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Borat, Bunker, and Election Day

Rabbi Stern suggests a 1-10 ratio of those who lionized Archie Bunker vs. the majority who laughed at him. I have no idea if the ratio is accurate but I think the more important analogy is that those who laughed at Bunker also represented a population engaged in politics and the issues of the day. Though I have no statistics to back me up, I have a feeling that those who laughed at Bunker not only voted on Election Day but were otherwise somehow active in the political process.

I would be interested in hearing whether fans of Borat and his creator, Sacha Baron Cohen, are similarly engaged in today’s societal and political issues, particularly in light of the upcoming mid-term elections. Do more Borat fans plan to vote Democrat or Republican? Are Borat fans planning to vote at all on Nov. 7?



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Susan Lehman

posted November 3, 2006 at 6:17 pm


Yes, I plan to vote and I am a big fan, and a Dem. My son, 17, is a big fan and would vote the same if he could. But, most of my students a state college in PA barely know who he is, many will not vote, and haven’t ever watched a news show. Sad.



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Richard Fink

posted November 3, 2006 at 6:49 pm


What’s the real issue? Is it that we are so afraid to look within ourselves, our communities, our histories that political satire in the form of “Borat” is offesive? I recall the same outcry when Mel Brooks put out the original “The Producers”. The beauty of humor, specifically satire, helps to bring awareness to just how silly bigorty is. I commend Cohen for attempting to bring this to light.



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WishComeTrue

posted November 3, 2006 at 9:12 pm


I am a brand new but absolute FAN of Borat…can hardly wait to catch his movie. This is one ‘ole lady (68 years young in spirit, ‘tho) who has become ENTRANCED with Borat’s ingenious, satirical humor after seeing clips of him on Comedy Central & last night on my fave: the ADORABLE Sir Jon Stewart. Not being a moron, of course I’m voting Democrat all the way! (Just to render the idiot, hypocritical, in-ept, power-grubbing, war-mongering bums occupying our White House: IMPOTENT…(in more ways than politically, I wish!!! &, in case you’re wondering, or assuming: Nope! I’m not Jewish–just scornful of all bigotry ‘n ignorant prejudices. Love from Wish in The Mile High City.



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Wendi

posted November 3, 2006 at 10:42 pm


I am a big fan of Sacha Baron Cohen. I am very engaged in today s societal and political issues. I am Jewish, Republican and will be voting on Tuesday. I believe that laughter is the best medicine. It is unfortunate that society has become so hypersensitive that they can no longer take a joke



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A

posted November 3, 2006 at 11:26 pm


I am a huge fan, just got back from the movie where we laughed so hard it almost hurt. Even funnier than I expected. I am an independent and will definitely be voting come Tuesday.



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Tommye J Winkley

posted November 4, 2006 at 12:48 am


I just don’t find this guy funny, I don’t care what his ethnic, religious roots are. Take a look and a listen to the people in those video clips. There is enough ignorance and intolerance in this country and we do not need this “humor” that will stunt humanity’s growth and development.



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Deborah1952

posted November 4, 2006 at 3:41 am


Till I watched FOX & Friends this morning, I did not know who he was. I thought he was the best shtick since the Groucho MARX! I am Jewish, Republican and WILL be voting Tuesday NOV7.



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Rebecca Tobias

posted November 4, 2006 at 7:14 am


Borat is hilarious! I see that he graces the cover of the LA Weekly on my desk. Between the pages of the very same issue is an ad for the Green Party Congressional candidate that I’m managing here in the San Fernando Valley. I’ll be voting November 7th, and laughing in a darkened theater on November 8th. Greatly anticipating both!



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Nickey

posted November 4, 2006 at 5:40 pm


Am Republican,Jewish and have voted early. Have always loved satire and will see Borat tomorrow. Some of our greatest comedians have been Jewish and laughed at us with great success. I agree with an earlier responder that bringing bigotry to thr front in humor shows how ridiculous bigotry is is.



