The Dictator

October 16, 2022 by Lucian Mogosanu

Eu sunt Aladeen, Aladeen, Aladeen,
Hai fetițo freacă lampa mea puțin.

The Dictator is yet another delicious piece of satire by Sacha Baron Cohen and Larry Charles -- yet another in a relatively lengthy list of movies that are so haphazardly bad that they're actually pretty good.

"Supreme Leader Admiral General Aladeen" (Cohen) is the stereotypical "dictator": a reality TV character built by the media, a personification of those "anti"-values1 which the West supposedly hates with respect to the supposedly "less civilized" countries. After all, why can't they see the supposed advantages of "democracy" and "civil rights", amirite?

This figure, quite typical of Cohen's character comedy, is placed in contrast with two separate elements, the first among them being uncle Tamir (Kingsley), who, in the interest of making a buck and retiring at the foothills of the Italian Alps, will readily integrate his small country in the Global Empire. This accurately reflects the fierce integration which countries all over the world have been through in the last two to four decades "under UN supervision", to say the least. But that aside, uncle Tamir doesn't have bad tastes at all, that I'll grant him.

The second contrasting element is the US and A itself and it is actually not all that contrasting on a more careful inspection. For one, the eco-friendly "human rights" activist girl (Faris) strikes Aladeen as a perfect example of fundamentalism, which is where that "spark of love" comes from, the so-called moment of realization being one of those rare superb scenes that had me falling out of the couch in laughter. And as for the other, Aladeen's short incursion in the land of the free has him hold a quick speech at the point of climax which perfectly describes America in the 2010s: an utterly post-religious affair where the so-called elites profit off the post-religion. Sure, they don't execute folks for all sorts of ridiculous reasons, but meanwhile I hear that a whole lot of folks in the free world have reached the point where they sorta wanna end their lives on their own, which is... quite an achievement, wouldn't you say? "In the end it doesn't even matter", as the song went.

This is then The Dictator: a testament to the fact that whether you live in the US or Romania who vilify Putin and Kim as dictators, or in Russia or North Korea who vilify the West as a "fourth Reich", the differences between the two sides pale with respect to the similarities, irrespective of whether you're rich, poor or whatever. I also suspect that this is the last political humour piece of its kind that I'll get to see for a very long while, maybe the last during my lifetime, that is, unless some counterculture arises to surpass it, mayhaps some decades from now.

  1. Seriously now, who are you to say that goatfucking is "less progressive" than assfucking? But more importantly, who are you to raise these matters as issues worth debating? Oh, I see, you're all "citizens of the world" who just want to "end suffering". 

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