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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Who would believe a single word Ali G says?

Perhaps only America, Land of the Lawsuit, could have throw up this story:

Channel Four claimed a landmark victory yesterday when a US judge ruled that Ali G, the character created by Sacha Baron Cohen, is so absurd that “no reasonable person” would take him literally.

Heddi Cundle, a British-born woman who now lives in the US, was seeking damages for what she claimed were defamatory comments made on HBO television in 2004.

Interviewing the American writer Gore Vidal, in the character of Ali G, Cohen suggested that the US constitution should be scrapped rather than constantly amended.

He explained: “Me used to go out with this bitch called Heddi Cundle and she used to always be trying to amend herself. Y’know, get her hair done in highlights, get like tattoo done on her batty crease, y’know gave the whole thing shaved very nice but it didn’t make any more difference. She was still a minger.”

Ms Cundle, who met Cohen 20 years ago in Israel, claimed that these comments were untrue and damaging. HBO twice settled out of court, but Channel Four, which holds the worldwide rights, fought the action. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman said: “The Ali G character is absurd, and all his statements are gibberish and intended as comedy. No reasonable person could think otherwise.”

Maybe it’s me, but Cundle’s lawsuit against, as the judge noted, a patently ridiculous character only tends to lend more credence to what that character said. Maybe we should take him at his word if the lady is gonna protesth that much?

Who would believe a single word Ali G says? Until, of course, someone sues him for what he says?

Then again, if HBO settled — twice! — over this, maybe we all should start complaining that Ali G is making up lies about us. Sounds like a good way to get rich quick.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)



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