Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dexter, Lithgow and the Low Spark

Watching Dexter last week I noticed that his boat, the one from which he dumps his dismembered victims into the gulf stream, is called the "Slice of Life". Ha Ha, slice of life referring to Dexter's MO for body disposal...

This season of Dexter is creeping me out for another reason that just its general creepiness. Actor John Lithgow, who plays this seasons mass murderer has given me my special flavor of the creeps for years. Let me explain. Years ago, when I first read Irving's The World According to Garp, I was shaken by the character in that book, Roberta Muldoon is an ex-NFL football player who also happens to be transsexual. Even though the character is fictional, my carefully constructed partitions have always been shaken when external references to transsexuality enter the picture. A few years later, in the movie, John Lithgow brought the role of Roberta to life (well, film life). Despite his wonderful acting skills, I have not been able to enjoy Lithgow's performances since.

Cultural reference to transsexualism have always made me uncomfortable and seemingly transparent. If watching such a references in a group, I have always felt like it immobilized my "shields", as if a big spotlight were pointed at me that said, "Look at her, she is in your midst!". The first instance of this "spotlight" effect I can recall was listening to Traffic's, Low Spark of High Heeled boys. For years, even hearing that as background muzak on an elevator made me suddenly "visible".

Of course, much has changed in my life. I am visible by definition. Mostly, the guilt and shame for being who I am have been vanquished. But I still can't completely enjoy Traffic or Lithgow!