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George Smith

posted November 4, 2006 at 9:24 pm


Borat is like Jose Jimenez in his skit interview, having white people laugh at his wetback jokes on himself. There was something very wrong with it. Some very racist people were laughing. Joke or not, it was a sick joke. You really had to look down on Jose and his ethnic group to laugh. You could have disabled people tell some off color sick jokes about missing limbs, being used as 2nd base in a baseball game, but at some point, it really is sick. A Jew doing antisemitic lines for laughs? Making money off his audiences’ antisemitism? There’s irony, but it’s still sick irony. “Throw the Jew down the well…so our country can be free” It’s sick. Even if it’s a joke, it’s a very sick joke. John Kerry could claim to be a veteran telling botched jokes about combat military servicemen and women. He didn’t go over, except among those who really shared Kerry’s using the military service people as a butt for jokes. Maybe Borat will dress as a Nazi and do Holocaust jokes next? “Throw the Jew in the gas chamber…then our country will be free…” with clapping, cheering audiences, rousing musical accompaniment, and straight arm salutes. It goes beyond Archie Bunker. Since Borat is a Jew, it’s all ok? If rabbis say it’s ok, who are we to judge?



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Richard B. Cook

posted November 5, 2006 at 1:23 am


For a long time when “All in the Family” was new I hated Archie Bunker. I always identified with Mike (aka meat head). Archie was never slammed hardenough.



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Nomad

posted November 5, 2006 at 1:43 am


Brats funny.Take the stick out your ass!!!!!!!



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Nomad

posted November 5, 2006 at 1:44 am


“Borat”



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Jennifer Emick

posted November 5, 2006 at 5:53 am


Yes, I think you’re right- a fan, a dem, and I vote in every election.



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DAVID STEIN

posted November 5, 2006 at 12:44 pm


Rabbi Stern you surprise me! As an assistant to my Rabbi’s father it would seem you had a wee bit more sackle(SP?)! Seems to me you are PRO BORAT as opposed to ANTI BORAT! I must say that I am in total shock! How you or any other Rabbi on this planet can do anything but condone this self hating/effacing Jew Cohen is way beyond my comprehension! You call this funny, good parody, entertaining? Really think this is good for our people? I believe in freedom on speech and the first ammendment and all that goes with it but Borat/Cohen crosses the line! Who are you Rabbi Stern ? A new Nero while Rome burns? Did you see Borat/Cohen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart the other day? When MR STEWART told him he was Jewish and tried to do a L’CHAIM after Borat/Cohen took a sip of whatever he was drinking he spit it back into his cup as if saying feh! If you find a grain of humour in that perhaps you find death chamber marches funny too! Wanna be a great Rabbi ala Rabbi Schneir (either one)? Might i suggest a complete and total condemnation of Borat/Cohen and even a boycott of this maniac’s output of work including this movie! There isn’t a Jew in the world who should pluck down one red cent to see this or support a lowlife like BORAT! This could be the start of something big! Like many more imitators! Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Like to see another Hitler? I wouldn’t!



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Just Nora

posted November 5, 2006 at 5:49 pm


I’m Jewish and Republican. I vote, and I’m a Borat fan.



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Karin

posted November 6, 2006 at 1:38 am


I vote in all elections and always have. I have voted Republican, Democratic and independent (Perot). Ironically, I had never seen or heard of Borat until I saw him on the two previous clips; last night I was actually awake after 2100 and saw the commercial for his movie. On a slight tangent, I happen to be disabled and refer to myself as a gimp which able bodied people hate to hear. What can I say? Humor, sometimes very black, is how I handle my disability. It has worked for over 20 years.



report abuse
 

jonfox

posted November 6, 2006 at 1:48 pm


I am Jewish, the son of Holocaust Survivors, a retired military officer. I am voting Republican, and always have since 1976. In light of the open anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that have been reflected in the most recent liberal Democrat campaigns, the only Jews who would vote for them are either blind or stupid. Either way, they’re as suicidal as the collaborating Judenrat of the 1930′s and 40′s. And yes, I’m the Jewish Conservative who so pissed off the Gaia-worshipping idolators like the top poster here that my e-subscription to this site somehow “disappeared” after I called out the liberal hypocrisy of so many that post their drivel here. And I’m going to continue to, even if my subscription is not restored. And by the way, I can take a joke too. Borat’s as funny as Monty Python in their heyday.



