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Volume 72, Issue 62, Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Opinion

Borat new political activism hero

Reid Midgett
Opinion Columnist

There is a new hero in the United States of America. Itís a hero who treats women as slaves created solely for the purpose of serving their husbands, a hero who regards homosexuals and gypsies as evil, a hero whose sworn enemy is Judaism. But that doesnít matter; heís ridiculously funny.

Borat has found a new home far away from his "native" Kazakhstan. America has embraced him and his film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit of Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan as the next great comedic masterpiece. While the young adults of this country double over in laughter at the vulgarity and profanity that is Borat, others condemn him as an offensive fake who should be punished for making such a controversial film.

While the audience erupts in laughter at his ludicrous remarks and antics, Borat cleverly exposes the true racism, sexism and any other -isms that run rampant in this country. Throughout the film, the innocent Kazakhstan native exposes the sexism and vulgarity of drunken fraternity brothers, racism of Southern and Middle American towns and countless other faults Americans pride themselves in no longer possessing.

People are getting angry, threatening to sue Sacha Baron Cohen (the real man behind the Borat persona) for conveying them in the film as bigots and leading them to believe he was merely a socially-handicapped foreigner. They are suing him for exposing the truth about them.

Cohen made this film with a purpose. He didnít create the film just to wow audiences with its vulgar toilet humor. Cohen created a way in which a typical American could be caught with his guard down, and his inner prejudices could be brought out. 

He did this by pretending to be a Kazakhstan immigrant with a weak grasp of the English language, allowing his victims to speak their minds without fear of retribution. His character is a foreigner; he canít understand what is actually being said.

Cohen has created political satire through Borat. By showing how ridiculous people can act when they assume they are speaking in a safe environment, Cohen has allowed our bigotry to shine through. We do not see ourselves as equal with everyone else; we are not comfortable with the diversity within our nation. 

For years, this country has paraded this notion that the United States accepts all people, and Cohen has refuted that in the form of one simple man from Kazakhstan.

Most people do not realize what Cohen is trying to do. Instead they criticize him for exposing them for what they are, which is a weak argument for wanting to sue him. 

Many say that he has abused the First Amendment, yet he is doing exactly what the First Amendment was created for. He has spoken his mind about the problems that exist in this country in a way that can reach a much broader range of people. The people here need to change; Cohen has proven how barbaric we can still be.

Cohen should not be sued for what he has done. He has opened the publicís eyes to its own prejudices and has done so in a fashion that is instantly accessible by most of the adult public. While most will regard this film as just another vulgar comedy, many will recognize it for the political criticism that it is and realize that it is much more than just a fake documentary about a man from Kazakhstan.

Send comments to dccampus@mail.uh.edu

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