May 16, 2012, - 3:33 pm

“The Dictator” Mocks Slain Israeli Olympic Athletes, Avoids Insulting (or Mentioning) Islam; Anti-US Occupy Monologue

By Debbie Schlussel

So much for the alleged and over-hyped “fearlessness” of Sacha Baron Cohen.  There’s nothing fearless about attacking America on behalf of Muslims and staying away from the slightest papercut to the Mohammedan crowd.

Cohen’s “The Dictator“–in theaters today–carefully avoids insulting Islam or Muslims.  In fact, neither word is ever mentioned in the 83-minute movie, even though the movie is clearly about a North African dictator who is–what else?–an Arab Muslim.  Arabs aren’t mentioned, either.  On the other hand, Jews and Blacks are repeatedly attacked.  Most disgusting:  Cohen uses the veneer of his “dictator” character to mock the massacre of Israeli athletes by Islamic terrorists at the Munich Olympics, in a very vivid video game he plays, trying to kill them, as the athletes famously try to keep the door to their dormitory closed.  This is funny?  Also, not funny:  the dictator–obviously modeled on late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi–puts his hand up a woman’s vagina and drops his cellphone in it.  Haha, funny.

Even less funny:  when Sacha Baron Cohen he delivers a monologue that liberals will love.  In Occupy Wall Street style, Cohen lectures us that America is far worse than (Islamic – don’t mention that word!) dictators and even mentions the 99% and the 1%.  America is far worse than, say, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?  That’s the message of this movie, as Cohen’s dictator tells foreign leaders that if he were really a dictator, one family would control the media (an obvious reference to the Rupert Murdoch family), he’d prevent people from getting affordable healthcare and education, he’d use government to listen in on people (he phrases it as an obvious criticism of the Patriot Act), and 99% of the wealth would be owned by the wealthiest 1%.  Thanks, Sacha.  Funny, though, I don’t see you running to abandon your Los Angeles mansion or to give your gazillions away to the “99%,” schmuck.


No, there is none of the typical Borat and Bruno laughter.  The best jokes are in the trailer, and the rest is just a dopey, flat script that is bland and silly.  And Cohen’s dictator veneer is used to mock everyone except Muslims.  But it mocks our accurate and legitimate concerns about Muslims in a way that will be a big hit in the HAMASCAIR crowd.  One scene features Cohen and his sidekick on a helicopter ride above Manhattan with two American tourists.  In the scene, Cohen speaks (in fluent Hebrew, not Arabic, as it’s supposed to be) with his sidekick (who is speaking some other language) about his favorite car, the (Porsche) 911.  The tourists can only hear the words “911″ and Cohen’s re-enactment of a crash, which sounds like a bomb plot.  They report the “innocent” dictator to Homeland security.  The message is that our concerns about all of these Muslims disrupting flights across America and yelling about allah and Al-Qaeda are much ado about nothing, not legitimate fear.

It’s “humor” for morons.  Even so, I’m sure many in the lumpenconservatariat will blindly sing the praises of this crappy flick because they simply don’t have the critical thinking skills and intellect to realize what they are seeing.  Hey, no one said moronism skips one side of the ideological divide.  It’s an all-too-universal quality.

The story:  Cohen is Admiral General Aladeen, the not-too-bright dictator of the fictional North African Republic of Wadiya (which is notably NOT called the Islamic Republic of Wadiya because we can’t use the “I” word).  After coming under pressure from the United Nations to bring democracy to his country, Aladeen goes to New York to speak to the U.N. to deliver a speech refusing to allow free elections.  But his uncle (Ben Kingsley) wants him assassinated, so he can assume power and grant oil contracts to evil American oil companies (see, I told you the Occupy freaks will love this).  He orchestrates a scheme to have Aladeen kidnapped and assassinated, while an even more stupid double assumes his place.  But the kidnapper only shaves off Aladeen’s beard, and he must find his way around New York and get his rightful position back before his double delivers a speech granting free elections.  Unwittingly helping him is an organic market owner (Anna Faris) with unshaved armpits and a butch haircut.  She is an activist for democracy in Wadiya and believes the unshaven dictator is a refugee and human rights dissident.

Much of the movie and jokes are predictable and the script and dialogue reach the level of a Razzie-award-winning movie.  And that’s in addition to all of the other problems with it that I mentioned.  And as I mentioned previously on this site, a movie lauding the benefits of Islamic democracy is passe and silly.  We see the results in Al-Qaeda-run Libya, Muslim Brotherhood Egypt, HAMAS Gazastan, Iran-controlled Iraq, and Hezbollahstan/Lebanon.  And in every case the previous status quo–dictator or not–was far preferable in every way, shape, and form.

When Sacha Baron Cohen finally makes a movie mocking Islamic intolerance and 13th Century “modernism,” then I’ll take note.  But so far, his movies have mostly mocked small-town average Americans who are good people.  And in this movie, he doesn’t just mock them, but attack our way of life, likening it to “living under a real dictatorship.” This isn’t any sort of “Springtime for Hitler” humor, no matter how many idiots want to pretend it is.

Spouting the views of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the guise of a comedy ain’t exactly my idea of entertainment . . . or enlightenment.

FOUR MARXES PLUS FOUR BIN LADENS PLUS FOUR AHMADINEJADS
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90 Responses

Instead of “The Dictator,” see Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”–which was made before most of the World did not know the true extent of the horrors of Nazi Germany and before the US entered WWII. Making THAT film must have taken extraordinary courage and vision. The Great Dictator is still funny, even after the World learned the real truth about Nazis. Cohen’s The Dictator will make some money, because–believe it or not–Cohen has a core audience that thrives on bad taste and obscenities. But it will move quickly to DVD and then be forgotten altogether. Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, on the other hand, will be playing long after we’re all gone because truly great comedy and genius doesn’t go out of style.

Ralph Adamo on May 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I saw “The Great Dictator” when I was a young kid, and did not appreciate it back then, but I would really like to find it. That was the first thing I thought about when I saw the title of this new movie.

    Joel-Confederate Son on May 18, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Cohen’s behaviour reminds me of an old joke about freedom of expression in Soviet Union:

An American citizen says to a Soviet citizen:
- In my country, I can criticize my president in public square.
To that, the Soviet says to the American:
- In my country, I can criticize YOUR president in public square too.

And there are many people out there wondering why liberal democracies are losing the fight against Islamic illiberalism.

P.S.: When I use the word “liberal”, I mean that old meaning of individual liberty, responsibility.

Rodrigo Veleda on May 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    The first sentence of joke is truth American style! Current President wants to pass law about what we say that could harm the Presidency? What is the boundary line of criticism! Look at Willi leaks info! Freedom is expensive! Freedom is worth it! Is what a person says a threat to national security! Like Capitalism which has willfully inexpensive staples for those who need it,that is capitalism at it’s best! Freedom of speech has expression of opinion that can hurt us; but with awareness of who’s talking, we can buy and sell,be friends with who we choose too! The current President has a Julia role model in the works for our public square disscussion!

    williamwalter on May 20, 2012 at 5:52 am

Debbie, I appreciate your comments and standing your ground on this movie.

