Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Blog

Last week, I weighed in on the controversy surrounding the new movie “The Dictator,” acknowledging that it does seem to contain crude Arab stereotypes, but that it didn’t seem like it was worth a major uproar. Of course, no judgment is final until we actually get to see the movie. Well, it came out this week, and while I haven’t had a chance to see it yet, Joshua Keating did and wrote an interesting piece on it in Foreign Policy saying “it's hard to get past the fact that most of the film's comedy derives from a British actor playing a crude Arab stereotype.” He goes on to say,

The movie's climax is a speech mocking American hypocrisy for lecturing the world on democracy. If America were a dictatorship, Aladeen helpfully suggests, 1 percent of the population could control 90 percent of the wealth, one minority group could be targeted for imprisonment, and the government could torture foreigners without due process. This might be a bit more biting if the rest of the film didn't seem to do everything in its power to confirm a jingoistic and borderline racist view of non-Western cultures.

Keating closes his piece by saying this: “in the first Hollywood film to address last year's Arab uprisings, Cohen seems less interested in laughing with the people who live under the Qaddafis and Mubaraks of the world than at them.” I will probably have more to say once I’ve seen the movie. In the meantime, I would recommend reading Keating’s entire piece.

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