September 13, 2007

"Borat" - Somebody else finally gets it

As I pointed out during the insane "Borat" frenzy of a year ago, Sacha Baron-Cohen's character is basically one giant old-fashioned Polish Joke, with a few updatings for the age of political correctness. For example, to make Eastern Europeans look primitive and backward, they filmed Borat's home village in a dilapidated, feckless Romanian Gypsy village. But, the movie then makes the point that one of the many faults of Eastern European gentiles is that they are prejudiced against ... Gypsies! Yet, almost nobody noticed that "Borat" was based on old Yiddish anti-Polish jokes.

So, I was glad to find a review on IMDB by a scholar who did her Ph.D. dissertation on Polish-Jewish relations (probably not a prudent choice, considering that the world's most famous living author can't get his two-volume history of Russian-Jewish relations published in New York) who noticed the same thing. Danusha V. Goska writes:

There's more going on here, and I know I'm risking a lot by pointing this out.

Borat speaks Polish. Only speakers of Polish will get that. He says "Dzien Dobry," "jak sie masz," "dziekuje" and other Polish phrases. The film's opening and closing scenes were shot in a real Eastern European village. Real Eastern European folk music is played on the soundtrack.

With "Ali G," Baron Cohen exploited vicious stereotypes of Blacks. With "Borat" Baron Cohen is not targeting Kazaks. He's exploiting a centuries-old, contemptuous and hateful stereotype of Eastern European peasants that can be found in various Western cultures - witness the American "Polak joke" - - and is common in one thread of Jewish culture. In this stereotype, Poles, and, by extension, Eastern European Christian peasants, are, like Borat, ignorant, bestial, and disgusting. A good précis of the stereotype can be found in a famous passage in Isaac Bashevis Singer's "The Slave." It can be found in the "Golem" article on my website.

In fact, "Borat" has a lot in common with Marian Marzynski's controversial film "Shtetl." In both, cameras invade an impoverished Eastern European peasant village. Villagers who are not sophisticated or worldly are conned into appearing on camera to perform for us as if they were trained monkeys. We laugh at them, or feel disgust at them, because they are dirty, because they are poor, and because they keep pigs. In any case, gazing at these lesser peasants, we know that we are superior. Perhaps Baron Cohen will try this technique next in a Darfur refugee camp or a homeless shelter. Poor, unsophisticated people can be so amusing.

Baron Cohen speaks of women as if they were less than dirt. Don't misunderstand him. He's not mocking misogyny. He's milking misogyny. The things Baron Cohen says about women in this movie are grotesque; they are brutal. He makes fun of mentally retarded people. He makes fun of white, Christian Southerners, a group everyone feels safe mocking.

Reviews, and no doubt many viewers, are telling you that "Borat" is a fearless laugh riot that punctures political correctness and makes you laugh till you cry. It's that very description that made me want to see it. I thought I'd be getting something like the Colbert Report.

I've gotta think I'm not the only one, though, who found looking at Baron Cohen's hatred for an hour and a half to be an icky, profoundly unfunny experience.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

47 comments:

Dennis Dale said...

Good for Goska, but I was surprised that Cohen's racially-confused wannabe Ali G exploits "vicious stereotypes of blacks." Perhaps this is just a sop to the cultural clergy, or Goska is relying on second-hand accounts of the routine.

It does reveal a similar disingenuousness with the Ali G character. The silliness and sometimes infantile nature of popular Black culture, and the appalling ignorance and bigotry that infuses it, is a plentiful comedic resource that has to be extracted carefully--for instance by transposing the familiar characteristics of buffoonry onto a clueless white guy.

After the Borat film first came out, some pundits and bloggers were beside themselves with self-satisfaction reporting that they had detected Yiddish phrases in the Borat character's dialogue (oh, to be among the initiate class).

Steve Sailer said...

Ali G started out as a fully-assimilated British Pakistani (he referred several times to his "Uncle Jamaal") who likes to pretend he's black, but then Baron Cohen chickened out and announced Ali G stood for Alistair Graham. But I never heard any post-hoc rationalization for Uncle Jamaal.

By the way, the only interviewee who ever called Baron-Cohen on it was Andy Rooney. When Ali G asks him if he's being mean to him because he's black. Rooney, who is 173 years old, said: "You're not black."

Patience said...

