Idol Chatter

Idol Chatter


Borat: Too Smart for You?

posted by Paul O'Donnell

The poor Anti-Defamation League. The champions of tolerance–sworn especially to fight anti-Semitism–have been reduced by British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen to fretting in a press release that the cute, totally ironic anti-Semitic digs in Cohen’s new movie, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” might be “too sophisticated for the average moviegoer.”

In the movie, Cohen plays Borat, a Kazakhstani ignoramus on a documentary tour of the United States. The setup lets Borat to take satirical pokes at American life, while also lampooning the benightedness of what might be termed either New Europe or Old Middle Asia. In Borat’s Kazakhstan, women are property, horses have the vote, and every bit of hard luck is blamed on a Jewish conspiracy. In one publicity gag for the movie, Borat suggested the Kazakhstan government “sue the Jew” who erected a website in the .kz domain advertising the movie. The Jew in question is Cohen himself.

Funny, right? If you have misgivings, leave them at the door. The twisty power of irony is that it turns its critics into humorless, irrelevant drudges the moment they take the ironist to task. The Kazakhstani government, who took down the website, looked ridiculous stating, for the record, that rape is not condoned within its borders. Trying to avoid that trap, the ADL is choosing to, in the words of the blogger Wonkette, “teach comedy to Americans.” Those who see the film, says the ADL, need to understand that it aims to “unmask the absurd and irrational side of anti-Semitism and other phobias born of ignorance and fear.”

Or maybe the ADL is indulging in a little irony of its own. The average American moviegoer, of course, is a teenager, who already gets that bigotry is born of ignorance and fear–tolerance has been drummed into our teens since they were preschoolers–but teens will also get immediately the brute power of brandishing the word “Jew,” and how Cohen plays it for laughs. The average moviegoer, in other words, is plenty sophisticated enough to mimic Cohen’s multilayered humor. Fans of the Borat movie will likely be unmasking the irrational side of anti-Semitism for the rest of their lives.



  • http://www.beliefnet.com/blogs/virtualtalmud/ eastcoastlady

    The average American moviegoer, of course, is a teenager, who already gets that bigotry is born of ignorance and fear–tolerance has been drummed into our teens since they were preschoolers–but teens will also get immediately the brute power of brandishing the word “Jew,” and how Cohen plays it for laughs. The average moviegoer, in other words, is plenty sophisticated enough… Sadly, I think this is wishful thinking and overly optimistic, but, I can always hope that you are correct.

  • http://HASH(0xfe299fc) windbender

    When Jon Stewart confesses to Borat that he doesn’t look Jewish because he’s had his horns surgicaly removed and Borat insists that Stewert keep his “claws” where he can see them, surely it is clear, even to the most strident Jew-hater that his prejudice is the joke.

  • http://HASH(0xfe287d0) Gerhardt Rosenberg

    I cannot help but wonder what the reaction of the ADL and the Jewish Community would have been if instead of being Jewish, Mr. Cohen was a Muslim?

Previous Posts

#MARCHON
In light of recent occurrences in addition to our day-to-day - we need, more than ever, to march on. #Marchon is a national platform for justice. It's the opportunity to let the world know what and how you feel. What are you passionate about? What do you believe needs to change? Where does the actio

posted 2:28:57pm Dec. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Classic with a Modern Twist: What to Expect from Annie
It's a film that the whole family will enjoy. It's a film that will inspire you to look at life in a different lens. Moreover, it's a film that will keep you wanting more - what film are we talking about? None other than Annie. The talented cast include Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Byrne,

posted 8:00:55am Dec. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Get Excited For the Holiday Film of the Year - Annie
Everyone is excited to see Annie, in theaters Dec. 19, staring Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz. The film is a modern retelling of the story about an orphan who seeks optimism within the adversity that she faces every day. While you're waiting for the f

posted 9:30:10am Dec. 11, 2014 | read full post »

'Unbroken' is a True Gift This Christmas
// After 57 years of being hung up, now a war hero’s story is on the big screen. Unbroken, a true story based on U.S. POW and 1936 Olympic runner Louie Zamperini will be released on Christmas Day. The timing could not be more perfect said director and producer Angelina Jolie, who was emotionally e

posted 9:57:52am Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson Stars in Inspirational Show, ‘Wake Up Call’
“Wake Up Call,” a new reality series coming to TNT, is about inspiration and transformation. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson uses his personal story of triumph and determination to help everyday people, who are facing enormous challenges in their lives. The Rock, known for his distinguished wre

posted 12:05:11pm Dec. 09, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.