February 28, 2012

Sacha Baron Cohen

Sacha Baron Cohen

Behold, The Dictator. Now, “€œNorth African”€ isn”€™t quite “€œMiddle Eastern,”€ but Baron Cohen’s General Aladeen (“€œgenerality”€?) is instantly recognizable as an enemy of America (at least at the time of this writing). 

But so what? Will anything in this film surpass the “€œCentral American”€ dictator’s address in Woody Allen’s Bananas (1971) when he declares that “€œall children under sixteen years old are now sixteen years old”€? (It’s not as funny on paper. Sorry.)

And even if Baron Cohen’s satirical intentions with The Dictator are noble and courageous for once, what practical good did Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940) do?

Note that almost all the surnames in the previous paragraphs are Jewish. And who cares, really? Except that combining the words “€œJewish”€ and “€œHollywood”€ remains as potentially lethal as mixing bleach and ammonia. 

Exhibit A: Last week, Canadian broadcaster Michael Coren welcomed author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to his program. (Full disclosure: I”€™ve known Coren for years and have appeared on his show.)

Noting that Jewish people had eked an entertainment colossus out of the near-wilds of California a century earlier, still work there in great numbers, and should take pride in these accomplishments, Coren expressed his regret that liberal Hollywood insisted upon portraying white Christians, usually from the South, as sociopathic “€œbumpkins.”€

(In other news: There were lots of Jewish communists!)

A prickly Boteach”€”who”€™d told Coren moments earlier that he welcomed controversy if it helped him sell books”€”then condemned his host for supposedly declaring that “€œthe Jews control the media.”€ The discussion deteriorated, and Coren and Boteach have since elaborated on what happened, with Coren laudably tossing a wrench into the “€œBig Sorry”€ assembly line

Alas, calling a Christian philosemite such as Coren a Jew-hater is depressingly easy (if a tactic with mixed results in this particular case).

However, aren”€™t Seinfeld reruns and shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm“€”both pickled in “€œcosmopolitan“€ secular liberal Jewishness”€”among the biggest (if inadvertent) carriers of anti-Semitism going? Hell, I cringe when I catch Joan Rivers, Fagin-like, pawing and hawking her paste jewelry on shopping channels, and I”€™m a shiksa.

I doubt Rabbi Boteach (who cultivates associations with A-list celebrities) will ever dare to condemn showbiz’s perpetuation of Jewish stereotypes. Perhaps a shande far di goyim isn”€™t part of his vocabulary.

As for Baron Cohen: Before the Academy relented and let him to go to the Oscars in dictator drag after all, he put out an unfunny video denouncing the “€œAcademy of Motion Pictures Arts and Zionists.”€ It was supposed to be another example of the comedian’s fearless “€œguerrilla”€ humor. No one tells daredevil satirist Sacha Baron Cohen what to do”€”except maybe Paramount Pictures, whose logo is ever-so-faintly visible in the lower right corner of every frame. 

Does this mean”€”gasp!”€”that Baron Cohen, Paramount, and the Academy cooked up the whole “€œcontroversy”€ from the beginning to publicize a movie that the star wasn”€™t “€œallowed”€ to publicize?

Why, it almost sounds like a conspiracy.



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