‘Who is America?’ Cohen splits critics with TV return

Sacha Baron Cohen conjures four new characters in ‘Who is America?’ (Courtesy Showtime)
Updated 16 July 2018
0

‘Who is America?’ Cohen splits critics with TV return

NEW YORK: “Who is America?” is both the title of Sacha Baron Cohen’s first foray into television satire in more than a decade and the existential question on the lips of liberals living through the Trump presidency.
Trailed by a blaze of pre-launch publicity and a furious backlash from public figures who believe they have been pranked, its splashy debut won most attention Sunday for hoodwinking Republican politicians into endorsing a made-up plan to train pre-schoolers how to fire a gun.
The series brings seven episodes to pay-to-view channel Showtime years after the British comedian was last on television with “Da Ali G Show” — his wannabe-rapper character interviewing the powerful and famous.
In “Who is America?” Cohen conjures up four new characters. Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr., is an opponent of “mainstream” media who debates health care with left-leaning Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
There is Nira Cain-N’degeocello, a pink-hat wearing, ultra-liberal hippy, who dines at the home of a Trump-voting couple.
Rick Sherman is an ex-con turned artist who works in the medium of human feces and bodily fluids, and who meets a totally accepting California gallery owner who donates public hair to his paint brush.
Finally, Israeli “anti-terror expert” Col. Erran Morad pranks Republicans into endorsing a concocted plan to teach children as young as three and four how to fire a firearm, along with a “Puppy Pistol.”
Teasers for the new series saw US former vice president Dick Cheney signing a “waterboard kit” and Sarah Palin unleash a furious Facebook attack, upset to have been one of Cohen’s pranked subjects.
Palin, the former vice-presidential nominee and ex-Alaska governor who did not appear in the first episode, slammed the comedian’s “evil, exploitive, sick ‘humor.’ “
But if early reviews are more muted, they are also mixed.
The New York Times called the first episode “tepid and inconsequential,” and ill-suited to the times.
If The New Yorker waxed lyrical about “sporadically excellent conceptual art,” trade magazine Variety warned Cohen’s nihilism can “itch and irritate more than enlighten and entertain.”
The Guardian praised “one moment of viral gold” but otherwise lamented “mostly a frustrating experience.”
After “Da Ali G Show,” which transferred from Britain to America, Cohen found success with hit movie characters such as bumbling Kazakh reporter Borat and gay Austrian fashionista Bruno.
His 2012 movie, “The Dictator,” starring himself as a Muammar Qaddafi style tyrant was less well reviewed.


Hijab support group nabs Facebook award

The group supports women who wear a hijab. (Shutterstock)
Updated 26 September 2018
0

Hijab support group nabs Facebook award

  • The Facebook group “Surviving Hijab” is set to receive a Facebook Fellowship Award
  • The group was created by Manal Rostom, the first-ever athlete to compete wearing a Nike Pro Hijab

DUBAI: The Facebook group “Surviving Hijab,” which aims to support women who wear the covering, is set to receive Facebook Fellowship Award, it was announced this week.



Out of more than 6000 applicants, @survivinghijabinitiative was chosen due to its ever-expanding community and positive aim. They will be receiving monetary support to grow and help more hijab-wearing woman around the world.



The social media platform was created by Manal Rostom, the first-ever athlete to compete in a major competition sporting a Nike Pro Hijab.

View this post on Instagram

2/3 BIG ANNOUNCEMENT Some may have tried to ban us from pools, others denied us jobs, but one thing they couldn’t do, was to keep us quiet. . . . That’s why I @manirostom started this group, in her own words, “This is why I started Surviving Hijab to support one another and to get support myself.” . . . #repost @manirostom . . . Today I am proud to announce Out of 6000 applications submitted to Facebook’s Community Leadership Program, last year, @survivinghijab initiative has been chosen as a Fellow where as a booming community on Facebook with over 650K women from all around the world , we will be receiving monetary support to grow and flourish even more as a Support Community of Hijab-babes around the world. . This is a *HUGE* moment for us as a community that strives to smash stereotypes and break glass ceilings. To every Hijabi girl who has been humiliated, denied access to restaurants, pools, hotels and denied jobs - today , this Award is for you. . One massive thank you goes to @facebook for giving us a voice and for giving us a platform and another massive thank you to @chrissharb & the rest of the Facebook Team for having our back throughout this process. And of course a huge thank you to the ladies of the Surviving Hijab who keep it alive everyday @malowaishi @mahaelnemer @faridaelsharkawy @coveredinlayers @hibaaitanii

A post shared by Surviving Hijab®️ (@survivinghijab) on



Manal took to Instagram and wrote: “This is a *HUGE* moment for us as a community that strives to smash stereotypes and break glass ceilings. To every hijabi girl who has been humiliated, denied access to restaurants, pools, hotels and denied jobs — today, this award is for you...To speak up LOUDER, STRONGER and have NO FEAR to stand up for your right…Thank you @Facebook for giving us a voice and for giving us a platform to express ourselves with a mere objective to change the world (sic).”



The Facebook community leadership program was created to inspire and give a platform to community global leaders and support them through monetary means.