Saturday, November 04, 2006

FAQ: Are you going to see Borat?

An occasional feature in which I try to avoid having to answer the same questions more often than absolutely necessary.

No, I do not want to see fucking Borat. I hate Borat. I hate all things even vaguely connected with Sacha Baron-Cohen. And let's be clear that by "hate" I do not mean "strongly dislike." I mean that he makes me want to throw a brick through the screen.

There's a rather self-serving meme doing the rounds in the broadsheet newspapers at the moment, to the effect that we all like Ali G and Borat because he's so satirical. This is true to a degree, but only to a degree. In large part, both characters are meant to be funny simply because they're inherently ridiculous, and because they're taboo-bustingly offensive in some of the things they say. Fine, whatever.

But a lot of what Sacha Baron-Cohen does has nothing to do with satirising legitimate targets, or people with genuinely stupid or arrogant views. A lot of it is just going up to basically nice people who are trying to be helpful, annoying them intensely, and then going, ha ha, aren't they annoyed? Tom Green built a fair amount of his career on the same principle, and I feel much the same way about him. There's something deeply smug, bullying and unpleasant about it. It's cheap.

From the look of it, 99% of people react to Sacha Baron-Cohen by siding with him and laughing at the people he's interviewing, whether they actually deserve it or not. Save in the tiny minority of cases where he's dealing with somebody genuinely hateful, I don't react that way. I sit there thinking "I violently hate this little prick and everything he stands for, and his very success makes me detest the human race."

So no, I will not be paying money to see his film. Please feel free to make your own arrangements, though.