"Get the hell outta this dadgum building! Half the sumbucks in here are probably packin' heat, and they'll put you in front of the firin' squad."
November 6, 2006 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Meet the real people from the movie Borat, including sculptor Linda Stein, who comment on their screen debuts. [Warning: spoilers contained within]
posted by Blazecock Pileon (80 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let's not forget this classic ask. Also Kazakh 's still angry about the movie.
posted by delmoi at 5:33 PM on November 6, 2006


This guy is so unfuckin' funny I can't believe it.

And, to my mind, he should be sue-able for pretending to be making a documentary.
posted by dobbs at 5:38 PM on November 6, 2006


Oh dear:

"Because of him, my boss lost faith in my abilities and second-guessed everything I did thereafter... I spiralled into depression, and before I could recover, I was released from my contract early. It took me three months to find another job, and now I'm thousands of dollars in debt and struggling to keep my house out of foreclosure. "

Somebody's teeing up a lawsuit!
posted by rkent at 5:41 PM on November 6, 2006


“Think of all the other people who've probably been fired because of his antics.”

This is incredibly insensitive, but the mainstream media has far too many employees, too many half-wit hacks working to pollute the public airwaves with disinformation, filth and boneheaded analysis and hype. To the extent Cohen's antics can reduce that number in any small way, so much the better.
posted by psmealey at 5:45 PM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Here's another article which talks about a few other people.
posted by Staggering Jack at 5:45 PM on November 6, 2006


Good thing for Cohen that a waiver is a waiver. I think certain people in that film are probably more upset about letting down their guard and showing their ugliness, than anything else.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:50 PM on November 6, 2006


heh. the rodeo guy apparently has no regrets for his on-camera words against dem homosexuals an' dem towelheads. he's just gonna run off and hide if Borat ever comes around again. asshole.

I still wonder if Pam was in on it at all.
posted by carsonb at 5:51 PM on November 6, 2006


It opens Nov. 3 and has generated more advance buzz than any movie this year.

Really?
posted by owhydididoit at 5:51 PM on November 6, 2006


If the movie hadn't already come out, I'd have to wonder a little bit whether the folks who are complaining are part of the act somehow.
posted by owhydididoit at 5:54 PM on November 6, 2006


It took me three months to find another job, and now I'm thousands of dollars in debt and struggling to keep my house out of foreclosure.

Boo hoo, like I feel sorry for factory workers who get their jobs outsourced to China, but I'm not going to get out the violins for a tv producer, who got fired for not doing her job. This time it was a comedian, but what if the next fake guest was an oil company shill pretending to be scientist, or a government PR person pretending to be a refugee?
posted by bobo123 at 5:57 PM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


I saw the movie. I like Baron Cohen's schtick. Love Da Ali G Show. Saw reviews that described the film as perhaps the best comedy since This Is Spinal Tap and another that suggested that only Holy Grail was better.

I was kinda disappointed. With the exception of the naked melee scene (you have to see it to believe it), all the best bits were in the trailer.

Don't have a lot of sympathy for the folks who thought that they were in a real documentary. Look, you're still on fuckin' camera, It's right there. Allen Funt is not behind the false wall.

And the Kazakhs need to learn to take a joke. Who in my own country got pissed off, really, when Blame Canada was nominated for an Oscar?
posted by solid-one-love at 5:59 PM on November 6, 2006


Linda Stein is an attention whore.
posted by fire&wings at 6:05 PM on November 6, 2006


David Edelstein *who is inexepicably not a top of the crop reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes* points out what is wrong regarding Borat here.

Basically, its not that funny when the other side of the joke can never win.
posted by skepticallypleased at 6:08 PM on November 6, 2006


wa wa wa. if you have such horribly racist and sexist views, you deserve to be exposed. this is the point of the borat phenomenon, slipping softly through the radar in order to uncover hidden (and not-so-hidden) biases and i think its fucking great to expose these people for who they are. if you're a consistently ethical person, you'll be ethical to a bad-suited foreigner just as much as to your best friend.
posted by yonation at 6:10 PM on November 6, 2006


Damn I like Sacha in his sterotypical, over-the-top character Ali-G, the ways he puzzles and irritates his guests definitely is a change from the usual interviews. Respek, aiiight ? What is Respek ?

