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Wave of hatred

From the UK:

Attacks on Britain's Jews have risen to the highest level since records began.

A study published today shows the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents has almost tripled in 10 years, with more than half the attacks last year taking place in London.

The findings prompted the report's authors to warn of a "wave of hatred" against Jews.

The number of incidents increased to 594 last year, up by 31 per cent on the previous year.

Violent assaults soared to 112, up by more than a third on 2005.

Gee, I sure am glad that Sacha Baron Cohen left his native UK to come to America disguised as a boorish Kazakh journalist so that he expose the virulent, dangerous anti-Semitism in places like Tucson.


"Gee, I sure am glad that Sacha Baron Cohen left his native UK to come to America disguised as a boorish Kazakh journalist so that he expose the virulent, dangerous anti-Semitism in places like Tucson."

Me, too. Probably the funniest movie ever.

I agree with Fred.

Also, you really are a bit reactionary on this when you fail to realize that Borat was a movie made with the purpose of making money. It had very little, if anything, to do with genuine political statements. You take it personally. If Cohen had made the movie in Britain then his audience here would have been a fraction of what he got and the movie wouldn't have made nearly as much money.

First of all, yes, it was funny.

Second of all, yes, I also agree that it was about making money, and I also believe the "social commentary" aspects of the movie are commonly exaggerated. In terms of the movie's success, all the social commentary clearly took a backseat to "let's get the fat guy naked!" Besides, I went to college at the University of South Carolina, and trust me when I tell you that you do not have to pose incognito as a Kazakh journalist to get drunken frat boys to behave like racist louts. BFD.

He made a funny movie. It made a lot of money. I guess I'd have a lot more respect for the guy if he were honest about it, though. Have you read the interviews he's done in "Rolling Stone" and other places? It's cloying. He's not just saying he's made a funny, commercially successful movie; he actually tries to cast himself as some modern de Tocqueville on a mission or something. It's that phony sanctimony that bugs the crap out of me.

What is so wrong with showing certain people and/or segments of American society for the boobs that they are? Doesn't mean all 300 million of us are like that.
I think you're overthinking this thing. It was a hilarious look at how some in this country act, behave, think and live. The 'Borat' segments on Da Ali G Show were equally as funny and eyebrow-raising, at times.

I think that part of the movie is social commentary based upon people’s reaction to what he does. Another part of it is social commentary based on what all of us (Cohen included) assume to be stereotypically true of someone form a backwards country.

For example the naked wrestling in the hotel room, the times he was getting dressed and was getting “fluffed” by the fat guy, the scene with the chicken escaping from his suitcase, the scenes in Kazakhstan showing his sister as a prostitute, and the car being pulled by goats, etc.
All of those scenes aren’t referencing how the “ignorant ugly American” reacts to him. These scenes all rely on the stereotypes of the viewer.

It wouldn’t seem funny if he was a Jewish journalist from Queens kissing his sister, the number one prostitute in New York, nor would it be funny if he was taken to the airport in a car pulled by goats. It would just come off as confusing and probably stupid because we don’t associate those stereotypes with that demographic, however we do with someone from Kazakhstan.

Don’t get me wrong, I laughed too and I found it funny. I’m not trying to preach, but I think that’s the problem Barry has with Cohen. He’s acting as if it’s all some type of noble comedic experiment, when half the time it’s exposing his own prejudices as much as anyone else’s. Which is fine because we all have them, but don’t act like you’re somehow above it – especially when you’re making a film that shows that you’re not.

...And "Airplane" was insulting to pilots.

Maybe Cohen was just trying to make a funny movie. It wasn't directed by a social scientist but by Larry Charles of 'Seinfeld' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' fame.

> Maybe Cohen was just trying to make a funny movie.

I think he sees his purpose as quite a bit grander than that. From his "Rolling Stone" interview:

"Borat essentially works as a tool," Baron Cohen says. "By himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice, whether it's anti-Semitism or an acceptance of anti-Semitism. 'Throw the Jew Down the Well' [a song performed at a country & western bar during Da Ali G Show] was a very controversial sketch, and some members of the Jewish community thought that it was actually going to encourage anti-Semitism. But to me it revealed something about that bar in Tucson. And the question is: Did it reveal that they were anti-Semitic? Perhaps. But maybe it just revealed that they were indifferent to anti-Semitism.

"I remember, when I was in university I studied history, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, 'The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.' I know it's not very funny being a comedian talking about the Holocaust, but I think it's an interesting idea that not everyone in Germany had to be a raving anti-Semite. They just had to be apathetic."

More power to him, then.

He makes a good point, I hope however that he realizes it extends beyond anti-semitism. As indifferent as those in the bar might have been towards anti-semitism, he himself is somewhat indifferent towards anti-Kazhakism, and so by extension are we all when we laugh at it.

And that isn’t in and of itself so bad. I think we all laugh at ethnic jokes, because they’re funny. Why are they funny? Because they’re based on stereotypes that have a basis in truth. The funny thing about human beings is that this type of humor is ok – as long as the group in question hasn’t been persecuted severely (such as in the holocaust or slavery). Then it’s taboo – unless of course you’re a member of that group then it’s ok. Why? Because we all know that as a member of that group they don’t really mean it, but we can’t extend that benefit of the doubt to anyone else.

That’s why we all have situations where we can say certain things or make certain jokes around those who we know well, because they know us well enough to understand that we aren’t really bigots.

> He makes a good point, I hope however that he realizes it extends beyond anti-semitism.

Or beyond red-state America, for that matter. But I don't see that happening. Kristallnacht II will break out in his home continent of Europe, and SBC will still be trying to embarrass affable, line-dancing rubes in Amarillo.

'taint his job to save the world, though...

Someone should tell him.

Other than the Rolling Stone piece, I haven't heard much at all from "Borat" or Cohen in any serious or preachy vein. Has he spoken at rallies against anti-semitism? At the Million Man March? At last week's anti-war rally?

Besides, 'Borat' the character is dead now anyway because he'd be too recognizable to pull off any more antics.

Didn't see any interviews. I just relied on my common sense and calm, rational mind to reach my conclusions. Is he being sanctimonious about finding racism in America? Well motes and beams and eyes and all that, sure. But I give him a pass because the bit about his partners anus and two wrinkled testicles that he said at the Golden Globe was so funny that it rates him a free pass unleast until the Oscars are over. That guy cracked me up completely when he accepted his Golden Globe. Mrs DBK didn't find it nearly so entertaining, but it killed me.

There is no such thing as a "hate crime" or "hate speech" -- both are Orwellian thought crimes.

The insidious "hate" protections are simply a way to pervert the law with special protections for certain groups.

We can't allow the government juridiction over our thoughts and opinions. It is against the law to assault people. It is against the law to conspire to do harm to others.

So, special "hate" laws are not neede for law enforcement -- they are simply another attack on your personal freedoms.

Be careful what opinions you have, some may be illegal!

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