My grandfather used to say that when people are joking about you, they usually mean it. His recommendation was to watch out for these types. Bullies all.

This movie appears to be by the brief ads I have seen on TV, is pro-Muslim propaganda masquerading as humor, or an attempt at humor. It really is an attack that comes in the form of a joke.

Much like our sitting so called “shovel ready jobs” joke of a president attacking this country from within.

My advise to Cohen and other jack asses joking around and putting down the fine folk, regardless of race, in this country, is don’t F___ with this country or the good people in it. The consequences will be very “enlightening”.

Panhandle on May 16, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I’m quite surprised that Debbie didn’t add a Goebbels and a Kapo to her rating?

As I have mentioned before, fine arts usually tells the state of a civilization. That’s why I’ll stick to seeing Avengers this weekend (or whenever I’d be free on cheap-movie Tuesday).

The Reverend Jacques on May 16, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Saw the trailer at the movies last weekend, looks more like a “Coming to America” rip-off than anything to me.

Hopewell on May 16, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I’ve never watched any of Sacha Baron Cohen’s movies. I don’t plan to watch this one either.

Ghostwriter on May 16, 2012 at 4:57 pm

A Jew playing an Islamic dictator.

Now there’s a punch line the HAMAS/CAIR crowd will love!

NormanF on May 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I doubt I’ll see this movie.

Mookie on May 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm

What vitriol! Didn’t growing up blonde and pretty in middle America make you feel special? Perhaps you’ve been nurtured a little too much.

The greatest indoctrination into extremist, bigoted, and radical viewpoints can be claimed by religion. Not just Islam, but Christianity and Judaism. All the major religions have their extremists, bigots and radicals (look at you), why do you spend so much time on Islam? Here’s the thing, though, religion and its institutions are some of the most charitable as well. Why condemn all of Islam when the majority of Muslims are exactly like the majority of Christians and Jews?

Eh, try smoking some pot. God grew that for you in mind.

RickyWonders on May 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    RickyWonder, you say:
    All the major religions have their extremists, bigots and radicals (look at you), why do you spend so much time on Islam? Here’s the thing, though, religion and its institutions are some of the most charitable as well. Why condemn all of Islam when the majority of Muslims are exactly like the majority of Christians and Jews?

    Do you really think that every religion has extremists are the same kind as in Islam? That is absurd. There are no Christian evangelical leaders calling for the death of any group of people–if you want to call those evangelicals “extremists.” And the same goes for every Jewish, Buddist, and Hindu leader too. But Islam? No that’s an entirely different story. I’d suggest that you see the documentary “Obsession.” It’s available on DVD, but you can see it on Youtube in parts. Here’s part one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMLJJEDDDGc

    As for the “majority of Muslims,” your part right, but still mostly wrong. It’s true that the majority of Muslims are not at the same level of hate as exhibited daily by the more extreme members of their group, because if they were, we would already be well into WWIII by now. However, that said, the majority of Islam are silent when it comes to the hateful activities and statements of Islamic leaders throughout the World. So they all, in effect, have fallen “into line” with the top-down Islamic messages of hate. Moreover, you could say the same thing about the Nazis in the WWII era. The majority of Nazis weren’t directly killing people, but they sure went along with the program, didn’t they?

    Finally, I don’t see any signs of vituperation in Debbie’s review. On the contrary, she seems to have calmly thought through sequences in the film and presented her perspectives without signs of anger, or even hostility. Yes, she was offended by several things in the movie, but she explained why and gives the context, and most knowledgeable, decent people would understand why she has those feelings.

    In your message, RickyWonder, however, I see plenty of vituperation, vitriol, and venom.

    Ralph Adamo on May 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Ricky: please inform me the last time a mainstream Jewish or Christian organization applauded a 3 month old girl getting her head cut off.

    Your problem is that you preach “multiculturalism” but are too lazy to realize that there are cultures that ARE different. Please validate the statement that “the average Muslim is just like the average Jew” with some facts on the ground. Do 20% of American Jews or Christians support terrorism as an appropriate action to take on innocent people? 19% of British Muslims ADMITTED they do. Lots of random murders in December and especially on Christmas day? Check out the number of terrorist attacks on Ramadan.

    Consumption of Marijuana can lead to psychosis in those susceptible to it—70% of my admits to my psychiatric hospital are THC positive on drug screen. You obviously are doing quite a bit.

    Occam's Tool on May 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Charitable? I have yet to see

    Herbster on May 17, 2012 at 5:56 am

    “Charitable?” I have yet to see an (Arabic – Muslim) country send aid to a country that has suffered a catastrophic incident – tsunami, tornado, earthquake causing the deaths and homelessness of thousands. When the last tsunami hit Japan, the first country on scene was ISRAEL bringing a completely equipped mobile hospital and doctors. Israel and the U.S. are usually the first responders. Many other countries send aid of all kinds, but Muslim dominated countries? The world is still waiting. RickyWonder, please tell us when Iran, Syria, etc., last aided their fellow man? Methinks you smoke too much…..and definitely inhale. Wake up an smell the truth.

    Herbster on May 17, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Guys, ricki is a troll who always posts the same comment here. Ignore him/her/it.

    skzion on May 17, 2012 at 9:51 am

He clearly said the word “jihad” at one point in the movie, and he’s hiding Osama Bin Laden in his guesthouse!

To be fair, most Middle Eastern dictators are not extremist Muslims themselves, though they do harbor them.

As for the Munich scene, obviously the point is that the Dictator is a ruthless anti-Israeli killer who enjoys re-enacting the Munich Massacre. So that is on the money.

D: Like I said, he’s using the veneer of being a dictator (who is NOT Middle Eastern, he’s from North Africa – the Middle East is never mentioned) to mock the Munich Olympic massacre. And you bought it. It’s not funny or on the money. Period. This ain’t “Springtime for Hitler.” DS

dee on May 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Not funny. But that scene illustrates perfectly the dictators reflect the popular anti-Semitism in their societies.

    Inadvertently, its captures the truth about Islamic anti-Semitism – its taken for granted in the Arab and Muslim World.

    The few Muslims who have visited Israel like the Algerian writer are non-Arabs. It does illustrate the view that the most regressive views about Jews and Israel come from those propagated Islam – the Arabs.

    And in that respect, the fictional Wadiya is not all that different from the barbarian despotisms that populate the Arab Mislim World.

    NormanF on May 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm

“The message is that our concerns about all of these Muslims disrupting flights across America and yelling about allah and Al-Qaeda are much ado about nothing, not legitimate fear”

BTW, are you sure that’s the message? While it wasn’t reported in the news in the movie, the guy IS in fact an evil dictator and a terrorist supporter! So obviously the message is that it IS legitimate fear.