But Borat ? Haven't seen the movie yet, but the previous Borat appaerences left me a little puzzled, unconvinced It seems clear he is a ridicule character with mysoginistic, racist traits in combined with the innocence of ignorance ; he is a wreck, he is fine to laugh at and feel better because you are not him (or so you think) , but still human. Funny to see how people react to Borat, thinking he really is a wacky stranger.

Don't know, maybe I am biased because I distinctly remember watching my first Mel Brooks movie and the Zuck Bros movies (like Airplane) and remember laughing so hard it made me cry.
posted by elpapacito at 6:12 PM on November 6, 2006


I wonder if this will play out like every other Ali G post ever on Metafilter...
posted by papakwanz at 6:13 PM on November 6, 2006


Unimpressed by the movie , but the line "loose like sleeve of wizard" is comedy gold.
posted by ernie at 6:18 PM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Good thing for Cohen that a waiver is a waiver.

Is it? Is a waiver obtained only through fraud and deception, in the sure and certain knowledge that a waiver would not be granted if the true purpose and motives of it were made known, really much good?

Fucking around with people's consent, toying with them and manipulating them so that they give apparent consent to something that they don't really, actually consent to, is bad, bad shit, and should be civilly actionable or punishable like any other con game.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:22 PM on November 6, 2006


Because I booked Borat without doing the TINIEST BIT OF FUCKING RESEARCH, my boss lost faith in my abilities and second-guessed everything I did thereafter... I spiralled into depression, and before I could recover, I was released from my contract early. It took me three months to find another job, and now I'm thousands of dollars in debt and struggling to keep my house out of foreclosure.

fixed her statement for her. she's clearly distraught over being so stupid.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 6:24 PM on November 6, 2006


Unimpressed by the movie , but the line "loose like sleeve of wizard" is comedy gold.

Varations of that term have been on the go in the UK for years.
posted by fire&wings at 6:28 PM on November 6, 2006


dobbs: "This guy is so unfuckin' funny I can't believe it."

Yeah. We get it. Although, I should note, replacing "I don't find him funny!" with "He is not funny!" is a tremendous trollprovement.
posted by cabel at 6:37 PM on November 6, 2006


The comedy coach got pwnt.

That's funny no matter how you slice it.
posted by bardic at 6:42 PM on November 6, 2006


Well I guess Cohen was being a bit sneaky and underhand, and as a result trapped some people in their own vanity, greed, and need for attention. But I'm SICK AND TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT THIS GODDAM MOVIE ALREADY!

And all the crummy in-character appearances by Cohen on CNN, NYT Sunday magazine fashion spread, etc., accompanied by journos snickering to each other because they 'get' the joke, are tired, already, IMHO.
posted by carter at 6:43 PM on November 6, 2006


It's irony with a sledgehammer.
posted by carter at 6:43 PM on November 6, 2006


He'll always be the guy who asked Posh Spice if Becks puts in her arse on national TV. That's worth something.
posted by bardic at 6:44 PM on November 6, 2006


Is a waiver obtained only through fraud and deception

A good point. I'd like to read the text of the waiver ; quoting from Stein's article
I finally agreed, although I admit that I failed to read the fine detail on the “Standard Consent Agreement.” Since I thought this was a documentary, I probably would have signed it anyway.
Candid enough for make-believe, or maybe really that candid. Curiously she seemed to be somehow suspicious, but didn't bother to read the text in details. Any lawyer would have ripped her apart on this, I guess.

Yet, controversy sells. She sells empowering scultures (eh?) and Cohen sells empowering bullshit, maybe ?
posted by elpapacito at 6:46 PM on November 6, 2006


Good thing for Cohen that a waiver is a waiver.

What on earth gives you that idea?
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:52 PM on November 6, 2006


I don't know why Stein is upset; she didn't come off looking foolish or stupid. The frat boys, on the other hand - they should just kill themselves and get it over with.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:00 PM on November 6, 2006


You know, I keep reading the title as Borat: Cultural Leanings of America for Make Believe Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan for some reason.
posted by the cydonian at 7:01 PM on November 6, 2006


Your favorite guerilla comedian sucks.
posted by Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson at 7:07 PM on November 6, 2006


Wawaweewa-let em sue! This ain't no snakeplane. This is a:

Bear in an Ice Cream Truck!

