Thursday, November 16, 2006

Borat elicits more cultural analysis

David Brooks is the latest commentator to attribute our fascination with the Borat movie to wanting to be on the side of the condescending "snobs" who are in on the joke, and not be among the unsophisticated "goobers" who fall victim to Borat's "rube baiting."

Part of the argument being that no one can possibly believe a character with Borat's bizarre customs and archaic attitudes exists anywhere in the world of 2006.

I tend to think the scenarios Sacha Cohen presents as Borat are so ridiculous and clever the "victim" doesn't need to completely accept Borat's authenticity to create a funny result. I also believe a lot of the "rubes" aren't really buying Borat 100 percent, but they put their suspicions aside because they are polite and, no matter what, they'll have a funny story about a strange foreigner to tell their friends and family. Still I do think Brooks may be onto something about Borat's widespread appeal.

Is the behavior of Borat, who supposedly hails from Kazakhstan, so far-fetched it disqualifies him from reality? Yesterday, the parliament of Pakistan
passed legislation that will allow rape victims to seek justice without the need of four male witnesses.

Previously, if a woman pursued a rape charge without these witnesses (to the actual crime) she would expose herself to a charge of adultery. In certain parts of Pakistan the punishment for adultery is death by stoning.

While these harsh sentences are rare, they are not without recent precedent.

Lest anyone think these laws are relics from an era long-bygone, Pakistan, the sixth largest country in the world, created this rape racket in 1979.

Borat would be sad to see this law go. But the fact it only just went is proof a character with Borat's cavalier attitude towards rape, among other things, isn't so far-fetched.

Being tricked by Borat is different than the alien abductions scenarios Brooks refers to his column. In the hit movie Borat convinces a driving instructor that, in his country, you don't need consent from a woman to have sex with her.

The driving instructor might have his 'stans mixed up, but was he really a "rube" when he took Borat at his word?

No comments: