From Al Jazeera to Borat

I’ve mentioned before that we do not have Cable or Satellite television. This is both a blessing and a boon – I love not being slave to my television, but I’m often in the dark when it comes to many aspects of pop culture. But one of the biggest perks is that we watch a lot of public television that we would probably miss. Last night, for instance, we watched Frontline’s brilliant report on the rise of Arabic news media.

I’m enraged that the US government has effectively banned Al Jazeera and other Arabic news sources although Britain and most of the world is benefitting from their new English channel. Bush et al. claims that it is not a legitimate news source and is only mouthpiece for propoganda from terrorist organizations.

And how is that different than Fox News? But I digress.

To my surprise, although Al Jazeera has an obvious political adgenda, at least it is journalism with heart, and money for that matter. I always pictured Al-J filmed by Burka-wearing folk running from terrorist rabbit hole to rabbit hole with home video machines from the 80’s on their shoulders. Yet their studio is sleek gorgeous, and the men and women working as anchors are dressed like the western world.

Anyway, I’m debating whether or not I want to stick Al Jazeera English into my feed reader and risk the wrath of the Patriot Act. Not because I believe in Muslim extremism or want to see America burn – quite the opposite – but because I believe in my ability to weed out any propoganda and listen to the other side. It’s why I occasionally tune in to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh even though it risks me to lose my stomach and why I have the right to chide folks who view only conservative news sources. The more information we have about the mindsets of the other side, the more we can come together on a solution that works for everyone.

Fittingly enough, our “DVD date movie” last night was Borat. Yes, yes, I’m late to the game. Remember that I have preschool-age children and live in a one-income household. And that we live in a smallish town that has no art-house theater and many independent films never make it here. (I’m a film buff, so it KILLS me to wait but I have little choice.) As a result, we generally wait until films are available on DVD to watch them.

Borat was both hilariously funny and painfully heartbreaking. It was pure genius and exposed some of the darker sides of our Americanism yet had plenty of humor for humor’s sake as well. How can I not endorse a film that exposes both homophobia and sexism but also features ugly naked men wrestling over a Baywatch magazine? That being said if I were from Eastern Bloc Europe, I’d be horrified and deeply offended.

But Goddess help me if I can’t stop singing the Kazakhstan National Anthem


1 Response to “From Al Jazeera to Borat”

  1. 1 Dan April 1, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Two of Britain’s most respected journalists work for Aljazeera – David Frost and war reporter Ragi omar. Or at least I think they do, I’m not the worlds most well informed person.

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