In a perceptive, and not particularly favorable, review of Sasha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator, Michael Wood invokes a political lesson from Mel Brooks. Talking about a bit of Cohen’s film that seemed to be “grossness for grossness’ sake,” he writes,
One can’t adjudicate these things, only report on them. It is important, as Mel Brooks has shown us, to defend bad taste in principle, even if we don’t like its results. It’s one of the few media freedoms left.”
Not perhaps what Brecht was after in his line, “There are times when you have to choose between being a human and having good taste.” But certainly something that John Waters, now probably bicycling around P-Town or controversially admitting his love for San Francisco’s MUNI, would endorse.