December 4, 2006

FUNCTIONALLY LITERATE:

'Borat' plays in Peoria; now turn the tables across pond (Chris Jones, December 3, 2006, Chicago Tribune)

Like the recent Dixie Chicks documentary, "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing" (wherein those Americans who opposed the band's political views are mostly portrayed as functionally illiterate), "Borat" functions very nicely as a smug celluloid confirmation of the cheap and ignorant Western European view of a homogenously ugly America. And you don't have to be a fan of Bill O'Reilly or Lou Dobbs to be ticked off by that.

Sure, you could make a case that Borat is only illuminating what's here. If some old guy at a rodeo hadn't made homophobic statements, they wouldn't be in the film. If drunken fraternity guys hadn't behaved exactly as cast, they wouldn't now be feeling so humiliated (and litigious). Similarly, there's no question that some of the anti-Dixie Chick forces -- who resorted to crude threats against Natalie Maines and her colleagues after her infamous comment about being ashamed President Bush is from Texas -- weren't exactly functioning like intelligent members of a mature democracy.

Even Bush himself -- an object of scorn in Barbara Kopple's documentary -- left himself open to mockery by attacking the Chicks with a grammatically tortured remark that they "shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out."


Presumably Mr. Jones just wanted to make a play on tortured? Because there's nothing wrong with that remark grammatically.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2006 11:41 AM
Comments

And last week on the CBC I noticed that Rick Mercer did another one of his stupid "Talking to Americans" shows where he rounded up a half an hour of people being cajoled into saying dumb things. (Hint to Rick: it was kinda funny the first time, not the fifth. No wonder you didn't make the exodus south like most Canadian comics do.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 4, 2006 12:39 PM

Maybe Jones was enjoying a little vicious hyperbole because of the mildly unclear pronoun reference at the end of the sentence?

Posted by: Tanuki at December 4, 2006 5:37 PM

Maybe Jones should accept the challenge from Language Log that the Bushisms guy is terrified of:

itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000292.html

Posted by: oj at December 4, 2006 6:00 PM
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