Should we sympathise with Sacha Baron Cohen’s 'Who is America?' victims?
God only knows how he’s managed to get away with it again, but Sacha Baron Cohen is back. The man behind Ali G, Borat and Bruno has returned to America and is again making a fool out of everyone he encounters. Should his victims in new show Who Is America? know better, or are we part of the problem for joining in the bullying?
Characters and victims
In Who is America?, Cohen is playing a range of new characters and is up to his old tricks. His production team and the heavily made-up star are duping politicians, models, art dealers and ordinary people into making total and utter fools of themselves in front of the camera.
Just two episodes into the series and Cohen has already managed to coax his victims into some shocking behaviour. Dick Cheney signs a waterboard kit, an art dealer cuts off some of her pubes for a piece of artwork, a gun nut takes part in selling firearms aimed at kids. The list goes on. And with each new episode, the news stories start to rack up about victims that argue that they have been treated unfairly.
Most recently, and most sensationally, Georgia governor Jason Spencer has resigned from his position due to his appearance on the show. If you saw Who is America? on Monday, you’ll remember Spencer. He was the guy shouting ‘n—-r’ repeatedly, and baring his ass so that he could fight off potential homophobic terrorists.
As with all the best bits of Sacha Baron Cohen’s career, it was hands-over-mouth shocking. The language, the behaviour, the fact that this guy could be so utterly stupid, and so overwhelmingly duped. It was hilarious, but hilarious only in the hollow way that laughing at an idiot making a fool of themselves can be. Jason Spencer has resigned so some good has come of this. The guy is clearly not fit to be making decisions.
Who is America?
Sacha Baron Cohen is at his best when going for easy targets. America is a nation divided, and Cohen is mostly taking aim at extreme right wing bigots and war-mongers. So should we sympathise with them?
It’s difficult. Cohen’s Israeli anti-terror expert character is yielding the best results so far. He is exposing gun nuts as the greedy, dangerous, deluded people that they are. He has revealed Jason Spencer as a revolting bigot. And Cohen is also using his other characters to wind up local people that don’t want a super-mosque in their town. As usual, he is making known the very ugly side of America.
The victims will be critical of Cohen’s tactics. Him and his production team are dishonest. They are professional pranksters. Some of the victims may very well have their careers ruined by this show. But hopefully that will do more good than harm.
What do you think of Who is America? so far?