I have yet to see Brüno but I did laugh (and cringe) when I saw Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat, his first insert-your-own-foot-in-mouth satirical documentary.
As the reviews and complaints come in for Brüno, I start to question Cohen's motives. The shocking entertainment factor is obvious but then what? What comes after he has unleashed the racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic in people?
This is what I asked myself as I watched the clip below, in which he gets a group of cowboy hat-wearing Arizonians to sing along with him,"Throw the Jew Down the Well."
If you watch closely, you'll see that there are some who are reluctant to sing along. You sense that an inner morality makes a brave appearance and reveals itself in a few frowns or upturned eyebrows or simple refusal to sing along.
But within one refrain, Cohen (as Borat) has strung almost all of them along. They are cheering, clapping and even putting up fake horns on their heads.
My first reaction to this clip was, "No way. I can't believe it." But my second reaction, a moment later, was, "Is it good to rile people up like this? Bring out the worst in them simply because he can?"
Don't get me wrong, I am in no way defending these people. I still can't believe not one person stood up and protested. But I also wonder if bringing out all that venom, putting it on You Tube and letting it fester, is somehow not just as troublesome?