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Why "Bruno" is good for the world

What's funny to you isn't always funny to "them." Should we care?

British actor Sacha Baron Cohen arrives for the British premiere of the film Bruno at Leicester Square in central London, June 17, 2009. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

Let me get this out of the way first: Sacha Baron Cohen is a genius.

You don't create a global commerical phenomenon (twice), make a stunning rate of return — Baron Cohen's first film"Borat," which cost $18 million to produce, grossed $261 million — and torment multiple governments without serious brains lurking behind your fuzzy mustache or sequined underpants.

Ukraine was the latest to take offense at Baron Cohen's work. The country this week banned his new film "Bruno," a mockumentary about a fictional and flamboyantly gay fashion reporter who aspires to be "the biggest Austrian superstar since Hitler."

Ukraine's culture ministry proclaimed that Bruno featured an "artistically unjustified exhibition of sexual organs and sexual relations, homosexual acts in a blatantly graphic form, obscene language, sadism, (and) anti-social behavior which could damage the moral upbringing of our citizens."

This schoolmarmish manner is nothing new for Ukraine.

Kiev also leapt to protect the morality of its citizens three years ago when it banned Cohen's first film, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," which starred a fictional reporter from Kazakhstan who bumbled across America in search of his true lust, Pamela Anderson.