May 25, 2012

The enigma of Sacha Baron Cohen explained

From The Times of Israel, an article that explains the mystery that has baffled the combined intellectual might of America's film critics. What could possibly motivate Baron Cohen to make fun of Pakistanis, Slavs, Austrians, and Arabs? It's been a complete mystery, but now a few clues are available.
Before ‘The Dictator’ and ‘Borat,’ friends recall, Sacha Baron Cohen was a very nerdy, very funny, Israel-oriented guy 
As the actor/comedian makes his way to Israel for his latest flick, those who knew him way back when share some potent memories 
By JESSICA STEINBERG May 11, 2012, 
... He is Sacha Baron Cohen, the Jewish, English and half-Israeli comedian who has created a career out of imagined characters who deftly comment on the political, cultural and social issues of the moment. 
He began his career as the fictional Ali G on “Da Ali G Show,” playing a boorish, uneducated type, and often baffled his celebrity and politician interviewees who didn’t realize he was in character. 
Now he’s a celebrity, married to a fellow — converted — celebrity, actress Isla Fisher, with whom he has two daughters, including one whose name is Elula. For those who knew him when, as a fellow Habonim Dror youth group member or Cambridge student, his current antics are hilarious, sometimes crude, but his success is not altogether surprising. 
“I remember being on the bus during our Habonim Mahane Lomdim trip, and he did this standup bit about lost property at the front of the bus,” said one woman now living in Ra’anana, who attended a three-week seminar with Baron Cohen in Israel when they were graduating high school. “He was really very nerdy, he didn’t hang out with the girls, but we were literally crying from laughter because he was so funny. I remember thinking how talented he was, and very, very smart, a genius, really.”

The son of an Israeli mother and Welsh father, “a quirky, smart family,” she added, Cohen grew up in West London and was active throughout high school in Habonim Dror, a Zionist youth group. “He was very Zionist, very involved in Habo,” said the fellow Israel seminar participant, who has known him since they were babies in the same mother-and-baby group. “He wasn’t Mr. Cool Guy.” 
... It was at the University of Cambridge, however, where Baron Cohen read history, that he began his stage career, first as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” a production of the university’s amateur dramatic club. 
“I knew who Sacha was from London, his brother Eran was my age, and they were all in Habo,” said Debbie, who now lives in Israel and played Yente the matchmaker to Baron Cohen’s Tevye. ... 
Of course, not everyone who knew Baron Cohen as a former Habonim, Israel-oriented Jewish nerd realized that he had attained such celebrity status, or that his Israeli roots — and time spent in Israel — has enabled him to use Hebrew as his language of choice, whether playing a sexist Kazakh journalist or Middle Eastern despot.
... Israel is one of the destinations on Baron Cohen’s current publicity tour for “The Dictator,” which will be released here in the next month. No one’s expecting any calls from their former Habonim friend, but as happened when “Borat” played here, his insider Hebrew jokes will meet their ultimate audience.

91 comments:

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

"English"?!

Impossible.

Anonymous said...

The son of an Israeli mother and Welsh father ... He was very Zionist

Sounds like all those offspring of one white and one black parent who devote their lives to being feverently black.

Not a lot of difference between Cohen and Obama, really.

Incidentally, is "Cohen" really a Welsh surname?

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, is "Cohen" really a Welsh surname?

LOL, no. Are you that dense?

When they say "Welsh", they don't mean ethno-racially Welsh. His father is Jewish but of Welsh citizenship, residency, etc.

Remember Welsh and other European ethnic groups are not really allowed their own ethno-racial identities, at least not like other groups. Even coal black Nigerians can be "Englishmen".

Anonymous said...

Both of SBC's parents are Jewish. The Times of Israel perhaps considered it redundant to point that out since intermarriage in the UK is much less common than in the U.S. (except among the very wealthy like the Rothschilds and Goldschmidts and the poor like Beckham's grandmother). Any Jewish reader familiar with SBC would know his background. In part, the low frequency of intermarriage among the UK Jewish community may be due to the fact that adherence to Orthodoxy, even nominally, is much more the norm. Non-Orthodox synagogues exist, but they are rare.

Anonymous said...

"The son of an Israeli mother and Welsh father ... He was very Zionist"

Don't you have to be, well, Welsh, to count as Welsh?Or does simply being born there count?

Anonymous said...

Oops - should have been "Turner Classic Movies" = "TCM".

Bourbon said...

The Cambridge Welsh Mafia strikes again!*


*Sarcasm

Anonymous said...

but he married a scottish girl :( and she converted..

". Even coal black Nigerians can be "Englishmen"."
do be fair, darling, the usually say british - in fact usage of british over "english" was pushed by the blair people for this very reason.

