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Sullum on Borat

In Jacob Sullum’s comments on the Borat movie, he writes:

Because I live in the U.S. rather than Russia, last night I had the opportunity to see Borat, which I highly recommend. In addition to making me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe (the look on former Georgia congressman Bob Barr’s face during his brief encounter with Sacha Baron Cohen’s Kazakh alter ego is by itself worth the price of admission), it made me sympathize a bit (a teeny-weeny bit) with the Anti-Defamation League’s concern that people confronted by the outrageous anti-Semitism of Borat and his compatriots might not get the joke.

During the Running of the Jew, a traditional festival in Cohen’s version of Kazakhstan, the townspeople chase a giant papier-mache figure that looks like a Nazi (or Arab) caricature of a Jew down the street. The Jew is followed by the Jewess, who lays a huge Jew egg that the children of the village attack with gusto, smashing it to bits. It’s pretty damned funny, but I couldn’t help wondering if the rest of the audience at the theater in Dallas was laughing at it for the same reasons I was. [italics added]

It’s this last sentence that bugs me. Just seems condescending–“I am laughing at it for the right reasons, of course–but these Southern rubes? I’m not so sure….”

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