I saw it on opening night. Painfully funny is a good way to describe it. You'll either laugh, or you will get to look at your own disgusting face staring back at you from Borat's mirror. It is your 8 bucks, you decide.
posted by HyperBlue at 7:15 PM on November 6, 2006


You'll either laugh, or you will get to look at your own disgusting face staring back at you from Borat's mirror. It is your 8 bucks, you decide.

Eh, I think that's a false dicotomy. Certanly I don't think that's why so many Kazakhs are upset, for example.
posted by Paris Hilton at 7:23 PM on November 6, 2006


True dat, but how many Kazakhs will see this movie?
posted by HyperBlue at 7:26 PM on November 6, 2006


What on earth gives you that idea?

An argument for voiding the contract might be based upon some sort of fraud, which is apparently a condition in their consent waivers, having agreed to waive damages from "fraud (such as any alleged deception or surprise about the film or this consent agreement)". The take-home lesson is that if you sign something, make sure you read it first before you, say, call for gays, Jews, etc. to be killed in front of a camera crew.

Film studios are pretty much just fancy banks that coordinate financing for making movies, with some other functions to distribute and market their product. As such they are always ripe targets for lawsuits from aggrieved parties. So in any case, I doubt very much that any studio would open itself up to multimillion dollar liability suits by allowing footage to be used without airtight consent waivers on hand.

I feel bad for Dharma Arthur, but as the manager for her television station's news program, she would be responsible for vetting any interview talent who would be put on the air live, whether that is Borat, Cohen in Bruno-drag, or a rambling homeless guy plucked off the street and put in front of a camera. To say she is entirely blameless for her condition is not accurate. For that matter, Borat's character was not entirely anonymous during the time of production — indeed he was created as far back as 2000 — and a quick Google search in early 2005 would have resulted in several hits.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:28 PM on November 6, 2006


Thanks for this post; I don't see how any thinking person could watch that movie and *not* have misgivings about Cohen's mean-spirited and deceptive tactics. And I say that as someone who saw it last night and laughed til my stomach hurt a number of times. But damn, that AskMe from a friend of one of the drunken frat boys sure does make ya think.
posted by mediareport at 7:32 PM on November 6, 2006


I'm with mediareport. Saw it Friday - laughed a bunch of times but in the end thought it was horribly mean-spirited and not worth the couple of laughs I gave it.

I thought the stuff where he exposes the bigotry and hatred and intolerance in so many people was pretty effective and really telling.

But what really bothered me about the movie is that a lot of it just came off as mean-spirited and rude. Like for instance those poor people who invited him into their home for dinner. They graciously welcome this guy into their homes for dinner and he thanks them by handing them a
bag of his shit. What's the message there? They tried very hard to be polite and respectful to this odd foreign guy because they're nice, polite people who want to be welcoming and to what end? They got to be the butt of his jokes and be embarrassed and humiliated and insulted. It just seemed wrong. If they had done something offensive or been otherwise terrible themselves, I'd feel better about how they were treated but as it was, they just didn't deserve that kind of treatment. Okay so they were probably paid $200 like the artist lady and somehow that equals being desperate for their own 15 minutes of fame so they deserve to be handed a bag of shit and to be told that their wife is ugly? I don't think so.

I guess I feel like he hurt a lot of folks that didn't do anything to deserve that kind of treatment. The rodeo dude and the drunk frat boys, fine. Screw with them all you want.

I guess what it comes down to for me is that he tried to do too many things by trying to provide social commentary as well as juvenile laughs. I'm all for juvenile laughs (I loved Jackass) but in the end, I kind of felt like he was just as horribly mean and offensive as the guy at the rodeo. So his message about intolerance and bigotry in America loses a lot of steam and credibility.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:03 PM on November 6, 2006


You know what, I felt like the Borat character has been far over-exposed in the past few weeks, but I'll be damned if he doesn't make me laugh everytime. You either laugh, or you don't

The bottom line for me is that, in an era when something like Talladega Nights (also with Sacha Baron Cohen) is considered a comedy, or Along Came Polly, or whatever dreck Adam Sandler craps out, Borat was somewhat of a change of pace. Yeah, it's low-brow, but it's different..