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jonfox

posted November 6, 2006 at 1:50 pm


Oh, and by the way, the actor who played Jose Jimenez (Bill Dana) was Jewish. For God’s Sake, lighten up.



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Al

posted November 6, 2006 at 3:11 pm


Big fan, I will vote, Democrat all the way except for a few local judges.



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marian neudel

posted November 6, 2006 at 4:09 pm


My husband and I have already voted (absentee). I’ve been too busy to do much more about the election than write a couple of checks this year. I voted mostly for mostly Dems and a few Green candidates.



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deborah

posted November 6, 2006 at 9:35 pm


really- what is the difference between hating the democrats or republicans & hating a jew who jokes about jews. It all causes division & strife where there ought to be unity. we all loose when we are divided- politicaly or religiously.



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HM

posted November 7, 2006 at 11:56 pm


Jose Jiminez was Jewish (Bill Dana in real life). Ironically in later years he regretted his routine and tried to “make up” for it by giving a lot of his earnings from past comedy and acting to Hispanic charities and causes; to the point that he actually eventually won an award from one for his efforts. Here’s another funny thought. All in the Family is based on the British show “Til Death Do Us Part”. The actor who played the British equivalent of Archie Bunker, Alf Garnett, was Jewish in real life as well (and like Carroll O’Connor, very very unlike his character politically). So I think when Borat does his “throw the Jew down the well” bit, he only is trying to show how latent anti-Semitism can be and how sadly easy it can be to get it out on people and is not self-hating. I am Jewish, independent averaged out, tend to vote Democratic but have voted for all 3 (Demo, Rep, ind) at one time or another (i.e. Perot in 1992, hate Bush but would vote for John McCain if he ran for prez).



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posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




Borat, Bunker, and Election Day

Rabbi Stern suggests a 1-10 ratio of those who lionized Archie Bunker vs. the majority who laughed at him. I have no idea if the ratio is accurate but I think the more important analogy is that those who laughed at Bunker also represented a population engaged in politics and the issues of the day. Though I have no statistics to back me up, I have a feeling that those who laughed at Bunker not only voted on Election Day but were otherwise somehow active in the political process.

I would be interested in hearing whether fans of Borat and his creator, Sacha Baron Cohen, are similarly engaged in today’s societal and political issues, particularly in light of the upcoming mid-term elections. Do more Borat fans plan to vote Democrat or Republican? Are Borat fans planning to vote at all on Nov. 7?



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Comments read comments(18)
post a comment
Susan Lehman

posted November 3, 2006 at 6:17 pm


Yes, I plan to vote and I am a big fan, and a Dem. My son, 17, is a big fan and would vote the same if he could. But, most of my students a state college in PA barely know who he is, many will not vote, and haven’t ever watched a news show. Sad.



report abuse
 

Richard Fink

posted November 3, 2006 at 6:49 pm


What’s the real issue? Is it that we are so afraid to look within ourselves, our communities, our histories that political satire in the form of “Borat” is offesive? I recall the same outcry when Mel Brooks put out the original “The Producers”. The beauty of humor, specifically satire, helps to bring awareness to just how silly bigorty is. I commend Cohen for attempting to bring this to light.



