deeseekyou at comcast.net
Sat Nov 25 18:49:44 MST 2006
I thought the discussion on Borat had died. So I never bothered
finishing my review.
For what it's worth, Socialist Worker has a positive review at
http://socialistworker.org/2006-2/610/610_13_Borat.shtml . Jones pretty
much hits most of the points I would have.
Of course, there's no point in telling people they're wrong if they
don't like a film, or book, or whatever. If Borat's not your cup-o-tea,
then so be it. But I will comment when someone tries to dress up
distaste as genuine criticism.
On Nov 25, 2006, at 9:11 AM, Walter Lippmann wrote:
> Well, curiosity led me to see BORAT last night and it was a thoroughly
> dreary, and dreadfully unfunny "comedy" where nary a laugh was to be
> found. I suppose if the viewer were stoned it might have been possible
> to find something humorous in this racist, sexist shit.
I don't know about you Walter, but getting stoned doesn't make me laugh
at racist or sexist material. I still find it enraging no matter my
state of inebriation. Furthermore, neither my wife nor I were stoned
when we watched Borat and both of us laughed the hardest we had in a
> I'm glad that
> I only wasted $5.00 to see it. I knew this was another picture like
> THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY after fifteen or twenty minutes. I wondered if
> it would be humorous in a way like ANIMAL HOUSE or other such movies,
> but it wasn't to be.
Interestingly, Borat was the first movie I had seen in a very long time
where I didn't resent paying full price. Sure, I would have rather paid
$5.00 instead of $9.50 (times two). But there is something to be said
for seeing it with a packed house of people all laughing their asses
> The movie doesn't make fun of its misanthropic protagonist,
Borat Sagdiyev is not a misanthrope. He is over-flowing with love for
people despite his anti-semitism, sexism, and homophobia, which
ironically works here. When that happens, you know an artist has hit on
something. There was something similar going on in "Thank You for
> nor of
> the boorish and reactionary public it portrays so graphically,
On the contrast, it is making fun of (most of) them mercilessly. The
few exceptions are (interestingly) the black youths in Atlanta, the
feminists, the jewish B&B owners, and the overweight prostitute.
> it demeans everyone on screen and has contempt for the audience as
You can assert that, but I'd like to hear your arguments. The only
audience members it might insult are those who sympathize with Cohen
and David's victims: the NYC homophobes, the pro-war rodeo crowd and
its homophobic manager, the sexist, racist frat boys, Bob Barr, the
insurance brokers, the Confederate memorabilia store owners, and the
upper-class racist southerners at the "society" dinner. So if you
sympathize with them, then yes, the movie does insult you as an
audience member as well.
> It's doing landoffice business at the box-office, a sign of
> something truly discouraging in this cultural moment here in these
> United States of Disneylandia.
Again, I had the polar opposite reaction and found it to be one of the
few bright spots in American mass culture that I've seen lately.
> Filled with toilet "jokes" as the protagonist, for a single example,
> consults an etiquette couch and then, after taking a dump brings his
> fecal matter to the dining table, fortunately in a plastic bag, after
The brilliance of this scene is not: "hee hee, he brought poo to the
table." The movie makes a point of noting that this is a *Southern*
high-society dinner at a plantation-style locale on "Secession Way."
Furthermore, the humor is not merely in what Borat says to his
condescending hosts, but in what they tolerate and what they don't.
They tolerate: Borat insulting one of the women, calling one of the men
a "retard" (a brilliant pun on the southern dialectal pronunciation of
"retired"), and bringing feces to the table. They don't tolerate, and
in fact threaten to call the police, when Borat introduces his guest: a
working-class black woman (yes, the audience knows she's a prostitute,
but the upper-crusty southerners reacted immediately on sight of her).
> There are also cheerful images of and references to incest,
> and much, much more.
> Thoroughly drearily dreadful. Don't go see it!
On the contrary, do go see it. Borat is not simple potty humor a la
Johnny Knoxville, but highly skilled, well crafted, politically astute
and biting satire a la Stephen Colbert and Archie Bunker.
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