It made me laugh as hard at any movie as I ever have laughed. It was an experience, it was fun, it was everything that Snakes on a Plane was NOT.

But your mileage may vary. I don't really care that people are made to look like fools in the film. That sorta candid camera stuff gets me every time. It's just something I find amusing (generally).
posted by newfers at 8:16 PM on November 6, 2006


Borat is funny, funny like Chacarron . . . the first 20 times.
posted by isopraxis at 8:16 PM on November 6, 2006


Wasn't the dinner prefaced with a note that it was a fine dining club of some sort? I figured it was like Toastmasters, only for practicing and learning table manners. Then again, I was squirming too much to pay close attention...
posted by hototogisu at 8:21 PM on November 6, 2006


Paris Hilton writes "Good thing for Cohen that a waiver is a waiver.

"What on earth gives you that idea?"


My general understanding of contract law is that if you don't read it, I believe the legal term is "too fucking bad". And yes, I know you cannot signa contract for osmething that is illegal, but it's a fairly safe bet that a team of lawyers went over those things with a very fine-toothed comb before anyone ever signed one.

Also, Linda Stein strikes me as the type of person who just waits for something to get outraged about. Whose fault is it thta she didn't read the contract? Hers. Who isn't getting why Cohen is so goddamn funny? She isn't.

First of all, most humour is based on being uncomfortable in some way. Someone slipping on a banana isn't, theoretically, funny--it's someone getting hurt. And yet, that's why we laugh.

Second of all, I can't speak for how he is on the TV show, but the movie did an awfully good job of exposing some pretty vile things about otherwise normal people. Not just that, he was also very bloody clearly showing how utterly ridiculous and backwards all these discriminatory attitudes are. Whether he's pissing off a feminist or allowing that hateful little shit at the rodeo to spew his bilge, he's showing how fantastically stupid people who hold regressive opinions are.

Also, the naked scene was comedic genius.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:25 PM on November 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


Also, how is anyone supposed to feel sorry for someone expressing something this insipid?

"And I would've liked my 15 minutes of fame in this life to have been for something more worthwhile than an R-rated movie."
posted by hototogisu at 8:40 PM on November 6, 2006


J. Hoberman:

Indeed, the man who invented Borat is a masterful improviser, brilliant comedian, courageous political satirist, and genuinely experimental film artist. Borat makes you laugh but Baron Cohen forces you to think.
posted by muckster at 8:42 PM on November 6, 2006


and he thanks them by handing them a bag of his shit

*laughs*

See, now, that was one of my favorite bits; that moment he comes back from the toilet? Pure genius; it perfectly captures his hilariously awful and innocent schtick without being too terribly mean. The naked wrestling scene, eh, not so much. It got boring fast and went on for way too long, though it did get the audience around us literally howling with disgust, so I guess that was something.
posted by mediareport at 8:47 PM on November 6, 2006


The Borat waiver. Basically releases the filmmakers from anything or anything, including fraud or "any alleged deception or surprise about the film."
posted by zsazsa at 8:58 PM on November 6, 2006


Jesus, there are currently *11* mentions of Borat on the Slate front page.
posted by mediareport at 9:06 PM on November 6, 2006


See, now, that was one of my favorite bits.....

Okay, I changed my mind, I'm not with mediareport!

I thought the naked wrestling was super funny. Disgusting, but funny. But I laughed for days about the vomit scene in Team America so my tastes are clearly suspect. Guess that just goes to show you, chacun à son goût!

Liked the Edelstein piece linked above, too. Thanks for the link.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 9:19 PM on November 6, 2006


in the end, I kind of felt like he was just as horribly mean and offensive as the guy at the rodeo.

So, handing someone a bag of shit is the moral equivalent of agreeing with someone (who you don't realize is joking) that we should hang all the gays? Surely you jest.

