How reflexive support for Israel aided Sacha Baron Cohen


Yesterday I posted a clip from Sacha Baron Cohen’s new show that showed Jason Spencer, a Republican Georgia state legislator, speaking and behaving vilely and ridiculously in a manner that has to be seen to be believed. He now faces calls to resign from his own party members in the legislature.

Spencer’s defense shows how fear can result in people doing things that to any reasonable person would seem utterly absurd.

“Sacha Baron Cohen and his associates took advantage of my paralyzing fear that my family would be attacked,” said Spencer, who added that he was told the techniques would deter “what I believed was an inevitable attack.”

Spencer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution last week that he was considering legal action against the show’s producers, and he claimed they “took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone” to persuade him to appear.

“They exploited my state of mind for profit and notoriety,” said Spencer, who said he was denied the chance to have final approval over what will air. “This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected.”

Cohen got Spencer to behave this way by posing as an Israeli counter-terrorism expert. In fact, as Allison Drager writes, Cohen has repeatedly duped Republicans to say bigoted and hateful things by exploiting their reflexive support for anything that Israel does.

One angle that seems to have baited Republicans into participating was no-holds-barred support for Israel.

Later in the season views will see Cohen create a fake pro-Israel award and give one to Walsh celebrating his commitment to the Jewish state. This event is one at which Cohen conned Sarah Palin and Roy Moore–yes that Roy Moore of Alabama pedophilia fame was also invited to Washington DC to receive a plaque.

David Frum, a neoconservative who was a speechwriter for George W. Bush and a fervent supporter of Israel who advocated for the wars that were started by him, is not amused by Cohen, saying “I’m really really not loving this game where @sachabaroncohen repeatedly takes advantage of people’s affection and respect for the State of Israel to deceive and humiliate them.”

Frum, by the way, despite his awful extreme right-wing record, is now of those embraced by the so-called ‘center’ merely because he dislikes Donald Trump.

Comments

  1. Jean says

    Hopefully with Israel voting laws that more openly shows it to be an apartheid country maybe more people will open their eyes to that fact. On the other hand since it is now officially a Jewish nation state, it will make it easier to (wrongly) claim that any criticism of Israel is antisemitic.

    This media company’s deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected.

    And the quote above can be taken in quite a different view from what was intended and be much more truthful. I agree that Trump had (and still has) a deceptive and fraudulent behavior which helped him be elected.

  2. johnson catman says

    From every clip that I have seen, the people like Spencer have participated willingly and with apparent great pride. I don’t see anyone being forced to do anything. If you think backing up with your bare ass towards someone holding a gun on you is going to impede them in the slightest from shooting you, you need to reexamine your thought processes. If you think screaming the N-word is okay, you are a fucking racist. Spencer, and all the rest of the idiots, should be thrown out on their bare asses.

  3. says

    Cohen is a mirror. That’s his trick.

    I’m not a big fan of psychometrics but I’d be interested to know how Cohen’s targets scored on the authoritarianism scale. Thoughtless support of Israel is a dead giveaway – they are so afraid of being accused of being anti-Israel that they’ll immediately obey any suggestion.

    I find this whole exercise to be a fascinating window on media culture. It looks like maybe P T Barnum was not completely right – there is such a thing as “bad exposure.”

  4. says

    johnson catman@#3:
    If you think backing up with your bare ass towards someone holding a gun on you is going to impede them in the slightest from shooting you, you need to reexamine your thought processes.

    It’s got to be hurting his NRA cred; they expect him to be carrying a gun so he doesn’t have to try to fart his way out of a gunfight.

  5. says

    jrkrideau@#6:
    Excuse me but Sacha Baron Cohen’s surname is “Baron Cohen” not Cohen.

    I didn’t realize that, I thought it was a cool middle name. Won’t make that mistake again. Stealth hyphen needed!

  6. Dunc says

    Personally, I can’t say that I would find the assertion that one of my elected representatives was so completely dominated by fear that they’re entirely unable to behave or think rationally to be particularly reassuring – even if the fear in question had a rational basis.

  7. jazzlet says

    I find the idea that any politician should have final aproval over what was aired appalling, that not having it is something Spencer would complain about publicly suggest the depths to which politicians have sunk.

  8. militantagnostic says

    Marcus Ranum @4

    I’m not a big fan of psychometrics but I’d be interested to know how Cohen’s targets scored on the authoritarianism scale,

    I wonder how much Baron Cohens’s height (6’3″ – 195 cm) helped him get obedience from these authoritarians. I think his character is very much who they wish they were.

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