Film Corner!

[Content Note: Misogyny; violence; infanticide; xenophobia; fat hatred.]

Just for the record, if I have to see this advert for Sacha Baron Cohen's new film The Dictator one more time, I am going to lose my shit.

Male voiceover, over the scene of a parade from the film: Time magazine raves The Dictator is "infernally funny." [Quoted text appears onscreen.]

Cut to a scene of Sacha Baron Cohen as The Dictator working in a deli. A fat white boy tells him, "Shut up, loser." SBC kicks him into a stack of boxes; the kid yells and SBC laughs.

Voiceover, over scene of crowd cheering for The Dictator: Roger Ebert says Sacha Baron Cohen is today's "best comic filmmaker." [Quoted text appears onscreen.]

Cut to a scene of SBC as The Dictator delivering a white woman's baby. "Bad news—it's a girl," he says. "Where's the trashcan?"

"No!" cried the father. "That's the one we wanted!"

Voiceover: The Dictator. Rated R.
I agree that narratives, attitudes, and beliefs resulting in widespread female infanticide need to be challenged. I don't think that ironic "jokes" at which murderers of female babies could laugh without a moment's discomfort is the way to do it.

And not to get all What About the Menz? about it, but SBC's characters function as stand-ins for entire classes of people, and the men of Arabic extraction who love and value their daughters are being disappeared under the weight of this outsized stereotype—which, you know, doesn't actually help the cause of valuing daughters.

It's not that I don't get the joke, even though I am the Most Humorless Feminist in all of Nofunnington. I get it. I just don't think it's funny.

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