Klavan on Dexter

At his PJ Express blog, Andrew Klavan writes that while’s not generally fan of slasher movies such as the Hannibal Lector series, he’s a fan of Showtime’s Dexter:

But Dexter is different. It’s not really about serial killing at all. It’s about the nature of identity and morality. Dexter’s foster father, a cop named Harry, realized what little Dexter was becoming early in his childhood. So Harry taught his son a code to live by. He taught him how to act normal and blend in—and only to satisfy his urge to kill on those who are thoroughly evil. As a result, Dexter, who has almost no human feelings, merely pretends to care about others, and only kills when he has hunted down a fellow monster.

In other words, Dexter is very much like the rest of us and the best of us:  a man who socializes his most powerful urges and who so thoroughly pretends to be a better person than he is that he actually is a better person than he is. This is the conservative view of man in a nutshell:  deeply sinful, always imperfect and yet capable of self-control and responsible to the society around him. Leftists have tried to convince us that identity is about race or sex or sexuality, but for conservatives, it’s about beliefs and actions. We don’t care that Mexicans enter the country illegally, for instance, but we do care that Mexicans enter the country illegally. Leftists can’t comprehend this, but see racism where there is only a concern for the rule of law.

But Dexter’s vision of life is more complex than any one political position. The first season deals with the struggle between our codes of conduct and our inner freedom, the doubts that arise when we find out that those who taught us perfect behavior are not themselves perfect, and the ugly sadism of violence even when it is applied justly.

The violence does make this a hard show to watch and it’s not for everyone, I admit, but it’s a brilliant piece of work nonetheless and should be experienced by all conservatives who can stomach it.

Anyone who disagrees will be dismembered and eaten.

I’m pretty sure he’s just kidding on that last item.