Borat

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan isn’t coming out until November, but the buzz is building. Borat, the fictional TV reporter from Kazakhstan, is one of the triumvirate of characters portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen, the master practitioner of the phony interview. Baron Cohen’s genius lies in his ability to sell these ridiculous characters. There’s something disarmingly lovable about Borat, for example, that when he lets loose with insanely virulent anti-Semitic, misogynist, or homophobic comments, strange things happen. People don’t recoil in horror, they’re just as likely to just laugh, or just stop short of agreeing with him. Which is perhaps why this approach isn’t entirely fair, Borat’s behavior is so bizarre, and he’s so desperate for everyone to like him, that people just roll with him, willingly following wherever he leads. This, in turn, reveals another level of bias: his subjects are willing to believe that foreigners with funny accents from places like Kazakhstan have such backwards notions of life and politics, or they’re willing to believe that someone as dumb as Ali G could be have his own TV talk show in Britain, because, after all, aren’t kids that dumb these days?

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