Wednesday, March 14, 2007


thoughtful and funny article on Sacha Baron Cohen from rolling stone magazine

"I think part of the movie shows the absurdity of holding any form of racial prejudice, whether it's hatred of African-Americans or of Jews," Baron Cohen says.

In actuality, it turns out that Borat is a far more damning critique of America than it is of Kazakhstan. The jokes that Baron Cohen mentions above -- and all the rest about beating gypsies, throwing Jews down wells, exporting pubic hair and making monkey porn -- are clearly parody. But the America that Borat discovers on his cross-country trek here -- rife with homophobia, xenophobia, racism, classism and anti-Semitism -- is all too real.

"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."


1 comment:

artate said...

the banality of evil...has sacha been reading arendt?