Monday, October 02, 2006

Mockumentary, My Dear Watson

[Posted by reader_iam]

Hmmm. Mock-u-ment-ary. Talk about a word, a concept, whose time has surely come. Art imitating life imitating art imitating life reflecting mood encouraging attitude encouraging mood reflecting 'tude. An outrage--or just outrageous

Does it deserve an "F," as in "phony", and does that mean we should rail against the trend? Or is the answer more satire, more speech, more art, more...just, more?

Should we laugh, cry, rail or cheer about Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan?
Last winter's top box-office hero was the regal, Christ-like lion Aslan, who vanquished evil in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

This year, the hottest preholiday buzz is for a fake Kazakh journalist named Borat, who cheerfully spouts anti-Semitic slurs, uses a sidewalk planter for a toilet and misbehaves in front of a Manhattan lingerie store.

"Borat," the $17 million comedy from Twentieth Century Fox to be released Nov. 3, at first glance seems like political dynamite. In the film, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen plays a fictitious Central Asian journalist who travels from New York to Los Angeles while making a documentary about American life.

Borat records his politically incorrect highjinks in cinema-verite style, horrifying unwitting spectators along the way. The result is an 82-minute movie and some of the most breathless word-of-mouth in recent Hollywood memory.

Creating a buzz is right.

At least one Kazakh official doesn't think Borat is funny and that it hurts his country...
After Borat made an appearance last year on the MTV Europe Music Awards, a Kazakh foreign ministry spokesman indicated his government might sue the actor for depicting the country in a "derogatory" way.

...but at least one of his colleagues disagrees.

On the other hand, this "crazy foreigner" says Borat leaves him cold. Does that mean he's among the people for whom "Borat [is] too sophisticated? That article's surely not referring to the folks writing here or here. But I'll bet its writer would include the people who live and work here.

Ann Althouse had this to say a couple of weeks back:
An interesting question is whether Borat has made Americans like Kazakhstan more. What is the effect of over-the-top vicious and hilarious satire on the reputation of a country? Few Americans thought much at all about Kazakhstan before Borat, so he had the opportunity to become the entire reputation of the country as far as we were concerned. But, strangely, that might be to the good, even though Kazakhstan is pissed. The reason is that we know Borat is a joke and we love him. Kazakhstan gets name recognition and reflected love. We hear all sorts of ridiculous lies, we know they are lies, and we kind of love Kazakhstan.

So I hope when Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev visits the U.S. and meets with President Bush he doesn't bungle the opportunity! Show some humor and now that you've got our attention, give us something good to displace the crazy Borat info that is currently filling your reputation space. And don't be grumpy about the wonderful Sacha Baron Cohen. There lies further mockery.

And you: What do you have to say?