The one thing that everyone can agree on is that this film is never boring. The national consensus is that it’s too short–but I felt it was a fine length, because some of the scenes are so protracted that it feels like a more intense experience. The scene with the humor coach was priceless, in that it hammered home the old online dating adage: being able to identify a joke is not the same thing as having a sense of humor.

Reuters posed the question of whether Borat was good for the Jews. (Hello, Reuters, and welcome to the conversation we’ve been having online for the past few months or so.) Things I learned: a Hebrew U professor likens Borat’s approach to that of Jewish satirist Karl Kraus, an Austrian playwright and poet who “though he preached Jewish assimilation and was aghast at the rise of Adolf Hitler, Kraus’s writings may have helped spread Nazi doctrine among Europe’s ruling classes, some historians believe.” Another lesson of the article is that when needing a Jewish source, always contact Shmuely Boteach.

And finally, the article also provides a good answer to the question of “What is Heeb Magazine, exactly?” According to the article, which quotes Heeb writer Sara Marcus, Heeb is “an irreverent Jewish affairs magazine.” Next issue we better be seeing some photos of those affairs, kids…
For my account of seeing the film on the Jewriffic Upper West Side motzei Shabbat, visit MyUrbanKvetch. And for my review, see my post at Beliefnet.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.


  • Slate has an article on how Borat is really in the tradition of Jewish vaudevillians. It is actually an interesting comparison.

  • From the Reuter’s article –

    “The purpose of this kind of comedy is to show how ridiculous prejudices and stereotypes are. But using the stereotypes can actually perpetuate them,” Wistrich said…

    Those kind of comments assume one thing: That most people are too stupid to understand satire. But I’ll give Wistrich the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s worried only about a small group of idiots not getting it. If so, will this small group of idiots really be able to perpetuate prejudice and/or stereotypes loud enough to make a difference?

    Let’s say you put ten Jews in a cultural vacuum for the lasy few years and play them “Throw The Jew Down The Well”. It’d be understandable they’d be appalled. Put ten anti-semites in that same vacuum and play them the song and it would be understandable they’d consider it an anthem.

    Then let everyone out of the vacuum. Give them have basic cable, dial-up internet, the daily paper, or at least a couple friends. I think it’d be safe to say they would eventuallly “get it.” In other words, as long as my dad “gets it” I think we’re all safe.

    When Dylan released “Infidels” I had to explain to a few friends who should know better that the song “Neighborhood Bully” clearly explains (defends) Israel’s right to defend itself. But because the title, which is the last line of every verse, is ironic they really thought Dylan was calling Israel a “neighborhood bully”. Maybe they couldn’t believe Dylan would advocate using violence in self-defense. Like this idiot…


    Mr. Wistrich – stupid is a stupid does.

  • I’ve been a fan of Borat for quite some time. I must confess I am a lil tired of him and haven’t seen the movie yet. I was afraid his schtick wouldn’t work in 1.5 hour movie and is best left to 10 min doses. So far the reviews (from my friends) have been good. I LIKE!!

  • Dylan advocating using violence in self-defence? that’s a new one. But i guess people always believe what they want to believe

  • Guru – violence was too strong a word. Let’s rephrase and say he was defending Israel’s right to use military force to defend itself. For example:

    Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
    Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
    Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
    The bombs were meant for him. He was supposed to feel bad.
    He’s the neighborhood bully

    But you’re absolutely correct – Dylan doesn’t advocate violence. And maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think he’s ever written another song like this.

  • “The one thing that everyone can agree on is that this film is never boring”

    I have to disagree.

    I sat through this entire 2-odd-hour-long filth, waiting for ‘One of this year’s greatest comedy satires’ to begin… it never arrived.

    I watch a lot of movies through a broad range of genres- from alternative, independant to mainstream and typical… I’ve seen and appreciated films from right across the spectrum.

    I would say that I’m normally very open-minded to all forms of humor and was really looking forward to seeing Borat… I tried finding entertainment in the jokes… but in the end, I just thought it was pointless, repeditive, idiotic humor… toilet gags and nothing more.

    I hated Ali-G and I think that Borat sucks equally as much.

    I really don’t get how people could possibly enjoy this shit.