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22 January 2007

Borat Wins a Golden Globe

Jagshemash! Most of you probably have heard of Borat. He is a (now famous and controversial) fictional character portrayed by the British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. Most of you probably seen his film too. Borat - Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan. Well, 'Borat' recently won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Watch his hilarious award acceptance speech (or read it here).

I Like You! Although I would ideally cut the post here, I can't help but continue with some constructive critism. I think Borat is as an inspiration from the Turkish Internet celebrity Mahir "I Kiss You" Cagri. Check out his music video! Moreover, if you visit his original website, you will see a lot of similarities. In particular his facial hair, formal wear and his use of the catchphrase "I like sex." In the film's introductory scenes, Borat not only uses Mahir's "You can stay my home" catchphrase, but also poses during a game of ping-pong in revealing red shorts, referencing two of Mahir's famous shots. Though unlike Mahir, the traveller, Borat is a television reporter. I really like how he uses this opportunity to reveal people's inner-selves (although sometimes it is offensive to others). This can be best described with Sacha Baron Cohen's own words (about Borat's anti-Semitism) in an interview featured in The Rolling Stone magazine:

"Borat essentially works as a tool, by himself being anti-Semitic, he lets people lower their guard and expose their own prejudice, whether it's anti-Semitism or an acceptance of anti-Semitism.... I remember, when I was in [Cambridge] university I studied history, and there was this one major historian of the Third Reich, Ian Kershaw. And his quote was, 'The path to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.'"

Do You Like Me? To be honest, Cohen is a great actor. No doubt about that. But I have seen the film and I don't think it was as good as Cohen's previous works. For example, I used to enjoy watching Borat (even before he became famous) in every episode of Da Ali G Show, doing satirical interviews with often-unwitting subjects. I was also rolling on the floor laughing at Borat's appearance on the talk show (twice!), Late Night with Conan O' Brien. In the film, there were some scenes that simply created a shock effect and I found them utterly tasteless (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, watch it here re-enacted by bunnies in 30 seconds). Surely there were funny scenes as well, but it still is a low-budget mockumentary!

High Five! Fans of Borat, please go easy on my first post including my opinion.. but it had to be done!

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