And the Anna Faris character is clearly mocked for being an uber-liberal and opposing racial profiling… even though the racial profiling was right on.

dee on May 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm

Deb- Thank you for this review. One of your talents is dissecting the Agenda-driven H’wood film.

I maintain my position that it seems to me not too difficult to identify from early trailers what films ARE agenda-driven…..so PLEASE don’t waste your time reviewing non-agenda films so that you can spend it either alerting us to real world threats, or simply relaxing.

Nick Fury on May 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Best thing that hack ever did was the stunt he pulled rappelling down onto Eminem at an awards ceremony. Pretty sure he got a few lumps out of that one.

samurai on May 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Charlie (pinko) Chaplin’s Great Dictator was released in late 1940, after the fall of France to the Nazis. The fall of France was a galvanizing event in the US, and even though there were still lots of isolationists, public opinion had already begun to substantially turn against the Nazis — although since it was released during the Stalin-Hitler pact, I suppose it took a little bit of courage.

I’m not aware of any movies Chaplin made against the Communists. Given the Commie penetration of the US Government at that time, and FDR’s de facto coalition with them during most of the 30s, and actual coalition with them during WW II, a movie criticizing the Commies (and there were a few of them) is what would have taken real courage.

Little Al on May 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Although Chaplin released The Great Dictator in 1940, he had worked out the story details and was writing the script in 1938, so you have to use that as the starting point. Also, Chaplin was not a Communist and although the FBI tried to pin him down as such, for all their investigations and files on him, they could not do so.

    Rather, as Jonathan Grant points out, Chaplin was anti-fascist. Here is a short excerpt from Chaplin himself on this topic:

    A young New York scion asked me in a benign way why I was so anti-Nazi. I said because they were anti-people.

    “Of course,” he said, as though making a sudden discovery, “you’re a Jew, aren’t you?”

    “One doesn’t have to be a Jew to be anti-Nazi,” I answered. “All one has to be is a normal decent human being.” And so the subject was dropped.

    Charlie Chaplin, My Autobiography, page 405.

    Note that Chaplin doesn’t confirm or deny whether or not he’s a Jew. And although many people assumed that he was, the fact is that very little is known about Chaplin’s heritage, and even Chaplin didn’t know for sure.

    Ralph Adamo on May 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Except that Charlie Chaplin was not a “pinko;” his “crime” was speaking out against fascism, at a time when it was assumed that you were a commie for taking the one position the communists were right about.

The Manchurian Candidate and The Green Berets were two anti-Communist movies. Farenheit 451 was against all totalitarian governments.

Jonathan E. Grant on May 16, 2012 at 6:58 pm

When someone fraternizes with Commies, supports and helps organizes fund-raisers for Communist causes, they are a pinko (ref. Joyce Milton bio).

Little Al on May 16, 2012 at 7:17 pm

And I had made the point that Charlie Chaplin (not John Wayne or Frank Sinatra, who quickly overcame his post WW II Communist sympathies) was not in any anti-Communist movies.

Little Al on May 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Another point—I lived in Alabama for 7 years—those poor Alabamians were trying to be polite and decent, in the best Southern style, to a man who was obviously a raging lunatic. Sacha is an asshole, quite frankly.

Occam's Tool on May 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

RA, what do you expect Chaplin to say? That he was a Red? And I did not say he was a member of the Communist Party. A Pinko is not a Red. And of course, the release date is key. The consequences, if any, to being against Hitler come upon release of a movie, not when the writing initially starts. By the time of release, it was eminently safe to be against Hitler.

While I am of course, completely opposed to Hitler and Nazism, that is separate from the issue of how much courage it took to be against Hitler in late 1940.

I respect both RA and JEG, but I think the evidence is clear about Chaplin’s pro-Communist sympathies. And although many were anti-fascists besides the Communists, their whole formation of the Popular Front in 1935 was founded on “anti-fascism” it became almost a code word for fellow travelers. And I acknowledged in my initial comment a slight deviation from the Communist Party line by the fact that the release in 1940 occurred during the Stalin-Hitler pact. That is why I stated that he was a sympathizer, and not a Party member.

Little Al on May 16, 2012 at 7:52 pm

And it is misleading at best to say the Commies were right about fascism — they forgot their hostility towards fascism during the 2-year Stalin-Hitler pact, and more fundamentally, they bore substantial responsibility for Hitler’s coming to power.

They refused to work jointly with the Socialists in Germany to oppose Hitler during the early 30s — their belief is that Hitler’s coming to power showed the limitations of German capitalism, and that because of those limitations, they would come to power after Hitler. They just had to wait. While they gave up this position not too long after Hitler came to power, they held it during the crucial years prior to 1933, when they were in their Third Period — “revolution was right around the corner, and we [i.e. the Communists] don’t have to work together with anybody, since it will be our turn soon”. Read Harvey Klehr or any other reliable history of the Communists during the 1930s.

Little Al on May 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Little Al, by 1938, Chaplin had already sunk a lot of his own money into the film, so he was well committed to making it two years before its release. During the filming, he had received word from government sources that there could be problems with making such a film as The Great Dictator, but Chaplin pressed on anyway. He was always his own guy. Eventually, as you note, there was a change in things as 1940 approached and, in fact, Franklyn Roosevelt, gave Chaplin his personal thumbs-up on completing the movie by that time. But when Chaplin wrote the script and bankrolled the production, the message of his movie took considerable courage. In fact, there were many Americans that took the same view as Charles Lindburgh, the well-known aviator, who sided with the Germans.

    With repsect to Chaplin’s politics, even in Chaplin’s most political movie, Modern Times, the Little Tramp is mistaken for being a Communist sympathizer, but he ultimately proves that he’s his own man. Chaplin’s best works have always celebrated the individual spirit and achievement, and that is antithetical to the Communist ideology. The opening scene of Modern Times, a visual joke, encapsulizes one of the core themes of the movie. Chaplin starts with a title card indicating that the movie is a story about the INDIVIDUAL SPIRIT. That’s followed by a scene of a mass of sheep being crowded into a stall, which disolves to a mass of people exiting a subway in some major metropolitan area. So the message is clear: you don’t want to be sheep in ANY system. Yes, Chaplin satirizes the production lines of capitalism and the mechanization of labor, but the Little Tramp also does not leap to the Communist alternative either. Like I said, Chaplin has always been his own guy, and he encourages the audience to think independently.

    Ralph Adamo on May 16, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Not going to lie, I found a lot of Borat hilarious. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of Bruno on cable and it’s not very funny.

I think Cohen’s one note act has gotten stale and with this speech it sounds like he is getting to be a major bore.

Funny how he mentions the 1% when Cohen is probably at least in the 5% or higher.

