The Playgoer: Everyone Hates Borat

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Everyone Hates Borat

From today's Arts,Briefly:

Representing Gypsy interests, a German organization has filed suit to prevent the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen from showing his new film in Germany, Reuters reported. “We are accusing him of defamation and inciting violence against Sinti and Roma,” said Marko D. Knudsen, chairman of the European Center for Antiziganism Research. Antiziganism refers to hostility to Gypsies. The group said it had complained to prosecutors about the violence and discrimination against Gypsies in the film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” In the satire, scheduled to open in Germany on Nov. 2, Mr. Cohen portrays Borat Sagdiyev, a fictional Kazakh television journalist who travels to the United States to report on American life. Prosecutors in Hamburg plan to investigate the complaint before deciding whether to take action.
What this neglects to mention is that the character of Borat is an idiot. His "beat the Gypsy" dance is intentionally embarassing and delightfully cringe-worthy.

Note this is exactly the complaint lodged by the ADL. Yes, Borat hates Jews, too. That's why we laugh at him.

Censorship--by definition--never gets the joke.

Then again, it's not exactly in an activist group's interest to get the joke, is it? Anything to get yourself in the papers...


Anonymous said...

Satire is a literary manner that blends a critical attitude with humor and wit to the end that human institutions or society may be improved. The true satirist is conscious of the frailty of human institutions and attempts through laughter not so much to tear them down as to inspire a remodeling. So, as you may see, the film “Borat” has nothing to do with satire.

Anonymous said...

Its obvious to me that the German Group, TEMAC, doesn't care about the portrayal of Anti-gypsy behavior in Cohen's movie; they are filing suit to ride on the coattails of the movie's hype and gain exposure for their serious cause (discrimination and bias against Gypsies). There is no "free speech" debate to be had here - the suit is a publicity stunt, and in my mind an astute one.

Anonymous said...

My name is Mihai and i'm romanian.I have recently learned that ''Borat 's''latest movie was made in Romania!From my oppinion Borat is not a very good comedian.For example when ''Borat'' prsented the MTV he brought on stage as a guest someone who played the role of the ''president'' of Kazakhtan ,or something like that,wich he suggested to be a dictator.Acctualy that ''president'' of Kasakhstan was a romanian ,he was speaking something in romanian and ''Borat'' was translating.At first i was surprised to see that an english actor did not knew that Romania is situated in Central Europe and Kasakhstan is sittuated in Asia.Come on how stupid can you be to mistake a europpean nation, that has 6000years old history that begun 4000 years ago when indo-europeanes settled in that part of Europe ,with a country that is situated in Asia?!Romania has suffered a lot after the many decades of comunism (imposed by Russia after the russian army invaded Romania at the end of WW2 )and now after 17 years of democracy we atlast begun to recover a little bit(Romania will enter in the U.E. in 2007)there comes along a fool like this ''Borat'' that thinks we are still comunistes and on top of that ,Romania is Kasakhstan!I must tell you i was realy humiliated and i can tell to all of you who read this comment that i didn't found anything funny of beeing laught at!