POLITICS

Health Care Reform Debate Now Showing Up In Torture Porn

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ugh. So, let me state up front that I personally find the entire "torture porn" genre of horror to be detestable and its popularity to be frankly baffling. I like to go to movies with my wife and just can't imagine a situation in which I'd say, "Sweetie, I think that this is what we should do with two hours of our lives!" That said, it's worth noting that the health care reform debate has gotten so zeitgeisty that the issue of insurance companies poring over applications for clerical errors in order to deny coverage has ended up forming the "lesson" upon which the makers of Saw VI have hung an entire, grisly set piece.

I imagine that the filmmakers would say something like, "This should give people something to think about," perhaps assuming that white-knuckle shock and scenes of antic terror pave the way for the cathartic purging of pity and fear that makes rational thought possible. I think that maybe they should re-read their Aristotle, because they are doing it precisely wrong.

I offer this clip solely as proof of my claim. It is not safe for work, and will probably make your soul hurt to watch it, no matter what you think of insurance company executives.

[SO, THIS HAPPENED.]

UPDATE: I am asked, on Twitter, by by @rjeskow, "Can you tell us what happens in the "Saw" clip? I feel the way you do about tortureporn. No way I'll watch the clip."

Sure. Should have thought of that in the first place, sorry.

Basically, you see the initial set-up of one of these elaborate torture-game scenarios that the Saw series features. Peter Outerbridge plays William, an insurance company businessman, who, in the beginning of the movie, denies a customer a loan to get medical treatment, the customer dies as a result, William is taken prisoner and wakes up in the world of Saw, and is forced to undergo a series of harrowing, torture-porny choices, for justice, I guess.

The one depicted in the clip above takes place in the "carousel room." There, six of his colleagues are held captive. William is told that they are insurance company bureaucrats responsible for finding errors in policies. He is told, "their findings result in over two-thirds of applications denied or prematurely terminated." So, he is given the option of saving two of them, the other four are shot and killed. This results in the six people wildly pleading for their lives.

Obviously, this results health care coverage being made fair and affordable for everyone, forever.

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