I’m not a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen. I never saw his movies and I never watched the shows. All I really know about him is based on video clips I’ve seen here and there.
The problem is that I like the **idea** of Sacha Baron Cohen. I like the fact that he holds up a funhouse mirror to society and calls out hypocrisy and shows a certain group of people that their beliefs taken to absurd conclusions are very likely based on false foundations.
It’s meant to be funny (granted, sometimes it is), but it’s more often uncomfortable, rude, upsetting, horrible, and ultimately sad (I’m thinking of Borat in a bar in Texas getting everyone to join him in singing “Throw the Jews Down the Well.”)
So now we’ve got Baron Cohen’s new show on Showtime – we get clips in Israel – featuring the Israeliest Israeli Erran Morad. This is from an Associated Press article.
“The reaction has mostly been astonishment about the accuracy of the portrayal. He really got some of our traits down,” Einav Schiff, a[n Israeli] TV critic, said with a chuckle.
“Everyone here knows an ‘Erran Morad’ but I haven’t recognized any outrage or embarrassment about the character. It’s mostly been ridicule for these Americans who have fallen for him,” Schiff added.
I’m Israeli enough to appreciate the spot-on portrayal (it’s quite good), but I’m American enough to be dumbstruck by the words coming out of his mouth and shocked that US politicians are not catching on.
I’m stunned that anyone would believe that Israel has a “Kinderguardians” program that advocates arming kids starting at the age of 4.
Now read that again. I’ll wait.
Do you for even a second believe that it’s a good idea to put weapons into the hands of a 4-year-old? And would you endorse a program that advocates arming children? I think the clear answer – even if you admire Israel and even if you are proponent of gun rights – is a resounding NO.
Now let’s say you don’t care one way or the other about Israel or gun rights. Let’s leave it as a wild card if you know of Sacha Baron Cohen and let’s let Youtube make suggestions based on your previous viewings. You like funny stuff, so the video clip comes up.
So you see this guy (definitely foreign, so probably, as he says, Israeli) saying all kinds of absurd stuff with a straight face and he’s believed by legitimate congressmen and leaders. So you’re left with this impression of a bad-ass, crazy Israeli who advocates guns for toddlers. And since you also know that the Israeli Mossad is the top intelligence agency in the world and the Israeli army is one of the best, maybe Israel really does have a Kinderguardians program.
This show is probably not good for America, but I’m not convinced that it’s going to do a lot of good for Israel either.
(Prepare barf bags if you have a sensitive stomach. You’ve been warned.)