If you want an example of how life imitates art, which then imitates life, check out this article in the NYT about "24," torture, and a new era in politics. The show's unabashed use of torture as an intelligence gathering tool has (mournfully) influenced the actions and beliefs of West Point cadets and Iraqi soldiers. But in an age of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and the increasing public backlash of toture, producers of the show have become somewhat apologetic of their show's effects. In the upcoming season, the show's main character, counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer, is going to have a more reflective, nuanced worldview, one that understands the complexity of the world and the consequences of actions. This apparently may not totally influence Bauer's actions, but I applaud any effort to demythologize torture and its results.
I never really watched the show, but because there is no playoff football tonight, I will be watching the season's premiere with this in mind.