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Mahir To Borat, I Sue You! 275

An anonymous reader writes "The mockumentary Borat bears more than a passing resemblance to late '90s net celeb Mahir Cagri of, and he's not amused. Steven Leckart of Wired magazine gives him the third degree."
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Mahir To Borat, I Sue You!

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  • Wrong, wrong, wrong! (Score:5, Informative)

    by celerityfm ( 181760 ) * on Sunday November 05, 2006 @12:27PM (#16725583) Journal
    This Wired article has already been debunked [], with more sources then you can shake a stick at. The bottom line is that The earliest date we can determine for Mahir Cagri's website is 1998 and the earliest known mention of Sacha Cohen's Borat character is 1994.

    So. Thanks Wired for reminding us of Mahir, gotta love him, and for stirring up more press about Borat. But please don't blemish Sacha Baron Cohen like this. On the DVD commentary for the first season Sacha Baron Cohen said his character was based off of a doctor he met in Russia- it's based on someone else, not Mahir. If anything that Russian has a chance to sue Cohen I suppose :P

    In any case, any publicity is good publicity, rite?

    Also, first post bitches!
    • ... Sacha Baron Cohen ... ... Sacha Baron Cohen ...

      Is it necessary to write out someone's full name twice in a post? It looks a bit too much like a kiss-up or having an air of pretentiousness.
      • thats cos I wrote the 2 paras separately, then combined them and didn't edit them completely. I agree that it looks pretty stupid that way. Oh well :(
      • by bhima ( 46039 )
        obviously he is, or will be, a serial killer
      • When the guy's going for first post he doesn't have too much time to edit. Additionally he now stands at +5 which is respectable in itself. Both of those combined means a winning post.

        Your comment tears that down -- it looks a bit too much like envy or having an air of jealousy.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by j0hn33y ( 229767 )
      What about Yakov Smirnoff?
      • with regard to Smirnoff, here is a choice Metafilter comment:

        "So there I was sitting at the hotel bar. It was three o'clock in the afternoon on a Thursday is a big urban area. I was one of maybe a half dozen people skipping out on the conference's keynote speech to drown our sorrows in over-priced draft beer. We didn't talk, or even make eye contact, with each other and we'd spread out through the bar out of solemn respect for each other's alcoholism. The only noise was from the TV above the wall of liquor
    • by vidarh ( 309115 )
      Get your facts straight. The Wired article hasn't been "debunked", because it didn't claim anything other than that there are similarities and that they'd let Mahir speak for himself in an interview.
      • But its Wired's duty to at least TRY to get the other side as well, which Wired these days routinely fails to do because of a extremely inept writing and editing staff, or worse personal politics of said staff to manipulate it's readership which their past EiCs have admitted is going on there now.

        They went from a great tech counterculture magazine of the 90's to complete and utter joke. Its no wonder after 6 years I let my subscription laps.

      • It was a combination of my reaction to the AC's description of the article, my not understanding what "the third degree" was referring to and my rush to get first post. I guess it's more accurate to say that the link I supplied debunks the idea implied by the AC and the article- that Borat is a ripoff of Mahir.

        The first post thing was both my attempt to tell the rest of the story at the "top of the fold" AND also... well.. to get first post. I admit it, I am an FP whore :(
    • Looks like our friends at ENN are trying to setup a coral cache for incoming /. clickthroughs.. its broken right now, but here is a working one [].

      I fail for not using that in my post :(
  • Frivolous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by packetmon ( 977047 ) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @12:28PM (#16725595) Homepage
    You know... I think I'll sue someone for something when I'm washed up and can't find an avenue to make money off of. When my 15 minutes of fame is up someone is getting subpoenaed I can tell you that much
  • And when you do something that someone somewhere has done sometime before, it should come as no surprise. There are billions of people in this world and everything has been done before. Including suing Borat.
    • There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.
      Audre Lorde ("Poetry Is Not a Luxury" Chrysalis)
    • And when you do something that someone somewhere has done sometime before, it should come as no surprise. There are billions of people in this world and everything has been done before. Including suing Borat.
  • Borat has been on the Ali G show since the 90s and while he was not super popular he was clearly there. Sounds like this guy is just looking at getting some free money from a guy with a similar act.
  • by Delifisek ( 190943 ) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @12:46PM (#16725781) Homepage
    In Turkey,

    We got tons of Mahir and Borat.

    Does any one say What is so interesting about these guys ? Those guys are Turkish equvalent of American redneck.

    • In Japan there are (or were a few years ago) "celebrities" who make their living doing nothing but being americans. They appear on talk shows, game shows, commercials, you name it. They tend to have overly stylized american features, dress, and haircuts that they have admitted are there simply for the act, and that they would be a nobody in show business here. It's really kind of amusing.

      I guess every country likes to laugh at parodies of foreigners.
    • "Does any one say What is so interesting about these guys ? Those guys are Turkish equvalent of American redneck"

      Does it help explain it that American rednecks [] themselves are also giants of American comedy?
    • by tygerstripes ( 832644 ) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @01:59PM (#16726547)
      I think you may have missed the point of Borat, and the real source of the guy's humour.

      He isn't making fun of Turkey, Kazakhstan or anywhere else. He's using this stereotype - which many westerners are too self-centred to realise is a stylised stereotype - to highlight just how ridiculously self-centred and unaware we are. Although the film is set in the US, Borat originally gave this treatment to the UK in the Ali G show. I clearly recall a scene he did interviewing english fox-hunters and protesters, in which he lambasted their opinions - and the hunters' total inability to admit why they were doing what they were doing - and it simply wouldn't have worked as a serious news piece. He mentioned to a protester that in his home-country, people hunted [some animal - bears, was it?] all the time. When she asked, slightly incredulously, why on Earth they committed such barbaric acts, he just looked slightly confused and replied: "Er, for fun. Yes."

