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    Borat: SUED!

    Some of the most successful comedic and politically poignant developments become overshadowed in today’s world with the virtually impossible task of staying politically correct and uncontroversial.’ Despite the overwhelming success of his film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Sacha Baron Cohen, instead of receiving praise for inventing and facilitating a new type of comedy has faced constant lawsuits, suing him for exploitation of the victims in his film and for damaging the reputation of the central Asian country that serves as the fictional character’s homeland.’

    Borat, the exaggerated stereotype of a Middle Eastern newscaster, originated on Cohen’s sketch TV program ‘Da Ali G. Show,’ on which he interviews unsuspecting people as either Ali G., a mumbling, bumbling, self-proclaimed ‘gangsta’ from a town outside London, the flamboyant fashion critic, Bruno, and, of course as Borat.’ Cohen stops at nothing to embarrass celebrities, government officials, and the average, innocent passerby by asking asinine questions, making them explain what should be obvious, and pretending to hide behind am imaginary cultural barrier and false ignorance.’ In short, while Cohen’s characters may appear uninformed and ill-mannered to the people he meets, his aliases are only pretend; the way his victims respond awkwardly and comically is real.’ Cohen has mastered a new type of comedy, and should be congratulated.’

    But instead of receiving happy returns for such a high profitable break through, as his new movie grossing $70 million as of November 16, Cohen is being criticized and sued.’ First, the new film was ridiculed for the rampant anti-Semitism expressed in the film, but what most people do not realize is that Cohen himself is Orthodox Jewish, keeping kosher, observing the Jewish Sabbath, and remaining closely tied to Israel, the homeland of his mother before her immigration to England.’ He is mocking anti-Semitism itself, poking fun at how idiotic stereotypical perceptions can be as Borat accuses Jews of being money grubbing, violent terrorists.’

    And then there were countless lawsuits.’ A couple frat boys featured in a scene of the movie that takes place in their RV were the first to sue.’ They drunkenly make racist and sexist comments in front of the camera before accepting payment for their parts in the film and signing a release form allowing the footage taken of them to appear in a motion picture.’ According to CNN.com, the lawsuit claims that the film ‘made plaintiffs the object of ridicule, humiliation, mental anguish and emotional and physical distress, loss of reputation, goodwill and standing in the community.”

    Almost everyone in the movie has brought suit against the movie’s production, including the government of Kazakhstan, who took offense when Borat was a mere television sketch.’ According to ABC news, Kazakh Foreign Ministry spokesman Yezhan Ashybayev said in a press conference before the release of the movie ‘we do not rule out that Mr. Cohen is serving someone’s political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way.’ We reserve the right to any legal action to prevent new pranks of the kind.” Nothing has come of the threats, as according to the Gannett News Service, embassy spokesman Roman Vassilenko dismissed those accounts in which Kazakhstan threatened to sue.

    So is Cohen out of line, or is this world out of sense of humor?’ Well, some arguments of offended, candid costars of the movie seem somewhat justified.’ The beginning of the movie was shot in a poor Romanian village, where only four of the 1000 residents are employed and eagerly accepted the money being paid to them for being contributors in the film.’ Unbeknownst to them, Cohen names them prostitutes, ‘town abortionists,’ and replaces the arm of villager, Grandfather Nicu, with a sex toy.’ Nicu is quoted by Thisislondon.co.uk as claiming not to know what the false arm really was and says ‘our region is very poor, and everyone is trying hard to get out of this misery.’ It is outrageous to exploit people’s misfortune like this to laugh at them.”

    Also suing is the Behr’s, a couple who owns a Massachusetts bed and breakfast in which the makers of the film superimpose cockroaches.’ Claiming it hurt their business, and mortified that some one would take advantage of genuine hospitality, they also plan to take legal action, as does TV news producer Dharma Arthur.’ Arthur claims that Cohen’s antics on her news broadcast as Borat ultimately caused her to loose her job.’ During the scene in question, Borat refuses to stay within the frame of the interview, and attempts to kiss anchor Brad McMullan in greeting, interrupting Ken Johnson’s live weather report on his way out.’ ‘ ‘

    According to the movie’s director Larry Charles, the goal was ‘to make a hysterically funny movie.’ ‘ ‘The idea of exposing hypocrisy? Those were secondary agendas.” It turns out there were some other byproducts of the film that they did not anticipate. ‘ But was the harm done to the movie’s contributors intentional?’ Certainly not.’ Other than the production team’s neglect in thoroughly explaining to the Romanian citizens the role they would play in the comedy, the other complaints seem trite considering all those featured in the film signed release forms and were paid for their time.’ The film would surely not be such a success without its star taking major risks, and let’s face it, no one since Michael Moore has been so successful in manipulating people into saying unintelligent things.’

    And Cohen has faced personal losses, getting into a fist fight with a random spectator in a bar when he spontaneously decided to try his Borat act.’ His Saturday Night Live costar of that evening, Hugh Laurie stepped in to break up the fight.’ It seems Borat proves with his every appearance that successful comedy is really no laughing matter.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

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