Television critic Glenn Garvin finds Sacha Baron Cohen's Who Is America? hilarious at times, but is disturbed by its emphasis on simply finding people to humiliate:
Not every interview is a fair fight. In his Cain-N.Degeocello guise, Cohen calls a "town meeting" with a couple of dozen residents of the desolate western Arizona Town of Kingman. The subject: a new development that turns out to be a $385 million mosque that he describes as the world's biggest outside the Middle East. The grizzled Kingmanites react with predictable hostility and some open racism. (This is not an interpretation. "I'm racist toward Muslims," yells one of them.)
The chattering classes have seized the Kingman episode as Exhibit A in the Trump Era's deformation of the American soul. What goes unmentioned: The folks at the meeting were not exactly a cross-section of the city, but more from its busted-luck demographic. Recruited on Facebook in return for a $150 payment, they were either out of work or have the kind of jobs that make it attractive to skip a day of work for $150.
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