Monday, November 27, 2006


Borat rocked. If you didn't find it funny, you don't have a sense of humor. Anyway, Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post, Time Magazine) has a piece in which he rips Sacha Baron Cohen for his humorous way of exposing anti-semetic underpinnings in American culture. (Hat Tip to ADDeRabbi, who lauds this column). I started to comment on ADDeRabbi's post, when I realized that it was long enough to be its own post. If you haven't read Krauthammer's article and the Rolling Stone interview, you won't get what I'm going to say.

I fundamentally disagree with everything that Krauthammer says. First of all, he doesn't read carefully. He claims that Sacha Baron Cohen is a "Sabbath Observing Jew", when the Rolling Stone article clearly stated that he only does so "when he can." Next of all, it wasn't his assertion that the path to Auschwitz was indifference; that was the assertion of a professor of his.

Iran and the holocaust cartoons; Palestinians and wanting to wipe Israel off the map; Europe and beatings and cemetery desecrations - these are all blatant expressions of anti-semitism. Nobody can deny this. What may be worse, IMHO, is the subtle anti-semetic undertones of the anti-semitism that exists in more people than we want to admit it does. I don't care who you are and who you align yourself with; I want nothing to do with a group of people that have no problem chanting "Throw the Jew Down the Well." Albeit a different situation, the crowd in the Kramer audience didn't turn around and start chanting "NIGGER!", did they? People still hate Jews, even in America.

And, so what if this is the best place for Jews in history? That doesn't make it perfect; it's still possible that even as the best in history for Jews, it too can have problems that need to be uncovered, as well.

Showing a Borat movie about anti-semitism in Europe or Israel wouldn't have had the same effect - everyone already knows that we're hated in those places. To bring out the anti-semetic undertones of college students, watering-hole patrons, etc., shows that even though this is arguably the best country in the world for Jews since its inception, it's not perfect and it has a long way to go.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

if a person hates germans, what better name than 'krauthammer'? hah.

1:19 PM, November 27, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

Right on. I find it telling that Mel Gibson's Jew bashing affected his career not at all, whereas Michael Richards is pretty much finished.

10:44 PM, November 27, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

Right on. I find it telling that Mel Gibson's Jew bashing affected his career not at all, whereas Michael Richards is pretty much finished.

10:44 PM, November 27, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Mel Gibson's a great actor. As for Michael Richards; I haven't heard from him since Seinfeld...although I'm not holding...

10:48 PM, November 27, 2006

Blogger Luke said...

My understanding is that the throw the Jews in a well bit (which wasn't in the movie, btw) was about the 20th verse of a ribald sing-a-long led by the Borat character, and that the drunken singers were drunk. If so, Cohen is the one in the wrong by portraying it otherwise. A good case can be made that HE is the race-bating bigot. Certainly ascribing bigotry to a group where it does not exist is itself a kind of bigotry, sort of like deliberately accusing someone falsely of rape -- as apparently recently happened in the Duke lacrosse case. I think a lot of people who consider themselves liberal and enlightened in this country had better slow down and start examining their own consciences. No class is exempt from moral error, I mean serous error, and most assuredly not those who assume that they are in the right because they and their friends feel sure that they are. The devil loves to sneek up on just that kind of people. Beware!

2:56 AM, November 28, 2006

Blogger AlanLaz said...

Luke, it sounds to me that the premise of your argument is that these people aren't really racist because a) they were drunk and b)because this verse was part of a larger song (which, I'd like to see a source to). If you really think that then you may be part of the problem as well.

4:53 AM, November 28, 2006

Anonymous Erica said...

Really Luke, how can you say that they said those things because they were drunk? People who aren't anti-Semetic, don't join in an anti-Semetic song just for the fun of it.

Just like Kramer isn't racist right? If someone isn't racist they don't make up "50 years ago we would have hung you upside down and stuck a fork in your a$$" you don't just make that up if you aren't racist, drunk / angry or not.

1:26 PM, November 28, 2006

Anonymous Greg said...

Sorry, but Mel Gibson is not a great actor.

6:58 PM, November 28, 2006

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mel Gibson's Jew bashing affected his career not at all."

Ginson has lost a lot of respect. His career may not be finished, but is has most definitely been affected.

Luke- Mel Gibson made his comments when he was drunk, yet they were quite authentic. You can't excuse those people's actions just because they were drunk.

Also, while "throw the Jew down the well" may have been just one line, but two thirds of the song focused on the IDEA of anti-Semitism. That was one line, but so was "you must grab him by his horns" and "they take everybody's money."

11:55 AM, November 30, 2006

Blogger Ezzie said...

AMEN! :) (Okay, so I wrote something similar. But you wrote it better.)

1:13 PM, November 30, 2006


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