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4 More Satirists Attacked By People Who Missed The Point

So a couple of weeks ago, inspired by the Rubberbandits and my contempt for most of the internet, I decided to write a column about satirists who had been misunderstood and attacked. I chose five because it's a nice solid number and, let's face it, I don't get paid by the word. But I also thought five was plenty considering how no one would care about the article. Well, I was wrong. Not only was it one of my most popular pieces, but some bright people pointed out stuff I missed. So here I go again, naming four more satirists who had to take crap from people who quite simply missed the point. Oh, and one more thing. Whereas my last column was pretty much a college essay, repackaged in the Cracked format, this is more of a drunken free-for-all, desperately clinging to the Cracked structure to avoid the sucking vortex of my self-indulgent rambling thought process. Enjoy!

4. Bret Easton Elis - American Psycho

In 1991, Bret Easton Ellis released American Psycho. Maybe you read it. Or maybe you saw the movie with Christian Bale, thinking it was some sort of Batman prequel. The novel follows the exploits of Patrick Batemen, a young New York City business exec who discusses Huey Lewis music and fashion as easily as he murders women and coworkers.

What Did Morons Think Was Going On?

"Moron" 'is not really the right word, but famed feminist Gloria Steinem took umbrage with the novel, trying to block its release due to its portrayal of violence towards women. Bad Bret Easton Ellis you mean old woman hater.

What's The Actual Point?

Well, as was obvious to anyone who read the title of the book, it wasn't called, Bret Easton Ellis's Guide For Treatment of Women. Instead, the title was a little more subtle: American Psycho. Bateman is not a role model. He is a vapid, self-absorbed, violent, and delusional, um, what's the word? Oh, right! PSYCHO. Ellis is skewering the narcissistic, competitive, hedonistic mindset of the 80s yuppie by drawing it to its hyperbolic conclusion of cold-blooded murder. And even if you missed all that, it's still a story about a psycho. Did anyone give Stephen King crap for Pennywise's violence towards children? Furthermore, Batemen murders a male coworker in the novel so his violence is not merely directed towards women. Did Steinem have a problem with that? No? OK. But my favorite part of this entry has to be the fact that Gloria Steinem's stepson is none other than Christian Bale who played the title role in the 2000 film. Isn't that awesome? And you thought you gave your step mom a hard time by getting that tattoo. Bow to the master. (BTW, I just realized Bale played Bateman and Batman. Cool.)

3. Borat - Sacha Baron Cohen

In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen made a mockumentary starring his character Borat Sagdiyev, a journalist from Kazakhstan. In it, Borat butchers the English language and hates on Jews, gays, and women while travelling the U.S. to learn lessons about our culture.

What Did Morons Think Was Going On?

The movie took a lot of criticism and frankly, I can't really argue with all of it. Yes, if you're one of the 312 people from Kazakhstan, I could see how you didn't like your country portrayed as a bunch of racist, misogynistic, backward rapists. Fair enough. I could explain that Sacha is only adopting that persona to get the supposedly civilized people in America to lower their guard and say all the truly awful, hateful things that are just below the surface of their false civility and sophistication, but that doesn't really matter if you're a Kazach. I hear you. Well, I don't really hear you, because as a Jew, you'd probably never speak to me, but still I empathize. (Man, I am NOT helping).

Instead, in this case, the morons would be any of the Jews who took offense to the alleged anti-Semitism in Borat. Borat speaks of the Jews as money-hungry, shapeshifters, responsible for 911, and that upset some people.

What's The Actual Point?

As a member of the tribe, let me say it's a "shonda" when my peeps don't get satire. After all, wasn't it the learned Rabbi Maimonides who argued for a 5th section of the Talmud in which each passage in the Torah was analyzed as a work of pure divine sarcasm? (No. No it was not. At all). In any event, Sacha Baron Cohen is not anti-Semetic - and not just because he's Jewish. I mean, look at Philip Roth. (Yeah you heard me, Roth. I know you read Cracked and I'm calling you out. I don't care if you're 90, you're toast. Just ask Updike. Oh what's that? He's dead? Yeah, that's right).

Yes, Borat is a Jew-hater, but his anti-Semitism actually serves as a statement against religious hatred. In one scene we see Borat's completely childlike and unwarranted fear from an old Jewish couple (seemingly the sweetest couple ever) running a bed and breakfast. When he throws money at two bugs that he believes are the transmogrified Jews, the only joke is at his expense.

And Borat's shining hour has to be the segment from Cohen's Da Ali G show in which Borat leads a group of southern rednecks in a rousing rendition of his country's anthem "Throw The Jew Down the Well." Tells you a lot about America that a decidedly Arab-looking man like Borat can walk into a redneck bar in the wake of 911 and be embraced fully. Why? Because who can't get behind some good ol' fashion Jew hating? Sacha Baron Cohen dressed as an Arab and singing about murdering Jews gets a warmer embrace than he would dressed as his Jewish self singing satirical songs about the then Bush administration. So the real point of Borat is not to beat up on Arabs or Jews, but to show the hate that sits below the surface of the "good guys." A hatred that can be brought out with the mere catalyst of an outlandish cultural stereotype like Borat.

Go to page 2.

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