Saturday, November 18, 2006


I have just returned from watching Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan with spork_incident. Hilarious stuff, especially the epic fight between him and his producer, and some gags involving a bear.

In a lot of cases, I think the American Bigotry Revealed by the movie has maybe been a little bit overblown, as there were numerous occasions in the film where it appeared to me that some of Borat's more offhand remarks simply didn't register on his victims, because they were so far out of the frame of reference of what they were expecting that they just assumed that they either misheard him or he must have meant something else. Remember, everyone in the audience expects Borat to say anti-semitic, misogynistic things, so we're listening for them. I think that does make a difference; the people he's talking to have no such expectation, so their brains struggle to process it, or rationalize it away.

That being said, there were certainly plenty of occasions where there was clearly no misunderstanding at all. Sometimes humorous, sometimes... kinda creepy.

And after the movie, spork and I went Jew-tipping. I tipped six, spork only tipped two. He is weak, like woman or Jew; I could crush him easily. High-five!


Anonymous said...

I am now also to have seen this movie.

I have to say that although I was a huge Borat fan for both Ali G Show series, the movie taught me that a little Borat goes a long way.

Also, having seen a lot of the run-up publicity Cohen did by going on talk shows as Borat, it struck me that the Borat character is essentially a comedic non-starter when his conversation partners are aware that the persona is a gag. (See the painful later UK shows on Cohen's audience and interviewee were in on the joke for further evidence that their ignorance is the crucial ingredient that makes his shtick work.)

Don't get me wrong; Cohen's greatest strength is that he is an improvisational genius and is incredibly quick to respond in character. It's just that when the humor has to come from the Borat character itself rather than from watching others trying to cope with and respond to him, there is only so much humor you can squeeze out of that particular routine before you start slipping into Bronson Pinchot territory. Even Andy Kauffman's Latka character was better used as a condiment than a main course.

flory said...

Wait. As a part jew, don't you have a built in advantage in the jew tipping contest?

Eli said...

spear and magic, I agree. The movie was probably Borat's last hurrah. Pretty good hurrah, tho.

flory, it's more of a handicap. But I make sure to abuse my Jewish half at least once a day, maybe even twice!

Anonymous said...

i hate movies, i probably will not see this movie until i'm stuck in some hotel in eastbumfuck amurika... where even in such dire straits you can get HBO.

but, i saw him on TDS, it was both creepy, and hilarious.

absolutely, one must make sure to abuse ones self, at least once a day.

Eli said...

i hate movies, i probably will not see this movie until i'm stuck in some hotel in eastbumfuck amurika... where even in such dire straits you can get HBO.

I really think you might like this one, especially if you enjoyed him on TDS. Very subversive.