Jeff_W on May 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm

It is discouraging to see that anti-anti Communism has spread to regular contributors of this blog. Modern Times is clearly consistent with Communist objectives during the 30s to portray the ‘evils’ of capitalism, i.e. unemployment and poverty. The fact that Chaplin was able to portray himself as an independent individual in this movie only makes the propaganda more effective. The independence is directed primarily against the capitalism allegedly responsible for the depression — the fundamental message of the movie. And, of course, saying he’s not a Commie makes his propaganda more effective. Remember the Commie slogan of that era “Communism is 20th century Americanism.” The Commies tried to associate themselves with independent, pioneering Americans, people like Lincoln, the abolitionists (of course ignoring their antisemitism), and the pioneers.

The Great Dictator was started during the Commies’ anti-fascist phase during the late 1930s, and in 1938, the Commies were still in their Popular Front period, and encouraging anti-fascism. I can’t see how it took ‘personal courage’ to follow the Commie line in 1938 when scores of writers, directors, and movie stars were in the Commies’ orbit.

And duh, filming began in 1939 one week after the start of World War II. Courage? Lots less of it was required once the war officially started, and it was clear by late 1939 that the US was moving towards war with Germany.

You also apparently are not familiar with how the Communists practiced indoctrination in films of the 30s. They did not explicitly praise Communism (although later, during WW II, when Russia was an ally, they did do this in disgraceful films such as Song of Russia and Mission to Moscow. Warner Brothers played an especially noxious role during that time.)

But the main thing Communists did in the 30s is make sure that films they had influence over avoided explicit criticism of Russia and Communism. It was consistent with their objectives to criticize capitalism as Modern Times certainly did, and in other indirect ways to point to shortcomings in America. This is why film noir is so well received by lefties; it exposes the seamy side of America, something Commies pushed to the limit in the 30s.

RA, you confine your discussion to Chaplin’s movies, and say nothing about his other political activities, a striking omission. He was active in the American Committee for Russian War Relief along with Commie stooges Rockwell Kent and Vito Marcantonio, as well as the National Council for Soviet-American relations, both of which were Communist Fronts.

He said in 1952 that although he was not a Communist, “he did not hate them”. Remember that 1952 was the height of the McCarthy period, and to say that one did not “hate” the Communists in 1952 was akin to being a fellow-traveler. Even the most liberal members of Congress defined themselves as resolutely anti-Communist in 1952, including Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, etc.

And as I said, where were his films against the tyranny of Moscow? The purges were going on during the 1930s, the decimation of hundreds of thousands, and later, during the 40s, vast anti-Semitic purges, and takeover of Eastern European countries. Where are his protests against these things?

You should really familiarize yourself more with Commie activities during this time period. While our main adversaries today are Muslims, the Marxists are generally allied with them, and the Muslims use many of the same tactics that the Communists did, and fool well-meaning people today, just as the Communists did in the past, and apparently still do today.

Little Al on May 16, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Little Al, you say: “It is discouraging to see that anti-anti Communism has spread to regular contributors of this blog.”

That’s not only inaccurate, but it’s silly. I assume that you’re talking about me, and I am certainly not “anti-anti communist” (or pro-communist), or anything like that. Just because I disagree with you about Chaplin’s true politics, doesn’t mean that I’m taking an anti-anti communist or pro-communist position on anything. You just assume that your position is correct and the genuine truth on the matter and from that you proceed to a non-sequiter. So you can say that you disagree with me on Chaplin, but you can’t say (logically, at least) that because we disagree that I must be an anti-anti communist.

So please don’t apply your errorneous broad brush to me. And the World is a little more complicated than Communism v. Capitalism, Fascism v. Communism, Left-wing v. Right-wing. Sometimes things seem to be one thing, but on much closer examination they turn out to be very different from what you originally thought. Jonathan mentioned The Manchurian Candidate (novel by Richard Condon, original and best movie by John Frankenheimer) as an anti-communist film–and it is that. But it is also much more. Now everyone typically refers to the Manchurian Candidate–the character–as the lead character, Raymond Shaw (played to perfection by Lawrence Harvey in the movie). (This is the same mistake made with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where everyone assumes that Frankenstein in the name of the Monster.) Well, in The Manchurian Candidate, the Candidate is Senator John Iselin (also played to perfection by James Gregory in the movie). To the public, Iselin is seen as a staunch anti-communist. But, as we discover as the book/screenplay unfolds, Iselin is, in fact, a TOOL of the Communists–a sort of Trojan Horse if you will. Political perversity? Not really.

The point of this is that yuou have to get beyond labels and look to the real people, their values, what they do and not so much what they say, and so forth. Because today, more than ever, things are not always what they seem. For example, a common perception would be that George W. Bush was pursuing an anti-Islam agenda, whereas Barack H. Obama is more the opposite. But as Debbie has repeatedly pointed out through her well-researched evidence, Bush’s agenda on this subject was not significantly different from Obama’s.

Ralph Adamo on May 16, 2012 at 11:27 pm

SB Cohen is so ICKY! Who wants to watch HIS movies.

When he’s the “supporting actor” in somebody else’s movie, he stands a chance of being successful because they keep a leash on his ickiness. As his own star in his own movie, he’s just icky.

People can judge his work for themselves. If this is anything like “Borat” or “Bruno”, I shall not subject myself to the ickiness that made me cringe with discomfort at the other two movies.

Au revoir, Ricky Bobby! Your movies are CewwwwRAPPPP!

There is NO Santa Claus on May 16, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Debbie, I don’t deny that the movie mocks the Israeli athletes killed in Munich, but culturally, there’s not much difference b/w the Middle East and North Africa, since the Arabs dominate much of both.

Col Gadaffi, for most of his reign, was virulently anti-Israeli, and formed a key part of the anti-Sadat coalition after the latter signed his treaty w/ Israel. And when the PLO was expelled from Beirut, Arafat set up shop in Ben Ali’s Tunisia.

So it’s not a stretch to imagine that North African Arab Muslim dictators would be as virulently anti-Israel as would be Middle Eastern ones, like Saddam and Assad.

I: HUH? Not sure where you are coming up with all these ridiculous things you claim I believed or said. Where the heck did I say that there is a difference culturally between the Middle East and North Africa? I didn’t. RIF – Reading Is Fundamental. And I never said that Qaddafi wasn’t anti-Israel, as I’ve known he was anti-Israel my entire life. Not sure why there are all these “corrections” of what I never said. And who said it’s a “stretch” to say North African Arab Muslim dictators are anti-Israel? Again, RIF-Reading Is Fundamental, as I never said any of these things you are now “correcting.” In fact, I know and have known all my life–far more than you–about these things. You clearly did not read or comprehend my review and comments. I noted that Sacha Baron Cohen specifically kept out the words “Muslim,” “Islam,” and “Arab” from the entire movie. Got it? DS

Infidel on May 17, 2012 at 3:55 am

    The Arabs successfully Arabized the Berbers and other indigenous peoples of the Maghreb to the point their history and culture was wiped out. Arab imperialism smothered all the pre-Islamic peoples in that part of the world. The only people who successfully preserved their identity were the Jews – and that made them hated. And its a hatred that shows no signs of disappearing down to this very day.

