Thursday, January 9, 2014

reaching for the stars

My daughter sicced me on to a TV serial called "Dexter" yesterday. She's hooked on the tale of an asexual serial killer who works for the Miami police department as a blood-splatter expert. I watched one episode last night and found it coherent enough to be enjoyably weird... edgy ... not entirely credible, but credible enough to keep me up past my bed time. I like fictional accounts that sniff along the cheek-by-jowl contradictions that make human beings interesting.

Is it strange or am I imagining it -- how hard anyone might work to be in control, to be socially acceptable, to find a nook in which to ply a mental or physical trade, to be some version of sane and yet simultaneously be nudged and nagged by a desire to reach for the stars, to step away from the warming nook and chart a course that is -- from the nook's point of view -- insane?

In the night sky, the stars twinkle, but, as I understand it, the twinkling represents events that happened years ago ... that's how long it takes for the light to reach the earth. So the delight and wonder of the twinkling stars is a fantasy ... for all anyone knows, the twinkling star may no longer actually exist. In this, reaching for the stars amounts to reaching for the past and no one in a sane condition attempts to live in a past that cannot be grasped.

And yet reaching for the stars is a very human pastime.

Does anyone reaching for whatever star stop to ask, "What would you have if you had it?" What would you have if you won the lottery? What would you have if you attained enlightenment? What would you have if you actually could levitate? What would you have if you had multiple husbands or wives? What would you have if you won the Nobel prize?

Before the fact, the star twinkles and beckons and can inspire an insane effort. But once the twinkling is in hand ... well, what is it that is in hand? Before the fact, what twinkles is huge and desirable and good. But it is also unknown in its particulars ... which never stopped an overactive imagination from "just knowing" how satisfying things might be.

Twinkle, twinkle. Go for it.

And if you find out what "it" is, please let me know.


  1. Dexter was not a sexual serial killer, fyi. That is a particular type, and he did not fit that category. He was certainly a serial killer, but without the sexual fetishism that characterizes some.

  2. Typo ... should have written asexual, not a sexual ... tnx.

  3. Well, he was not asexual either, since he experienced several romantic relationships in the course of the series. He was indeed a fascinating character, overall, and the series was especially adept at showing how a rather sociopathic soul could transition into a feeling being over time, based on honest self-inquiry.


  4. OK ... I stand corrected. The asexual reference was based on the first two episodes and his own declarations ... he didn't feel what others felt and/or when he did feel moved, everything got confused. Also, I'm no shrink, but if, as I keep hearing, the central character were sociopathic (or whatever the p.c. term is these days), I would have thought sexual relationships would be on his agenda, though not in any especially loving sense.

    Oh well, back to the series.

  5. Oedipalonious GoneawryJanuary 9, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Dexter, Eh?

    Watched the show a couple of times. I wasn't impressed. More importantly I wasn't taken with the premise of the show early on with it's serial killings, convoluted relationships, and misleading, or, if you perfer, self-deludedly errorneous self-descriptions. I used to like the self-narations of the '80 like in Magnum P. I. and MacGuyver; but those were simpler perfectly insightful days before the complex and potentially freer days of cable.

    But I prefer "cleaner" serial killers of serial killers like Charles Bronson.

    BTW -- You do know it's in its seventh season? So you've got a lot of catching up to do!

    Regarding sexuality, you do know Dexter has a son? New Yorkers were forced fed that information of that on the sides of buses and in the subways.

    Did his step-father turn out to be his real father? Personally I don't care, but may be it's relevant to new viewers who like its convoluted sets of relationships.

    You can Wikipedia the show to get an overview of sorts.