Sure, I laughed at Borat... then later I felt a bit guilty; stories started coming out that he tricked the college kids in the RV into getting very drunk, and then played them into saying racist statements that were out of character. He basically took advantage of the kindness, and tolerance of a lot of people. When he pulled out a bag of shit as a gift from his country, the poor hosts tried to be nice. Americans do this. They may hate someone inside, or have all kinds of misconceptions about a race in general, and still treat that race kindly in person.
He showed that there is racism in America.... a quick Internet search would show you the same thing. It was like he pointed out the color blue was blue. Amazing antics got him there, the acting was incredible, etc... there is a lot of talent involved. They could probably make Cohen cooking an omelet into something incredible.
Now, comes Bruno. He is pointing out that there is homophobia in America. This is basically a sequel to Borat with a different figure of ridicule. Again, he is pointing out the obvious -- like when he shoved his ass in Eminems face, who is said to be homophobic; as someone on record as homophobic, it is no wonder he could go along with this joke, Cohen is said to be straight, so there was no revulsion, as would happen if he was hit on...
Remember, sociobiology has shown us that most of our behaviors are remarkably similar to animals, and when we try to make humans out to be more than we are, we run into all the problems with religions, social stigma toward minority traits, etc.... Animals, as you can read an essay about on this site, have been shown by science to be bi-sexual -- there are even two gay penguins who raised a chick in a zoo... So, whether his mid addled mind will admit it or not, Eminem is a bi-sexual animal. Animals also seek out plants that get them stoned, and that list is nearly endless as well... including a Badger I read about today that ate a bunch of cherries that had hung long enough to get all filled with liquor. Eminem would of course more readily admit that he is an animal in this regard. Try telling him that he is a bi-sexual and I'm sure he would get so mad he would attack you, which says a lot when you have body guards all around who will hold you back, protect you... Oh, well.
People who put down gays hate the part of themselves that is a bi-sexual animal. This basic self-hatred of their species makes some of them fag-bash. I lived in Grand Rapids Michigan for awhile, a small town with almost no crime, but very dominated by a fundamentalist, Dutch Something religion. And there were all kinds of attacks on Gays. A buddy of mine from AA worked in the city for ten years. A thoughtful, educated guy who actually became my sponsor, and I only chose very together, long sober, and brilliant folk for this honor. When he gave up his job as a city assessor after fifteen years, no one would come to his going away party because he was gay. Hard to imagine, but their religion made them particularly hateful of themselves. And we have two basic choices with anger, we can internalize it, which leads to suicide, or we can project it outward, which leads to violence; I mean this last sentence metaphorically and literally.
Bruno is going to embarrass people who he tricked into getting pissed at him. The gayness is not needed for this guy to get people pissed, obviously, since that is what his characters have been about since the start -- but getting these people angry at him, hardly shows they are homophobic. The scene they show over and over of him pissing off some black women for saying he traded for his baby, and named his a traditional African name, OJ, did not need a crazy gay person to make them angry.
So the people who watch this movie, are almost certainly telling their unconscious mind an old and familiar message -- Gay Is Bad and people will hate you. Look up the astonishing number of teenage gays who kill themselves, and you will get a bit of insight into how fag-bashing -- from kids who inevitably are homophobic slamming each other with this term ( unless in direct contact with Gays, and then this shit just makes them feel alienated), to the slur-use of gay on South Park.... meaning this kind of talk is downright MURDEROUS.
He is basically doing a minstrel show. I wonder what would happen if he pulled this shit in black face, going around exposing that prejudice? I have seen this done in serious reporting, and people notice the shift in societal perceptions right away. They show that there is still racism without offending blacks. Cohen going out and playing a mean, misogynist, dope dealing, pimping black guy, and going into projects to show black racism and homophobia, he would almost surely have to move to an island somewhere to avoid getting capped. His rap character by the way, seems to make fun of black culture, as handed down to white rap stars (you can make fun of these people for adopting a certain way of speech, or whatever... but they respect the black culture enough to do an honest portrait, where as Cohen makes fun of that culture).
Now, I do not think that anyone should necessarily avoid insulting people with their humor. If that criticism is valid. Strictly making fun of people for a God given attribute, that is another story.
If God was a hung up on heterosexuality, He would not have created a bi-sexual animal kingdom... unless, the hetero idea is part of our punishment for eating from the tree of knowledge?
I do not think that the people behind this movie think they are doing anything bad for the gay's... and this more or less shows their ignorance, and homophobia. Most of our thinking is done with our unconsciousness mind, in wordless parts of our mind that interpret emotions and images... this film, deconstructed ever so slightly, is gay bashing on one level.... people would see that if he put on a black face, instead of going with being an Austrian. The Austrains are sure as hell pissed.
Cohen is out to make a buck, a rep, be a star. I guess that he is trying to something real with his art means I have to give him a break.... still, I think I prefer the Jamie Kennedy school of this, where he plays with peoples perceptions by doing things like dancing with the alleged corpse of his dead wife at her funeral. Basically, he gets the same funny reactions we love, without having a hateful portrait of a minority. His white rapper moves showed a loving portrait of black culture by the way....
FURTHER READING E.O. WILSON... ON BEING HUMAN.
Check out all of my blogs by googling my name, John Scott Ridgway