What a Pain
One of the strongest arguments against torture was made recently by Vladimir Bukovsky, who spent twelve years in the Soviet gulag.Writing in the Washington Post, he noted that “Torture is the professional disease of any investigative machinery ... Investigation is a subtle process, requiring patience and fine analytical ability, as well as a skill in cultivating one’s sources. When torture is condoned, the rare talented people leave the service, ... and the service itself degenerates into a playground for sadists.”
If you need further evidence of this point without leaving the comfy precincts of entertainment, consider Hostel, the latest from Eli Roth, a writer-director who makes his mentor Quentin Tarantino look like Euripedes. Marketed as a campy horror flick, Hostel is something much uglier: an open invitation to share the pleasures of Bukovsky’s playground. (“There is a place where all your darkest, sickest fantasies are possible,” rasps the trailer.) When distributed overseas, this vomit will do a fine job of souring America’s feeble efforts at public diplomacy.