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Klavan On The Culture

Stuff Conservatives Should Actually Like, Section B

July 27th, 2011 - 7:00 am

In the now immortal first installment of Stuff Conservatives Should Actually Like, I put forward the argument that perhaps some of us have been too harsh in our criticism of comedienne Tina Fey.  The resulting attacks on my intelligence, character, private life and dress sense left my ego so bruised I was forced to console myself by re-reading the lofty and insightful praise of my work that pours ceaselessly into my spam filter.  Just a couple of examples:

“All over the internet I am looking before I find a post so intelligent as yours!  Do you know the cure for erectile dysfunction?”

“Thanks for your post and luckly to comment in your site!  Have you at any time been on community revenue world-wide-web internet webpages and wondered how so a sizable size of males and females would probably possibly extremely appropriately be offering generally the extremely specific same performer?”

After weeks of such ego-healing balm, I am ready to return to the fray with my second offering:  Dexter, Showtime’s killer serial about a serial killer who tortures and dismembers his victims for good rather than for evil. All the following comments apply only to the first season, the only one I’ve watched. There’ll be no important spoilers.

Too many in the conservative community (you know who you are) experience a swelling sense of righteousness when they announce to the world, “With all the violence and sex and filth out there, I don’t watch TV or go to the movies or read books anymore.  I leave that to those queers and commies in Hollywood.  Making paper dolls out of old TV Guides is enough culture for me, and ought to be enough for any true American!”

Stop saying stuff like that. It makes you sound like an idiot. Violence, sex and all-around filth are part and parcel of art because they’re part and parcel of life and the very stuff of drama. King Lear – which is the Sistine Chapel of literature – includes a scene where a man’s eyes are put out onstage. The Sistine Chapel – which, coincidentally, is the King Lear of painting – is rife with male and female nudity.   And of course there’s the graphic rape scene in David Copperfield – okay, the magic act, not the novel, but still, you get the idea.

Dexter, then, is grotesquely violent—so much so that I turned it off twenty minutes into the first episode and did not return to it for months. I hate serial killer stories anyway and felt the brilliant novel Silence of the Lambs was pretty much the last one any of us needed.

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