    NormanF on May 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

Thanks, Debbie, for skewering this piece of garbage called a movie. This film only solidifies the dumbing down of our society by the leftist, anti semitic state run media. I’m sure the “Critics” will love this trash. People must realize that they are being propagandized 24/7 my the state run media and the so-called entertainment industry.

We live in very dangerous times. The most frightening comment I hear from people is, “It can’t happen here.” Unfortunately, it is already in process.

Without the Second Amendment, there will be no First Amendment.
Just look at what the current administration is doing to our country. The current occupant of the White House wants to disarm (As Hitler did) the people through the backdoor of the State Department in collusion with the U.N. and bypassing Congress. Wake up and smell freedom(s) slowly but surely disappearing. Never forget the frog in the pot of water.

Herbster on May 17, 2012 at 6:20 am

Referring to Chaplin and my defense of him, I am certainly not, anti-anti-Communist. Anyone who know me knows that I am one of the most conservative people you will meet. However, many in Congress and in the country were offended by Chaplin’s Little Dictator because it dared to criticize Hitler at a time when so much of the world was enamored with him, including many in the US and many anti-Semites in Congress. About the only other person speaking out against Hitler in the 30′s was a politician who was largely ignored at the time, and his name was Winston Churchill. (Through much of the 30′s, Churchill was called “hysterical,” a “warmonger,” a “Jew lover” etc. for his criticism of Hitler.

Futhermore, Chaplin’s movie “Modern Times” was hardly communistic. The factory lines in the early part of the 1920′s were mind numbing, hot, and dangerous, and impersonal, compared to the farming society we had in this country prior to the urbanization that took place following the creation of the automobile industry.

Jonathan E. Grant on May 17, 2012 at 9:32 am

To his audience, the Munich Olympic Massacre is nothing but a video game. Their idea of history is their last text message.

JeffT on May 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

I’ll have to agree with Little Al. Chaplin was definitely a Pinko–and probably much worse.

Not sure why JG and RA–whom I normally agree with–are defending this lowlife.

Red Ryder on May 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Because the threat of Communism was real. However, people like Joe McCarthy, Senator Nye, and few others, by their wild accusations and politicization of the issue, and their smears against innocent people, permanently damaged the anti-communist cause. They also were selective in their targets. Lucille Ball was at one time a registered Commie, but they did not dare go after her. Other Hollywood elites were also commies at one time , but no one dare go after them. Whittaker Chambers was a Commie who got scared. He was no hero, as some conservatives try to make out. He was a traitor who turned tail.

    Chaplin was an easy target even though he was never a registered communist. He was a foreigner, Jewish in an age when the few but very public Jewish communists allowed the anti-Semites in America to paint all Jews as Communists. (Yes, Rosenberg was a traitor, but so was Elizabeth Bentley and many other non-Jews, but they were never hung, even though the damage they causes was as great as Rosenberg’s). Was he liberal? Yes, of course he was. Very liberal yes, but there is not one iota of evidence he aided the communists. He never spied for them, nor did he propagandize for them.

    Nixon once said something intelligent. “When you are shooting at rats, that’s fine, but make sure you have the right target.”

    Many politicians, like McCarthy, shot wide and hit innocent people. Since that time, our anti-Communist cause has been permanently crippled.

    Jonathan E. Grant on May 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Quite obviously the reviewer hasn’t even seen the film.
Attacking America on behalf of Islam?
That accusation doesn’t even deserve a response.
No mention of Arabs?
You must have watched a different movie.
Attacks blacks and Jews?
The movie is making a mockery of bigots and various stereotypes – not encouraging them.
Mocks everyone but Muslims?
The only RELIGIOUS group mocked was Jews, no one mocked Christians, although you didn’t think that an omission worthy of note, why Muslims?
Basically, the reviewer is an anti Islamic bigot upset that the movie did not share her bigotry. It pours out of nearly every comment made – either false or twisted.

Gav on May 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Debbie, in your response to dee, you wrote ‘he’s using the veneer of being a dictator (who is NOT Middle Eastern, he’s from North Africa – the Middle East is never mentioned)‘.

What else does one conclude reading that other than that there is a difference b/w Middle Eastern and North African that would go as far as manifesting in itself a difference in attitudes towards Israel? That is why I put in all the ‘corrections’ – if you know all that, why do you draw any differences b/w a dictator being North African vs being Middle Eastern?

I do agree that Cohen avoided the words Islam, Muslim and Arab – that was not even being contested.

I: She called him a Middle Eastern Dictator, and I was correcting her because that was incorrect. And there is a reason, I believe, that he used North African instead of saying Middle East. Most Americans are stupid and they won’t know that most North African leaders are Arabs and Muslims. They seem to know when the term Middle East is used. It was not Dee also excused these disgusting jokes against the Munich terrorists b/c it’s okay with her that he had the veneer of being a “Middle Eastern” dictator to do it. DS

Infidel on May 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I think this discussion on the assertion that Charlie Chaplin was a commie or pinko has gone on way too long. As I’ve pointed out already, Chaplin was thoroughly investigated, and nothing was found but guilt by association.

So, I’m going to invoke Godwin’s Law, which states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

In addition to Debbie’s website, I also check into websites with views completely the opposite of my own because I like to get a perspective on what people of all persuasions are thinking or feeling. One of those sites, repulsive as it is to me, is Stormfront.org, a neo-Nazi website. Charlie Chaplin has also been discussed on that neo-Nazi website, and the basic position there regarding Chaplin has been that he was a Jew and/or a Commie, and, as far as the Stormfront posters were concerned there wasn’t much difference. The posters on Stormfront agree that Chaplin should not be watched. Sound vaguely familiar?

I think we’ve got it. You don’t like Chaplin because you think or wish to believe that he was a commie, with no evidence but broad-brush guilt by association. So don’t watch him. That’s your choice.

As for me, I’ve been trying to acquire a DVD set of Chaplin’s Mutual short comedies (the 90th anniversary restored versions) at a good price. And although the running time of the complete set is only about 5 hours at most, this set costs upwards of $200. As I’ve said, great comedy and genius are timeless, and people will be watching greats like Chaplin long after we’re gone.

Ralph Adamo on May 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

BTW, one thing you have to give this movie credit for is that one of the messages, unquestionably, is that Iran wants a nuclear weapon and will use it on Israel. Baron Cohen practically states this literally (“we won’t use it on Is…”).

How many Hollywood movies out there say something like that? This will probably be the only one.

dee on May 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Personally, my favorite Chaplin film (or “filmette” – it was VERY short!) was when he was on the lam and dumped booze into the “pure” waters at a spa. Naturally, the buttoned-up ladies who were daintily drinking “the waters” for their health, etc., slowly became quite enebriated. Bottom line, the whole scene dissolved into chaos, while everyone behaved like Animal House drunken frat boys. The pacing/timing of the effects of enebriation was hysterical!