"I've gotta think I'm not the only one, though, who found looking at Baron Cohen's hatred for an hour and a half to be an icky, profoundly unfunny experience."

You're kidding, Steve. You are profoundly unqualified to determine what constitutes hatred or prejudice. Do you think labelling someone else as racist absolves you of all your many sins?

Anonymous said...

Good stuff...certainly can't find this on any mainstream websites. I always found Baron -Cohen to be contemptible....funny, but contemptible.

Jun said...

Thanks again, Steve -- and kudos to Danusha Goska for pointing out Baron-Cohen's exploitative "humor".

I first started (strongly) disliking "Borat" when I saw an early Ali G episode where Borat went golfing with some guy from Texas. They were driving around the private golf course and the man was being very, very polite to this apparently wacko foreigner (like nearly all the Americans were in the film) -- but Borat kept goading him into admitting that he would've preferred the good ol' days when Jewish people weren't allowed in the club. The guy kept refusing to say anything bad about Jewish people -- or anybody else for that matter -- but Borat kept goading him until he finally admitted that, yeah, he would've preferred a "Gentiles only" club.

I just thought it was so rude that Baron-Cohen would hold up this very polite, obviously civilized man to ridicule. Oh how horrible he is that he would prefer not to have a certain group of people in his club! I mean, it wasn't like the guy was suggesting violence toward anybody. Sheesh. Isn't the guy entitled to his personal preferences and opinions? Apparently not. Apparently we should all look down on the guy and laugh at him. :-|

Paddington said...

Sailer is correct. The Pakistani/Bangladeshi kids in England are assimilating very strongly towards American black ghetto norms. Just ride the tube in London sometime, and you will see hordes of them, wearing NY Yankees caps that are 2 sizes too big, and arguing about graffitti and thug life.

Ron Guhname said...

I don't have any problem with people making ethnic jokes, even if the target group is low status. It is, after all, humor. It's the pretending that you are not doing that, and the selective outrage that I'm against. At least be honest enough to say that I make a living by goofing on poor people's failings.

Peter said...

Wasn't the Borat character originally Albanian, later switched to Kazak due to fears of angry Albanian gangbangers?

beowulf said...

George Saunders piece on Borat was funny as hell and made an excellent point. Actually made me feel bad for enjoying the movie.

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/12/04/061204sh_shouts?printable=true

Ross F said...

I saw the Borat film for the first time last night, and I'm inclined to agree with that Baron Cohen is just feeding his own ethnic hatreds whilst pretending to be satirisng others', although it is often very funny.

If you see the deleted scens on the DVD, you'll notice that a lot of them are actually funnier than what made it into the film, but they don't make the points that he wanted to make.

An example of this is where he tries to buy a dog from a sanctuary whilst asking ever more ridiculous questions culminating in him asking the woman in charge how to cook the dog. It is brilliant but his attempt to coax her into acquiescing with Borat's antisemitism, by asking how to train it to attack Jews, backfires when she tells him off saying that Jews are god's children too, which would have derailed the 'evil christian bigot redneck' theme had it been included.

Anonymous said...

beowulf, the Saunders piece is indeed very good. Here's the complete link: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/12/04/061204sh_shouts

Anonymous said...

"Baron Cohen speaks of women as if they were less than dirt. Don't misunderstand him. He's not mocking misogyny. He's milking misogyny. The things Baron Cohen says about women in this movie are grotesque; they are brutal."

It should be against the law for you to make such blatantly hypocritical statements. I can't take it. Stop! No more!

Anonymous said...

Oops, turns out I messed up the link and beowulf didn't (smacks self on head with rubber chicken).

Anyway, here's my favorite passage from the article:
The scene where Borat says something intentionally offensive to the inner-city black guys—where is that scene? I have been unable to find it. Here I definitely suggest a reshoot. In the attachment, I have provided a list of common racial slurs that Sacha could try out on “the brothers,” just to see what they do to him. My thought is, that seems to be the ethos of the rest of the film—i.e., Sacha saying/doing the most offensive things possible, in order to elicit a reaction—so I sense a little inconsistency here. Thoughts?

Of course, in Baron-Cohern's narrative of America, blacks are the good guys, which is why they are spared ridicule - keep in mind that the black prostitute is the only character in the movie to be treated with explicit sympathy - and white southerners are the bad guys, to be mocked mercilessly.

