Friday, we became the last people in the U.S. and A. to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said. It was gross, offensive, and at one point I feared I’d never be able to breathe again. I was laughing too hard.
Sacha Baron Cohen uses characters like Borat, Bruno and Ali G basically to mess with people. (He’s also one of the reasons Madagascar is so funny and stars as an effete gay Frenchman who reads the French existentialist novel “The Stranger” by Albert Camus and sips macchiato as he races in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.)
Sometimes, especially with Borat, he shines a flashlight on the hidden prejudices of his subjects–getting them to feel secure enough to spew some racist remark or agree with a stereotype. Actually, I didn’t see as much of that in the movie as I expected. There are the infamous rodeo and frat boy scenes, but mostly it’s just a lot of very confused people wondering what the hell this furriner is doing. Which, of course, makes me sit back and assess my own reasons for laughing at some poor, naive schmuck with a bad accent.
I haven’t watched All in the Family in a long time, but the director, John Rich, was on NPR the other day, and they played a clip of the episode where Sammy Davis, Jr., appears. Not to get all “back in my day” on you, but when people start up about how ground breaking Borat or South Park are, I have to say that Archie Bunker is the father of both of them.
Fortunately, Trey Parker agrees:
…it wasn’t until a little bit later that we saw syndicated runs of “All in the Family.” And we were, you know, really, like, “Wow, this, this was