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.


Watch the trailer . . .

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89 Responses

I dont know if i got the movie wrong, but I actullay concluded the message exactly oppisite of what Debbie is metioning about. I think that the film actually mocked Muslim leaders and the religion. It was like, “check out the stupid ruthless uneducated people in the middle east are”, and “Americans have a right to be afraid of Arab leaders becausethey are so unpredictable and not trustworthy” Just making the character dumb, careless and egoistic and supporter of war, dictatorship and opression is simply mocking.It was against muslims indirectly, because even if it didnt mock Islam, it showed The Dictator an unrespectful person who is fond of looking down at Jews and happy about terrorist orginazations? Thats certainly not funny. In the end that is ofcoarse not true Islam. Islam is against terrorism and those who belive it is lawful is in Islamic viewpoint as good as anyother non-believer. Its sad to put a worse image of Islam when it is already this bad.

1997Zazo on May 26, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    thank you 1997Zazo for that great comment. see, i’m and arab-american and feel such movies have a huge impact in the way the world sees us.
    PS watch “the arrivals” series about how this global denomia

    tw1986 on August 17, 2012 at 12:15 am

    thank you 1997Zazo for that great comment. see, i’m and arab-american and feel such movies have a huge impact in the way the world sees us.
    PS watch “the arrivals” series about how this global denomiation is spreading the hate of arabs and muslims since the times of the pharoes.

    tw1986 on August 17, 2012 at 12:16 am

    thank you 1997Zazo for that great comment. see, i’m and arab-american and feel such movies have a huge impact in the way the world sees us.and Debbie, please visit the arab world then say your opinion about we’re not being offended.
    PS watch “the arrivals” series about how this global domination is spreading the hate of arabs and muslims since the times of the pharoes.

    tw1986 on August 17, 2012 at 12:18 am

It seems that you just didn’t get it.
“You better see the sites before one of your sand monkey cousins take it down” is a direct arab joke, as well as the majority of the bloody film!
You seem like a typical snotty cow who barks at the slightest hint of anti white or black jokes, but barely acknowledges the countless digs at the rest of the world, particularly the arab world and us.

Tom on May 27, 2012 at 8:45 am

Are you kidding? The entire movie is a satire of the decadence of Islamic dictators. He doesn’t mention dictators by name, but his character claims to own a pair of “raping shoes.” To see this movie as an attack on America is the worst kind of ignorance. It is an equal opportunity offender, that sometimes missteps in its efforts to amuse, but painting it as anti-American must have required some serious effort on your part. Also…its filled with pubic hair? I think there are 1.5 seconds of pubic hair in the entire film you ignorant, close-minded fool.

Phil VH on May 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm

And not to forget in the phrase where Zoe:”Wow how did you do this?” Aladeen:”I just made it less shirk” is directly showing he is a muslim! The whole movie is made for insulting muslims! I dont understand how you got to that conclusion of yours right there…

1997Zazo on May 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Silly Debbie. His fictional country is based near/on top of Somalia and Ethiopia not north Africa (But the Horn Africa) so your agrument that it is about Arab Muslim Dictators is as void.

It could of been about black dictators such as Zenawi or Siad Berre (makes more sence geograpicly right?). But I’m not SBC and I don’t know what’s going on in his mind.


Sam on June 16, 2012 at 7:44 pm

LOL @ people saying Muslims have never been charitable. Oh there’s this little thing called Red Crescent (equal of Red Cross) and also they give zakhaa, as one of the pillars, which ends up being a percentage of their annual income which can be quite a big sum. Now, I don’t believe any country should be run by any religion because you just have people who perverse their holy books so they can do what they want. You can’t tell me if Westboro Baptist Church ran the US that we wouldn’t have beheadings of gays or adulterers. There’s extremists in religions, yes, but many people flee their lands because of those types of people. A Muslim here in the US is still more free than in other Middle Eastern countries. If you’re a Christian and have a heart filled with hate then I guess you really aren’t a Christian. Really that’s the same for any religion.

Chad on June 17, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Debbie I think you misread this one. Cohen portrays Middle Eastern dictators as decadent and malicious fiends who brutally repress their citizens. The quip about civil rights being hilarious comes to mind. I think the Munich massacre wii scene was making fun of the prevalence of anti-semitism in Arabic countries, where terrorists are supposedly revered in video games. Clearly that’s anti-Islam. I don’t possibly see how you can construe that as being in suppourt of killing Jews. At this point in the story, the Dictator is not one to be respected or idolized, he’s a monster. You really need to do some critical thinking here.
I think the point he is trying to make is that democracy in the United States has become an oligarchy owned by business interests. All the benefits he sees as a dictator – wiretapping, ‘free’ press, majority of the wealth owned by the few, low taxes for the rich, having to pay for healthcare – all these things exist in America which is a democracy. At the end Wadiya does become a democracy (albeit a repressive one), but without selling out to big oil companies. Just look at countries like Nigeria (a democracy) where Shell is in cohoots with the Government, and protesters are killed and the environment is being destroyed. I’m not in suppourt of despotism, but I don’t suppourt whatever deformed system is in place in the US and most of the world either.
Plus, it was a pretty funny movie too.
Lighten up and learn to read between the lines Deb.