Back on topic, Of course, we can imagine hollywood and the media going ga-ga over say, an English nationalist who made fun of perceived enemies of the English..he'd get a free pass too..

Sad to see all the dumb goy lapping this crap up.

Harry Baldwin said...

Cohen was interviews on the "Fresh Air" program the other day. He stressed--STRESSED--that the Dictator does not represent an Arab or Muslim stereotype. He is a North African leader of an imaginary nation with no identifiable religion. Being a good liberal, Cohen knows there is one reactionary group you don't want to poke fun at. Also, he gave a lengthy explanation of why, at the Academy Awards, he tossed Kim Il Jong's fake ashes at Ryan Seacrest rather than George Clooney or Brad Pitt. The reality is that he knew you can get away with humiliating Seacrest, but maybe not the others.

I find a lot of what Cohen does amusing, but listening to him regale host Terri Gross with how his Bruno character annoyed "homophobes" makes me one of them had beaten the crap out of him.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/25/12 5:28 PM:
"Remember Welsh and other European ethnic groups are not really allowed their own ethno-racial identities"

I don't think that's equally true of all European ethnicities. In countries with very little immigration, such as Poland or Slovakia, there is certainly a closer overlap between national identity and ethnic identity.

Anyway, the Times of Israel is a Jewish paper with a predominantly Jewish readership. SBC is well-known to be Jewish, especially among the Jewish community. The fact that he is not ethnically Welsh would just be assumed by the writer and most readers. Despite that, most Jews do feel attached to their home countries, even if that sentiment isn't always expressed as you might like.

Anonymous said...

http://mediamatters.org/research/200601230006

Steve Sailer Explained(by liberals).

Anonymous said...

The son of an Israeli mother and Welsh father, “a quirky, smart family,” she added, Cohen grew up in West London and was active throughout high school in Habonim Dror, a Zionist youth group.

Wait, his father is Welsh? I would have thought that with the surname Cohen, he surely would have been Scots Irish. How closely related are the Welsh and Scots Irish?

Anonymous said...

"The son of an Israeli mother and Welsh father ... He was very Zionist"

"Don't you have to be, well, Welsh, to count as Welsh?Or does simply being born there count?"

All smoke and mirrors-that's Whiskey talk.
Using this logic...he could well have been a Welsh nationalist!

Anonymous said...

No one’s expecting any calls from their former Habonim friend, but as happened when “Borat” played here, his insider Hebrew jokes will meet their ultimate audience.

There you have it folks, a window into the truth right in the last sentence of the article.

Anonymous said...

It's like reverse-Jew-Suss where some Jewish guy presents non-Jews as subhuman.

Anonymous said...

Are you that dense?


Perhaps. But not as dense as the people who can't see heavy-handed sarcasm when it hits them between the eyes.

Anonymous said...

His wife is a convert? Soon Jews will be genetically the same as goys...

anony-mouse said...

The patron saint of the Welsh is St. David.

But according to the people here that's impossible, isn't it? Because, well, that would mean...

Aaron in Israel said...

Dear Commenters,

You seem concerned about one half of the description, "The son of an Israeli mother and Welsh father...." In context, the two words "Welsh" and "Israeli" refer to territorial-political entities, not to ethnies or nations. (The State of Israel goes along with this practice: occasional requests by smart-ass citizens to list their nationality as "Israeli" are routinely rejected.) In context, "Welsh," like "Israeli," is more about residency and citizenship than distant ancestry. A Jew can be Welsh (in this sense) just as an Arab can be Israeli. Hope this reading lesson helps.

Samuel said...

I guess there was more benefit to be had in being Mr. Cohen than Mr. Corwynn....

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous Aaron in Israel said...

Dear Commenters,

A Jew can be Welsh (in this sense) just as an Arab can be Israeli. Hope this reading lesson helps."

Yes, just in that way. I consider Cohen to be just about as welsh as you consider an arab to be israeli.

It may come as a surprise to you, but many of us think our own nationalities should count for something too. And when the term "welsh" is used, I usually think of a chorister named Jones, or a farmer named Llewellyn, or a hard-drinking actor, like Richard Burton - not a snarky anti-gentile jewish prick like Sasha Baron Cohen.

Norville Rogers said...

"playing a sexist Kazakh journalist" - this is funny in that the character (in the film anyway) was not so anti-feminism as oblivious to its existence

Frank Lloyd Wright said...

You people here are all wannabe-Welsh

Truth said...

"Not a lot of difference between Cohen and Obama, really."

LOL; No, not much at all.

Anonymous said...

What SBC is doing is not different of the current American elites.

Anonymous said...

