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From Ali G. To Borat – It’s STILL Not Funny…

By on Nov 14, 2006 in Media, Politics | 13 comments

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I first saw an Ali G. show years ago.

I laughed.

I didn’t laugh much, but I did laugh once, as I ‘got’ the joke, and then something spectacularly simple happened; I no longer found it funny. Sacha Baron Cohen was, and continues to be, a one trick pony; 1 ) lie to people, 2) subject them to a false premise conducted by somebody pretending to be even more stupid than he really is, and 3) watch them get initially frustrated by the sheer idiocy put on display, before 4) they finally grow annoyed as they realize that this is nothing but a cheap offensive waste of their time.

That was Ali G then, and that, today, is Borat.

Needless to say, since Sacha is such a one trick pony, he can never quite play the same place twice, such is notoriety. Thus, having pretty much beaten a dead horse to shreds across the ocean, he now comes to Amerika – where the audience has not yet been vaccinated to his particular brand of social offense.

It might be interesting to dwell on the possible motivations inducing a one trick Zionist comedian hack to choose a real nation, and in fact, a nation whose population is mostly Islamic to be the home of the idiot character he portrays – when a fictional nation would have served just as well. One wonders if the extra toxicity was necessary, but that is an issue deserving of a whole article in and of itself.

Of course this tendency on Sacha Baron Cohen’s part is not new. It is certainly no coincidence that his previous idiot of a character was called Ali.

It might also be interesting to wonder how an American media might react to the inverse situation; that a Muslim actor make a movie in which he plays a stupid, rude, crass, offensive, creepy, clumsy, buffoon of a Jew with the likely name of, say, Cohen.

The charges of antisemitism, I suspect, would in sheer volume drown out the cacophony of the wars raging in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Those charges of antisemitism would be leveled not only at the actor, the producers, the studio responsible, the director, but also, I suspect, at those viewers who pay to watch this offense and who laugh, and laugh, and laugh…

As though this were funny.

And yet – no such charges are spoken against Sacha Baron Cohen, or at Everyman Studios, or Four By Two, or Gold/Miller Productions, or One America, or 20th Century Fox, or Larry Charles – or the 837 theaters that screened the movie, or the audiences that have paid upwards of $70 million to enjoy the vicious venom of a vicarious racism.

How did we get here?

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13 Comments

  1. Omar

    November 14, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Yes.

    According to the world factbook, the composition is:

    Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%

  2. Islam

    November 17, 2006

    Post a Reply

    To answer your question “how did we get here?” I’d wager something to do with the one thousand year old european onslaught on or at least hostility to the islamicate world. It is a little less than a thousand years since the first crusade began. Follow that up with the decimation of Muslims in visigoth spain, then the portuguese takeover of trade in the indian ocean which had hitherto long been the mainstay of arab, and later, islamic nations, since ancient times + their occupation colonization and christianization of muslim communities on the many coasts of that vast ocean. We’re already in the 1600 now, the age of the establishment of the Dutch East India Company followed by the English East India Company and slow christianization and latinization of the peoples of the indian ocean, coupled by a decimation of muslim population and political influence in the indian subcontinent and afghanistan. In short order this was followed by the implications of the enlightenment and the culmination in the modern industrial-driven age of colonization by europeans – a time whose golden era stretched well into the mid twentieth century. By this time, the world was awash with political ideologies and social orders, all originating in Europe, such as nationalism, fascism, communism, mercantile and military capitalism and now globalization and neo-colonialism in which we see ancient hostilities to islam per se having metastatized into critiques ranging from obstructing international free trade, to obstructing human rights and social progress.
    I think this is why we now have this glaring contrast which you have so eloquently framed in your post.

  3. Anonymous

    November 17, 2006

    Post a Reply

    It most definitely is funny.

    You should worry less about comedy and movies and more about real issues.

  4. Holly

    November 18, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Last year, Israeli politicians protested a planned speech in parliament by German President Horst Köhler, arguing that his address, to be made in German, was an insult to Holocaust survivors. The mere sound of German was too difficult for some members of Parliament to bear.

    Last year, I went out to dinner with friends in NYC. The group was a mix of German (Christians) and American (Jews). I was told after the meal that some of my friends, whose family survived the Holocaust, didn’t feel comfortable with Germans at the table.

    As I currently live in Germany and raise my son -who is half German- I know that he has to live with the weight of this history. The weight of understanding World War II, genocide and hate. It is not a question of whether he will have to answer to this history, it is a question of when.

    So perhaps you can understand that this is not just a “comedy” or a “movie” for our family.

