Let’s talk about Borat. I finally caught up with it at my local theater here in Rancho Mirage not long ago. It made me laugh a few times, but basically I hated it. Here’s why.
1.) The auteur and star of the movie, Sacha Baron Cohen, is a Jew of high degree in England and now in Hollywood. But much of the movie is viciously anti-Semitic. This includes not just some but many “jokes” about killing Jews, about how Jews are the devil, about how Jews will kill for money, about how Jews are like cockroaches (the last a direct steal from Joachim Goebbels, who compared Jews with breeding rats and insects). This is in a world where we just lived through an anti-Semitic holocaust with the same themes and another is promised by the terrorists in Iran.
These are not funny jokes. These are really just old-fashioned sickening racism disguised as hipness. It’s also a smug joke by Sacha Cohen which is basically his endlessly saying, “I hate Jews, too, even though I’m Jewish, and hey, I guess I don’t look Jewish because I can say all these horrible Jew hatred things and no one says, ‘Hey, what are you doing? You’re a Jew.'”
2.) Much of the movie is about Borat making fun of people who have been completely kind to him. This is just infantile and narcissistic oppositional disorder. It’s also rude, and it’s not very funny. Maybe it is if you are five.
3.) Much of the story is mocking and belittling Southerners as a group. When I watched it, I thought, “How unoriginal can you possibly get? This is standard Hollywood fare and has been for fifty years. What is at all creative or new about this?” Plus, I like Southerners. Love them. They are great brave people who fought like demons to beat the Nazis who were killing us Jews. How ungrateful can you get?
4.) It has a genuinely nauseating mockery of a woman just because she happens to be black. Why aren’t people getting upset about that? It’s pure, unadulterated KKK type racism. You have to see it to believe it.
5.) Worst of all, it has acute mockery of Christians. There is a long scene mocking Christian fundamentalists, in which Borat makes cruel fun of the idea of Jesus as Savior. He makes fun of Christians who take him in and save his life. Why isn’t anyone noticing this? Are Christians just so used to getting kicked around that they don’t notice anymore? It makes me very uneasy for a Jew like Sacha Cohen to explicitly mock Christ. It’s sacrilege to the great majority of people in this country, for one thing. For another, it’s insulting to the great majority of the people in this country who have made us Jews feel so welcome — unlike people almost anywhere else. When did mocking Christians become the business of Hollywood? Was I out of town when that happened? I don’t like it.
A close friend who saw the movie the same night I did said, “It makes you laugh, but then you want to take a shower after you’ve seen it.”
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