But let's see what Ben Stein says:
1.) The auteur and star of the movie, Sacha Baron Cohen, is a Jew of high degree in England and now in Hollywood. But much of the movie is viciously anti-Semitic. This includes not just some but many "jokes" about killing Jews, about how Jews are the devil, about how Jews will kill for money, about how Jews are like cockroaches (the last a direct steal from Joachim Goebbels, who compared Jews with breeding rats and insects). This is in a world where we just lived through an anti-Semitic holocaust with the same themes and another is promised by the terrorists in Iran.Clearly, Cohen means to lampoon anti-Semitism. You could say that it's ineffective, because there really is nothing to force anti-Semites to look critically at themselves and feel chastened. They can sit back and laugh heartily at the anti-Semitism.
These are not funny jokes. These are really just old-fashioned sickening racism disguised as hipness. It's also a smug joke by Sacha Cohen which is basically his endlessly saying, "I hate Jews, too, even though I'm Jewish, and hey, I guess I don't look Jewish because I can say all these horrible Jew hatred things and no one says, 'Hey, what are you doing? You're a Jew.'"
I remember the first time I saw Andrew Dice Clay, before I heard all the outrage at his sexism. I thought he was brilliantly lampooning sexism. So I may not the best person to judge.
Back to Ben:
2.) Much of the movie is about Borat making fun of people who have been completely kind to him. This is just infantile and narcissistic oppositional disorder. It's also rude, and it's not very funny. Maybe it is if you are five.Well, the key question is whether it's funny. But I can see feeling that it's wrong to laugh if he's being rude to people who are trying to be nice to him. But it's awfully straitlaced. All sorts of practical jokes and teasing are sort of mean. You could object to everything going back to "Candid Camera."
3.) Much of the story is mocking and belittling Southerners as a group....It is a bit cheap to target Southerners.
4.) It has a genuinely nauseating mockery of a woman just because she happens to be black. Why aren't people getting upset about that? It's pure, unadulterated KKK type racism. You have to see it to believe it.She happens to be a prostitute as well. Actually, I thought the movie got politically correct about the black woman. In the end, Borat goes back to her and marries her. It was more sympathetic than it needed to be. If anything, the movie targeted white men.
5.) Worst of all, it has acute mockery of Christians. There is a long scene mocking Christian fundamentalists, in which Borat makes cruel fun of the idea of Jesus as Savior...I agree that this was a pretty cheap target. It wasn't so much Christians as rural Southern Christians.
A close friend who saw the movie the same night I did said, "It makes you laugh, but then you want to take a shower after you've seen it."I think he's being way too prissy about it. What do you think? Is this just a matter of taste or is there a serious moral question here?