    People chanting “throw Jews down the well” is not funny to us. Not by a long shot.

  5. TedMcClure

    November 19, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Dear Omar – You got it almost exactly right.

    [by the way try this guy for a really FINE blog:
    http://360.yahoo.com/profile-Nf6j_0wzbqqP9df0PwLX1XlZ5Q–?cq=1
    ]

    Cohen is a dumbdowner of world cultural intelligence and ONE of the INTENTIONAL influences that seek to denigrate ALL noble instincts and ALL gallant actions – by portraying us All trite indulgent animalistic types that will join in his humour of denigration.

    GEORGE CARLIN is a really funny yet ethical comedian – who many commercial venues refuse to carry.

    NICKOLAS VON HOFFMAN who writes extremely honest yet political commentary for the NATION magazine – is leagues above anything like Cohen.

    Cohen appeals to the lowest demoninator in people that can be found and to especially the Vulgarly unintelligent – Yet at the same time doing a reverse psychology job of showing and ‘ignorant’ hatred for the Jews – so as to make the Israelis especially look like intelligent, sensitive, brave ‘Victims’.

    The Borat vulgar-crowd phenomemom is pure and intentional ethical poison.

    But the ACCEPTANCE of this GARBAGE all starts in brainprograming indoctrination of the National public schools of each country.

    Almost every country teaches and indoctrinates the common student with SelfServing Approving LIES about the Rightness of ALL “THEIR” countries actions. And the public schools TEACH political predjudice such as teaching that THEIR country’s political system is the BEST and the only good one to have.

    These young people Subconsciously sense that they are getting mostly LIES and it so Depresses them and the falseness of the Rule of the Rich system so depresses them – that they will JUMP at the chance for even the VULGARIST of escapes like Cohen’s ‘Borat’.

    This guy and his producers films are Cultural Poison for the world.

  6. TedMcClure

    November 19, 2006

    Post a Reply

    By the way Omar – These blogger sites ARE hacked.
    depending upon the country area or the ComputerUsers IP.

    For instance – the “Word Verification” slot made me enter letter FIVE times (5) before it finally accepted my post.

    How many people do you thing are going to keep putting in letters in the “word verification” slot 5 times or more to comment in your blog?

    You probably have lost 1000s of possible CONTACTS through the blogger service making it VERY DIFFICULT to leave a comment on your site – Depending probably on the Country or area of the country that the comment comes from – OR EVER on whether the Commentator is commenting from a government surveilled Computer IP – which many people’s computers in the U.S. are under government surveilance.

    Are you fairly nonchalant or unconcerned about such things? or do you take them seriously? I’d like to know?

    Ted

  7. TedMcClure

    November 19, 2006

    Post a Reply

    I noticed that you asked, “How did we get here?”

    It is not too difficult to deduce IF you have looked over American and AIPAC influenced historical War Intervention and Invasion Cycles over the past 60 years.

    Of course if you are not a student of history – You will NEVER figure out what has been going on.

    But let me repost an analysis that describes the PRESENT Neocon/Israeli Activity situation.

    That may even bring the phenomenom of ‘Borat’ to understandability – for the astute at least.
    ______________________

    ‘HASBARA’ IS VERY WORRIED ABOUT THE TREND OF OPINION AGAINST THEIR OCCUPIERS AND THEIR U.S.-BRIT NEOCON SUPPORTERS

    THEY ARE SCRAMBLING IN A PANIC ALL OVER THE NET TO DO DAMAGE CONTROL – AS ONE SEES EVERYWHERE NOW – >PEOPLE ANGRY WITH THE U.S. FOR THEIR SLAUGHTER AND TORTURE IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN,

    >-ANGRY ABOUT THE U.S. ADMINISTRATIONS CRIMINAL ATROCITY-DESTRUCTION OF THE WTC- ,

    >ANGRY ABOUT THE GRADUALLY APPROACHING HOLOCAUST OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE BY THE ISRAELI ZIONIST OCCUPIERS.

    SOMEHOW THE ‘WORD’ HAS GOTTEN OUT EVEN THOUGH THEY CONTROL ALL THE COMMERCIAL NEWS MEDIA:: – ABOUT THEIR KILLINGS AND TORTURES AND BRIBERY-EMBEZZELMENT DEALS IN IRAQ. WITNESSES ARE TELLING PEOPLE AND THE NET IS SPREADING THE WITNESS ACCOUNTS – AND UP TO NOW THE ONLY WAY THE PENTAGON-CIA AND HASBARA CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO COUNTER IT – IS TO GET AS MANY MEDIOCRE-MIND OPERATIVES OUT ON THE NET AS THEY CAN.

