Saturday, December 02, 2006

Blame Borat

Last week I saw the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Having just that morning read of the rumours of lawsuits Sacha Baron Cohen faces from supposedly unwilling participants in the movie, I had my sceptical hat on as I watched it.
The whole thing is staged and scripted, surely. There's a scene where Borat chases a guy down a New York street, trying to greet him in the "traditional" Kazakh manner. The chase is shot from at least three different camera angles, meaning that it had to be done in several takes, and wasn't in the least spontaneous.
Even if people were filmed under false pretenses (that is, if they really thought they were going to be appearing on a Kazakhstan documentary) it doesn't excuse their behaviour. Instead of suing Borat for exposing them to ridicule, they ought to take responsibility for themselves and look at how their own attitudes and prejudices made them ridiculous in the first place. And the less said about Pamela Anderson looking ridiculous, the better.
On the subject of another blame game, I really enjoyed reading Hemlock's Diary for Sunday, November 26. The amoral Hong Kong gwailo gives his opinion on the ubiquitous pirate DVD industry in China, in his usual acerbic style. I confess to being a pirate myself (although you already knew I was a Pastafarian, right?) having purchased a copy of the most recent Harry Potter movie in Shanghai last year, for RMB3, or approximately 50 cents, only to get it home and discover that it was dubbed in Mandarin and subtitled in Cantonese. Very strange viewing when you speak neither language -- so I gave it to our neighbour.

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