October 4, 2006, - 7:25 am

Thumbs Down on “Borat”: Hebrew Speaking Anti-Semitic Kazakh?

By Debbie Schlussel
I saw the much-hyped (actually, overhyped) “Borat” movie, last night. (Full title: “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan“)
You need not be a prude to note that the movie is not funny and goes beyond all acceptable bounds of good taste (and even the bounds of bad taste). I’m prohibited by Twentieth Century-Fox from reviewing it, until it comes out in early November. But one question:
Since when do they speak Hebrew in Kazakhstan?

boratmovieposter.jpg

Definition of Over-Rated: Borat/Sacha Baron Cohen

Kazakh and Russian are the official languages of Kazakhstan. I speak and understand both Russian and Hebrew, and Borat (Sacha Baron Cohen) is clearly speaking Hebrew (when he’s not speaking English) during the entire film. If you’re going to make fun of two entire countries (the movie mostly makes fun of us, Americans, FYI) and play an anti-Semitic Kazakh, at least get it right.
There’s not much right about “Borat.” I now know why the Kazakhs hate Cohen. I second that emotion.
Stay tuned for my review, when the movie is released, next month.

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21 Responses

I’m guilty of laughing at all the Borat skits on ‘Da Ali G Show. I know it’s about as low-brow as you’re going to find, but, I always end up laughing at the absurdity of it all. Niiiiiice!?!
I THINK HIS SHOW IS HILARIOUS, TOO. BUT I SIMPLY DID NOT FIND THE MOVIE SO. I LAUGHED AT THE MOST 5 TIMES. IT WAS MOSTLY JUST STUPID AND DISGUSTING. IT WAS BEYOND LOW-BROW. IT WAS MUCH LOWER, AS IN LOW-TOE HAIR.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Yiddish Steel on October 4, 2006 at 10:30 am

Debbie, I saw the move a couple weeks ago. Please note that Cohen himself is Jewsish. All the portions that one may find anti-semetic in the movie, I saw more as a parody on anti-semites themselves. And if you’re going to attack Cohen for using religion/race as the but of a joke, most of your readers that use islam as a joke(moo-hamed, religion of piss, etc. there’s a difference between simply saying something about a religion and turning it into a joke, and I’m simply using this as an example, and nothing else) Carlos Mencia(who isn’t funny, but it’s his schtick anyways), Archie Bunker, David Chappele, Lenny Bruce, etc, should be attacked as well. They all use religion/race as the but of their jokes. What would the difference be if Cohen, appeared not as a character at all, but himself, and did stand up, and make jokes about Jews,as many Jewish comics do?
My whole point is, the movie on a whole is very, very funny, and not meant to be taken seriously at all. If you do take it seriously, you’re not going to have fun, or enjoy it.
I’M WELL AWARE THAT HE’S JEWISH. AND I DIDN’T FIND THE MOVIE ANTI-SEMITIC IN THE LEAST. JUST STUPID AND NOT FUNNY. I LAUGHED MAYBE A TOTAL OF FIVE TIMES. MOSTLY, IT WAS DISGUSTING AND IN VERY POOR TASTE. I FIND HIS TV SHOW HILARIOUS. THE MOVIE WAS NOT. STAY TUNED TO MY FULL REVIEW TO SEE WHY. I CAME READY TO LAUGH AND LOVE THIS MOVIE. CAME AWAY TOTALLY DISAPPOINTED. I HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR–LOVED SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS, ETC. BUT THIS SIMPLY WAS NOT FUNNY. (AND FYI, I LIKED ARCHIE BUNKER/CARROLL O’CONNOR & GEORGE JEFFERSON/SHERMAN HEMSLEY, TOO.)
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Descent on October 4, 2006 at 10:48 am

Uh, the fact that he speaks Hebrew is part of the joke. I guess the ADL was right–most people are not sophisticated enough to understand Cohen’s irony. You need to lighten up Debbie–Borat is hysterical and doesn’t cross any bounds of good taste. Of course, if you’ve decided to play the role of CAIR now and dictate to us what good taste and acceptable speech is. It actually surprises me that you don’t support Cohen since his entire schtick is to demonstrate how easily it is to get people to reveal their biases against Jews and others. And besides, you’ve got to admire a guy that has remained a devout Jew after growing up in Londonistan and going to school at Oxford (of course he moved to L.A. to live with the moonbats).
And hey, I can’t say I disagree with the logic of a man who says “I hope you kill every last man, woman, and child down to the lizards in Iraq.” Borat seems to be the only one with a sensible plan, no?
I’M WELL AWARE THAT HE’S JEWISH AND THAT IT’S “IRONY.” AND I’M “SOPHISTICATED” ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND (NOT SURE “SOPHISTICATED” IS THE RIGHT WORD FOR SOMEONE WHO ENJOYED THIS CRAP). BUT IT WASN’T FUNNY. I LAUGHED MAYBE A TOTAL OF FIVE TIMES. MOSTLY, IT WAS DISGUSTING AND NOT “IRONIC.” NOT LIKING THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING LIKE “CAIR.” I FIND HIS TV SHOW HILARIOUS. THE MOVIE WAS NOT. STAY TUNED TO MY FULL REVIEW TO SEE WHY. I CAME READY TO LAUGH AND LOVE THIS MOVIE. CAME AWAY TOTALLY DISAPPOINTED. I HAVE A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR–LOVED SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS, ETC. BUT THIS SIMPLY WAS NOT FUNNY. AND FYI, THE PART ABOUT IRAQ WAS PART OF A WHOLE MONOLOGUE MADE TO MAKE AMERICANS AT A RODEO IN MIDDLE AMERICA LOOK LIKE DUMBASS BIGOTED HICKS. NOT EXACTLY A KIND OF PORTRAYAL OF AMERICANS I FIND FUNNY IN THE LEAST. AND IT WASN’T.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