    (AND TO DIVERT PEOPLE FROM THE REAL SUFFERING OF MUSLIMS AND PALESTINIANS GARBAGE LIKE COHEN’S “BORAT”)

    FAIRLY SOON OF COURSE THE GOVERNMENTS WILL HACK AND BLOCK ALL INTERNET SITES – AND THEN
    ‘TRUTH’ WILL BE MANUFACTURED ENTIRELY BY FOX-NEWS THE WAY THEY WANT IT TO BE.

    BUT EVEN RIGHT NOW, THEY HAVE THEIR MULTIPLE ID SOCKPUPPETS PUTTING UP SERIAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORTING POSTS UNDER FALSE ID NAMES THAT COME UP SUDDENDLY HOPING TO DO DAMAGE CONTROL.

    AND THERE MAY BE MORE PRO-NEOCON, PRO-U.S. AND PRO-ZIONIST PEOPLE WHO WILL CONTINUE TO PROLIFERATE ON THE NET UNDER EVEN MORE SOCKPUPPET NAMES. LOOK FOR MORE, OTHER ‘NAMES’ TO COME ON HERE SOON. (ALWAYS PHONY ANGLO, IRISH OR MUSLIM PSUEDONYMS OF COURSE)

    THE NEOCON/HASBARA AXIS IS REALLY WORRIED AT THIS POINT. THEY HAVE TO CONTEND WITH THE COMBINED INFLUENCES OF :
    ______________________________________________________

    THEIR ‘OVERT’ OPPONENTS: *ALL* DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED(Except Castro who was chosen by referendum endorsement originally)::

    MORALES IN PERU

    ORTEGA IN NICARAGUA

    RAUL CASTRO IN CUBA

    CHAVEZ IN VENEZUELA

    AMADINAJAD IN IRAN

    HEZBOLLAH IN LEBANNON THE PALESTINIANS
    ________________________________

    AND FOR POSSIBLY COVERT OPPORTUNIST OPPONENTS::

    SYRIA WHOM THEY CAN’T AVOID AS A MIDEAST ‘NEGOTIATOR’

    THE ARGENTINES WHO DON’T LIKE U.S. NEOCON POLICY

    RUSSIA’S PUTIN AS ONLY HALF-HEARTED SUPPORT FOR THEIR SLAUGHTER

    CHINA’S (ONLY INTERESTED IN MARKETS AND OIL) NEUTRALITY

    AND MUCH OF EUROPE VACILLATING ON THE FENCE EITHER WAY AT TIMES.

    AND THEN THE IRAQIS AND THE AFGHANS HAVE TURNED OUT TO BE MUCH MORE STUBBORN OPPONENTS THAN THE U.S. NEOCON & ISRAELI INVASION PLANNERS HAD COUNTER ON.

    ALL THE SLAUGHTER IN THE WORLD TODAY IS ABOUT THE U.S. TAKING OVER THE OIL AND ISRAEL TAKING OVER PALESTINE.

    SO THE U.S. AND HASBARA IS PULLING OUT EVERY MEDIA NEWS ‘PLUG’ TO TRY TO GET PEOPLE TO BELIEVE THAT ALL THIS IS CONNECTED TO ‘ISLAM’ AND “heh” ‘Terror attacks’

    ‘BAD’ MUSLIM ISLAMICS ARE TO BLAME FOR ALL THIS WAR FOR OUR OIL TAKE-OVER AND PALESTINE TAKE-OVER – THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO GET PEOPLE TO BELIEVE.

    THEY KNOW THAT TIME IS AGAINST THEM – SO WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS DEVELOPING MASS MURDEROUS WEAPONS OF CROWD-CONTROL TECHNOLOGY AS FAST AS THEY CAN – SO THAT THEY CAN ATTACK ALL FREE SPEECH GATHERINGS AND ASSEMBLIES AND END ALL MEETINGS OF PEOPLE AND PUBLIC SPEECHES (OTHER THAN BY GOV APPROVED PEOPLE OF COURSE).

    THE “ACTIVE DENIAL” DEVICE….
    IS JUST ABOUT READY FOR MASS PRODUCTION TO BURN CROWDS ALIVE. THE …..

    “DIME” MULTIPLE PERSON KILLER IS BEING USED IN ISRAEL. …..

    …THE NEW “LASER CANNONS”(see the “video Star Wars in Iraq”) HAVE ALREADY BEEN USED ON PEOPLE IN FALLUJA IN IRAQ. …..