"What could possibly motivate Baron Cohen to make fun of Pakistanis, Slavs, Austrians, and Arabs?"

Kazakhs are not Slavs. They are descendants of the Turkic tribes.

Anonymous said...

By JESSICA STEINBERG May 11, 2012

Wow, that byline made me do a double-take.

I wonder if the name "Jessica Steinberg" is real, or if it's some pseudonymous authoress's idea of a clever double entendre?

Anonymous said...

Apparently "Welsh" is the new "Scots-Irish".

Anonymous said...

What could possibly motivate Baron Cohen to make fun of Pakistanis, Slavs, Austrians, and Arabs?

Steve, what nationality does SBC need to portray to falsify your theory? Well, an Israeli is one obvious answer; but anyone else?

Anonymous said...

In context, the two words "Welsh" and "Israeli" refer to territorial-political entities, not to ethnies or nations.

In defense of the paper's use of "Welsh" and of Aaron's articulate post above, when your Jewish readership is already keenly aware of who is a Jew and who is a "non-Jew," it would be superfluous to note that Baron Cohen's father and mother were Jewish.

I do find it a little bit odd, however, that the father is not identified as "British."

Anonymous said...

What could possibly motivate Baron Cohen to make fun of Pakistanis, Slavs, Austrians, and Arabs?

Steve, what nationality does SBC need to portray to falsify your theory? Well, an Israeli is one obvious answer; but anyone else?


This is a good question. I'll take a go at two answers:

1. African, Chinese, American Indian, Amerindian.

OR

2. An equal number of non-stereoptypical Jewish enemies to the stereotypical ones Steve has listed. Just any single non-stereotypical enemy would not be sufficient.

Anonymous said...

@Aaron in Israel:

The State of Israel goes along with this practice: occasional requests by smart-ass citizens to list their nationality as "Israeli" are routinely rejected.

On what occasions do citizens of Israel have to list their "nationality"? What are the choices of nationality? (Jew or Goy? Jew or Christian or Muslim?)

Anonymous said...

News: Anti-immigrant crackdown afoot in China

--China moves to expel Americans, blacks

From the NYT:

In China, "a rush of hostility towards foreigners is appearing."

“The Ministry of Public Security must clean out foreign trash, arrest foreign thugs and protect innocent girls,” he wrote to his 820,000 followers. “Behead the snakeheads, the unemployed Americans and Europeans who come to China to make money, traffic in people and mislead the public by encouraging them to emigrate.”
[...]
[T]he police in Beijing announced a 100-day campaign to rid the country of foreigners who are living or working in China illegally. The initiative, promoted through banners and articles in the state news media, encourages citizens to report those suspected of violating the law to the authorities.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/world/asia/wave-of-chinese-nationalism-as-communist-leadership-change-looms.html?_r=1&hp

IHTG said...

You're really stretching this "Borat=Slav" thing farther than it can hold, Steve.

Anonymous said...

In the last twenty years I am increasingly aware of the special programs many countries are offering to attract Jews to settle among them. The American Jewish community is doing everything possible to turn Jews leaving Russia to America. America offers special refugee status to Russian Jews, and generous absorption assistance, partly financed by the Government and partly by Jewish donors... America is silently targeting Israelis and it started to offer "golden visas" to Israelis: no long waiting list, no need to invest, just open a business and you are in.

Say what? Jews from Russia receive "special refugee status"?? And the U.S. federal government gives them a "generous" resettlement allowance??

In the year 2012? Why?

http://h2oreuse.blogspot.com/2012/05/competition-for-jews.html

Anonymous said...

@IHTG

You're really stretching this "Borat=Slav" thing farther than it can hold, Steve.

Well, if he isn't meant to be Slavic, he is meant to be a Muslim, another group that Israelis typically view with distaste, fear, or loathing.

So Steve's theory remains intact.

Anonymous said...

http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/05/20/recovery-or-callapse-bet-on-collapse/

Anonymous said...

In China, "a rush of hostility towards foreigners is appearing."

Nativism is growing worldwide. Good news for all you WNs, right?

Bad news for the numerous asian fetishists among the HBD crowd. Derbyshire must be glad he got his before the chinese started cracking down...

jody said...

lol seriously what is your obsession with this guy. article after article about a moderately successful, moderately notable comedian who people mostly forget about between movies.

Anonymous said...

SBC humor explain guite well current events...

Anonymous said...

You're really stretching this "Borat=Slav" thing farther than it can hold, Steve.

Yeah, right. Because he could just as well be a caricature of a Japanese, right?

Anonymous said...

lol seriously what is your obsession with this guy. article after article about a moderately successful, moderately notable comedian who people mostly forget about between movies

Can you think of anyone else who gets to unleash his sociopolitical and ethnic concerns with free reign on film?