The old Jewish couple in the bed and breakfast are also spared ridicule. In his scene with them, Baron-Cohen turns his mockery entirely back on himself and his Borat character's anti-Jewish superstitions.

In contrast to Goska, I found the film both icky and funny. I laughed, but was left feeling embarrassed and unclean. Thankfully, the film did not leave a lasting impression. It was really just a hype-of-the-moment phenomenon. Hopefully, B.-C. will turns his considerable talents toward better projects in the future.

SN said...

Re "stupid Polack" jokes, I always wondered how this stereotype developed considering that Poles' median IQ measures in the 98-102 range typical of nearly all north European countries. Discovering that they originated with the Ashkenazi, median IQ around 110, explained it.

Anonymous said...

I always thought the joke was on ignorant/PC Americans who would accept Borat's obviously fake and rediculous cultural steroetype as as genuine and do so without judgment. If I'm right, (and I honestly believe I am), then it really shouldn't be offensive.

Also, it's not really even targeted at Americans. I think part of the joke is ourselves wondering whether we would pick up on the joke that seems so obvious when you're in on it.

cantemir said...

Since I have some Jewish background and can easily "pass" for a Jew to American Jews (though I would never even try it with an Israeli,) I've been privy to some pretty interesting conversations.

It's very interesting that American Jews still feel a whiff of contempt for Russians and Poles. It's specifically towards Russians and Poles, and this is different from WASP prejuice (which would be just as down on Hungarians, peasant-class Greeks, Bulgarians, etc.) This is painting with a broad brush, but in my experience, Hungarians are seen as "cultured," Slovaks etc. are seen as respectable peasants, but there is still a feeling that Russians and Poles are dirty and stupid. Israelis don't seem to show anything like the same associations.

It's a little bit like the attitude that Chinese show towards Vietnamese and Philippinos.

Anonymous said...

A couple of points about Polish jokes:

I am a Jew and my father grew up in Warsaw. I don't remember ever hearing a Polish joke from him, or from any of his friends from the old country. That's not to say they had fond memories of the Warsaw Ghetto or pre-war Poland, but they didn't have a condescending attitude toward Polish intelligence. When I asked him about the origin of Polish jokes once, his theory was that they came from the stories (probably apocryphal) of Polish cavalrymen charging German tanks on horseback during WWII.

I also have known a number of non-Jews whose parents were born in Poland or who came here as children. From them I learned that the Polish equivalent of the phrase "nigger-rigged" is, essentially, "Jew-rigged". It doesn't seem that the old school Polish peasants had a high opinion of Jewish intelligence; perhaps Jewish comedians were inverting this in their jokes, i.e., taking the Poles' Jewish jokes and substituting Poles for Jews?

As for why Baron Cohen made "Borat" a Kazakh instead of a Pole, why does Goska think this is? Does she think he is afraid of mocking Poles directly? I would guess the simple reason is that modern Poland is too modern for a "Borat" character to be associated with it.

Beowolf,

No luck with your link. Can you use HTML tags to hyper-link it?

Re this excerpt:

"I have provided a list of common racial slurs that Sacha could try out on “the brothers,” just to see what they do to him."

I agree that Borat doesn't give blacks the same treatment he does whites, but two points to make here. The first is that simply going up to people and calling them racial slurs isn't usually funny (the "nigger" scene in "Kentucky Fried Movie" is a possible exception). The second is that Baron Cohen has risked physical violence on occasion, probably more with his gay Austrian character Bruno. He came close to getting his teeth knocked in by a white nationalist-type when he questioned the man's sexuality, and I also remember the Bruno character asking a black running back at a college in Alabama whether he was allowed to date members of the team.

rob said...

I always thought the Ali G character was straightforward ridicule of black
rap/ghetto culture. Cohen made him a white guy imitating blacks merely to dodge charges of racism.

Anonymous said...

You're hilarious, Steve. You liked Baron-Cohen just fine back when he was making fun of blacks and their white imitators. You referred to him as "the brilliant British comic [who] famously parodies white and Pakistani youths' infatuation with black American gangsta rappers with his character Ali G, a canary yellow sweatsuit and gold chain-wearing idiot" (http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/04/dumbing-boys-down.html)

Now that your (white gentile) ox is being gored, its just terrible how that nasty Jew makes fun of people.

b said...

