The time has come to say a few words about the perils of group think. A short while back, a fake documentary entitled Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan was released on these shores. The film purports to chronicle the adventures of a Central Asian journalist named Borat Sagdiyev as he wanders across America. It fuses real-life footage of everyday people who have been snookered by staged, scripted scenes made to look real. The audience has no way of distinguishing between the two.
Borat, a nitwit, racist, sexist, anti-Semite and all-around pig, is the brainchild of Sacha Baron Cohen, an Englishman famous for creating the character of Ali G, a fake journalist who succeeded in landing interviews with such luminaries as Patrick Buchanan and Andy Rooney, who were then made to look like fools. Even before its release, Borat was lauded in hyperbolic terms by the usual cabal of servile film critics, many of them middle-aged men who dread being perceived as "unkewl" by the 12-year-old bloggers who are now the cultural arbiters of this society. Buoyed by the adulation of the press, it made a fortune here. Critics either didn't notice or didn't care that the film is a nonstop stream of spittle directed at the people of America.
Since then, a quiet backlash has set in. Cohen has been sued by several of his victims, ran into other legal problems here and abroad, and was punched out in New York City. Meanwhile, a few serious journalists accused him of being deliberately vicious not to the rich and the powerful, but to ordinary people all across the heartland of America. As any idiot knows, satire loses its moral power when the satirist aims down. But Cohen went out of his way to humiliate well-meaning Americans of all classes, races and ethnic groups, decent people who actually made an effort to be helpful to his vile alter-ego.
Viciously offensive to women, fiercely xenophobic, festively homophobic, casually anti-Semitic, contemptuous of religion and nauseatingly puerile...