Borat

US SW on Borat: Comin’ to America:

Jim Jepps has an interesting review of Borat here: Throw Borat down the well with a subsequent discussional thread.

But then (the US based) Polizeros takes an opposite view: Borat the pig

Since I haven't seen the film I can't comment outside the fact that I have enjoyed Borat much more than Ali G who I don't find very funny at all.I find him very strained as a portrait. But with both characters I think it is proved how much bigots can be their own worse enemies.

But if this film is doing such good business -- I mean REALLY doing good business -- I don't think it is a topic that can be ignored and rather than get all moralistic about it --as Polizeros does -- you need a discussion like that offered by Jepps and Socialist Worker.

But I'd really like it if in this environment we all had an opportunity to revisit Alf Garnett -- Johnny Speight's malevolent and abusive conservative created in Till Death Us Do Part played by Warren Mitchell. This was an immensely popular and terribly good BBC
TV series from the 'golden years' of British TV comedy.

Trivia:
* Mitchell left the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art with a trained actors voice. A life-long, committed socialist - the total opposite to Alf! - he sold Socialist newspapers on street corners, shouting his wares in his beautifully trained voice. It was only when he realised why people weren't buying his newspapers that he developed Alf's voice, to appear more "working class".
* Johnny Speight had initially avoided anti-semitism in Alf Garnett's rants for fear of offending the Jewish Warren Mitchell. However, Mitchell pointed out that such a bigoted character would almost certainly be anti-semitic, and so Garnett became as vocal about Jews as any other minority group.


Garnett was an amazing creation such that after the series ended Speight and Mitchll put together a few monologues for touring -- the Garnett Chronicles -- which are so terribly poignant because it catches Alf in retirement/old age dealing with the fact that despite his rages and hates he was as much a victim of his own bigotry as his targets were. That Alf Garnett was, afterall, just another working class git who'd would always be working class and no matter how much he abused and despised women, homosexuals, blacks, Jews and the like his own condition never changed.

In Speight and Mitchell's hand this realisation becomes a terrible tragedy.

Borat is different of course as this is 'reality' television and I doubt that you can point to the same intentionality.

"Baron Cohen is himself Jewish, and explained his character's racist nature by stating that the segments are a "dramatic demonstration of how racism feeds on dumb conformity, as much as rabid bigotry," rather than a display of racism by Baron Cohen himself.[Source]"

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