Without a doubt Borat is a funny man. A Kazakh misogynist and a racist buffoon, a primitive vulgar clown as well as a loud anti-Semite. A quick glance at Borat makes it evidentially clear that the man is totally fictional, he just can’t be real. Hence, there is no offence in Borat to women, Jews, Kazakhs, Black people or anyone else. Yet, there are some things we better keep in mind while watching Borat and laughing our heads off.
The ‘Khaled Abu Aziz Test’
Borat and his author Sacha
Baron Cohen indeed manage to challenge the British liberal discourse as
well as the deeply deceptive image of multiculturalism. Yet, I would
suggest the application of the ‘Khaled Abu Aziz Test.’
Khaled Abu Aziz is an imaginary character. He is merely a test case that
should be put into play each time the issue of multiculturalism and racial
equality is under scrutiny. The appropriate question to ask is whether
Khaled Abu Aziz, a British Muslim comedian from Birmingham, would get away
performing Borat’s crude anti Semitism or not. Would Khaled Abu Aziz get
away with performing Ali G’s retarded Black celebrity? I don’t think so.
Would Khaled Abu Aziz receive the support of British Television and the
entire UK media for acting a buffoon, for being a Jew hater? Not really.
Clearly British people do
not meet Kazakhs on a daily basis. But they meet many Albanians,
Romanians, Poles, Czechs, Kurds, Turks, Afghanis and other people who
search for a new future in the prosperous West. Worryingly enough, Borat
is made to look very much like an amalgam of an asylum seeker to the UK or
any other European country. It is rather interesting that Sacha Baron
Cohen, himself a son of a Jewish immigrant to Great Britain, invested so
much energy portraying such a low image of Western Europe’s newcomers.
While pissing yourself watching
Borat’s articulate misogynist performance, I suggest to bear in mind that
Ali G, a.k.a. Borat a.k.a. Sacha Baron Cohen, is himself a practicing
reactionary misogynist. Seemingly, Sacha Baron Borat Cohen has put back
his wedding to former Home And Away star Isla Fisher due to some
deep tribal considerations and religious reasons. “The couple,” so I
learn, “have postponed the big day so
Isla can study the Bible in Israel before converting to Sacha’s
religion of Judaism.”
Giving Bad Name to Anti-Semitism
With the help of Borat, Sacha
Baron Cohen gives a bad name to anti-Semitism. This is obviously more than
legitimate. Borat, the stereotypical anti-Semite is indeed a primitive
vulgar creature. He eloquently brings to life the full scope of medieval
anti-Jewish stereotypes as well as superstitions. In an
TV clip Borat manages to draw in a bunch of cowboys to join him
shouting "throw the Jew down the well." In the film it is an old Jewish
couple that happens to be transformed into cockroaches and money suckers.
Yet, it shouldn’t take one by surprise that Cohen, a man who spends his
holidays in Israel, would portray anti-Semitism as a primitive medieval
Gilad Atzmon is an internationally acclaimed jazz musician whose CD Exile was selected by the BBC in 2003 as Album of the Year. He was born in Israel and served in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), and is now living in self-exile in the UK. Visit his web site at: www.gilad.co.uk. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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