Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A PhilAsifical Review of The Dictator

The DictatorHello folks. A quickie blog here today. The wifey and I watched Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy The Dictator this past weekend. And no, I don't feel like a horrible Muslim for having went to see it. Since the initial trailer for The Dictator came out during Superbowl Weekend in January, I've heard the opinions of Muslim friends, collegues and such vehemently bashing the making of this movie and practically wanting to boycott seeing the movie as if the movie was called "Lowes: Lumber with A Vengence".

Now I've been a huge fan of Sacha Baron Cohen's work. He's a brilliant comedian and touches on political and societal issues that some people feel uneasy about discussing without ruffling someone's feathers. I loved him in Borat--Bruno on the other hand, not so much--the fact of the matter is SBC pokes fun at the way people act and the preconceived notions and prejudices instilled in the human psyche to the point where it makes one question the absurdity of some of their feelings toward issues such as ethnicity, nationalism, politics, societal ills and yes--religion. This film is no different.

Some people thought that the movie was going to make Arabs and Muslims specifically look bad. Now there's no question that Borat poked a little fun at Arab culture, just as he pokes fun at all cultures, even his own Jewish heritage--which he lambastes the most for the sake of laughs. But to say that the movie is bunching up all Muslims into this bubble and saying that they all are like the people in the dictator is just nonsense. There was no indication that his character was even Muslim and in one scene he denied being Arab. He was a mish-mash of all of the infamous historical dictators in appearance, dress and rhetoric. He didn't praise Allah, or pray salat, or do anything remotely pertaining to the religion of Islam. Maybe he may have diverted away from doing such because of fear of possible backlash since some Muslims have no sense of humor when it comes to them being the butt of the joke, but will happily laugh at the expense of others. I'm not sure. But I think it was handled greatly and one doesn't leave having sort of ill feelings towards Muslims, Arabs or Islam. I especially enjoyed the fun he poked at American democracy toward the end of the film being very much like a dictatorship.

In conclusion, I enjoyed it and had a good laugh and don't think I need to take a new shahadah because of it.

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