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Old November 2 2012, 04:55 PM   #31
Kegg
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Dexter never pretends that he's acting from a moral impulse or what he's doing is particularly righteous. He's a creepy serial killer and self-confessed monster who gets off on killing people and his framework for only killing people who 'deserve it' is one taught to him by his stepfather.

That's a careful balance. On the one hand Dexter murders people the audience is rarely invited to feel sympathy for, but on the other hand he never tries to insist to us that his motives have a moral impulse. He's a vigilante without the sanctimoniousness of say, most superheroes.

Sci wrote: View Post
1. I don't accept the right of the state to execute criminals. I oppose the death penalty and strongly favor is abolition.
But most of us accept under certain conditions the wholesale slaughter of entirely innocent adults and children. The so-called 'collateral damage' in warfare. Our attitudes to violence revolve around lines of acceptable and unacceptable uses of bloodshed.

Dexter is behaving in a manner most would consider unacceptable, but doing it in a way that contrasts his behaviour versus 'worse' examples of his chosen profession.

In that respect he's like a lot of cable TV protagonists - explicitly engaged in unsanctioned behaviour (polygamy in Big Love, the mafia in Sopranos, crystal meth in Breaking Bad), but still looking morally better than 'the competition', who usually engage in something similar but are nastier about it.
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Old November 2 2012, 05:58 PM   #32
LitmusDragon
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Dexter would be an indefensible character in the real world, but thankfully it's all fiction.

I could NOT get behind a "person" like Dexter if such a person actually existed. I oppose capital punishment for any reason, because people are imperfect and can make mistakes and innocent people die.

I see no harm in indulging in the escapist fantasy of a TV show, however. In his world, the character makes perfect sense.

Not sure what my point here was except that trying to apply real world logic to the Dexter character seems kind of absurd. He's about as realistic a character as Batman or Superman. May as well ask if The Hulk would be liable for property damage.
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Last edited by LitmusDragon; November 2 2012 at 06:08 PM.
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Old November 2 2012, 08:41 PM   #33
Mister Fandango
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Says civilization.
Whose civilization?

Before you say "mine," don't forget, again, that the United States is not the center of the universe and that there are plenty of fucked up governments and legal systems around the world.
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Old November 2 2012, 09:13 PM   #34
Sci
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
It is not his place to determine who deserves to die.
As determined by... who?
Law enforcement and the courts, who are the only entities with the right to do so.
Says who?
Says civilization.
Whose civilization?
Every civilization. Every human society that has ever existed has recognized that no man can be a law unto himself. There is no country on this Earth where vigilante murder, undertaken without specific regulation from the state, is acceptable.

Before you say "mine," don't forget, again, that the United States is not the center of the universe
And when the setting of Dexter changes to the Democratic Republic of the Congo or the Republic of Seychelles, that would be relevant. But Dexter is set in Florida, so United States law is all that matters when judging Dexter's murders.

ETA:

LitmusDragon wrote: View Post
May as well ask if The Hulk would be liable for property damage.
Excellent question!
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Old November 2 2012, 09:25 PM   #35
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

I have this theory that Dexter was raised to be a serial killer by his father and wouldn't have been one on his own. He obviously has some social issues but I think if his father hadn't assumed he would be a murderer from the day he brought him home he wouldn't be one.
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Old November 2 2012, 09:30 PM   #36
Deckerd
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Says civilization.
Whose civilization?

Before you say "mine," don't forget, again, that the United States is not the center of the universe and that there are plenty of fucked up governments and legal systems around the world.
Yeah but how many truly civilized countries have the death penalty? Answer = none.

In the very first episode of the very first season Dexter describes himself as a monster. That is the parameter upon which his story is set. To argue any kind of morality or immorality in what he does misses the point entirely. Dexter is amoral.
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Old November 2 2012, 09:36 PM   #37
Sci
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Kegg wrote: View Post
In that respect he's like a lot of cable TV protagonists - explicitly engaged in unsanctioned behaviour (polygamy in Big Love, the mafia in Sopranos, crystal meth in Breaking Bad), but still looking morally better than 'the competition', who usually engage in something similar but are nastier about it.
Oh, I dunno. I can't speak to Big Love, but Tony in The Sopranos never struck me as particularly sympathetic. And the entire point of Walter in Breaking Bad is to show how a decent man becomes corrupted into something evil.
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Old November 3 2012, 03:12 AM   #38
Kegg
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Sci wrote: View Post
Oh, I dunno. I can't speak to Big Love, but Tony in The Sopranos never struck me as particularly sympathetic.
Tony Soprano always straddled a line between sympathetic and un-sympathetic. On the sympathetic end the Sopranos had gangsters who were just plain nastier than Tony, to levels which Tony found uncomfortable - Ralphie Cifaretto is one of the most memorably obvious examples here.

