CWA panel discusses two personas as example of alternate realities
A Conference on World Affairs panel discussed the nuances of the mass media productions of Borat and The Colbert Report.
Terry McNally, Mark Levine, Nathan Johnson and Michael Laine used the personas of Stephen Colbert and Borat as examples of alternate realities and the messages they send.
“Colbert and Borat transform existing mass media to say something about itself,” McNally said.
That is, Colbert and Borat use satire and comedy to express an underlying message.
“They use their personas to say the things we are all afraid to say. They don’t believe a word of it,” Levine said.
Instead of using direct insults, Colbert and Borat use a type of acting. Johnson described it as “expanded ventriloquism.”
“They can say insults yet have something to hide behind,” Johnson said.
The discussion of alternate realities progressed from Colbert and Borat to everyday society.
“People watch the Fox propaganda channel and actually believe it. What reality are they living in?” Levine said.
The panelists discussed the points that everyone has numerous alter egos and we use them on a day-to-day basis.
“You talk to a friend different then you talk to your wife,” Laine said. “It just makes me wonder exactly how many realities do we play in a day.”
The four panelists spoke to a crowded room of people young and old. They laughed when scenes of Borat were recounted and quotes from Colbert were told. Many joined into the conversation about their viewpoints on the two men. Most agreed with the panel’s positive attitude towards Borat and Colbert.
The verdict on the opening question, how many realities would there be if Colbert interviewed Borat, was six. There would be Colbert, his real self and his character; Borat, the real and the fake man; and you as the viewer, the real you and whoever else you may be.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Dana Silva