Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jon Stewart with Howard Dean

Some classic comments on the mid-term elections. Watch here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The trouble with humour

I've been surprised by the amount of attention Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat has received, both at the box office and in the media regulated public debate.

First of all I must admit to being a very big fan of Cohen's brand of comedy. I love the three characters he has already showcased - Ali G, Borat, and Bruno (the lesser known Austrian fashion critic from 'Austrian Gay TV').

Intellectually I can see a problem with Borat. The fact is his representation of Kazakhistan is racist, and it is somewhat disingenuous to attempt to highlight the scourge of anti-semitism through satire which portrays Kazakhs as ignorant and mysoginist.

But there is a problem with all of that. The problem is that no matter how much intellectualising we do about the pros and cons of Borat , the fact is people (like me) will watch his movie and enjoy it because it's funny. That's the paradox of humour. No one's immune, anyone can be a target, and everything has the potential for ridicule. That is why at the same time that audiences laughed at Charlie Chaplin's satire on Hitler's fascism, German audiences laughed at racist stereotypes of Jews.

Humour is an amoral creature.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Australia v Ghana