When I first heard about the show and the controversies surrounding its disregard of the victims’ families, I thought there would be people who defend the show, saying they have the right to enjoy even the most exploitative entertainment.
But, it seems there are people who defend the show for moral reasons.
Disclosure: I haven’t watched the show and I have no interest to. I am more interested in breaking down the opinions which argue not only for its moral justifiability, but also moral necessity.
First thing first, they argue this show is an exposé of police ineptitude and bigotry, which can be an eye-opener to many people.
Second, they argue the show showcases the dark side of humanity, how humans can do the most despicable things to each other, how life isn’t all flowers and rainbows. In fact, they believe the dark content can be a cautionary tale for all of us to be more vigilant, especially in the presence of strangers.
Now, let me break them down.
We are in 2022. At this point, you should have heard many discourses regarding police incompetence and bigotry. If the show opens your eyes to their existence, it is not a testament of its quality. It is a testament of how out-of-touch you are.
Also, there has been so many works about serial killers… and about Dahmer specifically. If something is depicted once or a few times, it would be emotionally impactful. But, once it becomes a recurring and overused theme, people will be desensitised to it.
Oh, and if their abundance fails to make us vigilant against serial killers, what makes you think this one show is any different?
So no, the so-called “benefits” are not worth retraumatising the victims’ still living families. What’s the point of reopening old wounds when you have no intention to heal them permanently?
I don’t know exactly why people make those defenses.
It may be naivety.
They may naively believe the show’s creators care about educating the masses, despite the fact that media people are infamous for their greed, and every person who watches the show only cares about learning, despite the fact that some are entertained by exploitations and others love glorifying serial killers. They contradict themselves: they want to learn about the dark side of mankind and yet, they assume others have nothing but the purest intentions.
They may naively believe entertainment is the best tool to enlighten the masses, despite the fact that entertainers often oversimplify, exaggerate and dramatise the facts and aren’t obligated to be unbiased, despite the fact that people won’t learn anything unless they have the desire to.
It may not be naivety.
It may be their attempts to mask their love of exploitative entertainment, fearing they will be judged harshly for their inability to enjoy anything which isn’t remotely edgy.
I tend to believe it is mostly a naivety issue. But, knowing humans, the latter is a high possibility.
Does that mean people need to stop making Dahmer content until all of his victims’ families die?
Yes, the answer is yes.
I believe that we are allowed to make any content as we desire; banning can be a dangerous slippery slope. But, we should always remember that heartlessness is an option.
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