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Sat May 19, 2012, 06:54 AM

How America Is Like the Serial Killer in Dexter

http://www.alternet.org/culture/155470/how_america_is_like_the_serial_killer_in_dexter/

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Everybody loves Dexter. Heís handsome. Heís helpful. He works at the Miami Metro Police Department, and heís very good at his job as a blood-splatter analyst. Oh, did I mention that he moonlights as a serial killer? Donít worry: he only kills bad guys. Thatís part of the code that Dexterís adoptive father, himself a police officer, passed down to his son. As a child who had watched his mother die a horrendous death, Dexter couldnít overcome the murderous impulses that surged within him. His father, channeling those impulses in the only constructive way he could think of, created a better monster of his sonís nature: a serial killer of serial killers.

The other essential rule of Dexterís code: donít get caught. He is very precise in the way he dispatches his victims, and he will do almost anything to evade detection. Dexter works for the law, but his second job is most definitely above the law.

During its six seasons on Showtime, the popular TV show Dexter has asked a vexing moral question: can a person do good by doing bad? Letís throw in one more twist. Sometimes Dexter makes mistakes and kills people who donít fit his definition of Really Bad. He must then wrestle with his (rudimentary) conscience and, more importantly, try to resolve the paradoxes of his fatherís code. One last painful element of the Dexter story: his efforts to wipe out bad guys occasionally endanger and even lead to the death of his own nearest and dearest. Dexter has a serious problem, in other words, with blowback.

By this point, youíve probably figured out my theory. Dexter is all about U.S. foreign policy and the moral calculus of a superpower. Our government has likewise been on a killing streak for a long time, and thereís no end in sight. But we are also, as a country, conflicted about this propensity toward murder. We try to tell ourselves that we only kill bad guys like Osama bin Laden and his ilk. We maintain that we intervene in the affairs of other countries for only the best and purest of reasons. But we also suspect that we have deviated from our code ó many times and with devastating consequences.

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply How America Is Like the Serial Killer in Dexter (Original post)
xchrom May 2012 OP
bluestate10 May 2012 #1
teamster633 May 2012 #2
qazplm May 2012 #8
Fumesucker May 2012 #7
malaise May 2012 #3
2on2u May 2012 #4
aikoaiko May 2012 #5
qazplm May 2012 #9
cali May 2012 #6
Warren DeMontague May 2012 #12
Zalatix May 2012 #13
Warren DeMontague May 2012 #14
Zalatix May 2012 #15
LuvNewcastle May 2012 #10
Kablooie May 2012 #11
treestar May 2012 #16

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 07:14 AM

1. I don't deny.

That our foreign policy is at times idiotic. Like the embargo on Cuba and the efforts spent during the past trying to dispatch Castro. I don't deny that the invasion of Iraq was a legal and moral mistake that should have people responsible being jailed for the deaths of our troops and Iraqi civilians that ensued from the invasion. I don't deny that we have meddled in the affairs of soveign states to install or manipulate leaders that we liked.

But drawing moral equivalence between an overall moral foreign policy that on occasion goes off track and the actions of fucking blllodthirsty killers like bin laden and people like him is going off a deepend. There is NO moral equivalence. If people like bin laden insist on killing innocent people instead of working out their differences with us diplomatically, I am all for tracking them down where ever they go to hide, finding them and fucking killing them with the most efficient method at our disposal. Enough said.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #1)

Sat May 19, 2012, 07:46 AM

2. The moral equivalence that is being suggested...

...is between us and Dexter, not between us and Bin Laden. When Dexter is on target, his victims certainly deserve everything they get but, the consequences of his mistakes underline the moral hazard implicit in assuming the roles of judge, jury, and executioner.

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Response to teamster633 (Reply #2)

Sat May 19, 2012, 10:14 AM

8. yeah but someone has always filled that role

and no matter who does it, there will be moral failings because we are all humans, and we screw up sometimes.

And no, the UN wouldn't do a better job, nor would Europe, or China, or anyone else.

That's not to defend us when we screw up, because we screw up, but the reality is many of the same nations that attack us when we do get involved attack us when we don't.

You've got a responsibility America, get involved, send troops, etc...when we don't get involved.

America, who do you think you are, why did you get involved...when we do get involved.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #1)

Sat May 19, 2012, 08:14 AM

7. Overall moral foreign policy?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 07:50 AM

3. Excellent post

Rec

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 07:55 AM

4. Most certainly. K&R n/t

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 08:02 AM

5. A bad person who protects us from worse people is an archetype we embrace.


Others do too.

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Response to aikoaiko (Reply #5)

Sat May 19, 2012, 10:15 AM

9. I dont believe America is a bad person

we are a decent person with a lot of power, and sometimes we do great things, and sometimes good, and sometimes bad, and sometimes horrible.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 08:07 AM

6. I hate this sort of pop culture idiocy.

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Response to cali (Reply #6)

Sun May 20, 2012, 04:44 AM

12. Why?

Ive never watched the show, although this makes me want to check it out. If the OP is right, its a pretty clever metaphor.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #12)

Sun May 20, 2012, 04:50 AM

13. It's wrong in exactly one way:

 

Dexter kills murderers. America's military very often kills children and innocent civilians in its pursuit "of life, liberty and the summary execution of all those whom they think threatens it."

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Response to Zalatix (Reply #13)

Sun May 20, 2012, 07:09 AM

14. Most metaphors are imperfect, at best.

still, I'd never heard anyone talk about that show that way. All I knew was it was about a serial killer, which didn't sound terribly appealing to me, although I must admit that AMC has done a bang-up job of making a story about a High School Science teacher who becomes a meth manufacturer pretty friggin' compelling.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #14)

Sun May 20, 2012, 07:10 AM

15. I was being facetious about how inaccurate the metaphor was.

 

America is worse than Dexter in this analogy. Although that is a very sad fact. We've fallen very far.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat May 19, 2012, 01:43 PM

10. I don't think right and wrong or good and bad

figure into the equation of our foreign policy. Our government does what the arms dealers want them to do. In just about any conflict, you can make a case for taking either side, and our media is used to do just that. There have been plenty of conflicts that we could have stayed out of, but it was profitable for the arms dealers to get involved, so we got involved. Just think what might have happened if we hadn't armed the muhajideen while the Russians were invading Afghanistan. We might not be involved in the wars we're in today. It's all good for the arms dealers, though; more conflict is more profit. Blowback isn't a bad thing for them.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun May 20, 2012, 03:57 AM

11. One big difference...

America didn't run a funeral home in a previous life and didn't consult with a different ghost dad the way Dexter did when he was on HBO.


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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun May 20, 2012, 07:16 AM

16. For that metaphor to work, then basically, we are getting "bad guys"

or bad state actors, most of the time. Though we certainly "get caught" as these things are done blatantly for the most part.

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