Thursday, June 11, 2009

But seriously, ladies and degenerates…

From the new Sacha Baron Cohen laugh-fest Bruno (per Drudge):

In one scene Bruno appears on a talk show holding a baby who is wearing a T-shirt reading "Gayby."

The sequence flashes to Bruno having sex in a hot tub while the baby sits nearby. He then boasts to the outraged studio audience that the baby is a man magnet.

My take: If you think this is remotely funny, there is something seriously wrong with you. And if you need an explanation of why there is something seriously wrong with you, there is even more wrong with you than I thought. But hey, let’s not argue about it; as Elizabeth Anscombe would say, corrupt minds cannot be reasoned with.

To be sure, “concerns” have been raised about the movie – not because of the baby sex jokes, but (oh dear, hide the children!) because of some possibly “homophobic” elements.

Don’t worry, gentle reader, things could always be worse. And will be. And soon. After all, we moderns do everything faster and better than our forebears, especially civilizational decline. As they say in show biz, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.


  1. I think Sascha Baron Cohen goes too far with some of his gags, but I also appreciate the way he is able to so effectively skewer the hypocrisy of our so-called civilized society by showing that it's actually a cauldron of simmering prejudices and ignorance just below the surface. Take the way he got Southern 'gentlemen' at a wine-taster to admit (and not against their will, just in the course of conversing with someone they thought was just an ignorant Kazakh) that they were better off when they had slaves. Or how he got frat boys to call women all sorts of degrading things when they thought they were safe with him (and his camera crew??) in their camper. Or in a scene which is deliciously biblical, when he invited a prostitute (just as a friend, though, not as a sex companion) to a high-class dinner party, they immediately took issue and kicked him out, even though they had previously tolerated him bringing a bag full of his own dung to the dinner table, because they thought he didn't know any better.

  2. Ed,

    I agree with your comments. But it's just possible that Cohen, an Orthodox Jew, would agree with them as well.

    He doesn't seem to be a comedian, really, even though he's always described that way. He's more of a performance artist, sort of like the late Andy Kaufman. He stages bizarre and deliberately offensive scenarios in public, then films the result, whatever it turns out to be. Sometimes the results are hilarious, but at least as often they're appalling.

    I'm not defending this type of performance art (if that's what it is). The concept of it - its sheer manipulativeness - tends to make me angry, even when it produces a funny result. And I can't help but think it reveals Cohen as a rather nasty type of person, probably a misanthrope. Politically, at least, he does seem to be a standard-issue knee-jerk anti-American left-wing British moron. So no, I'm not defending him (although I thought that much of his movie "Borat" was hilarious) - I'm just pointing out the possibility that the appalling scenes you describe from "Bruno" are not simply a nihilistic attempt at depraved humor.

  3. Hello JD and Warren,

    I agree that some of his stuff is funny. But in general his work seems to me (a) to spring from a real contempt for others, a joy in humiliating people that goes beyond merely criticizing their foibles, and (b) to evince contempt also for the very idea that there are some things that should not be joked about. On top of that, he seems to think that anything he does is justifiable so long as it can be interpreted as furthering a vague liberal moralism.

  4. Ed,

    Once again, agree completely. That's why "Borat", even though one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time, left a decidedly bad taste in my mouth. I've never watched it a second time for that reason. Cohen seems like a cruel and self-righteous bastard to me, in spite of his talents.

  5. He's an obnoxious punk. His orthodox judaism doesn't help matters. That doesn't mean, however, that one takes the mass at La Iglesia De Rudy Jooliani.