Culture

Why Is Incest All Over Prime Time?

From "Dexter" to "Game of Thrones," incest resonates -- not because a taboo has been broken, but because it endures.
Spoiler alert: If you're behind on "Dexter," or pretty much any popular HBO series, you might not want to keep reading.

After subverting the taboo of murder with “Dexter,” a series about a lovable serial killer, Showtime has set its sights on the last nearly universal prohibition — incest.

In the sixth season finale, which aired last night, Debra comes to terms with her amorous feelings toward Dexter, her non-blood brother. The cliffhanger ending: She goes to confess her feelings and happens upon Dexter murdering another serial killer.

Dismemberment, disembowelment? Eh, no big thing. But the idea of a woman falling in love with her brother, now that gets people talking.

Incest is on the cultural radar in a big way. Again. Within the last month, a handful of popular TV shows – three of which run on the same network, HBO — have introduced incest plotlines: “Dexter,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Game of Thrones” and “Bored to Death.” What’s more, late last week, a video of a high school “incest prank,” in which student athletes were blindfolded and tricked into kissing their opposite-sex parent, went viral and was heaped with public opprobrium. Of course, incest is an age-old theme in literature, and real life, but why is it that these narratives seem to have cropped up right now?

Stay Ahead of the Rest
Sign Up for AlterNet's Daily Newsletter
+ sign up for additional lists
[x]
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Rights & Liberties
Education
Drugs
Economy
Environment
Labor
Food
World
Politics
Investigation
Personal Health
Water
Media