In the film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,” unwitting individuals are duped into portraying themselves in an unflattering light. The ad-lib film, which was expected to flop, went on to earn $260M at the box office and a 2007 Oscar nomination for best-adapted screenplay. Controversial and purposely offensive, the film spawned ten lawsuits against the producers, based on claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, fraud and rescission. Nevertheless, U.S. state and federal judges agreed that the film, by blending fact and fiction, serves a public interest by providing an “ironic commentary of ‘modern’ American culture.” By analyzing the primary sources in the litigation, students learn why this bizarre “mockumentary” was found deserving of U.S. First Amendment protection, and can apply critical thinking skills to the problem of balancing competing individual and group rights in a diverse society and global community.
|Keywords:||Critical Thinking, Media Literacy, Business Law, Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mockumentary, Kazakhstan, Carmen Meets Borat, First Amendment, Otherness|
Lecturer, Martin V. School of Business, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, USA
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