Spoiling Dexter Season Two

October 20, 2008

I never liked the genres given to describe Dexter. The show is too much about the harmony of good and evil–as opposed to the accepted dichotomy–to be considered the same genre as CSI Miami. The most interesting moments are the ones in which Dexter’s internal conflict manifests in the world around him. In the second season there are more moments like this, where he considers how he might be wrong, and how if he can’t stop, he will eventually hurt the people around him. This is his single greatest motivation to change, because he cares more about them than he cares about himself.

The cost of protecting his family and friends is never more apparent than when Deb and Lt. La Guerta talk in the last episode of season two. Deb empathizes with La Guerta because she knows that in accepting Doakes to be a serial killer, La Guerta would lose any capability to trust herself. The two characters would have been in opposite places if Dexter had gone through with turning himself in; and La Guerta and Doakes are the greatest casualties of Dexter’s decisions. While the show always points out the good and bad in his character, his god-like decisions never come without consequence.

Similarly, at the end of the first season, Dexter chooses Deb over his brother Brian. Brian’s only sin was to break Dexter’s code, and although Brian forced him to make a decision, at least he gave him a choice. The cost of protecting Dexter’s identity is his brother’s blood. When Dexter seemed ready to turn himself over to the police, it was because he saw that Doakes was good. He was never willing or ready to take responsibility for an innocent life, but he changes his mind when he truly grasps the impact on his family. Although he is exempted from making this decision when Lila effectively kills Doakes, it is assumed that Dexter was going to frame Doakes as the Bay-Harbor Butcher.

The most important theme that becomes clear now is Dexter’s want to protect his solitude. For the second time he has found someone who completely understands him, and he chooses to kill them. He chose his foster sister over his evil brother of the exact same homicidal tendencies, and he chose the girlfriend that he must hide from over the girlfriend who like him, feels nothing.

At best, this is a commentary on life, and we are like Dexter when we pretend to feel something just so that we can get along with people at work, at home or in relationships. We all hide secrets and when those secrets come out we choose to hide them rather than to integrate them. Dexter’s tragic flaw is that his secret is so dark that no one can know it. Imagine having a secret so grave that you push away the people that learn it, that you choose the ones that can’t know you over the ones that are just like you.

Something dark and reflective:

Aimee Mann – Save Me

Political Haberdashery

October 16, 2008

I watched the debate last night. This morning I’ve been reading a lot of the same thing, saying that this third debate was McCain’s best. After the first debate I was at a bar on the Lower East Side when a stranger asked me who I thought won. At that point I didn’t feel either candidate had done anything to change my opinion of himself or of the other. I already had developed an allegiance to one of the senators, and nothing in their debates really stirred me until last night.

The McCain campaign aimed to attack on every question, not as much because that’s what they’ve been doing all along, but more likely because they were slipping in the polls and key republicans were calling for it. I’ve never seen a political debate be more one-sided in my life. Every attack that McCain made only gave Obama more time to describe his position in great detail. But I guess this strategy has been exciting (inciting in Palin’s case) people at their rallies to yell increasingly antagonistic and categorically racist slurs. If I didn’t know anything before this debate, I would now know all of Obama’s major positions; McCain, wasn’t he the guy that tried to make Obama angry on Wednesday?

I’ve spent the morning regrettably reading the WSJ, something I haven’t done as much ever since Rupert Murdoch took control. I never imagined it would change the publication, but it may have changed the readership. I have yet to hear a single logical defense for McCain from anyone. As far as I can see (into New Jersey on clear days) I have yet to hear a sound argument for the red ticket that doesn’t attack the blue ticket. How will you win when there is no one to beat? Who will these mavericks fight then? I’m disappointed that WSJ readers, whom I thought to be intelligent well-informed people, choose to stand behind the guy who was most poised when he wasn’t talking about himself or his own policies.

Politicians at this level have the same core values as their party. What I mean is that someone who is anti-choice (as opposed to anti-life as McCain repeatedly referred to it) to the core, can soundly argue for a candidate of the same belief. I’ve always believed that there is never a right or wrong candidate, that there can’t be, but for once, billionaire investors (Warren Buffet), CEO’s (Google’s Eric Schmidt), major publications (Esquire, Rolling Stone, Alaska’s own Anchorage Daily), conservative writers (Kathleen Parker), conservative former Secretary of States (Colin Powell), celebrities (Matt Damon, Spike Lee), and foreign countries (EU, UK, London Mayor Boris Johnson) all endorse the same candidate. It’s as if they all share the same choice not because they are all politically the same, but because it is the choice of those with information. It’s finally the choice of those that don’t condemn information, and that don’t pride themselves on mediocrity or elusive small-town values. It’s satisfying to think that even when our values are different, information could lead us to consensus.

I can’t begin to tell you how long I have been looking forward to the new Macbooks. I’ve been using the same iBook G4 that my old boss gave me (as a hand-me-down meant for his 6-year old son) since the beginning of 2007, waiting for this update. I checked Mac rumors and blogs every day, hoping to see how big of a jump this generation could be. I’m not blown away with what they’ve done. I’m most excited about the addition of a real graphics card, which should make the Macbook comparable to most PC notebooks in its price range, but probably not competitive though. How is the new notebook worth $200 more than the old one? And this leads me to my greatest outrage with this Apple update: this unibody construction is overrated, that’s not even a word, and the entry-level book is now $200 more than it was last month, $300 more today (because they’re still selling that antique). I had been planning to buy the new Macbook on October 14 for the past six months, but now I don’t know if it’s worth its weight in dollar bills.

War on Drugs – Taking the Farm

The Toadies – What We Have We Steal