Anonymous said...

lol seriously what is your obsession with this guy. article after article about a moderately successful, moderately notable comedian who people mostly forget about between movies.

It's not so much an obsession. I think it's that Steve was really the first person to "get" SBC and his comedy. It might not seem like a big deal but it does show how insightful Steve can be. But Steve doesn't credit for this kind of thing because he can't publish it in a major media outlet and it's not really PC. Blogging about it more than once sort of reminds people of the insight.

Norville Rogers said...

"many of us think our own nationalities should count for something too"

Ah, it adds marrow to me bones to meet a brother traveler from Webanonymistan

Stevebot Mk.V said...

"jody said...
lol seriously what is your obsession with this guy. article after article about a moderately successful, moderately notable comedian who people mostly forget about between movies."

It's from being so curious about the spectra of the human rainbow. Obviously you missed all the recent critiques here of Sinhalese talk show hosts and Tasmanian hiphop groups.

hbd chick said...

it was sbc's grandfather who changed the family name to baron cohen.

prior to that i believe it was cohenpwllgwyngyll.

Anonymous said...

lol seriously what is your obsession with this guy.

I think it has something to do with the prepositions "with" versus "at".

As in asking yourself the question, "Is the comedian laughing with me, or is he laughing AT me?"

I tried to make a similar point about watching the old Marx Brothers movies nowadays, in retrospect, on Turner Classic Movies, but apparently my language was just a little to indelicate for Komment Kontrol.

BTW, if we may be allowed to throw a little Freudian analysis at the question, if you look at the dates of his major movies:

2006 - Borat
2009 - Bruno
2012 - The Dictator

Then I think it's fair to conclude that either his greatest [and most motivating] hatred is of the objects of derision in his first movie, or else his financial backers felt that those objects would be their safest bet in first introducting him to the world.

And, of course, the objects of derision in his first movie are precisely the sorts of USA flyover country hayseed non-Scots Irish who, among other things, would make up the vast majority of the readership at a site like iSteve.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me also of the popular 'black German' disco group, Boney M, of he 1970s.
They had some decidely odd titles and subject matter for their cascade of disco hits back in the day, ie.

Ra ra Rasputin
Belfast
Ma Baker
By the Rivers of Babylon.

What do all the titles have in common? why, they mock the defeaters of Germany back in '45 (which was still relatively recent in the late '70s).

'Ra ra Rasputin' - obviously mocking and poking fun at Germany's many defeater, the USSR.
'Belfast' - mocking Britain for the ongoing tragedy and embarrassment of the Ulster crisis, which was terrible in the 1970s.
'Ma Baker' - mocking the USA (another enemy of Geramny), over the gangsterism of the 1930s.
'By the Rivers of Babylon' - attacking Jews (the biblical verse from which this quote was taken goes on to describe 'smashing babies' heads against rocks'.

It's just a theory I've long entertained. Anyone else agree with me?

Anonymous said...

I believe that Borat was actually based on an early days Turkish (from Turkey) internet blogger and 'personality' who was unintentionally hilarious and comical regarding the heavy-handed humor and salaciousness of his postings.
For the llife of me I cannot recall his name, although I seem to remember he was bald-headed with abig moustache.

Big Bill said...

jody: "what is your obsession with this guy. article after article about a moderately successful, moderately notable comedian who people mostly forget about between movies."

For me, the fascination is the Straussian nature of his movies. One message is for the goy masses, another (hidden) message is for the Jewish insiders.

What clued me in were local Jewish reviews on the Internet. When "Borat" premiered, Cohen had several special showings for Jewish audiences in Jewish venues.

They did not consider it a comedy.

Instead, they viewed it as a horror-filled documentary of goy antisemitism.

The movie "Borat" took these Jews to hidden goy places like country music bars, and rodeos -- places filled with simmering, barely-concealed anti-Semitism just about to explode into Christian lynch mobs.

For what else could explain the crowd laughing in "Borat" as he got them to sing-along to a chorus of "throw the Jew down the well"?

The setup, the filming, and (most importantly) the editing truly was brilliant.

When goys see the movie they see this idiot "Borat" character making a fool of himself and of the other blue collar Americans he tricks (like "Candid Camera").

When Jews see the movie they see the seamy hate-filled secret life of goyim (aka Christians, aka Religious Right, aka Republicans).

Cohen is brilliant AND fascinating. However, I prefer Kinky Friedman.

Anonymous said...

The comments for this blog post has been worthless up until this point, let's hope it gets better with more content from this point on.

Yes, I say this without irony or self-reflection.

Anonymous said...

