Thursday, February 14, 2019

Suspension of Disbelief

Screen writing on network television is deteriorating badly. I have no real idea as to what might be causing the problem – am open to suggestion.

In the latest episode of NCIS the scenario is that they are frantically searching for a woman who enlisted in the Navy nine years earlier but never reported for duty. She was, they earnestly declared, “their responsibility” because she had taken the oath to enlist even though she had never actually served one day.

All very noble, and enhanced by the reason for the renewal of the search, which was that her daughter had suddenly turned up. She was, it turns out, pregnant when she enlisted and disappeared. So, the Navy accepts unmarried pregnant women as enlistees? The last I heard, if you were unmarried and got pregnant, you were promptly discharged.

In a recent episode of Law & Order; Special Victims, the detectives were agonizing for the entire hour over whether they should tell the truth when they took the stand to testify, or if they should lie in order for the woman to be found not guilty of murder. They felt that the woman was justified in killing her husband; not for beating her, the woman didn’t claim that he had ever done that or even threatened to, but for years of insulting her.

I am as willing as anyone to engage in a certain amount of “suspension of disbelief” in the name of entertainment, but there are limits.

Update: Ah. As I read this after posting it, I am seeing that there is a "social justice warrior" thread having to do with women as victims, and righting the wrongs than men do against them. How could I have missed that? Two of the detectives were women and the Navy enlistee was, of course, kidnapped and held hostage by a man.

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