Sunday, October 01, 2006

It's No Goooooood?

The Anti-Defamation League is concerned that "audiences may not always be sophisticated enough" to get that Borat "What If I Make a Smell" Sagdiyev is a joke.

Borat—the creation of Sacha Baron Cohen, who is best know for his Ali G. character—is a "Kazakh journalist" who, amongst other things, is a proud anti-Semite. In fact, when Kazakhstan threatened Cohen with a lawsuit for defaming their country, "Borat" released a statement saying, "I fully support my government's decision to sue this Jew."

While the ADL acknowledges that Cohen, who is Jewish, is ridiculing anti-Semitic stereotypes with the preposterous Borat, they fear that not everybody will see it that way. (For the record, Kazakhstan obviously realizes that it's a satire at the expense of Borat and, by extension, Kazakhstan.)

I think this is a bit of an overreaction. For every dumbass who thinks, "Hey, yeah, I totally agree", there will be a dozen hipsters who see a little too much of their own thinking mirrored in the preposterous Borat.

The ADL did make one good point in passing, however: "It is unfortunate that Mr. Cohen chose to make jokes at the expense of Kazakhstan. It would have been better to have used a mythological country, rather than focus on a specific nation." So little is widely known about Kazakhstan that people who go to the Borat movie are likely to have no other frame of reference for thinking about the Central Asian country. For the record, while Kazakhstan has myriad problems, rabid anti-Semitism isn't really one of them. Certainly not more than other countries in the Muslim world.
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