RG73 on October 4, 2006 at 10:52 am

ow no Borat can not make fun of Jews
the only religion we can make fun here is Islam
Freedom of speech only apply to one religion
other it is just forbidden
“Do not watch the movie, Do not buy the book”
Debbie is so closed it is just amazing
SAY “THIRDWIFEISAGOAT,” WHAT IS THE MAJOR RELIGION OF KAZAKHSTAN? IT’S ISLAM. HE’S MAKING FUN OF MUSLIMS, TOO. THE MOVIE SIMPLY WASN’T FUNNY. I CAN LAUGH AT A GOOD JEWISH JOKE AS MUCH AS THE NEXT GUY. THERE REALLY WEREN’T ANY OF THOSE IN THIS MOVIE. IF THERE WERE, MAYBE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE FUNNY. IT WASN’T. WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH FREEDOM OF SPEECH, I’D LOVE TO KNOW. I’M FREE TO SAY WHAT I THINK ABOUT THINGS, WHAT I RECOMMEND AND WHAT I DO NOT. THIS IS, AFTER ALL, MY SITE. IT ISN’T ONEOFMYTHREEWIVESISAGOAT.COM, FYI.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

thirdgoat on October 4, 2006 at 11:33 am

Heyzeh yofi, Borat medaber ivrit!

Bob Sackamento on October 4, 2006 at 11:45 am

I’m done with school for scoundrels and other similar formula comedies like “click” or “employee of the month” etc. I’m looking for stuff that breaks the mold, and Borat did this wonderfully.

Descent on October 4, 2006 at 11:51 am

Debbie you did not see anything antisemetic in the movie but used the word antisemtic to desribe the movie and borat several times.
“anti-Semitic Kazakh”
You are incest the movie made Jewish joke and saw that aas a offence. Yes this is your website and aou are allowed to have opinion but assuming you understand openess is an option and you are being close.
Thanks for making fun of the screen name, I wish you have a reaosn to do that and it shows a point.
HE IS PLAYING AN ANTI-SEMITE. THAT’S A MAJOR THEME FOR HIS CHARACTER. I DO NOT BELIEVE THE MOVIE IS THE LEAST BIT ANTI-SEMITIC. IF ANYTHING, IT’S ANTI-AMERICAN. AMERICANS ARE MADE FUN OF THE MOST–AND TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

thirdgoat on October 4, 2006 at 12:13 pm

I read a partial review on ‘Drudge’ that is all I need to know about this bozo, Borat, he also tried to crash the gate at the White House, I guess the Secret Service don’t find him funny either.
When I saw his last name was Cohen I thought maybe, it might be good, no such luck no relation to George M.
There hasn’t been a decent movie out of hollywierd since the ‘Sound of Music’.

mark on October 4, 2006 at 12:23 pm

Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
LOOKS LIKE IT IS PRETTY EVEN SPECIALLY IF YOU ADD ALL THE CHRISTIAN GROUP
SO MAY BE IT IS NOT AS LARGE

thirdgoat on October 4, 2006 at 12:35 pm

Well i planned on seeing this moive simply because I loved the D Ali G show myself. There was one thing nagging at me though when it comes to making a movie out of his show. Most of the events that occur on his show although set up in certain ways do become unscripted in that you dont know how a lot of the other “Actors” are going to behave outside of Sasha Cohen. When you bring that style of show over to a movie, events may seem more planned and therefore not funny becasue they are scripted.
Take the Jerky boys movie for instance. Yea their phony phone calls were sometimes funny. Then they brought their humor over to a movie where outside of the awful acting, any phone calls performed were clearly scripted.
Does this movie suffer from the same thing?