@anon 5/25 528pm

Wikipedia is bad for this. Take a gander at some of the Eastern European lists. Did you know that there were so many Russian-American actors?

SBC studied under Niall Ferguson, he wrote a thesis about Jewish involvement in the Civil Rights movement. There's the origin of your Borat jokes on Southern knuckle-draggers. SBC's message isn't original, just his presentation.

Watch SBC's eyes in Borat, the movie and from the Ali G show, when he interacts with rednecks. He despises 'em. The mouth is smiling, but the eyes give it away. His eyes remind me of other people I know with black eyes, which when angry, go hard and shiny, like polished obsidian.

Of course, one can't blame SBC, it's a reliable business model. Making the real Scotch-Irish look bad is like shooting fish in a barrel, and enjoyable. They are their own worst enemies, an unlovely bunch. Those stereotypes sometimes aren't as bad as the real thing. And I ain't just talking about the trailer trash. The ones with money are in many ways are worse, and more dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Anony-mouse,

St. David and the Biblical King David are not the same person, although the first ultimately derives his name from the latter.

On Borat as Slav. Of course he is, nobody knows what a Kazakh is, SBC knows his audience doesn't. Kazakh is just a meaningless term for them. If he was trying to stereotype Kazakhs and not Eastern Europeans, Borat's home town would have been very different. For starters, the people would all look Asian.

Luke Lea said...

Jewcentricity -- a new word

http://tinyurl.com/7qfg9yc

Anonymous said...

If he was the crazy purity fixated Zionist you paranoid losers imagine him to be, wouldn't he have married...say, a Jewish girl?

Svigor said...

I don't think that's equally true of all European ethnicities. In countries with very little immigration, such as Poland or Slovakia, there is certainly a closer overlap between national identity and ethnic identity.

Heh. I wonder what kind of numbers a good study of European nationalism by country would turn up. I was looking at Wiki pages recently. Germany had 33 images. Belgium had something like 18, IIRC. Poland had 85, and Ukraine was even higher. Belarus didn't have many, though. I wonder if we could use Wiki page image counts as a proxy.

Perhaps. But not as dense as the people who can't see heavy-handed sarcasm when it hits them between the eyes.

That was not heavy-handed sarcasm, given the medium. It was pretty light for text with little context.

Steve, what nationality does SBC need to portray to falsify your theory? Well, an Israeli is one obvious answer; but anyone else?

Jews
Israelis
Blacks
Armenians
Mexicans

That would be a good start. Or, how about Jewish-Americans, Jewish-British, Jewish-Canadians...?

On what occasions do citizens of Israel have to list their "nationality"?

Any time they use their identification cards. The way this is done is a great example of Jewish crypto-racism.

News: Anti-immigrant crackdown afoot in China

You're kidding. You're kidding, right? OMG, they went there. They actually went there. Chinese chutzpah is alive and well, lol! I need to go confirm before I start laughing my ass off. Talk about sending a message and seizing a good PR window at the same time...

You're really stretching this "Borat=Slav" thing farther than it can hold, Steve.

I haven't watched any of his movies, so could someone help me out here? Didn't he use Slavs to play Kazakhs in Borat?

helene edwards said...

The ridiculous David Denby calls SBC "fearless."

josh said...

"Even if that sentiment isnt expressed as you'd like." I'd like it expressed kind of like,"Oy! I hate this goyishe country. I am leaving to spend the rest of my life in Gabon,because as a jew I am an outsider and I feel so comfortable with african-american africans."Kinda like that. I really detest Cohen! Why didnt he try that crap on Will Smith?

ben tillman said...

Kazakhs are not Slavs. They are descendants of the Turkic tribes.

Steve explained this before: Kazakhs = Cossacks.

Anonymous said...

I thought genomic Jewishness traveled on the y chromosome, contrary to Jewish tradition.

Anonymous said...

Kazakhs have nothing to do with Cossacks.

Anonymous said...

Kazakhs are not Cossacks. Two different ethnic groups.

Bill said...

IHTG said...
You're really stretching this "Borat=Slav" thing farther than it can hold, Steve.


No, he isn't. When Borat spoke his "language," did it sound like Kazakh to you? As far as I could tell, Borat didn't use one single Turkic word throughout the entire film.

Furthermore, he eats pork and drinks liquor (Kazakhs are Muslim), and his home village looks nothing like a typical Kazakh encampment, which is a collection of yurts.

It was precisely a farcical Eastern Europe, filmed in part in Romania, BTW.

Here's a real knee-slapper of a story about the real people of Glod, who were prominently featured in Borat:

Mr Tudorache, a deeply religious grandfather who lost his arm in an accident, was one of those who feels most humiliated. For one scene, a rubber sex toy in the shape of a fist was attached to the stump of his missing arm - but he had no idea what it was.

