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Sacha Baron Cohen’s attack on hate speech hypocritical
Sacha Baron Cohen champions restrictions on ‘hate speech’ that would’ve seen his own material banned, but of course, like any hypocrite with zero self-awareness, he considers himself immune from the censorship he promotes.
Read the whole article by RITA PANAHI below the fold.
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Sacha Baron Cohen’s attack on hate speech hypocritical
Sacha Baron Cohen entered the race late, but he is among the frontrunners for the 2019 Chutzpah Award for audacious acts of world-class hypocrisy.
The British comic who shocked and delighted the world with his outrageous, colossally offensive antics has become an advocate for policing the speech of others.
Baron Cohen now champions restrictions on ‘hate speech’ that would’ve seen his own material banned, but of course like any hypocrite with zero self-awareness, he considers himself immune from the censorship he promotes.
The man who as Borat sang “throw the Jew down the well, so my country can be free” now wants to silence those he deems have crossed a line.
Speaking at the Anti-Defamation League last week, Baron Cohen attacked social media giants for not sufficiently censoring speech, describing Facebook as “the greatest propaganda machine in history”, claiming that “hate crimes are surging” and that “if Facebook were around in the 1930s, they would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his solution to the Jewish problem”.
In a confused, often contradictory and hyperbolic speech, a comedian known for his risqué material advocated for significant limits on free expression.
One doesn’t doubt that he is well-intentioned.
But Baron Cohen’s good arguments were lost in glaring incongruities; he is either painfully naive or indifferent to the sinister implications of having a few social media giants, staffed by Silicon Valley Millennials, determine what people can say or see.
And, for a speech that was about the importance of incontrovertible truths, Baron Cohen boldly uttered a number of falsehoods, including his claims that Twitter and Facebook don’t censor hate speech.
He even tried to justify his exploitation of unsuspecting people in his doco-dramas and claimed the stereotypes, racism and sexism of his material was merely a means to expose how anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic and homophobic everybody else was.
I’m not sure how mocking Kazakhstanis as a bunch of incestuous bigots or handing a bag of human waste to a group of painfully polite Americans is a brave act of social justice activism.
The truth is that social media platforms do regulate political and ideological speech so much so that a number of feminists have been banned for ‘deadnaming’ or ‘misgendering’ trans activists. Prominent feminist Megan Murphy found herself in violation of Twitter’s rules against hateful conduct for tweeting “men aren’t women”.
As for Baron Cohen’s claims that Hitler would use Facebook ads to spread his vile ideas, the inconvenient truth is that a number of mainstream liberal publications were printing free, positive coverage of Hitler after his rise to power.
The New York Times reported “a new moderation” in the political climate, while the Chicago Tribune and Associated Press downplayed the attacks against the Jewish community.
‘Hate speech’ is a fluid term and its definition is ever-widening to include speech that is factual but politically incorrect.
When verifiable statements of fact are deemed hate speech then you know the pendulum has swung too far into suppression bordering on totalitarianism. By today’s standards, Baron Cohen’s entire career would be characterised as a hate-filled, harmful mockery of ethnic, religious and LGBT minorities. From his blackface days as Ali G to horny misogynist Borat, to Bruno the indecent gay fashion reporter.
Perhaps, as one tweet opined, Baron Cohen’s sudden embrace of censorship is “a brilliant long game troll”, but it seems he is just the latest celeb to fall into wokedom.
Don’t you miss the good old days when comics did comedy and left the earnest preaching and hectoring to the churchy types? Now grievance porn and lectures on inclusivity, diversity, patriarchy, rape culture and victimhood are considered stand-up material, never mind if the content is about as funny as an ingrown nail, as long as you are perceived to be “punching up” then you’ll earn plaudits from your equally PC, unwitty comrades.
There are exceptions and they tend to be the cream of the comedy crop; Ricky Gervais, David Chappelle and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are among the tiny minority who have the courage to produce hilarious comedy poking fun at today’s sacred cows.
Earlier this month, South Park was condemned by trans activists for mocking the absurdity that sees biological men self-identifying as women competing in women’s sporting competitions.
Chappelle is considered by many comics to be the best of his generation, but his latest Netflix special, Sticks and Stones, has a critic rating of 35 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes because it was unashamedly unPC. Sticks and Stones’audience rating, however, is 99 per cent.
Compare that to stand-up scold Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette which has a critic score of 100 per cent, but an audience score of just 21 per cent. These days, punching up means challenging the prevailing Leftist groupthink that has infected the entertainment industry.
Rita Panahi is a Herald Sun columnist.