The most annoying thing about the "Borat" mania is that we constantly get told that this isn't just a funny movie, like "Dumb and Dumber." No, "Borat" is Good For You, a landmark in the battle against prejudice, like "Schindler's List."
As I've pointed out, "Borat" isn't really about the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan. It's about reviving old Polish Joke stereotypes about Eastern Europe. As has often been mentioned, the "Kazakhstan" scenes weren't filmed in Kazakhstan, that supposed bastion of anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism, but in Romania.
Yet, while Romania is poor, how did the film makers come up with a village quite that dilapidated and feckless-looking?
From the UK Evening Standard:
Borat film 'tricked' poor village actors
When Sacha Baron Cohen wanted a village to represent the impoverished Kazakh home of his character Borat, he found the perfect place in Glod: a remote mountain outpost with no sewerage or running water and where locals eke out meagre livings peddling scrap iron or working patches of land.
But now the villagers of this tiny, close-knit community have angrily accused the comedian of exploiting them, after discovering his new blockbuster film portrays them as a backward group of rapists, abortionists and prostitutes, who happily engage in casual incest.
They claim film-makers lied to them about the true nature of the project, which they believed would be a documentary about their hardship, rather than a comedy mocking their poverty and isolation.
Villagers say they were paid just £3 each for this humiliation, for a film that took around £27million at the worldwide box office in its first week of release.
Now they are planning to scrape together whatever modest sums they can muster to sue Baron Cohen and fellow film-makers, claiming they never gave their consent to be so cruelly misrepresented.
Yeah, yeah, everybody wants to sue now that the movie is a hit.
But, here's where the story gets really interesting.
The comedian insisted on travelling everywhere with bulky bodyguards, because, as one local said: 'He seemed to think there were crooks among us."
Now why would an enlightened Cambridge grad like Sacha Baron Cohen, who wrote his thesis on Jewish aid to the black civil rights movement, be so prejudiced against some poor villagers? Oh, it looks like he had a reason:
Its 1,000 residents live in dilapidated huts in the shadow of the Carpathian mountains. Toilets are little more than sheltered holes in the ground and horses and donkeys are the only source of transport.
Just four villagers have permanent employment in the nearby towns of Pucioasa or Fieni, while the rest live off what little welfare benefits they get.
What kind of Eastern European village has an unemployment rate of 99%?
Have you figured it out by now? The funny thing is that the prejudiced Borat would have figured it out immediately:
The village, like others in the Dambovita region of Romania, is populated mainly by gipsies who say they are discriminated against by the rest of the country.
Indeed, when local vice-mayor Petre Buzea was asked whether the people felt offended by Baron Cohen's film, he replied: 'They got paid so I am sure they are happy. These gipsies will even kill their own father for money.'
In other words, Baron Cohen is making fun of, and 96% of the film critics of America are laughing along at, Gypsies, those other victims of the Holocaust.
The layers of irony are awfully thick here, aren't they?