Only when The Mail on Sunday visited him did he find out. He said he was ashamed, confessing that he only agreed to be filmed because he hoped to top up his £70-a-month salary - although in the end he was paid just £3.

He invited us into his humble home and brought out the best food and drink his family had. Visibly disturbed, he said shakily: 'Someone from the council said these Americans need a man with no arm for some scenes. I said yes but I never imagined the whole country, or even the whole world, will see me in the cinemas ridiculed in this way. This is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5/26/12 1:04 PM wrote:

"I thought genomic Jewishness traveled on the y chromosome, contrary to Jewish tradition."

That's contrary to Jewish tradition only since the compilation of the Talmud. It's pretty clear from reading the Old Testament that during the biblical era, Israelite/Judahite ethnic identity was paternally transmitted.

Whiskey said...

Don't forget Cohen's hilarious baiting of the Black female audience in a fake-Oprah type talk show as "Bruno." Complete with the Black baby in a t-shirt reading "Gayby" and "Bruno" baiting them by saying he traded an Ipod Red for him, and gave him a traditional "African-African-American name: OJ."

Whiskey said...

And no Cohen is not Welsh. He's not a Celt. That's the fallacy of modern liberalism. He's no more a Celt than I am an Israeli.

That does not mean he cannot be funny, though. He also picked on Gays, and the Fashion folk, neither of whom like Jews or Israelis very much.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:50-- He married a beautiful Australian & had her convert. Best of both worlds.

elvisd said...

lol seriously what is your obsession with this guy. article after article about a moderately successful, moderately notable comedian who people mostly forget about between movies.

Name one filmmaker since DW Griffith who has gotten away with candidly unleashing his own racial/ethnic obsessions in American theaters.

Anonymous said...

"Name one filmmaker since DW Griffith who has gotten away with candidly unleashing his own racial/ethnic obsessions in American theaters."

Mel Gibson. He hates the English and makes them look bad in his movies. (You might say the same thing about his making a passion play into a feature film and what we later learned re: his anti-semitism.)

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt that Steve was the first to "get" what SBC was about. Probably not even the first to comment on it. Probably the most mainstream opinion writer who has commented on it though.

IHTG said...

Well, if he isn't meant to be Slavic, he is meant to be a Muslim, another group that Israelis typically view with distaste, fear, or loathing.

That could well be so. He is a generic Third World Muslim oaf.

Anonymous 3:54 - You forgot the Ali G movie. That was the first one.

Anonymous said...

I am less sympathetic when you plead guilty.

Borat is clearly a caricature of a Balkan South Slav, and Slavs more generally. You have to be really dumb or intellectually dishonest to not recognize this.

Anonymous said...

I highly doubt that Steve was the first to "get" what SBC was about. Probably not even the first to comment on it. Probably the most mainstream opinion writer who has commented on it though.

Then find someone else who did comment on it before him and post a link here.

Matthew said...

"You might say the same thing about his making a passion play into a feature film and what we later learned re: his anti-semitism."

Oh my God, Mel made a movie that had...villains!

Mel's gone crazy, that's for sure. That's the alcoholism taking it's toll. But The Passion was never anti-Semitic, and Mel didn't do his anti-Semitic rant until after his name had been dragged through the mud by the Jewish lobby.

Meanwhile, Jews showed immense tolerance by alleging that The Passion was going to stir millions of ignorant, crazy Christians into a frenzy of anti-Semitic violence.

Anonymous said...

If he was the crazy purity fixated Zionist you paranoid losers imagine him to be, wouldn't he have married...say, a Jewish girl?

No, he didn't. Neither did Steven Spielberg, Ben Stiller, Mel Brooks and a great number, if not the majority of the other comedians or entertainment creators who espouse what could be called a Zionist or PC view of the world through their works. All have chosen a spouse which is at odds with their politics.

I would class Ben Stiller's work as distinctively less PC or perhaps Zionist/Jewish than most of the above. Then I thought to look up his parentage. I knew his father was Jewish. His mother is Irish. So that goes a long way to explaining why his humour is not as monomaniacally "Jewish" than a Spielberg or SBC for instance. You have your "Meet the Parents" type movies, and then you have a movie like Tropic Thunder that is bold for its time. It breaks with the PC dogma in casting Downey Junior in blackface, and a heavily Jewish asshole movie producer in Tom Cruise.

I know many of us would like to think that when people intermarry, their children completely forsake their white heritage, much like Obama. But this is not wholly true. Rather, they have a shared or divided ethnic conscious. They generally don't want to see bad things happen to either side of their ethnic background. If they do toe a particular party line that goes against one side, it is half hearted and with regret that they do so. And rather than dilute their loyalty any further, they would rather confine their mating to others within the sphere of their own ethnicity.

