The situation in Japan is a horrible thing. Every day, I see the stories coming out of there and can't even imagine the emotions that must be going through the heads of the Japanese people and pray that they finally get some relief. That said, this story about canceling the final season of 24 bothered me and made me think about how we, as humans, tend to try and shy away from anything that may be uncomfortable or offensive.
Don't get me wrong... I completely understand why some people would not want to see that particular plot play out while they're going through a nuclear threat themselves and choose to change the channel. Still, I can't help but think people should have a choice in the matter. I felt the same way after radio stations were refusing to play some songs after 9/11 and when Buffy episodes were taken off the air following real life events.
I think sometimes we miss the point. Art can entertain, yes, but it can do more. I know when I'm really angry/depressed about something turning on an angry/sad song and belting it out is almost like therapy. It helps to release those pent up emotions. Some people feel the same way about watching a hero save the day on a TV show- it makes people think that it's possible in real life as well. Not to mention the fact that sometimes there is a bigger lesson being portrayed if you look a little deeper than the surface plot description.
Buffy's "Earshot" and "Graduation Day", for example, were pulled due to mentions of violence in school after Columbine. Little, if any, thought was given to deeper meaning of the episodes. A kid was going to shoot himself, not the class, and Buffy talked him out of it. She pointed out that everyone has pain/problems that makes us blind to that of others. Ultimately, we have to just deal and get through it. In the other one, the class comes together as one to save their town from evil despite the risk to their own lives. Not bad messages to get across... wouldn't you say?