report abuse
 

WishComeTrue

posted November 3, 2006 at 9:12 pm


I am a brand new but absolute FAN of Borat…can hardly wait to catch his movie. This is one ‘ole lady (68 years young in spirit, ‘tho) who has become ENTRANCED with Borat’s ingenious, satirical humor after seeing clips of him on Comedy Central & last night on my fave: the ADORABLE Sir Jon Stewart. Not being a moron, of course I’m voting Democrat all the way! (Just to render the idiot, hypocritical, in-ept, power-grubbing, war-mongering bums occupying our White House: IMPOTENT…(in more ways than politically, I wish!!! &, in case you’re wondering, or assuming: Nope! I’m not Jewish–just scornful of all bigotry ‘n ignorant prejudices. Love from Wish in The Mile High City.



report abuse
 

A

posted November 3, 2006 at 11:26 pm


I am a huge fan, just got back from the movie where we laughed so hard it almost hurt. Even funnier than I expected. I am an independent and will definitely be voting come Tuesday.



report abuse
 

Deborah1952

posted November 4, 2006 at 3:41 am


Till I watched FOX & Friends this morning, I did not know who he was. I thought he was the best shtick since the Groucho MARX! I am Jewish, Republican and WILL be voting Tuesday NOV7.



report abuse
 

Rebecca Tobias

posted November 4, 2006 at 7:14 am


Borat is hilarious! I see that he graces the cover of the LA Weekly on my desk. Between the pages of the very same issue is an ad for the Green Party Congressional candidate that I’m managing here in the San Fernando Valley. I’ll be voting November 7th, and laughing in a darkened theater on November 8th. Greatly anticipating both!



report abuse
 

Nickey

posted November 4, 2006 at 5:40 pm


Am Republican,Jewish and have voted early. Have always loved satire and will see Borat tomorrow. Some of our greatest comedians have been Jewish and laughed at us with great success. I agree with an earlier responder that bringing bigotry to thr front in humor shows how ridiculous bigotry is is.



report abuse
 

Richard B. Cook

posted November 5, 2006 at 1:23 am


For a long time when “All in the Family” was new I hated Archie Bunker. I always identified with Mike (aka meat head). Archie was never slammed hardenough.



report abuse
 

Nomad

posted November 5, 2006 at 1:43 am


Brats funny.Take the stick out your ass!!!!!!!



report abuse
 

Nomad

posted November 5, 2006 at 1:44 am


“Borat”



report abuse
 

Jennifer Emick

posted November 5, 2006 at 5:53 am


Yes, I think you’re right- a fan, a dem, and I vote in every election.



report abuse
 

DAVID STEIN

posted November 5, 2006 at 12:44 pm


Rabbi Stern you surprise me! As an assistant to my Rabbi’s father it would seem you had a wee bit more sackle(SP?)! Seems to me you are PRO BORAT as opposed to ANTI BORAT! I must say that I am in total shock! How you or any other Rabbi on this planet can do anything but condone this self hating/effacing Jew Cohen is way beyond my comprehension! You call this funny, good parody, entertaining? Really think this is good for our people? I believe in freedom on speech and the first ammendment and all that goes with it but Borat/Cohen crosses the line! Who are you Rabbi Stern ? A new Nero while Rome burns? Did you see Borat/Cohen on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart the other day? When MR STEWART told him he was Jewish and tried to do a L’CHAIM after Borat/Cohen took a sip of whatever he was drinking he spit it back into his cup as if saying feh! If you find a grain of humour in that perhaps you find death chamber marches funny too! Wanna be a great Rabbi ala Rabbi Schneir (either one)? Might i suggest a complete and total condemnation of Borat/Cohen and even a boycott of this maniac’s output of work including this movie! There isn’t a Jew in the world who should pluck down one red cent to see this or support a lowlife like BORAT! This could be the start of something big! Like many more imitators! Wouldn’t that be wonderful! Like to see another Hitler? I wouldn’t!



report abuse
 

Karin

posted November 6, 2006 at 1:38 am


I vote in all elections and always have. I have voted Republican, Democratic and independent (Perot). Ironically, I had never seen or heard of Borat until I saw him on the two previous clips; last night I was actually awake after 2100 and saw the commercial for his movie. On a slight tangent, I happen to be disabled and refer to myself as a gimp which able bodied people hate to hear. What can I say? Humor, sometimes very black, is how I handle my disability. It has worked for over 20 years.