There are other good examples of part-Northern Euro, part-Jewish people who seek some sort of middle ground. Adrien Brody (maternal grandmother is Hungarian, father is Polish-Jewish, which may indicate not full Jewish there either) has involved himself in such projects as The Pianist and King Kong. The Pianist is a movie not at all like Schindler's List, while about the same subject. The general feeling I got from it was that "war is hell". And King Kong addresses the idea: "Do savages have a place in European (or any) civilization?". Adrien Brody's character is that of a Jewish writer with communist sympathies, who is smart enough to see that this is really not a good idea and plays the part of the hero - he does something about it.

Another example is perhaps our host here, Steve Sailer. I'm sure there are other examples of this.

And when I say that SBC's work is typically "Jewish", this is not the best term for it. Perhaps a better term might be "Jewishly PC". I say this because the original term is only the true while the attitude of the majority Jew typifies such attitude. This attitude may seem inflexible year to year but is certainly fluid over the decades. It took decades before the Holocaustian view of WW2 took effect, and certainly Jews had a different attitude prior to the adoption of Political Correctness. And just as attitudes can change in one direction, they can revert the other way, especially if there is a big self-interest in doing so.

Can it be said that promoting the PC attitude is really in the long term Jewish best interest? I certainly don't believe it is.

Anonymous said...

Jews
Israelis
Blacks
Armenians
Mexicans


Jews are plausible. Jewish comedians portray Jews all the time. Mexicans are possible too; however SBC's Mexican wouldn't look anything like your typical Mestizo. Blacks? Are you kidding? Even for SBC, going out in blackface would be an instant career suicide.

On Borat as Slav. Of course he is, nobody knows what a Kazakh is.

Apparently nobody knows what a Slav is either, because Borat doesn't look like one at all. Only a tiny minority of Slavs may look like that, typically those, like Bulgarians, who have a lot of Turkic admixture.

No, he isn't. When Borat spoke his "language," did it sound like Kazakh to you?

Apparently, the "language" SBC speaks in Dictator contains a lot of Hebrew.

Anonymous said...

Do some of the people who post here live in caves?

With all due respect to Steve, who I think is simply great, the use of films by Jews to negatively stereotype others or work out personal animosities has been going for a long… long time. The idea that this is somehow a unique revelation by Steve is funny.

To many people, myself included, what Borat was about was fairly obvious from the first advertisement for the movie I saw (hence I didn’t have to subject myself to viewing it).

To read an award winning scholarly treatment of the negative portrayal of Slavs by Jews in Hollywood read the book below.

Hollywood's War with Poland, 1939-1945
M. B. B. Biskupski
The University Press of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 2009


Here is the Amazon link: www.amazon.com/Hollywoods-Poland-1939-1945-M-B-B.../2

I mean, really, many Jewish comedians, such as the Marx Brothers, entire shtick was about denigrating WASP culture and poking fun at the yokels, no?

What is interesting to me, as a film fan, is that some British and American noir films of the 1940s and 1950s portrayed Jewish criminals or possibly Jewish crimianls (ie. character with a Jewish sounding name and look) in a rather negative light (as being grasping, greedy, and rather untrustworthy). However, other than the recent movies Drive and An Education there hasn’t been too many films where a Jewish character or possible Jewish character (ie. obvious Jewish sounding name or appearance) has been portrayed very negatively since the early 1960s. At least only a few come to my mind. Am I wrong? Since the Jews have dominated Hollywood at least since the late 1920s, I am not sure what changed.

I guess there was the Apprenticeship of Dudley Kravitz staring Richard Dryfuss in the 1970s, which was a Canadian film. Crimes and Misdemeanors by Woody Allen was another.

There may have been a few, but not too many

Usually, the bad guy or heavy is always invariably a WASP or Aryan, no? This is true even if the character requirements are rather an implausible stretch such as, for instance, an evil WASP pawn shop owner or fish mongerer.

With Blacks, it is even worse. The award winning movie Training Day was a recent exception.

I am still waiting for the Hollywood treatment of Noble Prize winner’s Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s book on Russians and the Jews. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn

Probably shouldn’t hold my breath because a print version of the book could not even find a publisher in the U.S.

TGGP said...

I think Steve can stretch an interpretation sometimes, but he's right that Borat is supposed to be a Slav. It has nothing to do with the actual Kazakhstan. The original character was supposed to be an Albanian, but SBC chickened out. Most westerns know nothing about Kazakhstan, so he can get away with making a generic foreigner. And because he's not identified with any particular Slavic nation they (who are closer to europe and western culture) won't make much of a fuss. Even when he shot in eastern europe he used gypsies, and the mayor of the town he shot in had no sympathy for the complainers.

