Sacha Baron Cohen—Laugh at Your Own Expense

July 18, 2018 - 12:13 pm
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By Scott A. Huesing  Special to ConnectingVets.com

I was recently quoted, in part, by journalist, Christian Toto, in a Special to The Washington Times, Saturday, July 14, 2018, about the always-controversial antics of actor/comedian Sacha Baron Cohen when he reeled in former Vice-Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, posing as a disabled veteran as bait to land her on a recent Showtime piece.

Let me share what wasn’t covered in my quote in the Washington Times piece. Because as a veteran author and artist I don’t want any confusion over my position on what Cohen did.

I was asked by Toto, “Do I think Cohen is wrong for mocking veterans?" I said, “That it’s always subjective and I'd have to see how the piece plays out first. But he was using the right bait to land the fish he wanted to get in the boat on this trip—Palin."

I went on to say, “I liked Palin's retort that Cohen, Showtime, and others involved have a great opportunity to do two things with this—First, throw Palin's challenge back at her to match the donation [she challenged Cohen to] and in the end veterans get a win out of it. The second is that it makes them all look like veteran supporters." 

To say that I “applauded” Cohen for his sketch is not completely accurate. The full quote that I gave Toto permission to use read: "…Interesting stuff, and [Sacha] Cohen, like [Andy] Kauffman, really color outside of the lines when it comes to eliciting emotions from the viewers who never really know if they are getting a look behind the curtain—and anytime the mainstream is talking about veterans, in jest or not, it's keeping the discussion going."

Do I think it is in bad taste to mock disabled vets? I say, “Yes.” Was Cohen outside the boundaries of good taste doing a piece like that? I say, “When hasn’t he ever been outside the boundaries?”  That’s the type of comic reaction, dare I say, genius, that makes him so appealing. Trust me when I safely presume there are plenty of veterans—myself included, that have been laughing for years as Cohen played Ali G, Borat, Bruno, or roping in plenty of celebrity and political deer in the headlights for years with the likes of Bernie Sanders. Let’s face it, his brand of in-your-face humor not only makes you extraordinarily uncomfortable but at times brings you to the brink of hysterical laughter, almost to tears. 

Whoever Cohen or other “off-brand” comedians chose to put in their crosshairs, we always have to remember that it’s all part of what all veterans have fought and died for—freedom of speech. You don’t have to like it or listen to it, but as American’s we must deal with it if we want to continue to embrace all the 1st Amendment affords us.

I suppose I am a loose-laced conservative to a degree—at least biased when voting for the person who gives our military the best pay raise during their campaign speech. I love veterans, I love entertainers and artists, and I love the freedom of speech—at the end of the day I subscribe to the adage that if you don’t like the brand of comedy or entertainment, get off your couch and change the channel.  To Cohen I say, put your money where your mouth is and prove to all of us that you support our veterans and donate—not just taking easy pot-shots at those who espouse political rhetoric like shooting fish in the proverbial mainstream media barrel. 

Major Scott A. Huesing USMC (Ret) is the bestselling author of Echo in Ramadi – The Firsthand Story of U.S. Marines in Iraq’s Deadliest City. He is a proven combat leader with 10 deployments over his career to include Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. He has planned, led, and conducted hundreds of combat missions.

To read the full Washington Times article go here: (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/jul/14/veterans-military-widow...)