Joy on May 17, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    Joy, that Chaplin short involving the spa that you speak of is called “The Cure” and it’s one of the top movies from Chaplin’s Mutual Films period. During the shooting of the short, Nijinsky–one the greatest male dancers of the last two centuries–stopped by to watch the movie being made and to chat with Chaplin. Nijinsky commented on how wonderful Chaplin’s movements were.

    Ralph Adamo on May 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Little Al–

Let me reiterate that your understanding of Chaplin and anti-Communism is much more accurate than RA or JG’s.

There’s much more I could say, but I’ll leave it at that.

Red Ryder on May 17, 2012 at 7:10 pm

Sasha Barron Cohen is a publisity seeking schumck pure and simple. He’ll say or do anything for attention, no matter how asine. Sadly, with our society’s short attention span, people like him tend to get it.

Paul on May 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I really wasn’t going to reply to RA and JAG’s comments this morning. They are regular contributors, and I felt I had made my points effectively yesterday. I don’t like getting into arguments with regular contributors.

But Red Ryder made a brief comment attacking Chaplin later today, which provoked additional comments from RA and JAG, and these later comments have to be answered. At the same time, they are valuable because they finally reveal the political context inspiring these gentlemen’s adulation of Chaplin.

Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers weren’t prosecuted because they were heroes of the Cold War. Yes they were unstable individuals, and were initially traitors, and yes they did recant partially for the wrong reasons. But when they recanted, they more than made up for the damage they had earlier caused.

Chambers, along with Richard Nixon’s help, performed the everlasting service of exposing Alger Hiss. Hiss was a top State Department official during the 40s, and if he hadn’t been exposed, might well have become Secretary of State. He was also a Communist, in contact with other Communists in the Government. Chambers exposed him and Hiss went to jail. The Venona Papers in the 1990s confirmed that Hiss was a Communist, and that Chambers’ testimony had been truthful and helped rid the Government apparatus of top-level Communists.

Elizabeth Bentley more than made up for her earlier espionage activity by exposing a number of Communist spies and Communist Government networks in this country. As several scholars have recently pointed out (e.g. Lauren Kessler and Kathryn S. Olmsted) have pointed out, her testimony, in spite of a few technical inaccuracies, was also fundamentally truthful, and she performed an everlasting service to freedom in this country. The rhetorical verbiage by JAG does not change this, nor does it change it for Joe McCarthy.

Joe McCarthy also had personality problems, but his allegations were fundamentally accurate. M. Stanton Evans wrote a magisterial book a few years ago (Blacklisted by History) which demonstrates this. It is also worth reading the online attacks on Evans by Ron Radosh, and Evans’ demolishing of Radosh for factual inaccuracies.

Russell Nye was defeated in his Senate reelection campaign in 1944, and did not play a role in national politics after that.

Lucille Ball was not prosecuted because she completely recanted her earlier Communist beliefs. For instance, she voted for Eisenhower in 1952.

For the record, none of the scholars, liberal or conservative who have seriously investigated Joe McCarthy have accused him of antisemitism.

I mentioned several Communist Front groups Chaplin was associated with — he also refused to testify for the House Un-American Activities Committee a loyal American would have considered it a privilege to testify and help rid our Government of Communists at a time when they were enslaving half the world.

With his slandering of Cold War heroes like Bentley, McCarthy and Chambers, it is mild, indeed, to call JAG an anti-anti Communist.

And what to make of RA’s comment? What can we say about someone who reads Nazi websites to “get another point of view”? Apparently these Nazi websites attack Chaplin in part for being Jewish. Therefore, RA assumes that the attacks by others, e.g. the Government on Chaplin were because he was Jewish. Although RA deplores guilt by association, what else can we call this?

And he fled the country without testifying. How could he have been thoroughly investigated?

And, JAG, and RA, there is not a shred of reliable evidence that Chaplin was attacked because he was Jewish, in spite of liberal rantings over the years.

Remember who the antisemities were during this time. None other than the Communists who during the late 40s and early 50s were purging Jews in Europe and in the Soviet Union on a massive scale, killing Yiddish writers in Russia, and getting ready to deport Jews on a mass basis, something that almost certainly would have happened had not Stalin died when he did. And the great freedom-lover Chaplin was, of course, silent about all of this.

Little Al on May 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Little Al–Bravura job. Thanks.

Red Ryder on May 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Little Al and Red Ryder, I’m sure that you mean well, but the MI5 had recently released its classified files on Chaplin and they have concluded that he may have been a “progressive” or possibly a “radical,” but he was not a communist. Here’s an article on the subject from the Guardian:

MI5 spied on Charlie Chaplin after FBI asked for help to banish him from US – British agency concluded that actor – described by US counterparts as ‘parlour Bolshevik’ – was no security risk

Richard Norton-Taylor
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 16 February 2012 19.00 EST

MI5 opened a file on Charlie Chaplin while he was being hounded by J Edgar Hoover’s FBI for alleged communist sympathies.

The FBI, which described the star of Modern Times and The Great Dictator as one of “Hollywood’s parlour Bolsheviks”, asked MI5 for information to help get him banned from the US. The results, including information gathered through eavesdropping, are contained in an extensive personal MI5 file released on Friday at the National Archives.

“Chaplin has given funds to communist front organisations … He has been involved in paternity and abortion cases,” an MI5 liaison officer in Washington warned in October 1952.

MI5 noted that a decade earlier Chaplin had told the Los Angeles branch of the National Council of American Soviet Friendship: “There is a great deal of good in communism. We can use the good and segregate the bad.”

Papers have been withheld from Chaplin’s MI5 file to protect the names of informants though there are unexplained, probably inconsequential, references to Jimmy Reid, the communist Scottish trade unionist; Larry Adler, the harmonica virtuoso who left his native US where he was branded a communist and blacklisted; and Humphrey Lyttelton, the Eton-educated jazz musician who once described himself a “romantic socialist”.

MI5 intercepted a telegram from Ivor Montagu, a film critic, producer and one-time Soviet spy, telling Chaplin how sorry he was to miss him in London when the star visited London in 1952.

The file also contains cuttings from newspapers and magazines. Noting that Chaplin had not taken American citizenship though he had lived in the US for more than 30 years, the Daily Worker welcomed him to London. “His films have lampooned the great and the dictators, raised up the common man against the rich,” the paper said. “Now the world’s bully threatens the world’s clown.”

The FBI, which amassed more than 2,000 pages on Chaplin, asked MI5 if he was going to meet any “highly placed persons” in London, and to establish any links he had with the Communist party there.

In particular, it wanted MI5 to find out where Chaplin was born and pursue suggestions that his real name was Israel Thornstein.

MI5 searched but to no avail. There was “‘no evidence that Chaplin’s name is or ever has been Israel Thornstein”, it told the FBI. A suggestion that he “may have been born in France” came to nothing.

