December 4th, 2006



Last night I went and saw Borat, because Paul Haines (paulhaines) said to me, "Tell me you like Borat, despite the hype!"

I did want to see the film, because any film with bad taste jokes about retards, Jews, prostitutes, bears, and Jesus is my kind of thing, so I wasn't making any kind of sacrifice by bowing to Haines' demand. But ultimately, if it wasn't for Haines' and my desire to tell him he's wrong wrong wrong wrong I wouldn't even bother with a blog entry about the film. If the truth be known (and it shall), I was mostly just bored by the whole thing.

Borat offers the premise of a TV reporter from Kazakhstan going to America to learn what makes the country so great. Since he's not familiar with the political correct world of the West, the usual kind of misunderstandings take place. If you've seen the trailer for the film, you've seen Borat go to the feminist group, seen him wear the swimmers, and tell you his sister is the fourth best prostitute in the country. Basically, the rest of the film is more of the same, and with the exception of one laugh out loud moment when Borat and his buddy fight--that alone is worth the price of a rental--the film is just a lot of easy marks on the topics and I've seen its kind before.

I think, also, that Borat didn't hit my humour level quite right. I like quick, sharp dialogue, and Borat, with his broken English, never hits that for me, and the quick, speedy back and forth that I enjoy isn't there. Given the bad taste content, I couldn't help but compare Borat to shows like South Park and Family Guy. In the end, those shows go further than Borat in the bad taste, and they make a sharper commentary on their topics. Ultimately, by selecting 'America' as its commentary, Borat never makes much out of its target that hasn't been made in many broad, slap the target kind of ways. There's nothing wrong with Borat as a film, and if you want to go and see it, feel free, but if you come out of it not feeling any particular thing whatsoever, and thinking that the journey for Pamela Anderson is a bit on the not real interesting side, and couldn't they have picked something not so tired, then you're pretty much on my side of the fence.

Got to love that Jew Egg joke, though.
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To Ridicule?

Orson Scott Card's new novel, Empire, is really funny:

The team of four Americans had been in the village for three months. Their mission was to build trust until they could acquire accurate information about the activities of a nearby warlord believed to be harboring some operatives of Al Qaeda.

All four soldiers were highly trained for their Special Ops assignment. Which meant that they understood a great deal about local agriculture and husbandry, trade, food storage, and other issues on which the survival and prosperity of the village depended. They had arrived with rudimentary skills in the pertinent languages, but now they were reasonably fluent in the language of the village.

The village girls were beginning to find occasions to walk near whatever project the American soldiers were working on. But the soldiers ignored them, and by now the parents of these girls knew they were safe enough -- though that didn't stop them from rebuking the girls for their immodesty with men who were, after all, unbelievers and foreigners and dangerous men.

For these American soldiers had also been trained to kill -- silently or noisily, close at hand or from a distance, individually or in groups, with weapons or without.

They had killed no one in front of these villagers, and in fact they had killed no one, ever, anywhere. Yet there was something about them, their alertness, the way they moved, that gave warning, the way a tiger gives warning simply by the fluidity of its movement and the alertness of its eyes.

It goes on.

First five chapters here. In chapter four, the President is assassinated.
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