British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen’s just released ‘Borat‘ movie relentlessly skewers Americans of all types and persuasions, from gays and blacks to jews and evangelical christians.
Cohen’s genius lies in his ability to get us to open up and share our fears, hatreds and prejudices to his seemingly benign, seemingly innocent Borat character, who is masquerading as a documentary film producer from Kazakhstan.
Cohen’s Borat provides a fascinating look in the mirror at our country (and provides example after example of why our image and reputation have sunk to the depths they have).
We see USC college kids berating gays and women. We see intolerant feminists walking out of the middle of a Borat interview because they resent his questions. We see a GM car salesman overlook the most loathsome Borat comments in his quest to close a sale. And, we see true blue American cowboy types telling Borat to shave his moustache because it makes him look like an Islamic terrorist.
In my mind, Cohen’s movie has borrowed a page from Ernest Hemingway by suggesting to Americans they, "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
Let’s hope the flick provides some much needed self-assessment when it comes to asking why so many of us hate, fear and distrust so many of our fellow countrymen. If ever we do, I believe it will go a long way towards improving our self-image as well as our image around the world.