Waxing Philosophically on the Merits of Jack Bauer

So, I was watching the god that is Jack Bauer in the latest episode of 24.

Hey, I was a teen in the late ‘80s, and I have to tell you, I never would have imagined the bad-boy Kiefer Sutherland that was the murder capital of the USA’s evil teen lead vampire in 1987’s Lost Boys, would be the sex symbol du jour in 2007?

Hell, Lost Boys was pretty much soft-core porn for us teen girls. You had your Jason Patric (who was brilliant in 1998’s acerbic Your Friends and Neighbors), us wee girls had our Corey Haim, then there was that snooty bad-ass Canadian, Kiefer for the odd girls. He wasn’t mainstream back then. He was that shitty older brother to the then-tubby Jerry O’Connell in Stand By Me, and you just thought he’d treat ya like dirt if ever… you know?

BUT that was then, this is Bauer. Now how do they make the Canadian men so damned sexy when they’re assertive, huh? Is it all those hours of Margaret Atwood discussions in high school English? Is it the microbrew? Whatever. It’s working.

Here’s the thing, though. Seriously.

For some of us, the definition of what’s sexy in a man has shifted a bit since the day those planes took out the Twin Towers. I still remember that day, you know? We saw firemen screaming in anguish with tears ripping wide swaths down their dust-covered cheeks. We saw cops doing everything they could to protect and serve when the people needed them most. It was an awesome yet heart-breaking display of just how incredibly selfless and sexy a man being a man could be.

Yeah, there are still women who want their little metrosexual boys, and fine, you know, you can take your Justin Timberlake and find a coatcheck closet, honey.

Some of us, for a while there, we saw just what an awesome thing masculinity at its finest could be. And I do so love that manliness. I think it’s a hard time, however, to be either sex. It’s confusing. We’ve redrawn the lines so often since the dawn of the 20th century that it feels like we’re hamsters in a wheel.. What an exciting time it’s been. In that span of decades, we’ve gone from near-Puritanical morals and a patriarchal society to an almost even playing field. We have indeed come a long way, baby.

But for all the strength we women have gained, men have lost their perspective. These days, you have guys who don’t know how strong is too strong and when empathetic starts to become pathetic. The just don’t know how to soften the edges of manhood. It’s all or nothing, it seems.

The balance of sexual power these decades past has been like that of a boat in a storm. Every time you think you’ve got your footing, along comes another movement.

And, you know, there’s Jack Bauer. A guy who loves his country so much, so deeply, he’ll do just about anything he can in order to protect it. He’s easily one of the best television anti-heroes ever, if not the best. He takes it to cruel extremes yet still keeps you tethered to him. A guy who turns a lamp cord into a shock-therapy torture device, or bites a chunk out of a guy’s neck, yet still keeps you thinking he’s a sweetie?

I don’t know, guys. You want your Zen master for how to be the kind of guy who toes the line, look at Jack. Tough yet secretly a double-agent marshmallow of affection. Who knew. Lost Boys!

And all the things Jack is good at, these guys are failing dismally at.