I actually thought he let off all the non-bigots with a relatively light touch. When he told the feminists that women have brains the size of squirrels, everyone knew the jig was up; the humor coach was merely exposed as not being very funny; the kids were just scared by a bear in an ice cream truck (comedy gold, by the way!); and neither the old jewish couple or the pentacostal congregation were subjected to much of any ridicule at all. Well, I guess the pentacostals were mocked implicitly, but it was a pretty gentle ribbing, all things considered.
posted by rkent at 9:29 PM on November 6, 2006


I have seen about 5 interviews with Linda Stein. In each one,. she seems pissed mostly that she didn't get invited to the showing. Give me a fucking break and stop bitching.
posted by piratebowling at 9:38 PM on November 6, 2006


did it better first:
Andy Kaufman
David Letterman
Tom Green

shooting fish in a barrell != comedy
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:48 PM on November 6, 2006


oh and Jackass
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:50 PM on November 6, 2006


But I laughed for days about the vomit scene in Team America so my tastes are clearly suspect.

Yeah, I'd be reluctant to trust the judgement of anyone who made it past the first five minutes of Team America. That may have been the most unwatchable 'comedy' film ever.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:53 PM on November 6, 2006


If you don't like Cohen's techniques for interviewing unknowning subjects (and I don't) you can still enjoy the interview that bardic linked here. It's hilarious, and of course everyone is in on it.

Also the naked scene was spectacular. (I didn't/wouldn't pay to see the movie, btw - saw a preview)
posted by pinespree at 9:59 PM on November 6, 2006


oh and Jackass

Given that the Eleven O'Clock show -- where Ali G made his debuts, first screened in 1998, and Jackass never started screening until 2000, it's hard to imagine how that show managed to do anything 'first'.

What's more, I don't recall ever seeing Andy Kaufman, David Letterman or Tom Greene getting major politicians to agree to be interviewed by someone posing as a representative of the 'youth', and then making arses out of themselves by answering ludicrous questions because they didn't want to appear uncool or racist by confronting the interviewer's stupidity or gaucheness.

That said, once he was a major star, that schtick wouldn't play any longer, and so he's definitely started going after the low hanging fruit.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:01 PM on November 6, 2006


So, handing someone a bag of shit is the moral equivalent of agreeing with someone (who you don't realize is joking) that we should hang all the gays? Surely you jest.

No, it's not the same thing at all. Wasn't suggesting they were morally equivalent. Just that I think he's loses some credibility in being offensive for no reason to seemingly nice people.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:11 PM on November 6, 2006


Borat on Letterman.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:25 PM on November 6, 2006


i don't really respond to the borat thing, despite the efforts of a friend who's made me sit through cohen's various incarnations...but then i'm not a big fan of the 'daily show' or 'colbert report' let's-make-a-fool-of-some-poor-schmuck routines either...it's like first we got used to the idea that there are people out there (politicians, celebrities) who kind of accept this kind of exploitation as part of their career choice...and we've easily drifted into this area where anyone is fair game as long as there's a laugh to be had...or, as a lot of the reviews of borat have tried to cast it, for the sake of clever social commentary...but making a fool of a fool doesn't seem like the work of a comic genius as much as just being sad...

...i've found some of the stuff i've seen from louis theroux much more interesting, and more illuminating...not just that it's less aggressive, but where there's hypocrisy, he'll allow it to reveal itself without forcing or exacerbating a situation to bring it about...

...of course, i could be missing something...i'm not so closed-minded as to not admit (especially not having seen the film) that there could be something relevant here (unless it's just an extended version of his tv stuff), but from the previews and the reviews, so extensive and repetitive that i feel as if i've seen it already, it comes across as the cinematic equivalent of getting everybody to laugh at the fat girl who just walked into the bar...
posted by troybob at 10:40 PM on November 6, 2006


Saw the movie (spoilers below), thought it was hilarious, but it definitely came off as quite mean in some spots. You are really squirming in spots even if you are laughing. The 96% at rottentomatoes is really pretty amazing, particularly for this type of move.

