Who's asking: Anna Bragdon, China, ME
Yesterday afternoon I knocked off early and drove to Brunswick to catch the twilight show of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan with the Lechners. We were the youngest people in the theater by a decent margin, and one lady got up and left the theater halfway through the movie.
We were a little surprised that only one person left. The movie could not possibly be any more offensive; it is gratuitously disgusting, and culminates in a nude man-on-man wrestling scene that I would give a lot to wipe from my memory.
That said, it's also the funniest, most subversive, most brilliant movie I've seen in years, and should be required viewing for every voting-age American.
It's a movie that answers once and for all the question, "Why does the rest of the world hate us so much?" Well, it's because too many of us are smug, ignorant, mean and incurious about anything outside our immediate orbit. Almost everyone who fell victim to Borat is accusing him of setting them up, but he's more like Alan Arkin in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: a communications-impaired audience to the careless, the unkind and the self-absorbed.
The movie includes only one set piece that I felt was unfair to Borat's targets; it really is too much to expect a group of people to respond with equanimity to someone who comes to the dinner table with a napkin full of excrement.
Did I enjoy it? Hard to say. I laughed at parts, but I also squirmed, and it made me ashamed at points of not only my Americanness, but my humanity. Despite that -- or maybe because of it -- I'll probably see it again.
Sorry today's post is so late. My head is far, far down, as I'm really hoping to take a big chunk of next week off. Lots of things to move out the door between now and then.