Dexter Season 1, Google's China Policy, and Blasphemy (way to segue!)

I am working my through Season 1 of Dexter. It is slow going. Not because it is poorly written, but because I find it so disturbing. When something is on TV you have to watch it or miss it (so 90s), but on when watching on DVD you can come up for air if needed.

Dexter is a psychopathic serial killer, who only kills other serial killers. The violence in Dexter is not cartoony, and although much of it happens off screen it is still a bit disturbing at times. But what worries me most is that Dexter might get caught. Having already paid good money for Season 2, it is safe to assume that he doesn't get caught, but I find the suspense and the tension too engaging at times.

Feeling for Dexter is strange. It does not sit comfortably with me and I wonder if the show is experienced differently by US and non-US audiences. Dexter goes to great lengths to ensure that he only kills bad people who have beat the system. This makes it OK, sort of. And this is a recurring theme. In one episode a police officer shoots someone in broad daylight apparently without cause. We subsequently learn that the victim was a very bad man who had done very bad things in Haiti. So that made it OK.

The show is set in Florida, where, no doubt, evil serial killers end up being executed anyway. So Dexter is only meting out justice really. But if your value system does not accept the basic premise of the death penalty, his actions are harder to justify.

With only two episodes to go I hope the climax does not disappoint.


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As a total aside I was very impressed the other day to hear on NPR the Google CEO's explanation of the company's China policy. After all, Google should and must comply with the laws of the countries where it does business. What fascinated me was the 19th century anthropologist tone of condescension about countries with no political freedom and no human rights. But of course laws vary from place to place. If Google's technology was used by law enforcement agencies in the US to capture and convict a teenage murderer, most Europeans would be horrified by company's role were the teenager to be subsequently executed. But Google isn't responsible for the laws of the US. And lest I delude myself that I come from a society more civilized that both China and the US, it is worth noting that it won't be Google's fault, if one day my blog results in my being convicted in Ireland of blasphemy. I won't be dissing any saviours, prophets, nor space aliens (you know who you are) any time soon.

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