I actually thought the etiquette group, esp. the main woman, responded remarkably well to Borat. She continued to try and help him even when he handed her the bag'o'shit, showing an insane level of patience and restraint. The feminists also come out looking fine, if a bit pissed off, which is understandable given the stuff Borat said. The scene at the church was actually a bit lame and awkward - the people there accept Borat and bring him to the front to be part of things, and so his joke falls flat when they don't immediately kick him out or reject him. I suppose we were supposed to laugh at "those crazy Christians speaking in tongues", but it just doesn't work.

The only people who really end up looking bad do it to themselves - the frat boys, the rodeo guy, the car dealer who doesn't miss a beat when Borat asks if a hummer is good for running down gypsies. Though Borat certainly incites their comments, he doesn't put words in their mouths. I'm sure there are a bunch of other people who reject what Borat says or just walk away, and so didn't make the cut.

re: the Letterman clip - you can just tell Dave just hates him or at least hates the act. Wow...
posted by rsanheim at 11:06 PM on November 6, 2006


you can just tell Dave just hates him or at least hates the act. Wow...

Are we watching the same clip? Looks like Letterman's enjoying himself just fine to me.
posted by mediareport at 11:28 PM on November 6, 2006


mediareport: dunno, it seems like dave is laughing along but just doesn't like it a ton. notice how quick he is to tell borat to sit down when starts dancing again, and how he responds to the crass wife jokes.

maybe its just me, i dont really watch letterman much.
posted by rsanheim at 11:30 PM on November 6, 2006


>> Unimpressed by the movie , but the line "loose like sleeve of wizard" is comedy gold.

> Varations of that term have been on the go in the UK for years.


Viz gets the original credit for that, fwiw.
posted by influx at 12:44 AM on November 7, 2006


For the record, if the 11 o'Clock Show people were ripping anybody off (and they were - it was a hideous humilitaion of a TV show) it was Chris Morris and, in particular, Brass Eye. If Brass Eye was the Beatles (and I'm not sure that it was, but whatever) then The 11 O'Clock Show was Freddie and the Dreamers.

Which makes Sacha Baron Cohen the drummer with Freddie and the Dreamers, I suppose.

Anyway, they specialised in this stuff, which is essentially just crank calling with pretentions.

Remember children: Never sign that release, at least under your own name. You're not a person to them, you're raw material.
posted by Grangousier at 12:50 AM on November 7, 2006


I do wonder if Borat would be such a success in the US if Chris Morris had made an impact across the pond. After the Day Today and Brass Eye, all of his spoof interview shtick just seems small-minded and clumsy.
posted by influx at 1:20 AM on November 7, 2006


>>> Unimpressed by the movie , but the line "loose like sleeve of wizard" is comedy gold.

>> Varations of that term have been on the go in the UK for years.

> Viz gets the original credit for that, fwiw.


Just FYI, other colourful euphemisms from the Profanisaurus include "Welly Top" and "Clown's Pocket".
posted by bokeh at 1:40 AM on November 7, 2006


I don't think Morris (and his collaborators like Armando Iannucci, who are equally as important and tend to get left out) could have made it in quite the same way - certainly not as big - their stuff isn't as user-friendly. The jokes in TDT and BE tended to be on the medium itself.

(And for an idea of how un-user-friendly Morris at his best could be, look for the archives of his late-night show Blue Jam that are floating around the web. Joe Frank for the very disturbed.)

When I first heard the Morris radio show on GLR (which included proto-On The Hour/Day Today material) the news parodies were so accurate that they made the genuine news bulletin after the programme funny. There I was, laughing at multiple-car pileups and famine in the Third World. Except what I was actually laughing at was the way in which news programmes talk about them. Aha, I thought, this is all bullshit!. Possibly one of very few genuinely subversive things I've ever encountered.

And when he was doing that it was still rare for someone with a clipboard and microphone, who professed to be from the BBC, to be asking completely nonsensical questions, that people would tend to try to answer them sensibly. But the result always seemed to be less like mockery and more like improvised surrealist comedy.

Whereas 11 O'C-style stuff is based on the duality of Us (cool, smart people) vs. Them (rednecks and plebs) or vs. Them (establishment figures who are just too square and unhip to understand us cool cats, daddio). The way it's set up, the audience are always collaborating with the film-maker to mock the victim of the interview.