MI5 found no record of his birth in Somerset House, then the home of the register of British births. “It would seem that Chaplin was either not born in this country or that his name at birth was other than those mentioned,” an MI5 report concluded. It told the US that there was “no trace in our records of Charlie Chaplin”.

It had always been assumed that Chaplin was born in Walworth, south London, on 16 April 1889. Recently, however, a letter was discovered in family papers from Jack Hill, who told Chaplin in the 1970s that he had come into the world “in a caravan [that] belonged to the Gypsy Queen, who was my auntie. You were born on the Black Patch in Smethwick near Birmingham.”

The newly released file shows that while communist sympathies were the determining factor for the FBI, for MI5 the issue was whether Chaplin ever presented a security risk. And in its view, it makes clear, he was not.

“We have no trace in our records of this man, nor are we satisfied that there are any reliable grounds for regarding him as a security risk,” Sir Percy Sillitoe, then head of MI5, told the chief police commissioner in South Africa, where Chaplin was planning a visit.

MI5 suggested his name had been exploited in the interests of communism as “one of the victims of McCarthyism”.

Files previously released at the National Archives reveal that shortly before his death in 1950, George Orwell handed a female friend working for an anti-communist propaganda unit in the Foreign Office a list of 35 names of people, including Chaplin, whom he considered “crypto-communists and fellow-travellers”.

Chaplin’s MI5 file, number PF710549, concludes: “It may be that Chaplin is a communist sympathiser but on the information before us he would appear to be no more than a ‘progressive’, or radical.”

In 1953 the US prevented Chaplin from returning to America. He denied ever being a communist but decided not to contest the US ban and instead live in Switzerland. “I am a victim of lies and vicious propaganda,” he said.

Chaplin died in his sleep in Vevey, Switzerland, on Christmas Day in 1977.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/feb/17/mi5-spied-on-charlie-chaplin

Ralph Adamo on May 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Absolutely incredible. First, RA, you ignore the specific facts that I mentioned, about Chaplin’s communist front activities.

Again, reading is fundamental. I never said that Chaplin was organizationally a Communist, but he was definitely a sympathizer, and you yourself present evidence of that.

And it is amazing that with all your reading of this blog over the years, you seem unaware of all the security threats that Western intelligence services miss. While they are primarily Muslim these days, they would be even more likely to miss something that happened 50 years ago. All the Muslims in trusted Government positions. Do you think this is something new? Remember that top Government officials covered for Alger Hiss for more than a decade. This is the context that you need to look at MI5′s ‘clearance’ of Chaplin.

If you like his movies, fine. But to extrapolate about his political sympathies from his artistry is really off base. Hanoi Jane is considered by many to be a good actress too. Does that make her any less of a traitor? Dalton Trumbo was a great writer. Does that make him any less a traitor?

And British intelligence? The ones who miss all the Muslim security threats now, the ones who missed the Cambridge Five for more than a decade? The ones who couldn’t figure out for years that Philby, Burgess, MacLean and Blunt were Communists?

(And nothing in the report you quote rules out his being a Commie sympathizer).

And as usual, Orwell was more perceptive.

If you knew anything about Communist history, you would know that there were scores of Communists who were able to conceal their organizational affiliations from Western governments, and scores more who were able to effectively conceal their Communist sympathies.

And I hope you will disassociate yourself from JEG’s outrageous and ill-informed attacks on heroes of the Cold War against Communism.

Little Al on May 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    Little Al, I read what you wrote, and your vitriol is misplaced.

    I would have thought that the Guardian article would have put the matter to rest, but you obviously seem bent on reading into what you wish to see and ignoring everything else. For example, you said “there is not a shred of reliable evidence that Chaplin was attacked because he was Jewish, in spite of liberal rantings over the years.” But you totally ignore that the article cites evidence that the FBI specifically asked the MI5 to investigate Chaplin to find out if his real name was Israel Thornstein. Now, why do you suppose that the FBI was so concerned about that? Could it possibly be because that name is Jewish? I call that more than a “shred of reliable evidence.” I don’t know about you, but I can imagine the actual conversation taking place among the FBI leadership behind the scenes: “We’ve got to nail that Chaplin–that G-d damn Jew-Bastard-Commie-Pinko.” Precisely the kind of mindset and language that you’d find on Stormfront.org.

    And as for the great writer, George Orwell (Eric Blair) citing Chaplin among a list of communist sympathizers for a female friend’s anti-communist organization, you have to know a little bit more about Orwell so that you can put that fact in context. Here’s a mini-review of Chaplin and his movie The Great Dictator with some words by Orwell himself:

    Speaking of Chaplin in his role of The Great Dictator, George Orwell asks “What is Chaplin’s peculiar gift?” It is his power to stand for a sort of concentrated essence of the common man, for the ineradicable belief in decency that exists in the hearts of ordinary people, at any rate in the West. We live in a period in which democracy is almost everywhere in retreat, supermen in control of three-quarters of the world, liberty explained away by sleek professors, Jew-baiting defended by pacifists. And yet everywhere, the common man sticks obstinately to the beliefs that he derives from the Christian culture.” –Film Review, The Great Dictator in Time & Tide, Dec 21, 1940. Reprinted in All Art is Propaganda, Critical Essays by George Orwell (Harcourt, Inc.) 2008

    Except for Orwell’s reference to “Christian culture”–which would be more accurate if phrased “Judeo-Christian traditions”–Orwell basically gets the message right.

    Ralph Adamo on May 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

RA, I’ll ignore your rhetorical devices and accusations, and go to substances. Basically you are just repeating things from prior posts, disregarding my comments about the limitations of British intelligence, and praising Chaplin as an artist.

Maybe — I avoid his movies just like I do those of other anti-Americans such as Hanoi Jane and Sean Penn.

Pedantic references to Orwell which don’t deal at all with Chaplin’s politics are totally irrelevant.

But you’ve shown a tendency to disregard what I’ve said throughout this discussion, to soar away on your lofty flights. You are entitled to like Chaplin and spend hundreds of dollars for his DVDs, but that doesn’t change his anti-Americanism.

And interestingly, Chaplin could never have made the quote that Orwell did, because he would never express criticism of the Land of Socialism the way Orwell did.

I’m not going to comment anymore — JEG hopefully has become silent after his pro-Communist rant, and now it’s your turn.

Little Al on May 18, 2012 at 1:21 am

And I wouldn’t know what to find on Stormfront.org, as I don’t read Nazi sites. And at least in those days, the FBI was trying to do its job — they weren’t all that bamboozled by the Communists. The Europeans — so smug and superior, after the provincial United States saved them repeatedly from communism and fascism, and they are now coming hat in hand for us to save them from their socialist excesses.

Little Al on May 18, 2012 at 1:24 am

All right, Al, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on Chaplin. But please don’t put Chaplin in the same camp as Jane Fonda and Sean Penn, as Chaplin is worlds apart from them. (I too will generally avoid them where possible.) Chaplin was a mega-talent: he wrote, he acted, he danced, he directed, and he composed music.

