The satire heard ’round the world discussed at CU
While the Conference on World Affairs may not be here until April, CWA organizers have already begun a series of lectures at CU.
Israeli journalist Stuart Schoffman gave CU’s student community a lecture on perceived prejudice in the movie “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” Wednesday evening at the UMC.
“Sacha Baron Cohen is an equal-opportunity mocker of all prejudices and pretensions,” Schoffman said. “He’s playing in on the natural tendency of western, especially American, audiences already possessing condescension of a third world society.”
The lecture, entitled “Prejudice and Political Correctness in the Age of Borat,” was the fourth of five events in the Conference on World Affairs Athenaeum Lecture Series. The series preludes the Conference on World Affairs, a weeklong event scheduled for April.
Schoffman began his discussion on the topic by showing three clips of the movie. The audience, mostly students and numbering well over 100, rippled with amusement at the scenes.
Schoffman, who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 20 years, impersonated Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat” voice to perfection, garnering laughs from the audience.
Schoffman went on to explain that the anti-Semitic, over-the-top references that saturate the movie are simply satirical.
“I don’t think the movie is about smoking out anti-Semitism in America,” he said. “There is a degree of tolerance for entertaining this guy. It is asking viewers: what are your own limits of political correctness?”
Charles Ryder, a senior majoring in anthropology and English, served as a student Athenaeum fellow and helped organize the event.
“Schoffman spoke to why people enjoyed ‘Borat,'” Ryder said. “He pulls out the underlying meanings, and why the film is actually funny.”
Ramsay Thurber, assistant director of public affairs for CWA, said he appreciates the hard work of student volunteers such as Ryder.
“The thing that is so different about the conference and Athenaeum is it is all about pushing the students forward,” Thurber said. “Our students are involved in every aspect: recruiting, coordinating, housing and travel of the guests.”
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