Humiliated frat boys sue Borat

My first reaction when I saw this story was, of course, "haha, you stupid frat boys." But now that I think about it, they maybe sort of have a point. I have no idea how the law works here, but if it's true that they were told they were being filmed for a documentary that wouldn't air in the US, and that they were told that the release they were signing was about liability for being in the RV, then that is kind of deceptive and lame.

But more interesting than the legal and moral issues are the artistic ones. When Borat gets in the frat boys' RV, you assume that these are real frat boys traveling around the south in a real RV, drunk. You assume this because many aspects of Borat's encounters, both in the movie itself and in the TV shows which established our expectations for the movie, are real. Believing that this is something he just stumbled upon is pretty crucial to the humor -- not to mention to whatever merit the movie has a kind of journalistic capturing of American weirdness, which seemed to be part of the intention. That aura of fascinating authenticity, that sense that you're watching a documentary, doesn't work if you don't believe this is real, obviously.

But so now we find out that they just put those frat boys in the RV and got them drunk beforehand. Which suggests they probably staged a lot of other stuff too. So it seems like the filmmakers are using the fact that some parts of these interactions ocurred naturally, in order to make the audience assume that they all did. I don't think I'm being too literal-minded here. When much of the humor is premised on the belief that these situations occurred naturally, it's hard to laugh at it in the same way when you're now unsure of which ones did and which ones didn't.

But so now I'm questioning everything. Like, for instance, the black hooker he meets. I was wondering about this at the time. When she shows up in the movie, you're supposed to think that she too is real, in the sense that she thinks Borat is a real guy who she's going out with. That's why its both poignant and a bit cruel when he takes her home and they share kind of a sweet moment on the doorstep. You know she's being deceived a bit, and you feel bad for her. But then she shows up at the end back in Kazakhstan. So by this point you know she's in on the joke. So like, what's going on there? At what stage did she get let in on the joke? Was she in on it from the start? Was the tender scene on the porch just a conventional movie scene with two actors playing roles? Or what? I just feel like there's no conceptual framework governing the premise of the whole thing, which is in one way really interesting. But at the same time, it's only thru the existence of some kind of framework or premise or rules or something that anything can actually be funny, or interesting, or moving, or whatever. I feel like I'm not doing a very good job of explaining myself here, but I also feel strongly that I'm right. Writing is sometimes not as good for explaining these things as having a conversation, although maybe that's only if you're not very good at writing.