What Does Dexter Reveal About America?

Michael C. Hall discussed the European response to Dexter and how it differs from the American one.

…people are fascinated.  And I think in some markets overseas, they’re interested in the show in that it’s an American show, interested in what it might say or might not say about American culture, so that’s an added wrinkle.  It’s funny, when I was in Europe:  people over here will always say, “it’s terrible he’s killing people!” and I’ll say, “But he’s killing really bad people,” and people here will say, “Yeah, you’re right.”  In Europe they’ll say, “Yeah, but he’s still killing people!”  It’s an interesting distinction.

There is a self-righteously violent streak that disquietingly lurks within the American ethos, which I cannot help but take as a creepy confirmation of Nietzsche’s view that Christian egalitarianism and moralism have dark relationships with a violent desire for revenge.  I don’t think they’re necessarily related or inevitable by any means, but they have their own unique way of troublingly reinforcing each other.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • bluegurl

    I really dislike Dexter, and I can’t understand the fascination with him. But then I’m not american either.

  • bluegurl

    but then I suppose for years now just about every hollywood action movie tells us it’s okay to kill people if they are bad, and if someone tries to kill you its okay to massacre hundreds of people whilst taking revenge, then waltz off into the sunset with no consquences. wrong.

  • Daniel Fincke

    yes, even though I love Dexter and think there are a lot of interesting things the show has to say, it does trouble me if for much of the audience (at least in America) the moral is taken to be what you’re saying here (and what I referred to above).


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