Dimwitted comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, fresh off a string of failed projects, is reinventing himself as an anti-free speech activist. Because once you’ve gotten famous for saying hateful things and displaying your own bodily waste in public, it’s the perfect time to argue that free speech is a menace.
After going on a Twitter rant, accepting an ADL leadership award, here’s Sacha Baron Cohen ranting about it in the Washington Post.
The ‘Silicon Six’ spread propaganda. It’s time to regulate social media sites. – Washington Post
The WaPo editorial, in true lazy entertainer fashion, is pretty much the same thing as his ADL rant, but headlined by a claim that the Silicon Six are running everything while refusing to censor things he doesn’t like.
Zuckerberg seemed to equate regulation of companies like his to the actions of “the most repressive societies.” This, from one of the six people who run the companies that decide what information so much of the world sees: Zuckerberg at Facebook; Sundar Pichai at Google; Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Google’s parent company, Alphabet; Brin’s ex-sister-in-law, Susan Wojcicki, at YouTube; and Jack Dorsey at Twitter. These super-rich “Silicon Six” care more about boosting their share price than about protecting democracy. This is ideological imperialism — six unelected individuals in Silicon Valley imposing their vision on the rest of the world, unaccountable to any government and acting like they’re above the reach of law. Surely, instead of letting the Silicon Six decide the fate of the world order, our democratically elected representatives should have at least some say.
1. It’s interesting that SBC leaves out Jeff Bezos. The CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post. You know, the guy running his rant.
2. 6 or 200 people shouldn’t control the marketplace of ideas. But governments definitely shouldn’t. If SBC weren’t an idiot, pitching his agenda to other idiots, this would be common sense.
3. But you know what, fine.
Let’s regulate Sacha Baron Cohen’s comedy out of existence. If we’re dumping hate speech, that’s half his comedy. And much as he insists that his comedy has a progressive purpose, content filtering can’t speak to motivation. Violence is violence. Nudity is nudity. Hate speech is hate speech.
And, for that matter, SBC’s stock in trade, hidden cameras and undercover provocateurs, has been deemed to be illegal in California. At least when it’s done to Planned Parenthood. If it’s illegal for David Daleiden, it should be illegal for Sacha Baron Cohen too.
If SBC wants a world in which elected officials, not the Bill of Rights, determines what free speech is, he might want to remember that Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and quite a number of state governments. Once social networks have to meet community standards, Borat will have to head back to the UK with his shtick. And if he tries it in, say, Idaho, he should meet the same fate as David Daleiden.
Or we could go back to having free speech. Wouldn’t that be nice?