And with Big Love, the principal polygamist family are nice affluent suburbanites who are contrasted with the isolationist polygamist compound they have old ties to which has child marriages and various nasty practices while being led by a Warren Jeffs-esque Prophet, all of which they disapprove of.

Frau Blucher wrote: View Post
To argue any kind of morality or immorality in what he does misses the point entirely. Dexter is amoral.
Just so. To be honest I started watching Dexter because the previews made it look dryly hilarious, I was somewhat disappointed when I realised he was a serial killer who only killed other serial killers - but that decidedly detached tone of his was one of the best things about the early years of the show (over time, Dexter's monologues have gradually evolved from the dryly witty and observant to the painfully banal or condescendingly factual.)
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Old November 3 2012, 04:27 AM   #39
Mister Fandango
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Sci wrote: View Post
Every civilization. Every human society that has ever existed has recognized that no man can be a law unto himself.
Bzzt, wrong. There's even a word for it: "Dictator." Maybe you've heard of it. "Monarch" comes in a very close second, as do several other titles/types of governments. Never mind the really early societies where nicknames like "living god" come into the picture.

Thanks for playing, though.
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Old November 3 2012, 04:43 AM   #40
Sci
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Every civilization. Every human society that has ever existed has recognized that no man can be a law unto himself.
Bzzt, wrong. There's even a word for it: "Dictator."
And every dictator in reality relies upon the support of other powerful elites in his society to cling to power.

No man, not even a dictator, is a law unto himself.
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Old November 4 2012, 12:35 AM   #41
Guy Gardener
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

No sane man.
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Old November 4 2012, 04:12 AM   #42
Mister Fandango
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Sci wrote: View Post
Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Every civilization. Every human society that has ever existed has recognized that no man can be a law unto himself.
Bzzt, wrong. There's even a word for it: "Dictator."
And every dictator in reality relies upon the support of other powerful elites in his society to cling to power.

No man, not even a dictator, is a law unto himself.
So you're saying there has never been a single leader in all of time and space that had to power to point at someone, snap their fingers, and have them executed for whatever trumped up reason they feel like giving (if any at all)? Okay, sure. If you say so, guy.
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Old November 4 2012, 04:40 AM   #43
Guy Gardener
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

It's about weighing the consequences and seeing if you care.

Do you think that Tsar Nicholas the second, Marie Antonette or Batista really had a firm grasp on what would happen to them as they continued indescriminately raping the civil liberties of their citizens?

Originally, Rome was ruled periodically between elections by two consols almost equally. During times of war however, they needed a singluar though process to their government and a single dictator was elected rather than a pair of consuls.
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Old November 4 2012, 10:29 AM   #44
Deckerd
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Marie Antoinette did not coin the phrase "let them eat cake" you know. She was just an unlucky broad in the wrong place at the wrong time.
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Old November 4 2012, 11:36 AM   #45
Sci
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Re: Dexter and what he does.

Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Bzzt, wrong. There's even a word for it: "Dictator."
And every dictator in reality relies upon the support of other powerful elites in his society to cling to power.

No man, not even a dictator, is a law unto himself.
So you're saying there has never been a single leader in all of time and space that had to power to point at someone, snap their fingers, and have them executed for whatever trumped up reason they feel like giving (if any at all)?
No. I'm saying that those dictators only ever had that power by gaining the support of other powerful elites, and could only continue snapping their fingers and having people killed if those other powerful elites didn't object to it too much. History is full of dictators who went too far, pissed off their patrons, and ended up out of power for having pissed off the other elites. Just ask Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Gaddafi.

No man -- not even a dictator -- is a law unto himself. Everyone requires the assistance of others to wield power -- and the superiority of democratic governance over autocracy lies in its demand for the consent of the general populace rather than just the consent of elites.
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