'I've gotta think I'm not the only one, though, who found looking at Baron Cohen's hatred for an hour and a half to be an icky, profoundly unfunny experience.'

his 'hatred?' give me a break. isn't this the sort of pride-in-taking-offense, whingeing over-reaction that you would all normally be the first to condemn?

James Kabala said...

Are there really people who are prejudiced against Poles and only Poles as a group? I'll take Cantemir's word for it that such people do exist, but in my experience people who tell Polish jokes rarely actually believe in general Polish stupidity, whereas people who tell anti-black or anti-Jewish jokes more often believe (at least to an extent) that the premises underlying the joke are true.
An important question, which would probably be hard to document, is "Where do Polish jokes come from and when/where did they first appear?" That could easily be someone's American Studies dissertation, if anyone interested in such a career is reading this post. Complicating the issue, of course, is the fact that Poles and Jews started immigrating to the U.S. in large numbers at about the same time, so if Polish jokes start appearing around 1910 or so, are they a WASP reaction to the new Polish immigration or a Jewish import that entered the U.S. with both groups? Does anyone here have non-anecdotal data on the subject?
I thought it was interesting that Sarah Silverman (currently a subject of discussion at Ross Douthat's blog) referred to actor John Krasinski (of the American version of The Office and some crummy Robin Williams movie that came out this summer) as "a dirty Polack" when introducing him at this year's MTV movie awards. Of course, this was part of her "Look at me, I'm politically incorrect" schtick rather than a genuine public flaring up of Jewish-Polish animosity, but could she could have gotten away with calling someone a wop or spic? (Indeed, when she used the word "chink" on Conan O'Brien a few years ago there was a small furor. To her credit, since the joke was obviously satirical (she had said that a friend had advised to her to say "I hate chinks" to get out of jury duty), she refused to apologize and never did until the mini-controversy at last died down.)

Anonymous said...

I laughed at Archie bunker's polish jokes as a Kid. I didn't know any Poles or know that Lear and his Jewish writers were behind them. I didn't even know Lear were Jewish.

As for Sasha Cohen. He is strong, believer in Judaism. He keeps the Sabbath, and forced his current wife to convert so he could have a Jewish wedding. He wrote his college MA on the Holocaust.

As stated in his "Fresh Air" interview. He uses the Borat character to sniff out anti-semitism and racism. He stated he deliberately target the white southerners because he believes they are anti Jewish and polite enough to talk to, and reason with, an obnoxious
foreigner.

James Kabala said...

Sorry for not paragraphing that last comment properly; I can never used (although apparently everyone else has) to the way that indentations disappear and so you have to make full-line spaces between each paragraph. Why is that, O Blogger?

Anyway, in this case all the paragraphs ended on the end of line, making it very hard to read without the spaces. Paragraph breaks should have occurred between true/An important and subject?/I thought.

Anonymous said...

"It's very interesting that American Jews still feel a whiff of contempt for Russians and Poles."

I don't think most Americans have strong feelings about Eastern Europeans one way or another. Areas that have concentrations of Americans of Polish descent seem to pass on the jokes along with whatever's left of their cultural traditions. I think many Polish-Americans delight in these jokes. Where I'm from, however, most of us would be hard pressed to distinguish another white person's specific ethnicity. We even use the form of the Polish joke as an expression of rivalry between two popular state universities. I assumed this practice when on everywhere.

While I was traveling in Europe a few years back though, I was surprised at the animosity some Western Europeans could demonstrate towards Eastern European and Russian immigrants. The Irish could be particularly confusing with their embracing of all things and immigrants African despite being somewhat contemptuous of Eastern Europeans (of course we've discovered recently that those little Muslim anchor babies aren't getting spots in the Irish Catholic schools).

The English often had the attitude that Russians were largely criminal and prone to organized crime which is the perception here too to an extent. But these same people who were so willing to make derogatory comments about light-skinned foreigners would refuse to say anything negative about darker skinned newcomers even if their lives depended on it.

There are many things in life that frustrate me but I can't help focusing on the patent hypocrisy of being hypersensitive to the egos/self-esteem of certain groups while showing almost criminal disregard for others - a difference still based largely on skin color despite the supposed intent to eradicate prejudices based on skin color. I also know that the ethnic jokes we create fulfill a certain function. It's difficult to merge with another group so there ought to be some healthy outlet for coping with the negative aspects of change. For instance, it's inevitable that there will be some vying for hegemony (Hispanics having larger families and therefore greater influence, blacks tending to prefer more socialistic policies, Asians gobbling up all the high-tech jobs).

