Thursday, November 02, 2006

Funny Business

Just a month ago I was writing about concerns expressed by the Anti-Defamation League that audiences of the new Borat movie "may not always be sophisticated enough" to understand that it's satire.

Adding injury to insult, a German human rights group has just filed a complaint against Sacha Baron Cohen, accusing the comic of "slander, inciting violence against the Sinti and Roma gypsy groups and violating Germany's anti-discrimination law." (Cohen's character, Borat, refers to himself as a former gypsy catcher.)

Not that you'd expect a robust sense of humor from a German human rights group called the European Center for Antiziganism Research, but come on! It's a joke! And it's not at all the joke these critics think it is.

When Borat sang "Throw the Jew Down the Well" in an Arizona bar for an episode of The Ali G. Show, the joke wasn't about the Jews, it was about his audience, many of whom gladly joined in to help sing the chorus. The whole point of Cohen's Borat character is to lampoon the prejudices and bigotries—or sometimes just confusion and discomfort—of the people he comes in contact with.

The outrage over the forthcoming Borat movie is just proof that there's no shortage of dimwits out there for Cohen to take advantage of. Only, unlike his on-screen victims, the apoplectic Borat-haters can't claim they thought he was for real. Which just makes it worse.
Listed on BlogShares