Two men I like
I'm a bit disturbed that two men who I've been thinking about a lot lately aren't what you'd call, well... nice. One of them is a serial killer. The other is a foul-mouthed, grumpy old man.
The serial killer is Dexter, played by Michael C Hall (the gay brother from Six Feet Under) - currently closing on its second season on Showtime. Dexter is filmed in Miami, so every scene is bathed in orange light and people wear light clothes and look happy. Before you say I'm weird for liking a serial killer, I suppose I should try and mitigate myself by saying that he's nice to children, protective of his sister and girlfriend, is popular at work and only kills other serial killers who have escaped the law. Does that make it alright? Not really. It's a kind of vigilantism taken to an extreme, and Dexter's murders aren't really motivated by a higher moral sense - he witnessed his own mother chainsawed to death at an early age and it messed him up so now he has no emotions but enjoys killing people. I find the "no emotions" bit the most interesting part of Dexter - he fakes most of his social interactions because he has no empathy. I guess at times we've all put on an act if we're feeling low or whatever, but for Dexter, that's all he is - an empty box of donoughts as he describes himself in the first episode. Predictably, when Dexter's dead bodies turn up and the police realise that someone is killing off serial killers, many members of the public view him as a hero. I'm currently reading the book that the serial is based on, Darkly Dreaming Dexter - and the tv series follows the book pretty closely. There's a very likeable cast, good writing and some nice twists. I like Dexter, inspite of myself. He's my guilty pleasure #1.
Guilty pleasure #2 is angry Charlie Brooker - a British journalist and tv critic who has a Saturday column in the Guardian and a BBC4 series. BBC4 is the channel for intellectuals (remember decades ago when it used to be channel 4 - oh how that channel has sunk!) Brooker has a lot to say, and he's quite angry and cynical about lots of things. He swears a lot and often shouts, right up close in people's faces. Victor Lewis Smith used to have a similar style in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Unfortunately, what he says is often witheringly, frighteningly accurate - he's a lone ranting voice in the wilderness of crap, lazy, manipulating tv programming. Reality tv editing, aspirational advertising, media smugness - Brooker exposes it all, often while mocking himself and getting himself trapped in a confusing postmodern spiral. I love his piss-take of an ego-bloated media star taking it out on poor interns: "Where's my coffee? You're fired from London!!"
The more I watch Brooker, the more interesting I find him (despite the fact that he says he looks like a "paedophile walrus"). He may be loud and insulting - but he doesn't insult my intelligence. He should be compulsory watching.