Yes, he's also ripping Louis Theroux, as someone mentioned upthread, but then the same duality exists there - Theroux is our way of laughing at the crazy [insert minority group or C-List celebrity of the week here]. Personally I far prefer Jon Ronson (often compared to Theroux), who is more interested in what people who are ordinarily called "extremists" or "cranks" are really like - look for Tottenham Ayatollah or the series Secret Rulers of the World, which led to his book Them: Adventures with Extremists. In the end, it's much more interesting to show David Icke or Randy Weaver as human beings rather than poke fun at some anonymous redneck.

Oh God, I'm being so pompous. Fuck it. Should we be surprised that America has taken to Sasha Baron Cohen like France took to Jerry Lewis and Mickey Rourke?
posted by Grangousier at 2:22 AM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


RumorMill has it Mahir (the I Kiss You turkish guy of internet memory) wants to sue Sacha for misappopriation of his character !
posted by elpapacito at 6:21 AM on November 7, 2006


Saw it last night. That shit was funny. And stomach turning. And embarrassing. Having no previous exposure to the character, I really dug it.

The movies aren't comparable, but it's sort of how I felt when I watched Napoleon Dynamite for the first time. Lines were being crossed, but I couldn't tell exactly where. No pity for those whose 15 minutes weren't what they expected. A bunch of injured egos seem to be the only casualties, people take their stuffy little lives too seriously, blah.
posted by hermitosis at 6:33 AM on November 7, 2006


Jesus, that Linda Stein is a whiny self-important bitch who should invokes 9/11 and Ground Zero in an attempt to give herself some relevance like some hack politician, which I suppose she tries to be, in a way.
Good job Borat for stiffing her, she had it coming.
posted by Joeforking at 6:46 AM on November 7, 2006


I don't think Morris (and his collaborators like Armando Iannucci, who are equally as important and tend to get left out) could have made it in quite the same way.

Chris Morris' co-writer on The Day Today and Brass Eye, Peter Baynham, gets a co-writing credit and co-producer credit on the Borat movie. I guess he's as entitled to rip himself off as anyone.
posted by dodgygeezer at 7:10 AM on November 7, 2006


Ditto what hermitosis said. One of the funniest movies I have ever seen.
posted by Big_B at 9:10 AM on November 7, 2006


Peter Baynham [is] entitled to rip himself off as anyone.

I suppose he is. Oh, well...
posted by Grangousier at 9:39 AM on November 7, 2006


Indeed, it looks like Mahir is claiming that he is the real Borat.
posted by kalimotxero at 9:58 AM on November 7, 2006


Screw Borat, Bruno is the character that kicks ass. Being in the bible belt, (and specifically the same town where he does this interview) makes this clip impossibly funny to me.
posted by hatchetjack at 10:42 AM on November 7, 2006


Deleted Scenes
posted by JBennett at 1:07 PM on November 7, 2006


So then, I suppose that the Borat contest -- which Baron Cohen is participating in -- "Win a Date With a Kazakhstani Hottie at the Maxim Lounge in Miami, Sponsored by Maxim"...

All that is supposed to just be exposing cultural ignorance of Americans, too? Right? Right?
posted by InnocentBystander at 2:49 PM on November 7, 2006


Whatever. Everyone says they like Borat because the alternative is to immediately be accused of being racist\sexist.

There are two primary problems here as I see it. Basically, Cohen doesn't seem to know when to give up. EVERYONE has a snapping point. Unless you're trying to get a rise out of the Dalai Lama, if you continue to poke, prod, and annoy them, they will eventually get pissed and say something unbecoming.

Even if there's a camera in their face.

It's just human nature.

Unless you're a sadist, watching this happen is not funny. And taking the footage and reediting it to make it look like the person blew up after 5 minutes, rather than 60, is not only unfunny, it's downright libellous.

And as has been pointed out, you just can't win against this. Either you blow up, and it gets taken out of context, or you storm off and get mocked for that.

He should have been more willing to say, hey, this person isn't a racist\sexist pig, I should let them off the hook.