Regarding his stance on Israel, he seemed to deliberately provoke the ultra-orthodox in Bruno and got chased down the streets. So he likely remains a Zionist but I'd guess of the fairly liberal sort and doesn't think jewish sensibilities need protection from humor.

Anonymous said...

This discussion reminded me of the ten-years old brouhaha around the Lord of the Rings movies. To certain people it was obvious -- obvious! -- that the orcs were stand-ins for black people. Steve Sailer is not the one with theories.

Anonymous said...

Kazakhs are not Slavs. They are descendants of the Turkic tribes.

Obviously, but it's obvious that "Borat" (despite a thin sprinkling of one-liners about Uzbekistan, etc.) is not so much a lampooning of Kazakhs as a Balkan caricature transposed onto an "obscure" country whose UK expats were comfortably unlikely to take violent offense to Mr. Baron-Cohen.

Originally the character was supposed to be "Kristo from Albania".

Kazakhs have nothing to do with Cossacks.

That's going too far -- the words are cognates, meaningfully, and the Cossacks contain -- in a great mix of races -- Tatar and other Turkic elements. It is as though the Indian fighters of the American West were themselves part Injun.

ben tillman said...

Kazakhs have nothing to do with Cossacks.

And:

Kazakhs are not Cossacks. Two different ethnic groups.

I think a couple commenters need to be introduced to Sacha's cousin Simon.

SBC portrays a Cossack and calls him a Kazakh. It's a pun.

IHTG said...

I think Steve can stretch an interpretation sometimes, but he's right that Borat is supposed to be a Slav.

What kind of Slav? Certainly not Russian or Polish.

Anonymous said...

Borat wiki :

"The character, now known as Christo, was then picked up by Paramount Comedy 1 and then subsequently by BBC Two's Comedy Nation. These early versions of Borat were nearly identical in looks and demeanor to the later incarnation, but the character claimed to be from Moldova rather than Kazakhstan."

Svigor said...

"Jews
Israelis
Blacks
Armenians
Mexicans"

Jews are plausible. Jewish comedians portray Jews all the time. Mexicans are possible too; however SBC's Mexican wouldn't look anything like your typical Mestizo. Blacks? Are you kidding? Even for SBC, going out in blackface would be an instant career suicide.


I was thinking more in terms of:

"Throw a gentile down a well!"
"Throw an Arab down a well!"
"Throw a cracker down a well!"
"Throw a Jew down a well!"
"Throw a gringo down a well!"

Svigor said...

The original character was supposed to be an Albanian, but SBC chickened out

Whoops, I meant Albanians, not Armenians. I always get those two mixed up (but never whooping cough and whooping cranes).

stari_momak said...

"Ra ra Rasputin
Belfast
Ma Baker
By the Rivers of Babylon.

What do all the titles have in common? why, they mock the defeaters of Germany back in '45 (which was still relatively recent in the late '70s)."

Where does Daddy Cool fit into this theory?

stari_momak said...

""Remember Welsh and other European ethnic groups are not really allowed their own ethno-racial identities"

Bit ironic that Welsh means 'foreigner' in old English, eh?

Londoner said...

Well at least SBC has come up with a new character, his first of the millennium.

He seems loathesome on every level - which is why the occasional smackdowns that he has sustained are especially enjoyable. Check out "Ali G"'s interview with Andy Rooney. One not-so-dumb goy who didn't get reeled in.

I feel bad saying this - I am an Englishman, and he would doubtless be wounded to hear such criticism come from his own kith and kin.

Anonymous said...

...films where a Jewish character or possible Jewish character (ie. obvious Jewish sounding name or appearance) has been portrayed very negatively...

...there was the Apprenticeship of Dudley Kravitz staring Richard Dryfuss in the 1970s.

Another Mordecai Richler novel, Barney's Version was made into a movie recently, with Paul Giamatti as the by turns repellent and pathetic title character, a Jewish media type.

Richler was a curmudgeon.

Norville Rogers said...

Anonymous 4:46 AM, it strongly resembles the early Internet meme of "Mahir" (who was a Turk). That was my first thought after seeing a 2001 sketch with Borat, who was then much less famous. However the Mahir fad and Baron Cohen's UK show are contemporaneous.

Among the latter's verbal tropes is the greeting "Jak se mas" so yes, it is obviously Slavic-inspired.

Anonymous said...

He comes from such a smart family,I have to study his cousins work, Simon Baron Cohen, who's a professor in developmental psychopathology in the psych department in Cambridge. GENIUS