Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:
: However, the difference between the two: Ferrell's is entirely an act. If Baron is doing his satire and
: luring in unsuspecting folks to take part in the sketch, then the pain they feel in the midst of their
: being duped... that's real pain, and that raises other issues about appropriateness and compassion.
: I haven't seen the film, so I don't know if this applies.
Not really, because Baron is not duping gypsies, he is duping dumb Americans who think that anti-gypsy prejudice is an acceptable part of Kazakhstani life (and therefore an acceptable part of life, period).
Once again, for those who are so distrustful of satire that they insist on missing the point: Baron is a Jew whose character, Borat, goes around making alarmingly anti-Semitic statements (e.g. "What gun is best for killing Jews?" or some such) and GETTING AWAY WITH IT. This is not AT ALL an encouragement of anti-Semitism. EVERYTHING about the humour of those scenes hinges on our conviction that anti-Semitism is wrong, and that coming from a foreign culture really shouldn't excuse those sorts of attitudes.
So, as with anti-Semitism, so with anti-gypsyism. It's a bad thing. Baron knows it's a bad thing. But he also knows that many people will put up with it if it comes from a foreigner. And that's a problem. And it's a problem that he exposes in this film. No one with half a brain could possibly watch this film and come away thinking that Borat's ignorance and prejudiced attitudes are worthy of emulation.
I have qualms with a number of aspects of this film, but this is not one of them.
: Because Cohen isn't funny to all Americans or Western Europeans.
Gosh, who IS?
: Also, humor is something that tends not to "translate" well. What might be acceptable here can be
: highly offensive to people in other countries and cultures.
You're right, there should never, ever be humour about interactions between cultures, and there should never, ever be jokes about how things got lost -- or accepted -- in translation.
And British shows like Till Death Do Us Part
should never be remade in America as shows like All in the Family
. They don't "translate" well, and who wants to see bigots as protagonists, anyway?
: At any rate, it might have been kinder to give the German Roma the benefit of the doubt rather than
: assuming that they're clueless, or, for that matter, taking offense at nothing.
Kinder, but not better, given that they ARE taking offense at nothing. (I say this as one who has seen the movie. Have you? Have they? Are THEY giving the movie the benefit of the doubt?)
Plus there is the fact that I have no time for humourless people who insist on banning socially relevant comedies and other works of art because there's a slim possibility that some idiot out there won't get the joke.
And that, my friend, woud be true even if I DID give the protestors (who, of course, do not represent ALL the Roma) the benefit of the doubt. But their accusation that the film "incit[es] violence against Sinti and Roma" or treats anti-gypsy attitudes as "acceptable" indicates to me that we SHOULDN'T give them the benefit of the doubt, because that would be as ridiculous as saying that the film incites violence against Jews or treats anti-Semitism as acceptable.
: Context is very important in this case . . .
Indeed it is. But you'd have to see the movie to know what the context IS.
: and hey, I can't blame Kazakhs and the goverment of Kazakhstan for being upset over Cohen, either.
Ah, well, no argument THERE!
Jeffrey Overstreet wrote:
: I've heard people slam Steve Taylor for the song "I Blew Up the Clinic Real Good," totally missing
: the point.
Indeed, I believe I cited that very example earlier in this thread.
Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 19 October 2006 - 02:00 AM.