Monday, December 12, 2011

Ali G and our relationship with the media

I spent some time this weekend watching a few episodes of SACHA BARON COHEN'S "DA ALI G SHOW" on DVD.
The show presents the interactions of three Cohen characters -- dimwit gangsta-wannabe Ali G, outrageous Austrian fashion reporter Bruno and Kazakhstan correspondent Borat -- with unsuspecting celebrities and members of the public.
Jacob Smith described the show in the book, "VOCAL TRACKS: PERFORMANCE AND SOUND MEDIA:"
"The televised encounters between Cohen and his interviewees rapidly become ridiculous... watching the show, one marvels at the absurd situations and offensive lines of questioning that people will endure when sitting before a camera crew."

In this respect, Cohen's comedy is as much about our strange relationship with the media as it is about his three memorably awkward characters. Do we find the media so compelling and powerful that we are in thrall to it even as it strangles us with our own stupidity? Ali G seems to present our inability to break out of the media's mesmerizing stranglehold.
The show also provides some much-needed escapism after a busy week.


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