Humor serves that purpose in most situations but can also be a double edged sword. Someone who works in an ER might become too callous with desensitizing humor just as ethnic jokes can lead to harmful stereotypes. I still can't say when people like Sacha Cohen or Sarah Silverman have gone too far. Rosie O'Donnell certainly did but she had stopped telling jokes at that point. There are also groups who overreact when being lampooned. I assume there will be cultural differences in who tolerates ethnic jokes but just because some groups are more likely to react to the very American tendency to joke about everything, should they be treated differently?

John Guzlowski said...

We live in a society where it's okay to mock others, whether their retarded or black or short or muslim or -- as the Boston Globe would have it -- "Polish Scum."

Danusha Goska has the courage to say mocking others is bad.

I wish our cultural leaders would have the same courage.

Anonymous said...

"He stated he deliberately target the white southerners because he believes they are anti Jewish and polite enough to talk to, and reason with, an obnoxious
foreigner."

I experienced the Jewish fear of anti-semitism among Southern fundamentalist Christians. If I had realized what was going on at the time, I might have made some effort to counteract the stereotype. It never occurred to me that I would be perceived more as a threat than as a prissy little goody two shoes for my religious affiliation.

In the end, the family decided it would be safe to interact with the hillbillies. The parents took some square dancing lessons and the kids started inviting us to parties (though still thinking of us as strange creatures for our Southern ways).

Maybe there is some tradition of it but I'm not aware of any fundamentalist church that hates Jews. In fact, the pastor of the church I attended as a teenager adored the Jewish people emphasizing that they were the Chosen (and that Jesus would dearly love for them to accept him as their savior). There were times when I even wished I was a Jew.

As for converting to Judaism for the proper Jewish Wedding, who wouldn't? But I think it's the rare man who would be physically fit enough/graceful enough to do the required dancing.

Beowulf said...

Here's the link to the George Saunders Borat piece.

Borat

Anonymous said...

"In fact the church I attended as a teenager adored the Jewish people emphasizing that they were the Chosen (and that Jesus would dearly love for them to accept him as their savior). There were times when I even wished I was a Jew."

I've always thought this attitude bizarre in the extreme. If they're the "Chosen People" why not just convert to Judaism and drop all the Jesus stuff.

Jesus says "no one comes to the father but through me". "I am the way, the truth, and the light". If the Jews are still God's chosen people, then these words make no sense. I assume according the worshipful Christians they get into Heaven because they're Jews.

James Kabala said...

Wikipedia has an article on "anti-Polish sentiment," but it's so convoluted and poorly written I won't bother linking to it here. It also focuses on hatred of Poles in Poland, not in the U.S., and didn't say anything worthwhile that I could see about Polish jokes.

Here's a site that does try to explain their origin, fingering both WASPs and Jews: http://archives.stupidquestion.net/sq121098polish.html

Also, maybe I've lived a sheltered life, but I've never heard the term "nigger-rigged" before.

Do people still make Helen Keller jokes? Those seemed to be on their way out when I was a kid (1980s) and I haven't heard one in a long time. Maybe no one knows who Helen Keller was anymore.

PA said...

My impression is that 99% of mocking in this country is directed at white men. Just see any TV commercial or flash advertising on Yahoo's home page

Humor, even mockey, can have its constructive use when it targets undesirable behavior. Blacks, for example, and the broader society by extension, could use benefit from vicious mocking of many blacks' siring and non-support of illegitimate offspring, nasty attitudes in public, criminality, rap, and, above all, droopy pants.

Danusha said...

A link, below, to the "most useful" review of "Borat" at www.imdb.com. Patrons of the International Movie Database may vote on reviews; this review, out of over a thousand posted, was voted the best.

An excerpt:

"The film has nothing to do with Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan just a metaphor for the Eastern European countries, where form most of the the American Jewish people are immigrated to America. Immigrated especially from Poland and Russia. That is why the titles are in the Cyrillic script, and that is why Borat speaks Polish words. The director shows everything with the Jewish eye. He wants to show that how primitive and uncouth brutes are East Europeans where the Jew lived in ghettos for centuries. The other half of the film is just showing that (from the Jewish point of view) the American people are not superior that the people in the Eastern European countries. Just wants to show, that how uncouth, uneducated, primitive and racist are the American people. That's why the Jewish people mustn't forget that although America looks like a friendly country for them, but be aware, that it is just the surface" (imdb.com; MoseKatzer).

http://www.imdb.com/user/ur15556001/comments

Jim O'Sullivan said...

