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Movie Review: Borat Learnings Make For a Just 21st Century

The 2006 satirical comedy Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Gloriuos Nation of Kazakhstan  is a film by Larry Charles, whose main character Borat, is played by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Borat, a stranger in America, is forced to hitch-hike after a disagreement with the producer of his documentary. Borat plot revolves around his learning trip to America where Borat is to utilize his skills as a TV presenter to create a documentary that would be used to educate the people of Kazakhstan.

Borat Cultural Learnings Lesson 1: Contemporary Western Culture is a Hyper Sexualized Society With Women Objectified in Movies for Box Office Sales

In this hitchhiking scene Borat , now derailed from his task of shooting the documentary, is walking along the highway to California in pursuit of his Tv crush.

Borat’s pursuit of Baywatch’s voluptuous Pamela Anderson Sacha revives several important debates. It is our hope that the 21st century will be the age where these pertinent issues of human dignity will be put to rest:

First: The over-sexualization and objectification of women in film by Hollywood. A 2011 study by USC Annenberg researchers found that Hollywood is hooked on these two shame that are responsible for body shame and appearance anxiety. Blockbuster movies like Transformers 2 (PG-13) , Harry Porter and the Half Blood Prince (PG) , The Twilight Saga New Moon (PG-13) , Up (PG) and The Hangover (R) were found culpable in this study.

Borat Cultural Learnings Lesson 2 : Here Comes Brexit and President Donald Trump (Update 29/03/17)

In this hunt for Pamela Anderson, Borat gets a ride from sorority boys on their own trip across the America. In the ensuing drunken conversation, one of the sorority boys (a white well heeled male) laments how in America, minorities have more rights than “us”.

Second:Once again Sacha does well in crafting the character as well to do,spoilt and in every sense stereotypical (in dressing, accent, pattern of speech and physical attributes) white male. Of course this isn’t the first instance where Hollywood fits the bill in it’s role in the fabled military-industrial complex narrative by conspiracy theorists. Hollywood is seen as the pacifier who softens the people in preparation of an eventuality drawn up by some powerful secret societies. Neither will it be last. What we should fight for is for the 21st century to be the age where humans overcome race, reconcile and find understanding.

The 21st Century will be an age Remembered for how it Treated LGBT

Still keeping with lessons from Hollywood, we step out of the silver screen to the golden stage where immortality is bestowed upon movie stars whose works anyway are still inviolable.

We are talking about the Oscars and how Uganda found itself in an awkward place doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Here it goes. By design or fate, Uganda’s parliament under the exuberant urging of the country’s executive passed what many have described as a backward anti-gay law.

the tattared look of this special edition Nile Special beer bottle label tells the story of uganda which 50 years on from independence is worn down by a sruggle within itself over gay rights just as it did during the Kingdom of Baganda when missionaries arrived

Special Edition of Nile Special beer celebrating 50 years of independence

Following  condemnation form human rights groups within and without, sanctions targeting Uganda’s aid flows were installed. Then in another show of Hollywood’s soft power, and as if to further slight Uganda’s actions, barely a week after President Museveni’s accent of the bill into law, an icon of the LGBT community, Ellen DeGeneres hosted the most visible event outside the Super Bowl XLVIII and the ongoing Oscar Pistorius trial.

In the 14th year of the 21st century not only did an openly gay person host  The 2oth Edition of the Oscars but broke the internet (twitter) while at it.

Third:Interesting to note, I think, is the raging debate on sexual orientation that the sanctions on Uganda following the anti-same sex law has brought to fore in Africa. Aside from the usual nature vs nurture chasm, there is concern that vulnerable groups- people living with HIV/AIDS, socially disadvantaged women, men and children-are likely to bear the brunt.

The New World Order: Who To Lead Us?

Consider this: The post World War 2 New World order sought to entrench and protect for prosperity, a cause best summed in the recently celebrated Zero Discrimination Day, which as stated on the official UNAIDS website is

a call to people everywhere to promote and celebrate everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity—no matter what they look like, where they come from or whom they love.

When stripped to its bare essentials, these ongoing efforts towards the blanket achievement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,the central tenet of the post WWII new world order, at the very basic level entails protecting the rights of the most vulnerable group in any society. The assumption here is that if and when the weakest are safe, the rights of the rest are guaranteed.

However, rights and the law are not obdurate notions. They are the poor-cousins of pious morals. Is it is with your family and mine, it often gets murky during family reunions when the cousins, the law, rights and morals,  meet.

Sadly though, invariably these family reunions get more than just dirty, they get ugly. When it does as in this LGBT debate, or immigration or racial tensions, who/what  do we look upon to settle matters? Who draws the lines delineating where the shades of grey turn white or black?

Whoever holds this moral authority is the quagmire of the 21st century.

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