report abuse
 

jonfox

posted November 6, 2006 at 1:48 pm


I am Jewish, the son of Holocaust Survivors, a retired military officer. I am voting Republican, and always have since 1976. In light of the open anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that have been reflected in the most recent liberal Democrat campaigns, the only Jews who would vote for them are either blind or stupid. Either way, they’re as suicidal as the collaborating Judenrat of the 1930′s and 40′s. And yes, I’m the Jewish Conservative who so pissed off the Gaia-worshipping idolators like the top poster here that my e-subscription to this site somehow “disappeared” after I called out the liberal hypocrisy of so many that post their drivel here. And I’m going to continue to, even if my subscription is not restored. And by the way, I can take a joke too. Borat’s as funny as Monty Python in their heyday.



report abuse
 

jonfox

posted November 6, 2006 at 1:50 pm


Oh, and by the way, the actor who played Jose Jimenez (Bill Dana) was Jewish. For God’s Sake, lighten up.



report abuse
 

marian neudel

posted November 6, 2006 at 4:09 pm


My husband and I have already voted (absentee). I’ve been too busy to do much more about the election than write a couple of checks this year. I voted mostly for mostly Dems and a few Green candidates.



report abuse
 

deborah

posted November 6, 2006 at 9:35 pm


really- what is the difference between hating the democrats or republicans & hating a jew who jokes about jews. It all causes division & strife where there ought to be unity. we all loose when we are divided- politicaly or religiously.



report abuse
 

HM

posted November 7, 2006 at 11:56 pm


Jose Jiminez was Jewish (Bill Dana in real life). Ironically in later years he regretted his routine and tried to “make up” for it by giving a lot of his earnings from past comedy and acting to Hispanic charities and causes; to the point that he actually eventually won an award from one for his efforts. Here’s another funny thought. All in the Family is based on the British show “Til Death Do Us Part”. The actor who played the British equivalent of Archie Bunker, Alf Garnett, was Jewish in real life as well (and like Carroll O’Connor, very very unlike his character politically). So I think when Borat does his “throw the Jew down the well” bit, he only is trying to show how latent anti-Semitism can be and how sadly easy it can be to get it out on people and is not self-hating. I am Jewish, independent averaged out, tend to vote Democratic but have voted for all 3 (Demo, Rep, ind) at one time or another (i.e. Perot in 1992, hate Bush but would vote for John McCain if he ran for prez).



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

The Task Is Never Finished
It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman's post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments

posted 12:31:46pm Apr. 03, 2008 | read full post »

Some Parting Reflections
Well, loyal readers, all good things must come to an end and we’ve been informed that this particular experiment in blogging as a forum for creating wide-ranging discussion on topics of interest to contemporary Jews has run its course. Maybe it’s that blogging doesn’t lend itself so well to t

posted 1:00:29pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

Obama's Lesson and The Jewish Community
There are few times in this blog’s history when I have felt that Rabbi Grossman was one hundred percent correct in her criticisms of my ideas. However, a few weeks ago she called me out for citing a few crack websites on Barak Obama’s advisors. She was right. I never should have cited those web

posted 12:09:08pm Mar. 31, 2008 | read full post »

The Future of Race Relations
As a post-baby boomer, it is interesting to me to see how much of today’s conversation about racial relations is still rooted in the 1960s experience and rhetoric of the civil rights struggle, and the disenchantment that followed. Many in the black and Jewish communities look to this period either

posted 4:04:41pm Mar. 25, 2008 | read full post »

Wright and Wrong of Race and Jews
Years ago, as a rabbinical student, I was one of a group of rabbinical students who visited an African American seminary in Atlanta. My fellow rabbinical students and I expected an uplifting weekend of interfaith sharing like we had experienced in visits to other (largely white) seminaries. We were

posted 12:50:11pm Mar. 24, 2008 | read full post »




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