Did Cohen realy say that he thinks the main wellspring of anti-semtism in the world is southern american whites?

There must be something wrong with him.

cantemir said...

Jews didn't live in ghettos in Eastern Europe. The ones in the Pale lived in shtetls, the ones elsewhere lived in villages, towns & cities like anyone else.

Please be aware that my earlier comment was not intended to suggest that Jews are more prejudiced than other people, just that their prejudices tend to have different foci than those of WASPs, etc. But on the other hand, come one, I have heard all kind of stuff about Russians going far beyond Polish jokes, "they just drink all day, they are savages, they are genetically disposed to despotism," you just have to get people to say what they really think.

WASPs don't really care about Russians because few of them have ever been personally outcompeted by a Russian. They're more likely to be down on Indians and especially Chinese, these days.

Danusha said...

A question for Borat fans.

If the film included a scene where

- a heterosexual, Christian, white Southern male

- went to the home of a black woman,

- who had invited the man to her home, and was going all out to host him with her best hospitality,

and

- in front of her guests, in the middle of a dinner party,

- that white, Christian, Southern man handed the black woman a clear plastic bag containing his own fecal matter,

Would you find that knee-slappingly funny?

No, you wouldn't.

You'd recognize that gesture for what it is.

You'd denounce the film as a hate crime.

Borat gains its power through exploitations of Politically Correct hatred.

Baron Cohen's acts are acts of hatred, and people don't get that because they think it is righteous to hate the people he mocks.

White, Christian Southerners are people it is okay to hate. Eastern European peasants are people it is okay to hate.

Handing a white, Christian, Southern woman a bag of feces at a formal dinner party is HA HA HA funny because you hate her because she is a white, Christian, Southern woman, and, somehow, responsible for slavery and racism and Jim Crow and maybe she poisons wells...

It amazes me that people don't get this. That this is how hate works. Hating that woman just because she shares some elements of identity with others who did bad things is hate -- the same mechanism the worst haters in history have used.

That people don't get that is evidence of the failure of Political Correctness. Rather than interrogating hate itself, it just moved the hatred over an ethnic group or two.

The Eastern European aspect of this movie has everything in common with a Minstrel Show. Just as in Mistrel Shows, where whites "acted" their version of blackness, people they regarded as inferior, Baron Cohen acts the people he regards as inferior.

He tells you he regards them as inferior because they are guilty of anti-Semitism.

But he really hates them and laughs at them because they are powerless and poor, just like those Romanians he exploited in the opening scene.

Anonymous said...

Some jews, and Sacha Baron-Cohen evidently is one of them, seem to view all gentiles the same. So Cohen views England and America, which have historically been fairly welcoming to Jews, as no different from Russia or Germany.

The height of this opinion is the belief that the western powers deliberately ignored the Nazi's mass murder of Jews, and were somehow complicit in it. On a visit to Auschwitz some years back, the tour guide casually mentioned something to the effect of "the allies knew about Auschwitz and yet refused to do anything".

Really? We did nothing? How about destroying Nazi Germany? 400,000 American soldiers, airmen, and sailors died in WWII, and many more British, Canadian, Australian, and Polish (yes, Polish) soldiers, airmen, and sailors as well. What was that? Chopped Liver?

Jews such as Baron-Cohen seem incapable of grasping the fact that some people just don't like jews, and yet that does not mean they are just itching to join the S.S. It is possible to dislike a group of people and still not yearn for thier destruction. Just as it's possible to dislike some individual person (and we all do) and not desire for him to be killed.

This belief that Cohen holds - and it is not unique to Jews - many people hold this view about themselves as individuals - that you either love me completely, or hate me totally, is false and counter-productive and often leads to self-righteous behavior which can be quite alienating.

Anonymous said...

" I assume according the worshipful Christians they get into Heaven because they're Jews."

No. I think the explanation parallels Moses not making it to the Promised Land. In fundamentalist theology that I'm aware of, Jews won't go to heaven unless they convert.

Anonymous said...