    …THE “METAL STORM” WALL OF EXPLOSIVE BULLETS IS CLOSE TO PRODUCTION LEVEL AS IS

    ….THE SOUND WAVE DISINTEGRATION PROJECTOR.

    BUT THEY ARE MOST OF ALL HOPING TO HAVE

    …..MOBILE RADIO FREQUENCY WAVE PROJECTORS IN OPERATION SOON THAT WILL SO MENTALLY DISORIENT PEOPLE’S MINDS WHEN FOCUSED ON AN AREA, THAT THEY WILL BE HELPLESS TO TO ANYTHING.

    THIS MEDIA BLITZ THAT WE SEE IS ONLY A -TEMPORARY- ‘HOLDING’ OPERATION, UNTIL THEY GET THE BULK OF THEIR TECHNOLOGICAL WEAPONS OPERATIONAL ON US.

    THEY ARE ONLY DEPENDING ON PROPAGANDA UNTIL THE DATE WHEN THEY CAN GET THEIR NEW TECH WEAPONS OPERATIONAL.

    GOOGLE ANY OF THIS STUFF I HAVE MENTIONED IN QUOTES – AND YOU WILL SEE THAT EVERYTHING I MENTIONED HAS ALREADY BEEN USED IN PROTOTYPE.

    THERE ARE TYPES NOW DISRUPTING MANY SITES WITH SERIAL POSTS, WHO ARE MERELY THE LACKEY FOOT-SOLDIER GOONS OF THEIR DICTATORIAL MASTERS.

    THE CONSPIRACY ANALYSES (WTC, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, PALESTINE, LONDON BOMBINGS WHEN THE POLICE WHERE ON MOCK BOMBING MANEUVERS!)HAVE BEEN NOW PROVED FACTUAL AND ONLY THE “NON-CONSPIRACY WHACKOS” ARE THE STUPID ONES OR THE GOVERNMENT DISINFORMATION HYPOCRITES.

    ONE OF THE SADNESSES OF THE MUSLIM WORLD IS THE BETRAYAL OF THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE BY COUNTRY ADMINISTRATIONS OF THEIR OWN MUSLIM BROTHERS.

    JORDAN

    SAUDI ARABIA

    AND EGYPT

    ARE ALL NOW DOING THE BIDDING OF AIPAC AND ISRAEL.

    AND YOU WONDER HOW WE GOT TO THIS ABOMINATION OF ‘BORAT’?

    I THINK YOU CAN SEE THE FACTUAL NEOCON/ISRAELI GLOBAL CONSPIRACY IS NO FANTASY.

  8. mike

    November 30, 2006

    Post a Reply

    Kazakhstan is mostly islamic? asked anon, to which Omar replied, yes.

    But according to Omar’s world factbook facts the Kazakhstani composition is 47% muslim and 53% other, which would mean that it isn’t mostly Islamic, more thatn half the population being non muslim. If you’re going to use facts to back up an assertion, they really should back up the assertion.

  9. Anonymous

    December 7, 2006

    Post a Reply

    It’s funny because no one cares. The sooner the world can laugh about it the better. Nobody in his show wants to throw Jews down a well; it’s just a funny social commentary. How far will people go to please the foreigner and make him feel comfortable? That’s the main theme that you see in the show.

    Don’t pull this crap out that my grandpa was a holocaust survivor and it offends me. It’s obviously making the Jew hater look like an idiot. Is he Islamic? No, hes just some random farm raised superstitious 3rd world dude.

    If you can’t laugh about it, grow a pair. Nobody wants to kill you or your children.

  10. Anonymous

    December 26, 2006

    Post a Reply

    I just wanted to say that I completely agree with you, and would go a bit further. I consider Cohen to be deliberately creating stupid characters who are muslim and (in Borat’s case) wildly anti-semitic in order to de-legitimize criticism of Israel. His mom’s from Israel and he goes to Israel for vacation. I guess mentioning that he is an Orthodox Jew is unfair, but, well, he is. Is it unfair to ask about his views on the Arab-Israeli crisis? My wife points out that most artists have strong political beliefs, which is fine. I’m pissed off that the American media presents him as “making fun of antisemitism and prejudice” when he is actually practicing prejudice himself. I am an atheist scot from Connecticut, not a Muslim – I must be antisemitic like Jimmy Carter, right? Sigh.

  11. It’s a pity you’re in Egypt. That was my exact response, and I live in a medium size city in the States.

    Honestly, if something isn’t funny to you, you can’t make a deal of it. You’ll be accused of being strident and humorless.

    Tell the paranoid commenter that’s how blogspot is. you’re not being singled out. it’s the captcha.

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