July 4, 2008

"We played it straight and square. Nay, we simply are straight and square."

"We smiled at the idiotic questions and answered them patiently. We remonstrated that this was no way to help the youth of the world understand the depth and tragedy of our conflict."

How serious, intelligent people get taken in by Sacha Baron Cohen. I don't know what's funnier, the dialogue he — as Bruno — extracted from two experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict...
“Vait, vait. Vat’s zee connection between a political movement and food. Vy hummus?”

We exchanged astonished glances. “Hamas,” we explained, “is a Palestinian Islamist political movement. Hummus is a food.”

“Ya, but vy hummus? Yesterday I had to throw away my pita bread because it vas dripping hummus. Unt it’s too high in carbohydrates.”...

“Your conflict is not so bad. Jennifer-Angelina is worse.”
... or the fact that they were taken in because the producer who scheduled the interview "had a British accent and seemed serious and professional" and the crew arrived "with its three cameras and large coterie of assistants" and was "serious and very professional."

So the key to pulling a prank is not cracking up. And having a British accent. Cohen's comedy is based on his accents — Bruno has a ridiculous Austrian accent — and it works not just because his accents are funny, but because accomplices maintain that accent that people take so seriously – the old British accent.

6 comments:

Meade said...

But we had signed a contract or release form (we’re both interviewed so frequently, neither of us bothered to read it carefully)

A clue as to why Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire agreements never seem hold up?

ricpic said...

P.T. Barnum was right and Sacha Baron Cohen knows it.

Which doesn't make Cohen's exploitation of suckerdom any the less wince inducing.

rightwingprof said...

I wouldn't call it wince-inducing. Just nauseating.

William said...

On the radio I once heard an exchange between an Israeli & Palestinian spokesman. They were both intelligent professionals and spoke in well modulated voices. Within two minutes their voices were at a crescendo and I had the impression that they would gladly tear each other to pieces with their bare hands. Perhaps if there were an equitable distribution of hummus this trust building measure could lead to larger steps.

From Inwood said...

On the other hand, I don't know how I'd react if Chris Matthews told me while we were doing a purportedly serious interview on the telly that The Obamessiah sends chills up his leg.

From Inwood said...

Then there's those dim FARC guys who were fooled by Columbian Army guys wearing "Che" shirts!

That would've made me think that I was being transported by a bunch of UWS Libs!