The other problem is that, by putting this emphasis on Borat's antics, HE is becoming the funny one. You aren't supposed to laugh at him. You're supposed to laugh at the ignorant boors he's exposing. But why include the segments where they AREN'T boors? And people sure seemed to be laughing at his antics anyway.

The movie is false and hypocritical. It CLAIMS to be exposing the dark hidden filth, while secretly, it's rolling in it just the same. You can go to it, and laugh AT all the horrible sexist things... then walk out and feel all smugly superior to everyone else.

No wonder everyone likes it. It's got something for everyone, except those few of us who value truth.
posted by InnocentBystander at 2:59 PM on November 7, 2006


...you just can't win against this. Either you blow up, and it gets taken out of context, or you storm off and get mocked for that.

And the consequences are: that your actions get taken out of context, or you get mocked. Big fucking deal. Life is cruel, but this ain't cruelty. It's a sting, not a blow. People need to have a sense of humor about themselves, and consider regularly how ridiculous they might seem to those outside their little ecosystem. Especially if they are going to give people permission to record and broadcast them in any way.

For all the "dark hidden filth" this movie "exposes" (and I haven't read any claims on behalf of the filmmakers to this effect), I've seen worse behavior and heard worse opinions from Americans in any supermarket, movie theater, or other public place. What's funny about these people's reactions has everything to do with how common and how predictable they are. When we see their breaking point, we gauge our own by it. He totally would have broken me. And watching it, my laugh is tinged with pity for the people and relief that I'm not in their shoes. But I'm still laughing, because the people he meets keep trotting out their tired old niceties and politeness or intolerance, devoid of any real meaning or intelligence, and it's awe-inspiring to watch someone gleefully carve through it with a single sentence or gesture.

Dude. Unclench.

The lean, dedicated army of truth-valuers must be a real rousing bunch. NOT!!
posted by hermitosis at 3:44 PM on November 7, 2006


I can't believe so many Mefites don't think Borat is funny! I went to a packed theatre Saturday afternoon, and I laughed like a crazy person almost the whole time!

Anyway, either you get it or you don't, so it is impossible to explain why Borat is hilarious. But for those of you who say he's mean to people? No way. He doesn't make an ass out of people. He is a blank slate upon which people choose to make asses out of themselves!!!

Hilarious movie. Can't wait to see it again!
posted by illuminatus at 7:51 PM on November 7, 2006


well, you could more characterize it as a sting and not a blow were it not executed on such a grand scale...i can laugh at myself as much as anybody else, but i'm also happy that whatever joke isn't going to follow me around this diligently, or for as long...

...and: that one has regard for human dignity (and thus gets little enjoyment in seeing it dishonestly traded for a purpose as trivial as this) does not imply a lack of humor...it's simply the notion that one's own amusement isn't worth it...

...and were the outcome and purpose of this project so benign as so many are making out, the filmmakers would not have had to go to such lengths to deceive people about the nature of their participation...there are plenty of people of all kinds of hypocrisies and bigotries willing to take on this role having full knowledge of the implications; that the filmmakers didn't go that route continues a kind of entertainment trend that good audience response justifies any kind of exploitation...maybe it makes for cutting-edge programming, but don't fault reasonable people for seeing it as a step back...
posted by troybob at 8:19 PM on November 7, 2006


I saw this at the weekend - I probably wouldn't have seen it if I wasn't with some friends who really wanted to go, but it was better than I expected. I'm not so into comedy where they're making fun of random members of the public, and a there were some parts of Borat that really made me cringe, but I did like the more surreal/bizarre parts, like the naked fight/chase.

Anyway, here's a Guardian article with reviews of/comments on the film from a Jewish writer, a Kazakh, a human rights campaigner, a black journalist, an academic and a donkey expert.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:32 AM on November 8, 2006


Certanly I don't think that's why so many Kazakhs are upset

Keep-up. It's not the Kazakhs who are upset. Why would they be? The offensive stuff concerns the frat juveniles and rodeo racists etc, that Borat unearths when he starts poking under rocks in America.
posted by Chunky at 5:16 AM on November 8, 2006


« Older Strange maps:...  |  Aleister Crowley, grandfather ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments