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Borat's accurate picture of society

November 15, 2006

Re "Borat, Blue Dogs and the GOP joke," Opinion, Nov. 13

Niall Ferguson may be a comic genius on par with Sacha Baron Cohen. Ferguson conflates the exposed fools and bigots in the Borat movie with Republican voters duped by "conservative Dems." But fear not. The Archie Bunkers shall return when they watch in horror as these charlatans drain the corruption swamp, stop the wildly unpopular war and perform their constitutional mandate of oversight.

Ferguson is quite observant that Cohen and Karl Rove target the same demographics. But they're not necessarily Republicans or Democrats; they're folks who will fall for just about anything.

PHIL HARNICK

\o7Sherman Oaks

*

\f7Although Ferguson's core idea is strong (this election was hardly a victory for progressive policy and more a referendum on Iraq and President Bush), his use of the Borat film as a vehicle gives a one-sided view of the movie. Ferguson makes no mention of how poorly New Yorkers on the subway came across, or the laughs at the expense of feminists. The film is simply a picture of America, red and blue.

CHARLES GIAMBERARDINO

\o7Raleigh, N.C.

\f7*

Ferguson is correct that Borat "took in America." However, his political argument that Borat's victims are Republicans is not only suspect but irrelevant. The endemic American problem that Cohen so effortlessly satirizes is ethnocentrism: a belief in or assumption of the superiority of one's own social or cultural group. This character defect is correctible through the clarity of self-awareness and attendant humility. May I suggest we view Cohen's Swiftian exercise as a wake-up call for Americans?

JOE HARTNETT

\o7Pacific Palisades

\f7

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