For this paper, I chose the text “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” It is a movie which contains a great deal of information and can be broken down into many different aspects such as race, class and nationality. When deciding to choose a text that fit the requirements of the research paper, this movie instantly came to mind because of its satirical humor and how such humor was depicted. This movie is considered to be a mockumentary which focuses on a fictional character but deals with real-life people in a non-fictional setting through means of journalism. It focuses on a man who travels to the US to observe the culture and learn American customs compared to his home country.
There is a lot of tension at play in this movie. Some scenes are uncomfortable to watch due to some forms of incest, extreme racism, sexism and sometimes genuine stupidity. These are some issues that can be seen throughout the whole movie. In addition to these issues, there is also a surplus amount of anti-Semitism jokes at play. The main character in the movie is portrayed as a man who has a staggering amount of hate towards the Jews and doesn’t hide his hatred in public making him look highly uneducated and dense. All of these issues are relevant to our class discussions to a degree.
These issues relate to our discussions due to how humor is used to bring attention to some problems happening in the real world such as racism. Through these class discussions, I’m able to get a clearer view of how such problems affect the rest of the text and how they are addressed. So far, I believe there is a lot to unpack in this text, but I haven’t completely delved into the different aspects yet. Because there is so much to unpack and because the film is so long, I’d have to re-watch it a couple of times and take down detailed notes in order to clearly understand the context, but as of now, I already see how the text is using racial prejudice to target a specific group of people in a somewhat threatening way.
The text also shows how cultural differences can affect those groups of people. I want to research more on this text regarding the claims that Borat makes relating to his home country; whether those claims are genuinely correct or are overexaggerated. This would help me get a better sense how far defamation takes place as well as the use of violence against a specific issue. I also want to look into the anti-Semitism aspect in this text. Because Baron Cohen, who plays Borat is indeed Jewish in real life, it does pique my interest whether the nation of Kazakhstan has so much hatred toward the Jews, if any at all.
Although there is definitely way more that I want to look into, these are just some of the starter points because I do want to look into how prejudice plays a part in this text and that is what I want to focus on in my paper. In order to help me explore this topic more thoroughly I believe that the research I have to find would be both scholarly journals that are directly based on this text of my choosing as well as scholarly journals relating to my topic of interest in addition to popular resources. Due to the fact that this text is a critically acclaimed movie, I believe there will be many popular resources which I can find online to help me build up my argument and improve its strength. Using a popular resource in addition to scholarly journals would boost the credibly of my paper because I would not be limiting myself to just one source but expanding my argument through different forms of texs.
When looking at whether the movie could possibly be the initiator of anti-Semitism for some people watching, I believe it won’t be because every little thing that Borat does in the movie, seems delusional and is a way for a viewer to mock him rather than agree with him. Borat’s beliefs, whether its his misogyny, homophobia or anti-Semitism, would seem laughable to anyone not because of what he says, but rather because of the character he plays and the actions he takes. In fact, I believe this movie portrays how all prejudice is absurd and these beliefs shouldn’t be taken seriously.
I have yet to narrow down on a specific topic from the movie which I’d like to focus on, however, it will most likely be somewhere along the lines of prejudice and how the movie portrays this issue. Alongside that, I also want to learn more about how Borat uses defamation to target groups of people and whether that worsens his reputation or simply makes him look remarkably foolish in others’ eyes.