‘Borat’ explores America’s flaws with hilarity

Joseph Wilson

The comedy sensation “Borat: Cultural Learnings for Make Benefit Glorious Kazakhstan” has become a pop sensation even as it exposes things some people would rather leave unexamined. Comedian Sasha Cohen uses the seemingly innocent gaze of a hapless foreigner to show that America at large knows very little about the rest of the world and about what is acceptable behavior in any country.

This is America unsupervised by the ACLU or any other politically correct organization out there. Every racist, misogynistic thought America has finds catharsis in “Borat.” And for the most part, it is extremely funny.

The comments Borat gets people to say are incredible. Take the scene where Borat asks a gun store salesman, “What is best gun to kill a Jew with?” The salesman says a Glock 9mm is both shocking and – in the same right – funny. People in the audience are caught between laughter and squirming in their seats at the blatantly racist answer.

To be fair, not everyone in America harbors these extreme prejudices, but the world looking at America has these notions. Unsupervised feelings that would only be revealed to a small group of friends are exposed to Borat.

The unpredictability of the situations Borat gets into is the energy comedy needs today in an entertainment world already saturated in high-priced comedy movies that are formulaic and stagnant. How many more teen sex or romantic comedies starring the same actors do American audiences need to see?

The American public has spoken through the ticket sales for “Borat,” which in the two weeks since its release has grossed more than $50 million.

In the midst of all the critical and audience acclaim for “Borat,” the people who served as the straight men for Borat are suing Cohen because of the way they are depicted in the movie. This is just one of the signs that Cohen is on the right track, because through “Borat” people are talking and thinking about the things people said in the movie and what that says about American society.

Movies are at their best when people begin to think and to question why things are the way they are.

The more an audience becomes engrossed in a movie the more people will have strong feelings related to the ideas in the movie.

And that is a powerful thing.