First of all, I don't think he's that funny. Well ok, sometimes he is, but
his roles are often directed towards Arabs/Muslims and it's getting old.
Lately there was an ad which featured Ashton Kutcher as an "Indian"
with a brown face and a funny accent, well they took the ad down due
to so many complaints saying it was racist and offensive.
Sacha Baron Cohen is doing exactly what white American actors did in the past
when they portrayed black people, with black painted face and a funny accent.
Now he's doing it with a brown face, a beard and a funny accent.
Great article from Dean Obeidallah:
Cohen, who is not of Arab heritage, plays this Arab character while sporting a long fake beard and speaking in a strong Arabic accent, which would
be fine, except the character is showcasing the worst stereotypes of Arabs.
For example, at a news conference in New York City this week promoting his film, Cohen exclaimed: “Welcome devils of the Zionist media and death to
the West.” He then joked about liking TV shows that showed Arab terrorists killing Americans and admiring fashion designer John Galliano for hating
To me, this is essentially the same as white performers in blackface portraying black people in buffoonish negative stereotypes for the enjoyment of
But I am not advocating a ban on offensive comments or the telling of culturally insensitive jokes. I certainly am not calling for more PC comedy.
I’m not calling for a boycott of anyone nor asking for one more insincere “I’m sorry to all those who were offended by me” from a celebrity.
I’m in no way arguing that Arab culture is off-limits or cannot be mocked. I’m a comedian of Arab heritage and have performed comedy shows not
only for Arab-American groups across the United States, but also in the Middle East, from Egypt to Qatar to Saudi Arabia. I find the biggest laughs
are elicited when performers hold up a comic mirror to Arab culture.
But for some reason, the entertainment industry appears to truly enjoy ridiculing “brown” people, Arabs and Indians, and has no qualms about
casting people not of our heritage to portray us. Indeed, just last week Popchips snack company found itself embroiled in a controversy because an ad
showed Ashton Kutcher playing an Indian character in brownface, similar to what Cohen is doing in “The Dictator.”
Is Dean unfamiliar with the larger body of Cohen's work?
SBC has basically skewered every single group, religion, and sacred thing you can think of, including his own Judaism. Personally, I used to find him
funny, but he's really just too crass for me these days. But to charge him as racist because he merely dared to encroach on making fun of yet another
group, with whom he has already sparred, in a more focused fashion is absurd.
Dean makes fun of Arab stereotypes all the time, and he also stereotypes other groups to facilitate this otherwise taboo subject.
He must have an album or tour coming up, because his dog don't hunt.
Exactly. Cohen's comedy (or at least attempt at such) is no different than that portrayed in The Simpsons and South Park. Focusing on stereotypes and
over-exaggerating the extremes. Borat - hardly a good example of the average citizen of Kazakhstan. Brüno - perfect example of a gay stereotype. And
so on. This is what comedians do - doesn't necessarily make them racist. Or funny.
Edit to add:
HBO spokesman Quentin Schaffer has replied to criticism concerning Baron Cohen's characters, "Through his alter-egos, he delivers an obvious
satire that exposes people's ignorance and prejudice in much the same way All in the Family did years ago." Regarding his portrayal as the
anti-Semitic Borat, Baron Cohen says the segments are a "dramatic demonstration of how racism feeds on dumb conformity, as much as rabid bigotry",
rather than a display of racism by Baron Cohen himself.
He always plays foreign characters, in Sweeney Todd he's an Italian guy. He doesn't discriminate though, so no. He plays on stereotypes, not just
around other countries though, Ali G was from his own country.
edit on 18-5-2012 by SpearMint because: (no reason given)
People often use comedy or jokes to make light of very serious situations as a way of coping with the pain of living in such a whacked out world. This
guy's comedy showcases his talents - he isn't just going to Adam Sandler his way through the rest of his career, he is going to do these extreme
characters. Let's laugh at the absurdity of the idea that there are multiple human races; the well informed recognize only one.
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices,
follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement.
Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
It's funny really. The reaction in the OP, is likely just the kind of reaction he's after.
I haven't seen his new film, but his charcaters are meant to shock.
From Ali-G to Borat to Bruno. These characters are meant to bring out and show the ignorance, bigotry and idiocy in our society.
edit on 18-5-2012 by skitzspiricy because: (no reason given)
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