Bil Browning

Wait. What's the joke again?

Filed By Bil Browning | July 16, 2008 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media
Tags: anti-gay, Arkansas, bad jokes, Baron-Cohen, candid camera, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sacha Cohen, Will Ferrell

Have you heard about this knee slapper?

A Six Sides of Steel match at the TNA Lockdown...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems Sacha Baron Cohen has pulled one over on those hicks from Arkansas. I mean, most comedy is based on stereotypes, right? After all, rednecks are homophobic and queers don't like bare knuckle fights.

Let's go for the set up. A bunch of people buy tickets to a cage match fight. When they get there, they're told the event will be recorded and agree to allow their images to be used in the footage. They grab their beers and settle in for the show. Two opponents enter the ring and...

An elaborate array of mounted and handheld video cameras caught the crowd of 1,600's reaction as the two men "went right up to the line" of the city's morality laws, Holland said. The two men stripped down to their underwear, kissed and rubbed on each other, the sergeant said.

The audience, as well as local fighters drawn to take part in the show, became enraged. "It set the crowd off lobbing beers," Holland said. "They had beers in plastic cups. Those things can get some distance on them actually."

Holland said it took officers about 45 minutes to clear the convention center, as the two actors sprinted away through a specially set-aside tunnel.

Wait. What was the joke again? Was it "Seeing two guys groping each other is a good reason to riot?" Or was it "Gays can cause real men to lose control and become violent?" Maybe it was "If you see two guy kissing, you should throw something at them."

Oh, yeah. Good times.


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Sacha Baron Cohen's humor is often based in letting people reveal themselves as the ignorant, intolerant, uniformed assholes they really are. I'll reserve judgment on this segment until I see the setup and the final product.

I agree with Jere. Bil, if you haven't seen Borat, I'm guessing you won't "get it."

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | July 16, 2008 5:31 PM

I'm also with Jere and Serena. Cohen's humor usually makes me acutely uncomfortable, but he's typically giving the homophobes (and other bigots) rope to hang themselves--which they do with alarming regularity.

His intent is to point out their stupidity, not applaud it.

I completely disagree. There were 1600 people there? At the 10% figure that comes to 160 gay people.

How comfortable do you think they felt when the stuff started getting thrown and the crowd bayed for blood? I'd be terrified.

And I don't think that's a joke. Not at all.

Hmmm... I don't think it's a joke particularly, but I'd like to see the setup. I'm doubting he thought that people would get that violent, if he thought they'd get violent at all.

It does reveal that we still have a long way to go on this. But, like Serena said, this reminds me a lot of his song about killing Jews that he sang to a bunch of people in Idaho and got them all to start clapping along.

I see it as a tasteless joke, actually more than that because someone couldn't been injured when those neanderthals went wild.

I agree with Bil Browning, there had to have been some gay boys in the audience. Some of us DO like bare knuckle fights, UFC and whatnot. Haven't we put that tired stereotype that we're all hair-dressers and dancers to bed? Some of us chug beer, belch in public, scratch ourselves, and do all order of manly man activities -- and we can slob a knob with the best of them. Pretty damn cool, we are.

One of the more eyebrow raising comments from 'Borat' was the two college kids that admitted with cameras rolling they wshed the could own slaves.

Wait, what does there being gay people in the audience have to do with anything?

Whether they were drinking beer or belching or whatever there is besides the point - the audience was there to see a cage fight. Gay or straight, they were already 1600 pretty horrible people lined-up.

And, no, I don't have a problem with WWF fake wrestling or real wrestling for sport. But when the point is for people to actually get hurt (like these cage fights), and people want that as entertainment, it's worse than cock-fighting, which is already banned in 49 states.

If people in the audience were surprised that others "bayed for blood," then they're pretty stupid from the outset. That's the whole point of an audience at those shows, to bay for blood.

Alex:

first you said 'I doubt he thought it would get violent' and then you seque into those crowds always 'bay for blood'. So I'm confused?

With that hungry for blood crowd -- Was it a dumb, irresponible tasteless prank, or wasn't it?

I also think that it's important to point out the differences between watching a wrestling/boxing/cage fighting match and being stuck in the middle of a riot. One implies that you're not a participant, but part of the audience. The athletes are being paid to perform while you watch.

The other is an out-of-control mob. In this case it took 45 minutes to subdue them. Finding yourself trapped in a mob that's, yes, baying for blood of gay men, is something completely different. Especially if you're gay.

What would have happened if an effeminate man happened to be at the event? What if the crowd "suspected" someone of being queer too? The sheer terror this would have given LGBT attendees has to be staggering.

Whether or not you approve of violent sports like this is irrelevant. I too think they are throwbacks to an uncivilized time. That doesn't matter, however, when you put it in it's proper context of watching someone perform vs the possibility of getting hurt yourself.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | July 17, 2008 11:51 AM

I think this was a horrible thing, to have staged in the first place. You get the element who wants cheap beer and a bloodfight. Cromagnons who are at an event, where their adrenal glands are more active than their brains, inflamed by being duped into seeing something they did not want to see.

It seems to me I recall there being moderate dislike of our seeing heterosexual couples kissing passionately in restaurants. Alex and his friend had a nice kiss in Paris and were asked to leave a restaurant. I don't think anyone deserves to have someone "in their face" in this manner and the people who are exploited by this are the defenseless victims these fools will beat up later.

If it takes 45 minutes to calm these people down in a hall with security, how long are they going to beat on our Gay brothers and sisters in private? In this case, Gay people are the victims, because Sacha wants to have something interesting for his film purposes. the cost for this thoughtless act will be borne by those least able to defend themselves.

I have to agree with Bil - trying to enflame people's homophobia doesn't accomplish anything - it doesn't make them "look foolish" to people who agree with them, and it doesn't do anything to help them understand their response is the wrong one, regardless of their opinions or beliefs.

But it does run the risk of putting people in danger; not only gay people in the crowd, but gay people that homophobic audience members run across in the street.

Bil~ It's not so much about approval but just pointing out that they gathered a crowd of people who were, IM non-scientific O, prone to this sort of violence. They love it, and the people who go there know that the others love it.

I guess what I'm getting at is the fact that it's a little infantilizing to just blame Cohen and not the crowd, as if they were simply all hypnotized under his command and suddenly because violent and homophobic. They had a choice in this too.

Taylor~ They're a crowd of horrible people who gather for this sort of event. That doesn't mean that Cohen was sitting around trying to hatch some scheme to make a riot happen.