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Is Borat the New Archie Bunker?

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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Tony

posted October 31, 2006 at 5:32 pm


Archie Bunker was a white guy mouthpiece for the Jew, Norman Lear, to make fun of white people. Sasha Baron Cohen (Borat) is a Jew making fun of Muslims. No wonder you don’t have a problem with it.



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kauko15

posted October 31, 2006 at 7:00 pm


Oy vey, yes, of course Tony that’s exactly it. (make sure you don’t miss the sarcasm in that statement.) And just FYI the religious breakdown of Kazakhstan is 47% Musliim, 44% Russian Orthodox, 2% Protestant, and the rest are Catholic, Jewish, etc. So based on that you cannot claim to know that Borat is making fun of any specific religious group. Your comments here and elsewhere, merely betray your own religious bigotry.



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BarbaraFromCalifornia

posted October 31, 2006 at 9:28 pm


I remember Archie Bunker as well. I love Sashon Baron Cohen, and think his Borat character is a work of genius. He speaks to the young people about what bigotry means, and how it operates. As a Jew, he can get away with it, but he opens himself up to wider audiences in his use of black, dark and often sick humor. My son helped me discover him, and I cannot wait to see the Borat movie myself.



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Scott

posted November 1, 2006 at 1:36 am


Some people don’t like Borat because he gets people to let their guard down and show themselves as racists and anti-Semites. And that exposes them to the light. Very bad thing. Very bad. And some people are just a few inches too short and have to take it out on everyone else.



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Kevin

posted November 5, 2006 at 6:14 am


Still other people may not like or dislike Cohen. I applaud him for his genius methodology in comedy, but at the same time find his methodology alarmingly disarming. Part of Cohen’s genius can found in the way that his characters portray the persona of the perpetrators, so that all his acts of defamation and senseless vulgarity are all just part of the joke. Very Niiice!



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Yahya Bergum

posted November 9, 2006 at 1:24 am


Thank you, kauko15. I had been under the same impression as Tony had. Indeed the CIA Factbook reported the same percentages. And thus Borat is mocking Christians too. Which puts a slightly different face on the Borat conspiracy (speaking of cynicism). We can now see that Borat is actually half Muslim, half Christian. Which supports a working hypothesis that the ADL has chosen to ignore its mission statement at least in part because Borat has exposed a Cheney look-a-like, deep in the heart of Texas, as at best being an anti-Semitic sympathizer. Which thanks to Borat appears to characterize red state residents in general. The inference here would be that Abe Foxman has made a calculated gamble with an expected payoff of wayward Jews returning in droves to Team Blue in time to support Hillary’s return to the White House. Granted this time around she wouldn’t need to wear the irritating beard if you like, which could be good or bad. On a more serious note if the preceding scenario in any way mirrors reality I’d respectfully suggest it’s potentially the sort of forgive me “cow in Palestine” apologetics cited by Holocaust deniers. Plus it seems a little like yoking an international association of Evangelical Christians to a political organization, which by its very nature has an agenda determined by political comprise, that’s quite naturally committed to undermining its political rivals (regardless of their deeds and intentions).



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Danny Casolaro

posted November 14, 2006 at 3:12 pm


Or maybe—-just maybe—-IT’S A JOKE!!!!! Maybe, just by some freakish possibility, Sasha Baron Cohen really is a COMEDIAN who uses the ancient art of HUMOR—which has its fundamental basis in things that are serious. Comedy is exaggeration, comedy is satire, comedy is farce and spoof. There is no hidden agenda here, people. Unless it be to line his own (Sasha Baron Cohen’s) pockets doing something he loves and knows that people find funny. Believing that there is some agenda behind “Borat” other than humor is like believing that 19 guys with boxcutters disabled the entire North American military defense system and melted multiple skyscrapers’ steel cores using kerosene jet fuel that doesn’t burn hot enough or long enough to even weaken it. Come on—use your brains!



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