Neither Jane Fonda nor Sean Penn, on the other hand, are particulalrly good at acting–unless they have roles in which they can just play themselves: e.g., On Golden Pond, where Jane Fonda plays Henry Fonda’s daughter; and Sweet and Lowdown, where Penn plays a second-rate guitarist in awe of Django Reinhardt. Playing the daughter of her father produced a decent result for Jane Fonda, as did playing a second-rate artist did for Sean Penn. (But that’s not acting. For real acting, see Geoffrey Rush, Anthony Hopkins, and Alec Guinness.)

Also, sometimes you have to separate the person from the person’s works. Take, for example, the great German composer Richard Strauss who chose to remain in Germany and affiliate himself with the Nazis. (Richard Strauss was not related to the great Johann Strauss II, whose grandparents were Jewish.) The great conductor, Arturo Toscanini, when asked what he thought about Richard Strauss, said “I tip my hat to the composer, not the man.”

On that note, I’ll close with a clip of Nat King Cole singing one the songs from the great American Songbook–Smile, with music by Charlie Chaplin from his movie Modern Times.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-WqFUnqhSc&ob=av2n

Ralph Adamo on May 18, 2012 at 2:54 am

Thanks for pointing out Cohen’s glaring hypocrisy here, Debbie!!….Yet another left-wing hollyweird film I won’t be seeing.

Dave on May 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Thanks, Debbie. This is a beautiful review and nails the problem with Sasha Cohen in general and the problem with “The Dictator” in particular. I left the theater after the film feeling sick, since the movie ended with a long, unpleasant sermon full of hard-left delusions about the way America is a supposed “dictatorship.” So he ends his so-called comedy with the “one percent” argument? Really? Along with the “There are too many blacks in prison” [so that proves we live in a dictatorship]?

If there really is any conservative out there who watched this film and thought Sasha was making points for them, I feel sorry for their judgement and intelligence.

This film was unfunny, obvious and stridently didactic. You expressed it perfectly when you wrote, “So far, his movies have mostly mocked small-town average Americans who are good people” [but this film is worse]. That captures it.

I was disappointed to read a review in “Big Hollywood” from a so-called conservative which praised this film, but relieved to find you weren’t fooled for a second. At least there’s one critic in this country I can count on.

Burke on May 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm

It’d be pretty refreshing to one day see a Debbie Schlussel movie review article that doesn’t mention Israel. NOt that there’s anything wrong with that — occasionally, but it seems to be the center of her film universe, the mirror from which all films are judged.

JGlanton on May 19, 2012 at 12:30 am

Thank you for once again telling us what other reviewers won’t Debbie. I assumed that having to live in New York unassisted and being helped by the Anna Farris character, the much talked about final speech would be about how he learned the error of his ways thanks to the kind hearted and tolerant Americans who took care of him. Instead it’s a speech that tells us we’re worse than muslim dictatorships. How bold. Considering the ridiculous lifestyles of leaders like Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein and the brutal extremes they went to hold on to power, this movie should have been a laugh riot of satire. I am very disappointed in Mr. Cohen and hope he grows up someday. Unfortunately, this movie will make him too much money for that to be worthwhile.

DavidJ on May 19, 2012 at 4:58 pm

he may be cruel but he is so right when pointing the american ‘democracy’ as camouflaged dictatorship. as a jew i don’t find myself offended with his movie. i find my self offended with your review that is pointing that we should be aware of islamic danger! you goat!

peace on May 22, 2012 at 7:35 am

“This movie appears to be by the brief ads I have seen on TV, is pro-Muslim propaganda masquerading as humor, or an attempt at humor. It really is an attack that comes in the form of a joke.”

This comment is a joke. If you walked into your house and there was an elephant in your living room then you would be to absent minded to notice.

This movie was meant to be part comedy with a very serious criticism of Democracy.

If you didn’t notice the script does not saw a single thing is wrong with the American Constitution or it’s original form of government, a republic.

Anyone with half a brain knows that a democracy is simply a transition between a Republic and Oligarchy/Socialism/Dictatorship. All of those three forms of government essentially have the same amount of Central Authority and this movie criticizes this and tries to get this message out.

It is not some terrorist plot or some anti-jew, American hating, flag burning, jihad loving film fest. If you know anything about what the role of our government was intended to be and what it is now then you would have caught the message at the end.

He realized while ranting about the American form of government that there is not a large margin of difference between our Democracy that is dangerously close to an oligarchy and a totalitarian form of government.

He had to make a choice… Stick to dictatorship because he likes the sound of it and loose his woman, or embrace the illusion of freedom found in a Democracy and keep the girl.

If you want freedom then you go with a Republic that properly restricts all branches of it’s government through a constitution. This is where our government failed because when you do not restrict your government properly it grows out of control and starts to restrict you.

All of you who are shooting this film down as some sort of middle-eastern twisted propaganda should take a step back and realize the criticisms you are missing.

Also if you disagree with this then you should stop watching fox/msnbc/cnn/mainstream media… It will make you think you know a whole lot and leave you with nothing but a bunch of one liners from Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Obama types and a skewed, highly flawed opinion of what the role of government ought to be.

Stop swallowing spoon fed news and propaganda and do some actual research before criticizing a film that actually bashes everything but a limited, balanced, constitutional republic. Just be happy with the fact that it criticizes all forms of totalitarian governments and transitions to it (Democracy) because here in America you will soon learn if you haven’t already how dangerous a democracy really is to personal freedoms and a free market.

On that note do a little research on the true political spectrum (not that Nolan square crap) and try to learn something with substance.

Goodday

Sam Thomas on May 24, 2012 at 12:33 am

Also Burke:
‘Along with the “There are too many blacks in prison” [so that proves we live in a dictatorship]?’

If you would even pay attention to any of the common day criticisms of our judicial system then you would know that this was a jab at locking away people for non-violent crimes (black, white, doesn’t matter) because of prohibition without any real form of punishment of those who partake in white collar crimes that damage the lives of many.

There is corruption in our politics and this is due to banks like Goldman Sachs and their lobbyists and politicians which they have in their pocket like Obama and Romney.

You guys are missing the criticism that this film has to offer because you were not educated properly on what our government was intended to be.

A constitutional republic with a deep respect for the rule of law was lost about 100 years ago and this mess we’re in now is the result of it. We call this democracy, but it’s merely just a transition to a form of government with less respect for freedoms of all kind.

Going back to the prison thing. It is a reference to our prison system in comparison to “More totalitarian leaning governments”:

http://www.nolanchart.com/article3237-nonviolent-offenses-leads-united-states-to-worlds-highest-incarceration-rate.html

If you didn’t notice… The Chinese diplomat in the beginning jokes about how they are a democracy too!!! A democracy has no true form. It’s literally any variation of what the majority says it wants anywhere between Socialism and a Republic.

Once again… if you’re going to play the “I’m informed on politics” game, then actually try being informed first.

Sam Thomas on May 24, 2012 at 12:49 am

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