Concerned on July 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Oh yeah, and my name was concerned because of the people commenting here before me about Charlie Chaplain and communism and such. Seriously people? When were you born and who indoctrinated you?

Concerned on July 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I was seriously wondering about this review and then I read up on your background and who you are. Makes sense that you’re a right wing, intolerant conservative looking for another way to feign victimization by anyone who is different than you. Pretty sad life you live lady.

General Admiral Aladeen on August 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm

Wow. Saying this movie is pro-Muslim is like saying G.I. Joe was anti-war…

Josh on August 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Don’t look for logic from right wingers. Look at how fouled up their thinking is …. and Paul Ryan won the VP debate. The 2 party system in this country has galvanized people to such extremes that I wonder if reason is possible to achieve.

    Matt on October 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Dear Debbie,

if you want to tell, the Dictator is pro-islam you must be out of your mind. It is one of the most anti-arabs-movie ever. Of course, the 1972-massacre-gag is bad, but it does not mean, he is pro-islam. sorry deb, that is riciculous. And what Cohen said about the 99% and 1% is just true.

Kind regrads from Germany, Martin

Martin Kern on August 20, 2012 at 8:45 am

the world is a shit, because the mightest nation on it, the one who could really bring peace to it:US is continuously supporting dictatorships and threfore massacres of dissidents. once it was south america regimes, nowadays are the arabian dictatorships, that keep on repressing its own citizens and denying basic freedoms. the power in the US, has proven along this last century that its own citizens care the same as the citizens of foreign dictatorships, by sistematically denying a social security system like universal health care, unability to fund social integration programes and help for the poor an many other anti-social and anti-human policies.

The movie very much mocks on these these dictators that do not represent islam at all, but only their own egoistic interests, and the US lobbies of conservatives and tea pary that have made the mock of democracy that is US actually, where none of the evil responsibles of the economical debacle of the world haven’t stepped in jail not even a single day: those yuppies are the real world’s mass destruction weapons
The fact that 1% that owns the 99% of richness has succeded in indoctrinating you and others, is the perfect example in your totally biased opinion of the movie.

Juan Martinez on August 27, 2012 at 4:05 am


You – probably deliberately – got it wrong and unless you have some really weird motive, your piece has backfired on you – and your backers.

Very weak attempt at provocation.

Norrin Radd on September 4, 2012 at 11:08 pm

If you think that this movie mocked muslims and jews, along with blacks and queers, that’s because it does. It’s called comedy, and what people F.E.A.R. the most is there being some truth in comedy. When comedy is made up, people laugh until they cry, but add a little reality to that , and they just cry. So that tells me that most people would rather “fight” and struggle their lives away, instead of laughing at our differences. You “peace” seekers cause more chaos than you think. If you don’t think it’s funny, than simply don’t laugh, but the rest of us get it. I don’t feel sorry because Israel lost a mil or so, so did everyone else. It’s time to move on. Hard to believe someone hates you that bad, but it’s true. Hypocrites live in every nation.

Chris Martin on September 5, 2012 at 2:21 am

Debbie’s far right views prevent her from understanding the point. Her ad hominem attacks on anyone that does get it underscores the brainwashing that has occured in America thanks in large part to a media agenda that seeks to serve the status quo. Cohen was pointing out the the America that we think we have, the America we learn we have …. is a facade. We have serious problems with our information industry as well as our system of wealth distribution. In terms of our Gini numbers, we have fallen so far behind the developed world that our wealth distribution is now on par with Mexico. If you don’t think we are going that direction, if you are a Romney supporter, then you are walking talkin proof that this country truly has been bought.

Matt on October 12, 2012 at 11:46 pm

ahahahaha u stupid

Dj Bango on November 6, 2012 at 12:19 am

Sorry, but you got this movie COMPLETELY wrong. The Dictator is the epitome of all the dictators on the planet and contains references to MANY MANY dictators, not just Qaddafi.

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log cabins construction on December 23, 2013 at 9:09 am

Buy the Criterion DVD edition of ‘The Great Dictator’ and watch the making-of documentary.

Pay particular attention to the footage of American Nazi Party rallies from the 30s, showing mass gatherings of US citizens, flanked by huge portraits of George Washington on one side and Hitler on the other, giving Nazi salutes.

Now tell me Chaplin — a greater and stronger man than any posting here will ever be — was wrong to make ‘The Great Dictator’ or to hold the views he did.

Oh, and HUAC was an unConstitutional kangaroo court whose purpose was intimidation and victimization, not actual investigation.

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tv streaming on April 8, 2014 at 12:22 pm

What the hell is wrong with you? the whole film is mocking arabs and they say the word arab more than they say black…

nunya on October 21, 2014 at 10:25 am

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