Zeit fur Funkyzeit
To quote G-Money: “We’ll be seeing a lot more of these.”
Sacha Baron Cohen is working on a BORAT sequel, based on Bruno, a garishly gay Austrian fashionista who is the only one of Cohen’s three principal characters who hasn’t had a movie yet (Ali G had a British-made film ALI G INDAHOUSE that went straight to video in the US). And some MMA fans reportedly were not amused as a supposed fight turned into a gay sex scene. Nor was a Dallas-area audience last month, lured out for a talk-show that turned into public gay passes and a 2-year-old “gay baby.”
Now, I happen to think that several of DA ALI G SHOW’s funniest bits were Bruno’s (“in or aus: keep em in the ghetto or send em to Auschwitz?”; “Say hello to Austria Gay TV”; the rope line; the two fashionistas critiquing per Bruno’s “offscreen” cues). But I also think he had the worst moment in any of them, and it was cringeworthy in ways that mean these two reports are suggestive of the direction the film is going in.
This scene is neither sufficiently outrageous nor sufficiently appalling (like Borat putting his waste in a Ziploc bag) to be inherently funny. Part of the reason is that Borat and Bruno are different characters. When a Borat sequel was signed, the Defamer story had the headline “Universal Bets $42 Million That Sacha Baron Cohen Can Continue To Taunt Middle America With Naive-Foreigner Characters.” That is exactly backwards. Borat is naive and so people do go and should go to great lengths to accommodate him, which can become hilarious. But Bruno is nothing if not a sophisticated urbanite, sensitive to the cues of social life at the center of the world.
And there is no possible point about supposed “homophobia.” I don’t happen to think that man Jim did anything to deserve what Bruno was doing to him. Nor do I think seriously-based disagreement with me on that point is possible, except under the premise that being neither gay nor freely bisexual is some sort of crime, morally or legally (and AFAIK it isn’t, for now anyway). Jim just wanted to go dancing himself, and if he were anti-gay in any seriously blameworthy sense (and yes there is such a thing), then he would have refused to teach the steps to another man. But still, Bruno keeps coming onto him, repeatedly, after reasonable indications he should lay off. Anger at someone not taking a hint does not become “homophobia” merely because the person not taking the hint is a homosexual.
If the reports from at least Arkansas are accurate, those fans were not engaged in “homophobia” either, but righteous anger over having been cheated and made to watch something they probably would rather not and definitely did not pay for. They paid to see some fights, not public sex. There’s always and everywhere an implicit right to truthful advertising, and it would be just as violated if the video box in the adults-only section for “Best of Randy Longhorn” contained the disc for “Best of Matt Hughes.” I simply have no sympathy for goaders and baiters, and I think they deserve the reactions they get, even the violent ones. But if BRUNO turns out to go where it seems to be headed, we can only conclude that “gay-baiting” has changed its socially acceptable form from “baiting of gays” to “baiting by gays.”
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