As you read about the continuing riots over the caricatures of Mohammed, I urge you to please shed a tear for Albert Brooks – the comedian who went looking for comedy in the Muslim world and released his movie about a month ago.
How bad could his timing have been? It’s like releasing a movie over Hindu tolerance and love in December 1992, or releasing a movie on the maturity of the American voter in November 2004, or releasing a movie over the positive influence of the British Empire in April 1919. Do you get the point that I am trying to make here, albeit crudely? Good! Now we can move on and talk some more about Al.
So the guy goes to India and Pakistan to find out what would make the Muslims laugh (and maybe some Hindus too) and barely has his plane left the soil of the Indian subcontinent that Muslims all over the world erupt in a violent frenzy over a cartoon. How much more ironic can it get? Not much, right? Well, the pinnacle of irony would have been if Al were to commit some kind of blasphemy in his movie and then Muslims over the world would have been burning prints of a movie that tries to find out exactly what makes them laugh. However disappointed Al maybe, I am sure he will gladly take his current situation over the alternative, what might be described as the pinnacle of irony, any day. Wouldn’t you?
Now here’s another ironic instance, if you would. Al has made a movie out of a travelogue, a travelogue that is part fiction and part real with real people who are not acting. But guess what! These riots have turned his work into a great work of fiction or maybe even fantasy, because they’ve shown that the Muslim world does not know to laugh.
Many times in India, if a movie fares very poorly, it is re-released some time later under a different name with some additional footage. While in this case, Al’s movie has not been a commercial flop, I have a humble suggestion for him. He should interweave his movie with shots from these protests, the rioting, the killing, the burning and then rename it “Looking for Irony in the Muslim World”. Yes, that would make it an instant classic.
This article originally appeared at Desicritics.org, a Blogcritics.org network site, providing news and information on media, culture, politics, sports, etc. with a South Asian focus. Visit Desicritics.org for more fine stuff.