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Virtual Talmud

Maybe I am dating myself, but when I hear one of Borat’s tirades, I immediately think of Archie Bunker of “All in the Family.” That TV show broke ground a few decades ago because it exposed in humorous fashion the commonality of stereotyping and discrimination. Unfortunately, not as much had changed in the world as we may have hoped for when “All in the Family” first aired. (It is now on reruns and still surprisingly relevant.)

So I don’t have a problem with Borat, but I understand why the Khazakhs do, because he exposes the ugly side of otherwise respectful society in high contrast, much as Archie Bunker did a generation back.

Even the best of us carry stereotypes around in our heads, and not only in our heads. A visit to the Simon Weisenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance is one eye-opener about the degree to which stereotyping is part of everyone’s assumptions and interactions. No one is immune. That is perhaps the dark secret Borat uncovers and why his humor is so funny on one hand and so disquieting on the other.

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