Cohen's satiric target may well be conservative America and its anti-Semitism, believes Joel Schalit, managing editor of the liberal Jewish magazine Tikkun. And in "Borat," he may be drawing from world history to get at it. "I see a film like 'Borat' as a very roundabout, tongue-in-cheek way of exploring that," Schalit said.Clearly, it's a good time to be a political audio collage artist who is also an expert on Critical Theory and a "homeless conscience in a post-everything world."
A parallel can be drawn between Cohen's imaginary Kazakhstan and the early 20th-century Russian peasants who accepted the fraudulent, anti-Semitic "Protocols of Zion" (which told of a Jewish plot to run the world) as truth and staged pogroms.
"By evoking that example, Cohen's timing couldn't be better," Schalit said. "There remains a populist strand of anti-Semitism in the U.S. that is the parallel of pre-Bolshevik Russian anti-Semitism. And it's emanating from the quarters of the religious right."
And Speaking of the Elders of Zion. . .
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