Googled, but Kiefer Sutherland, the real life actor who portrays Bauer, comes in at 1,890,000, a million fewer. Jack Bauer may not be living as we define the word, but the brilliant writers of 24, and Sutherland, breathe life into him every episode.

People watch 24 because it's the most exciting show on television. The writers do not write down to the viewer, they write up. The result is that the brains of fans do more than just atrophy while staring at TV. They have the unique pleasure of using their brains for thinking, deductive reasoning, and anticipating the unexpected. We don't want to cast aspersions on other shows, and we certainly don't think fans of the CSI and Law & Order franchises are mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, hairy sods. We just think, after you've seen 24, other shows seem slow and tame.

How can Jack Bauer be fictional, some viewers wonder, when the venerable Wall Street Journal writes about him (WSJ 01/26/07) and the National Terror Alert Response Center, "America's Trusted Source For Homeland Security News and Information," has an article called "Jack Bauer and 24 Too Close to Reality?" http://www.nationalterroralert.com/updates/2007/01/22/jack-bauer-and-24-too-close-to-reality/

Most of the entries in online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, consist of real people and events, except for Jack Bauer. Under their Jack Bauer entry, they quote Time magazine's January 14, 2007 edition analyzing the show after Time discovered that the conservative Heritage Foundation held a forum named "24 and America's Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction or Does It Matter?" Even a real Supreme Court Judge was in the audience.

On January 30th, The Christian Science Monitor published a story about how Jack Bauer spends the day after his 24 public hours (he actually sleeps, uses the bathroom, and picks up his dry cleaning). http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0130/p25s01-altv.html They wouldn't write about someone who wasn't real, would they?

The January issue of Esquire published an article entitled "What I've Learned: Jack Bauer" by 24 staff writer Nicole Ranadive and the show's story editor Matt Michnovetz. Writing as Jack, Ranadive and Michnovetz say: "If you see me running down the street, it's probably a good idea to take cover," and "The only thing harder than racing to stop a madman from releasing a deadly virus that will kill thousands of people is doing it while simultaneously trying to kick heroin," and " Some people don't deserve to die, but that's not my call." Very Jack.

Contributing to the fact that 37 per cent of 24 viewers believe Jack Bauer is a real person, Fox has posted his C.V. on their website as follows --
EXPERIENCE:
Department of Defense, Washington DC - Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
CTU - Director of Field Operations, Los Angeles Domestic Unit
CTU - Former Special Agent in Charge, Los Angeles Domestic Unit
Los Angeles PD - Special Weapons and Tactics

EDUCATION:
LASD - Basic SWAT School
Master of Science, Criminology and Law - University of California (Berkeley)
Bachelor of Arts, English Literature - University of California (Los Angeles)
Special Forces Operations Training Course
24- Seasons 1-5
Order Here
MILTARY:
US Army - Combat Applications Group,
Delta Force Counter Terrorist Group

PERSONAL:
Widowed
Daughter - Kimberly Bauer
In fact, all the main characters on 24 have CVs. For those fans who think 24's current U.S. President, Wayne Palmer, can't hold a candle to his late brother, former U.S. President David Palmer, Wayne's qualifications appear to be just fine:

EXPERIENCE:
President of the United States
Chief of Staff in the Administration of President David Palmer
Milliken Enterprises, COO
Anderson & Siebertz, Attorney at Law

EDUCATION:
Juris Doctorate
- Yale School of Law
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science
- Stanford University
Baseball scholarship to Stanford - NCAA Baseball Pitcher

HONORS:
NCAA Baseball Pitcher of the Year
Baseball Scholarship to Stanford

MILITARY:
US Marine Corps - saw no combat

PERSONAL:
Married
Brother to Former President David Palmer
Brother to civil rights attorney Sandra Palmer
Clever fans have many great sites for 24; in fact, a few of the comments found are as funny as any comedy writer could come up with, even after a Bud or two.

Political satirist and fake news reporter Buckley F. Williams' website, www.TheNoseOnYourFace.com, has a few of the most memorable, and syndicated talk show host Neal Boortz, http://boortz.com/more/funny/jack_bauer_truths.html, lists some of the most hilarious lines ever written --

BASIC TRUTHS ABOUT JACK BAUER

Killing Jack Bauer doesn't make him dead. It just makes him angry.

If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he'd shoot Nina twice.

If you wake up in the morning, it's because Jack Bauer spared your life.

Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

If it tastes like chicken, looks like chicken, and feels like chicken, but Jack Bauer says its beef, then you better believe it's beef.

Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up their location.

1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.

Let's get one thing straight: the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.

Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.

Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

When life gave Jack Bauer lemons, he used them to kill terrorists. Jack Bauer hates lemonade.

Jack Bauer once won a game of Connect 4 in 3 moves.

Jack Bauer is the leading cause of death in terrorists.

Jack Bauer doesn't miss. If he didn't hit you it's because he was shooting at a terrorist twelve miles away.

When Jack Bauer was a child, he made his mother finish his vegetables.

Jack Bauer killed 93 people in just 4 days time. Wait, that is a real fact.

Simon Says should be renamed to Jack Bauer Says because if Jack Bauer says something then you better do it.

Jack Bauer won the Tour de France on a unicycle to prove to Lance Armstrong it wasn't a big deal.

When Jack Bauer pisses into the wind, the wind changes direction.

Jack Bauer's favorite color is severe terror alert red. His second favorite color is violet, but just because it sounds like violent.

When you open a can of whoop-ass, Jack Bauer jumps out.

When Google can't find something, it asks Jack Bauer for help.

You can lead a horse to water. Jack Bauer can make him drink.

Jack Bauer can get McDonald's breakfast after 10:30.

When the boogie man goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Jack Bauer.

Every mathematical inequality officially ends with "Jack Bauer".

In 96 hours, Jack Bauer has killed 93 people and saved the world 4 times. What have you done with your life?

In kindergarten, Jack Bauer killed a terrorist for Show and Tell.

What color is Jack Bauer's blood? Trick question. Jack Bauer does not bleed.

Guns don't kill people, Jack Bauer kills people.

If Jack and a terrorist were locked in a room together, Jack would make a bomb out of the terrorist and blast out.

People with amnesia can remember Jack Bauer.

Sun Tzu once wrote, "If your enemy is weaker, conquer him. If he is stronger, join him. If he is Jack Bauer, you're f***ing dead."

Jack Bauer literally died for his country, and lived to tell about it.

Jack Bauer has been to Mars. That's why there's no life on Mars.

Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Jack Bauer laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

When Batman is in trouble, he turns on the Jack Bauer signal.

It took Jack Bauer two minutes to get a confession out of O.J.

Jack Bauer was conceived by torturing the other sperm until they gave up the location of the egg.

Upon hearing that he was played by Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Bauer killed Sutherland. Jack Bauer gets played by no man.
Jack Bauer wasn't born, he was unleashed.

There are debates about whether Jack Bauer is right-wing or left-wing. The answer is that he is neither wing. He's the American Eagle's head and heart.



Copyright Maggie Van Ostrand
"A Balloon In Cactus" >
February 16 , 2007 column
Email: maggie@maggievanostrand.com
24 - Season Six
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