12 responses to “On Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter: It’s not ok for police to immobilise PWD for questioning”

  1. AWV

    This is really too bad because the beginning of the scene seems good. The guy is an obnoxious jerk, like any other character might be, it’s not just like “OHHH HE’S IN A WHEELCHAIR HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY OTHER TRAITS.” And then. Why is it so hard for people to realize that it’s not acceptable to hold people with disabilities to a different standard–that non-disabled people don’t have special rights to treat PWDs badly? I mean, I feel like it’s so ingrained that people don’t even think about it that way, but they just think of PWDs as being so different that standard rules don’t apply.

  2. QLH

    Wow, was that badly written. Ugh. (The chapter! Not the post. To be clear.)

    And I’m horrified and disgusted by Dexter unplugging the wheelchair. Completely crosses the line. Entirely unjustified.

    Whenever I see someone grabbing someone else’s wheelchair, I have a physical reaction, as if I’m witnessing an assault. It’s such a serious invasion/violation of personal space, bodily autonomy, etc. And it’s so very normalized, as if that’s a perfectly okay thing to do.

    The link in the post, to the duct-taping teacher, I’m afraid to click. It just sounds horrific.

  3. doorslam

    QLH, totally agreed on the quality of the writing. Wow, ouch.

    I’ve only read the first book, so I could be wrong about the tone, but it seems like we were supposed to support and applaud Dexter. Like he’s done some kind of awesome, righteous thing. The self-congratulatory tone of the narration was the worst. Which, I know, it’s from Dexter’s POV, but it still seems pretty clear that we’re supposed to be laughing at Meza’s frustration.

  4. Ang

    I’ve only read the first Dexter book, but your comment above dovetails with my impression of how the reader is supposed to respond to Dexter. But yes, the unplugging thing is problematic because it reflects the fact that immobilizing someone disabled is seen as normal and acceptable in society.

    We seem to be hearing about so many such incidents lately… I hope that’s because they are being challenged more and happening less behind closed doors than they used to; rather than that we’re hearing about it more because it’s happening more. It’s very interesting and instructive to see how the problem is reflected in popular culture.

  5. Kaitlyn

    That is horrible, and from what I’ve read about the books, I think I’m sticking with the series.

    But I can’t resist this, it’s pulling me I have to say it –

    HE KILLS PEOPLE. Chops them up while they’re conscious. Sure, they killed people, but he’s a serial killer.

    I knew this would happen when I started watching the show. “I can’t believe Dexter just TRAPPED a wheelchair user! How cruel!” “…Dexter? That show with the serial killer?” “Um, yeah… but this happens to people in real life!”

    I’m not saying it’s not horrific in real life (is Dexter’s action a sign that he’s degenerating in the book version while he’s being more “human” in the show?) but it’s still cracking me up. It had to be Dexter. Not Debra. Not Angel. Not Doakes. If it had been someone else, I could focus on the horror.

    Wait – what was Dexter doing there? In the show, his role is quite realistic – he only investigates for his “hobby” – for his job, he’s not a cop, he’s a technician.

    Speaking of Dexter and PWD – first episode of the 2nd season, he’s going to kill a blind man who’s killed others. (Typical) He says in the voiceover that he doesn’t discriminate.

  6. Esme

    Excellent post. I recognize that Dexter is supposed to be an anti-hero, but generally speaking, if your protagonist does something awful like that, there’s meant to be some sort of punishment, some remorse, some indication that your character isn’t a cruel. thoughtless jerk; or if he is such a jerk, some indication that what he just did is WRONG and an example of him being a jerk. Here, it seems to me that what Dexter has done seems acceptable, both by his sister’s standards and the author’s. And that just oozes privilege.

  7. Whirlwitch

    I have some issues with the way Meza’s movements are described. His chair, and the fact that he’s in it, are being mentioned way more often than necessary. For example, “he followed her around in his chair” is superfluous at the point it is written, because we have already very well established that he is in a chair, and he moves in it. It’s as if the author is worried that if he doesn’t mention the chair Every Single Time he talks about Meza moving, we’ll forget and think he’s walking.

    Similarly, there’s an over-focus on Meza’s fingers, with some bizarre phrasing. “He used one of the fingers to twitch at a joystick” is an odd way of describing the motion, almost giving the impression that Meza is not using his own fingers.

    And then there’s this: “…a really impressive amount of hostility, considering he was in a motorized wheelchair…”. What does the wheelchair have to do with how much hostility Meza feels or expresses?

    The cumulative effect is that Lindsay can’t stop marveling over the oddness of a man in a wheelchair doing things, and has to explain and re-explain every nuance because it’s otherwise too difficult to grasp.

  8. Avalon's Willow

    Wow, that is one HARDCORE COP and one HARDCORE SERIAL KILLER – immobilizing the disabled because he doesn’t bow down to authority.


    [/ end sarcasm]


    Somehow I’m glad I stopped reading this series a while ago. All that bullshit subtext about how apparently being in a wheelchair damaged a man’s ability to feel and think; all that bullshit subtext of ‘he thought he was an independent human being with rights, but we sure showed him‘. The currently able bodied white female cop having to assert her place on the kyriarchy totem pole by pushing someone else down and doing her best impression of a cis, het, ablist white (disrespectful)male – ugh.

  9. Kaitlyn

    Lauredhel – I wasn’t laughing at you or the points you raised. Just the acceptance of the “morality” of Dexter’s world.

    I should not have posted that, I’m sorry.

  10. nakedthoughts

    there are so many problems with that piece of text. Not just that they imoboloized him, not just that the character is considered strange and foreign due to his disability. But that a cop asked to come in, he said “no”. instead of respecting the citizens rights, they try to lure him into conversation outside his door. (you never have to answer any questions a cop asks you, and if they don’t have a warrant you have the right to refuse a search or refuse them entry into your home.)

    They should have left when he said no the first time. if not then, when he said no the second time. get a warrant if you want to arrest of search.