"They're more likely to be down on Indians and especially Chinese, these days."

Well, since our pets have become our children, the Chinese have contributed to their unpopularity by sending us contaminated dog food.

Millar said...

Maybe Cohen should make a film about one of the sources of contemporary anti-semitism in Eastern Europe. The sex slave traffic of thousands of girls into Israel.

tommy said...

Some jews, and Sacha Baron-Cohen evidently is one of them, seem to view all gentiles the same. So Cohen views England and America, which have historically been fairly welcoming to Jews, as no different from Russia or Germany.

Seems to be a common attitude among more religious Jews: there are Jews and then there is everyone else; all other divisions are trivial.

SN said...

millar:
"Maybe Cohen should make a film about one of the sources of contemporary anti-semitism in Eastern Europe. The sex slave traffic of thousands of girls into Israel."

The sex slave traffic is run by Albanian Muslims, Georgians, et al, not by Jews. London is a big destination for the sex slave trade also, I'm not aware of that causing Anglophobia amongst eastern Europeans.

In any case, there seems less real anti-Semitism amongst eastern Europeans these days than amongst politically correct western Europeans, for whom Israel is the new Nazi Germany. When the EU condemns Israel for 'human rights violations', it's usually Poland's supposedly "extreme rightwing" (in PC-speak) Law & Justice government that objects.

SN said...

Re the Jewish stereotype of white Southerners as anti-Semitic; the KKK is, David Duke certainly is, but of course the Southern Protestant Fundamentalist churches are possibly the most philo-Semitic institutions in all of Christendom. I guess SBC et al have trouble making the distinction.

Anonymous said...

Eh... I say don't get mad, get even. I'd like to see a Borat-type character interviewing American and Israeli Jews and seeing how many anti-Muslim and anti-Christian statements he could get out of them. That could make for a hilarious movie. Would never be released by Hollywood of course, and would probably be banned on Google/Jewish-owned YouTube as well, but I bet it would still make the rounds on the internet somehow.

Gaurav Ahuja said...

It was unfunny and crude, but it is based on truth. Eastern Europeans relatively to Jews are dumb, rustic etc. So I think it was funny in parts with the racial humor but unfunny because it was gross. There is no need to take offense at one giant Polish joke. I never thought I would hear White gentiles be this sensitive.

Anonymous said...

"It was unfunny and crude, but it is based on truth. Eastern Europeans relatively to Jews are dumb, rustic etc."

Have any of you tried to learn a Slavic language? Spend a week just trying to pronounce a few words correctly in Polish or Czech. I dare you. Oddly enough, Russian is the easiest to attempt so that language doesn't count for this test.

These are also people with a rich cultural heritage - just because you are ignorant of Polish and Czech literature and history doesn't mean these people are stupid - it just means you are ignorant.

Also, the Czech women are so beautiful I think they should be banned from immigrating to the US for fear American women will never again get dates. Think before you alienate a whole group of people. You might learn to regret it.

cantemir said...

Eastern Europeans haven't really had a chance to show what they can do, because for most of their history, they've been busy resisting conquest by Turks, Mongols, etc. For instance, Romanian history before independence was basically 800 years of war with the Turks; consider that the Romanian national heroes are all guys like Vlad III, St Stefan the Great, Dimitrie Cantemir, and John Hunyadi. Check out the history of the Cossacks, of the Bulgarians, of the Serbians, et al.

I don't see Russia changing any time soon, but Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, etc, are all modernizing very quickly. Personally I suspect that they'll get old before they get rich, but even now, one doesn't laugh at Polish or Hungarian mathematicians.

David said...

The sex slave traffic is run by Albanian Muslims, Georgians, et al, not by Jews. London is a big destination for the sex slave trade also, I'm not aware of that causing Anglophobia amongst eastern Europeans.

Not all Jews are in Israel.

Not only have I heard that there may be one or two Jews in Albania, Russia, and Britain. I've also heard that some are right here, in the United States!

::rolls eyes::

Anonymous said...

For someone as ethnocentric as Cohen, it was surprising that he chose to marry outside of his tribe. He did however insist that she convert to Judaism. She obliged.

Cohen hates white people (southerners, eastern Europeans), and he loves Jews, blacks and Arabs. A little known fact about Cohen is that he completed his dissertation living in black ghettos in America. He argued that American blacks and Jews share very similar histories(i.e., as underdogs).