Posted at 3:06 PM on January 22, 2007
by Euan Kerr
The discount theater up the road was awash in people this weekend as 'Borat' hit the second-run market. This is the $2 audience which allows a film to keep on ticking, and me to prize the dough out my wallet.
Despite having heard so much about "Borat" the sheer volume of farcical situations the intrepid Kazakh reporter uncovers was overwhelming.
So was the underlying nastiness of the whole adventure.
Yes, it was very funny in parts, but it's hard not to wonder about the price of the hilarity. Yes, there are people who deserve to be held up as examples of how not to behave, whether they be anti-semitic gun shop owners, or drunken misogynist frat boys.
Yet how many other folks were sacrificed on the altar for our amusement? The people who appear in the film after seeing him doing what he was doing outside the lingerie store? The realtors suddenly confronted by nude men wrestling in the middle of their convention? And what about Pamela Anderson, the unknowing subject, at least initially, of Borat's love?
There's an argument that Borat gets us to look inwards at our own foibles even as we laugh at other people's shortcomings. Inward reflection is often useful. Whether Borat really sponsors that is questionable.
The Oscar nominations are due out tomorrow, and Borat is in the running. If Borat wins something big, perhaps that's the time for introspection.
Euan, you make a good point. Our weaknesses can be funny, but should the audience find shock or humiliation so... watchable?
"Whether Borat really sponsors that is questionable." Cohen is Jewish. That should be obvious enough.
If people can't see the humor in the film, then that is their own problem. It's sad to see blatant racism, etc. still goes on today.
"Yet how many other folks were sacrificed on the altar for our amusement?"
I don't see any examples of people being sacrificed for our amusement.