Sunday, March 11, 2007


Borat


I bought the movie Borat last night and watched most of it. It is a relentlessly negative movie, and as someone had warned me, it is perhaps the most raunchy mainstream movie to date.

It also very funny.

I think his main point (I guess I can't know for sure without seeing the ending) is that human beings are not nearly as civilized as they appear to be. In fact, he portrays Borat and and his friend Azymath as acting, basically, like animals. In portraying himself this way, he brings out the animal nature in many of the people he deals with.

He fails to do so with the Jewish people who own the Bed and Breakfast, and with an Etiquette group that he has dinner with.

Both times he fails I think he does so because the people got the joke.

The Jewish people just played along with him, and the etiquette crowd were offended. And, who can blame them? (At one point he comes down from a trip to the restroom holding a plastic bag full of his own feces, and begins to ask what he should do with it.) They had gone so out of their way to be understanding of him and he just basically abused their trust.

By the way, when I say the movie is relentlessly negative, I do not mean to say that its portrayal of human beings is inaccurate. I do think it is a rather thin veneer of civilization that most of us carry around with ourselves.

However, I think it is important to note that the two groups of people who did see through him, and refused to treat him badly were people who had been raised on the Bible; the Word of God.

I think the only hope we have for raising ourselves above the level of animals is to behave according to strict moral principles. By strict, I mean that humans must decide what they believe in and not back down on those principles even when they do not seem to be practical, even when they do not seem to be working.

It seems to me that America itself is evidence of this fact. We have become the great nation we are because of our Judeo-Christian value system. Israel has turned, what was a desert, into a productive nation (albeit, one with few natural resources) because Israel, for the most part, acts according to its Jewish value system.

I think it is important to note that Sasha Cohen, the genius behind the Borat character, is a religious Jew. He observes Sabbath so strictly that he will not talk on the phone, among other things.

I believe he knew full well what he was doing with this movie. I think he managed to accomplish his task without being preachy. I don't think he trusts American Fundamentalist Christians (many Jews don't - although they would be wise to realize that American Fundies are the best friends they have) and that is why I think he was so intensely hard on the etiquette crowd.

It was actually painful to watch that scene. I felt bad for those people. To my mind, they truly didn't deserve such treatment.

I think Sasah Cohen does humor the same way my cohorts and I do our "Infidel Radio" Program. That is, he does it to serve a larger purpose.

There are some comedians who were just kind of born comedians. I am not that. I do comedy because I think it is effective. I love comedy. I love doing comedy, but the reason I am spending my time on it is because I think it is effective.

A guy I correspond with says he thinks the positions the Left take on issues these days are so fundamentally irrational, and so based on trying to make themselves feel good about themselves, rather than upon logic, that they really can't be dealt with using rational argument. He said he came to the conclusion several years ago that ridicule is the only way to deal with such irrationality.

It seems to me a combination of ridicule and sober talk is probably the most effective.

The ability to switch back and forth between reasoned argument and adept comedy is, I believe, pretty disarming. This is not what Sasha Baron Cohen does. Instead, he endlessly hits you over the head with humor which reveals the dark, primal side of humanity.

The movie is worth seeing, and it is especially worth considering the worldview which it portrays.

Who would expect such a humorless review of such a funny movie, huh?