Avatar on October 4, 2006 at 12:42 pm

Thirdgoat, is English your second language or do you do you just naturally butcher it when you type.

mark on October 4, 2006 at 1:08 pm

DESCENTÖI guess youíll have to wait for BORATÖbut if you want to see a movie that ìbreaks the moldî as you sayÖtry Trailer Park BoysÖThe Movie, which is quite funny, but perhaps somewhat of an acquired taste. Makes fun of incredibly low-income CanadiansÖNOT AMERICANS.
Opens October 6, 2006 in Canada, and insure if it will be in the USA. YOU MAY have to drive across the border to have a looksee!
But it is definitely worth that look, unless one has PC up the wazoo~
I do know that Eddie Murphy is a fan of the TV show, now in itís six season>

The Canadien on October 4, 2006 at 1:54 pm

Canadien, actually I’ve seen the Borat movie, a few weeks ago. It was great, and avatar, it seemed pretty unscripted to me.
Back to Canadien, my girlfriends stepdad gave me a dvd of some trailer park boy show’s that I haven’t got around to watching, but since you’re like the 4th person to bring it up, I’ll be sure to check it out.
And Mark, as to your response to “thirdgoat”, your first comment in response to this article was equally as difficult to read.
COME ON, IT WAS TOTALLY SCRIPTED AND SET UP. YES, MOST OF THE PEOPLE ON THE OTHER END OF THE MIKE DIDN’T KNOW HE IS FAKE, BUT THEY WERE SET UP BIG-TIME. HE REMINDS ME OF “ANNOYING MAN,” A CHARACTER THAT JON LOVITZ (I THINK) ONCE PLAYED ON SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Descent on October 4, 2006 at 2:01 pm

Aside from one outtake of Ali G a few years ago (w/ Pat Buchanan) I’d never seen or known anything about SBC except that he’s enormously popular. So I’m curious about his talent, while remaining skeptical about falling into the possible herd mentality (“he can do no wrong”) of his fans.
Then I saw Talladega Nights. Working off a well-structured story, it’s upbeat and in parts entertaining, but it also crosses lines in a way that I found irrelevant or outright rude. The scene mocking grace at the dinner table went on way too long, and the “reconciliation” b/t Ferrell and SBC at the end seemed too over the top (though I understand how earlier story elements anticipated it). To the extent it made fun of, not fun with, the audience it claimed to be portraying, it fell short.
I’m a hard-sell, btw, when it comes to comedy: give me Taxi and Barney Miller reruns to no end, but I ever really cared for Seinfeld (and certainly not Friends).

Jeremiah on October 4, 2006 at 2:32 pm

making fun of a group is Anti AMERICAN
Darn then Dave Chapelle is wrong and the looking for comedy in muslim world is wrong and let me so John Steward is un American for making fun of far right Christian.
Since making fun was un American
Debbie started with AntiSemtic than since it did not hold water we moved to Anti America

thirdgoat on October 4, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Oh, I DEFINITELY know that all the scenes featuring SBC and his producer in the beginning, and all of the scenes where they are alone are completely scripted. It was their interactions with normal people that I was referring to. And not to insult anyones age, but it’s probably a movie that’s going to click more with the younger generations(I’m 20), than the older folk.

Descent on October 4, 2006 at 3:05 pm

descent, really; what part didn’t you understand, the Drudge review or the part that he(Borat) tried to crash the gate at the White House… Or maybe the part about George M.
And since you are only 20 you probably never heard of George M Cohan.

mark on October 4, 2006 at 7:45 pm

Mark, I was talking about your general structuring of that statement. Let me correct it for you :
(ORIGINAL)
I read a partial review on ‘Drudge’ that is all I need to know about this bozo, Borat, he also tried to crash the gate at the White House, I guess the Secret Service don’t find him funny either.
When I saw his last name was Cohen I thought maybe, it might be good, no such luck no relation to George M.
There hasn’t been a decent movie out of hollywierd since the ‘Sound of Music’.
(CORRECTION)
I read a partial review on ‘Drudge’ and that is all I need to know about this bozo Borat. He also tried to crash the gate at the White House but I guess the Secret Service didn’t find him too funny either.
When I saw that his last name was Cohen I thought that maybe, it might be good, but no such luck, as he’s not related to George M.
There hasn’t been a decent movie out of hollywierd since the ‘Sound of Music’.

Descent on October 5, 2006 at 10:52 am

Hope you can take down this comment. I’d suggest using a serif typeface for your comments, or perhaps a graphic at the start & end of the comments. All capitals make the copy harder to read. Bold face and italics also make copy harder to read. Any of those works, but ONLY if used rarely. All caps also extend the area the comments occupy. The loss of distinctive ascenders and descenders and the greater room makes it harder for readers to grasp your points. Compare ONLY to only. ONLY can be seen easily at a small point size, but a lot of all caps is not so easy to read. ONLY CAN BE SEEN MORE EASILY, AT A SMALL POINT SIZE, BUT A LOT OF ALL CAPS ISN’T SO EASY TO READ. Please compare the length and readability of those two sentences.
I saw your appearance yesterday on Cavuto & hadn’t seen your comment about it beforehand. You did well. The reviewer in Worcester, Mass. liked the film, but he doesn’t have a clue.
From Al Lemire, a former reporter and company publications editor.

Keys on November 4, 2006 at 10:39 am

Oops. To err is human. I missed dropping an “s” after I edited a sentence. Should be: loss . . and . . room make it harder, not makes it harder. Grammatical errors and misspellings in news copy bother me, but I’m another.
And I’d cut this comment out, too, as not substantive and personal.

Keys on November 4, 2006 at 10:43 am

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