The Null Device
An article interviewing some of the people taken in by Borat; some of them are sanguine about the experience, whilst others are angry:
"They were exercising a First Amendment right," said Haggerty, adding that he enjoyed the movie. "And this Sacha Cohen guy's going to make 87 gazillion dollars. You know, good for him. I'm just sorry that he had to do it in such a way that he allowed people to make jerks out of themselves exposing their character flaws."
Kathie Martin, who runs an etiquette school in Birmingham, Alabama, was also left out of the joke. Even though she was gracious and calm when Borat showed her nude photos of his son, Martin admitted she was "taken aback" by his routine during their on-camera meeting. "Unless you can figure it out for yourself, you have no way of knowing you have been tricked into being part of a childish prank with an R rating attached," she told the AP via email.
Ronald Miller, of Natchez, Mississippi, was baffled by the ruse. He and his wife attended a dinner at a plantation house, which they were told would be an interview with an "Eastern European television reporter coming to Natchez to film social customs in the South", he said.
Italy's usually efficient railways have been experiencing increased delays due to soaring copper prices, which have inspired thieves to steal signalling cables for sale as scrap:
Police say they have arrested 22 people in the past month alone on charges of stealing copper wire. Many of the accused have been identified as Romanian immigrants.
In Naples, police recently seized dozens of sea containers filled with stolen copper coils parked in the port area ready for shipment to China.Similar thefts have hit the Channel Tunnel Rail Link project in London, and theft of copper cables was responsible for at least one fatal crash in China. Which makes one wonder whether the plague of "signal failures" on the Tube (such as the one that crippled the Victoria Line this morning) has anything to do with this.
This evening, I went to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. I found it quite amusing, despite having read about most of the highlights in advance. There was enough there that the online chatter doesn't quite prepare you for.
The basic concept involves, as you've undoubtedly heard, Sacha Baron-Cohen (with the assistance of a team of "producers") gulling various Americans into believing that he is, in fact, a somewhat out-of-touch Kazakh journalist making a documentary for Kazakh consumption only, asking them a few basic questions about life in America, easing them into more and more absurd territory, and then keeping just the last bits (having made sure that they signed a release form well in advance) and editing them into a road movie recounting a journey from New York to Los Angeles. Already he's possibly being sued by a group of fratboys who claim that they were induced to make arses of themselves under false pretenses (good luck with that one!) and the residents of a dirt-poor Romanian village that stood in for Borat's hometown, who didn't like being paid £3 each and then described as rapists, not to mention former unintentional internet celebrity Mahir Cagri who's pissed off that Cohen took his shtick and made it profitable.
Fact: Borat's "Kazakh" greetings are in fact Polish ("Jagshemash" = "jak sie masz", or "how do you do"), though the longer dialogue is in Hebrew, Yiddish and Armenian.
I'm still not sure how much of the scene at the end with Pamela Anderson was staged.