- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2006

City slicker

” ‘Borat’ is often hailed, by conservatives and liberals alike as a muckraker. In [Sacha Baron Cohen’s] new movie, he comes to America, posing as a Kazakh journalist and making misogynist and anti-Semitic comments in front of unsuspecting bystanders. Sometimes, they simply agree with him. …

“Borat is unwilling to seek out anti-Semitism wherever it lies, instead keeping his backwardness, and especially his thoughts on Jews, to rural areas. …

“This disdain for rural areas pervades the comic’s work, and it’s complemented with a refusal to unearth urban issues. Take a look at the few scenes … where Borat is in New York. He does bring to life the well-known stereotype that working-class New Yorkers aren’t exactly cheery people. …

“But for some reason, the ‘Kazakh journalist’s‘ anti-Semitism seems restrained in these scenes. …

“The comic’s schtick is a targeted attack on rural people across the world, and he’s willing to whitewash urban problems to that end.”

— Robert VerBruggen, writing on “Borat’s Attack on the Rural World,” Monday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

They ‘don’t get it’

“[Victoria] Jackson said it’s important that her [‘Saturday Night Live’] colleagues worked with her and tried to respect her beliefs. Still, it was sometimes hard to do comedy when few — if any — of the writers truly understood her faith and, thus, her strengths as a comic. ‘Studio 60’ is doing a good job of showing this kind of tension, she said. It also helps that Harriet Hayes is not being portrayed as ‘one of those Christian clichs, somebody who has no brains and no talent. They’re trying to make her a real person.’

“Still, Jackson noted that there have been glitches that will puzzle traditional Christians. During one episode, a journalist asks if Harriet would have trouble doing a sketch about premarital sex. The born-again comedian responds: ‘I don’t have a problem having premarital sex. It might be the only sex that I ever have.’

“Maybe [Aaron] Sorkin and his team don’t get it, said Jackson … . ‘They can’t conceive of having a romance involving a smart, attractive, funny woman who isn’t going to compromise on what she believes about sex,’ she said.”

— Terry Mattingly, in his Nov. 8 “On Religion” column for Scripps Howard News Service

Radical Rosie

“[Rosie O’Donnell] announced to a surprised audience, ‘Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state.’ This assertion is, as we kill-crazy, bloodlusting Christians like to call it, a ‘target-rich environment.’

“After all, who can forget the beheading Methodists, the angry riots by surging Catholic mobs … the planes flown into mosques by members of the Nebraska Missionary Alliance, the Bible Church members who bombed the disco in Bali, the bomb in the London Underground set off by crazed Lutherans from Lake Wobegon, and the bombs in Spain, courtesy of the Billy Graham organization. Christians? …

“We’re talking about the most deadly fighting force of soulless killers in the world! And, of course, the number of gays and lesbians like O’Donnell hanged, stoned to death, and sentenced to death by courts in America, where the vast majority of citizens self-identify as Christians, is indistinguishable from places like Iran and Saudi Arabia.”

— Mark Shea, writing on “If You’ve Seen One, You’ve Seen ‘em All,” Nov. 1 in Catholic Exchange at www.catholicexchange.com

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