      A stroke of genius. It was the first time I can recall anyone actually stating it so plainly, and it completely threw everyone! Nobody else could have held up such a stark mirror to the practice of fox-hunting and cut through all the bullshit posturing about country-ways, animal rights and so on. It wasn't funny because he was being backwards. It was funny because he was throwing a fresh, embarrassingly clear light on an issue that nobody from the UK had the balls to admit to.

      The fact that there are people shallow and dense enough out there to laugh at his zany throw-back pube-bartering ways instead of everyone's reactions to him tells you more about us than about Kazakhstan. Sadly.

    • A movie with an American redneck stereotype in Europe would probably be hilarious too.
    • by bahwi ( 43111 )
      Yeah, we enjoy non-politically-correct jokes. We've already done the American Redneck jokes to death(see: Jeff Foxworthy) as well as doing the redneck suburbanites(see: Blue Collar Comedy).
    • by smcn ( 87571 )
      Many Americans find our own domestic rednecks [] funny as well.
    • I agree with you; each place has its rednecks or variant thereof.
      It's a sort of local commentary on kitsch or ignorance...
    • by Somnus ( 46089 )
      When other countries' rednecks humiliate our rednecks, it's funny.
    • Borat isn't funny because he's making fun of Turkish/Kazakhstan "rednecks." He's funny because he uses the character to expose ignorant viewpoints in American rednecks.
  • Has been a comic staple for a long time.

    You've got Bronson Pinchot's character Valky.

    Even earlier, you've got Andy Kaufmann's character from Taxi.

    I'm sure if you look you can find countless other examples.

    So both these guys have moustaches. Big deal.
  • No, the title is NOT off topic. I'm referring to Yakov Smirnoff. If anyone should sue "Borat", it might be Yakov. Sasha Cohen stole the basic Soviet-area fish-out-of-water-in-the-US idea from Smirnoff. However, it must be pointed out, that Cohen did not steal from Yakov the idea that it should be funny.
    • I always loved the classic Yakov Smirnoff sketch called "Shoot the Jew" that YS used to do. I wonder why he stopped? Also, I find his sketch "My sister is #4 prostitute in all of Soviet Russia" sketch to be hilarious. I don't know why Sasha ripped him off.

      They are EXACTLY the same.

  • I can play many instruments, but best I play accordion-flute-mandolin-violin-drum-and-saz (Turkish instrument).

    Where can I get one of these Turkish accordian-flute-mandolin-violin-drum-and-saz things? And how the hell are you supposed to play it?
    • In English it's called a "CD player".

    • by ColaMan ( 37550 )
      I was going to get one of those for my retirement and learn to play it. Yes, I know it's a pleasantly futile task - I've the wrong number of mouths. But it'll pass the time nicely.
  • Anything to do with a web site is news for nerds now?

    • by Durrok ( 912509 )
      If you don't understand the internet legend portion of this story doing some searching on wikipedia for ikissyou. Also remember the whole "Better to be thought an idiot then open your mouth and remove all doubt" saying.
    • I agree it's borderline- but, there are a few subtle factors at play here:

      Web 2.0 vs .. uhh.. old school :P (Dot Bomb?)

      #1 - Borat's success due to Web 2.0/YouTube culture buzz

      #2 - Mahir's old-school website of internet lore and fame

      To study how the two became "famous" is a study in the way the web has changed in 10 years.. fair enough that Borat had traditional media on his side, but he stood on the shoulders of the new web to become the phenom he is now. Much in the same way that Mahir became famous, excep
    • This is CmdrTaco's blog*. Anything that interests him is ok to post here. Check the editor before you complain about story relevance.

      * Yes, I know this is a retroactive definition. But it's the most apt definition.
  • Cohen is way overrated as a comic, if you could even call him that. I feel bad for the Kazakhs who now have to deal with this crap from Westerners who know nothing about them.
  • On my internet there is problem,
    And that problem is Borat.
    He take Mahir's jokes,
    He never give it back.

    Throw Borat down the well,
    So Mahir can be free.
    You must grab him by his mustache,
    Then we have big party.

    If you see Borat coming,
    You must be careful of his teeth.
    You must grab him where it is funny,
    And I tell you what to do...

    Throw Borat down the well
    So Mahir can be free
    You must grab him by his mustache
    Then we have big party
  • Seriously, does any of this matter? Borat is somewhat redeemed by shining a harsh light on American culture rather than simply making fun of mideast/asian stereotypes - but at essence it is basically 21st century blackface minstrel stuff.
    • but at essence it is basically 21st century blackface minstrel stuff.

      Yes, and people laughed at that too.
    • by pboulang ( 16954 )

      Satire, in its direct confrontation with everything from ignorance to stupidity is extremely important.

      If someone or something is hit with satire, it either is strengthened with its ability to handle it, or forced to reconsider its position/view/attitude/etc. Either way, it is good to shake the etch-o-sketch of life. (of the audience... rarely will the target of satire be affected.. just offended)
  • At least in the U.S...

    Copying substantive plot elements? Someone's life isn't a series of plot elements they had to think up. There's no notion of carefully structuring it to have maximum value as entertainment. Whilst, "Guy with an ego is in the TopGun problem, guy's buddy dies, guy questions ego, guy comes out stronger." is a plot someone went to trouble to think up and is protected, simply having lived a certain way, even if you're a media whore and many actions were deliberate, isn't protected in the sa
  • I've seen quite a few Ali G episodes and most of the pre-release hype for Borat, and it sort of strikes me that Cohen's comedy is pure anti-muslim bigotry. He seems to go out of his to consistently portray muslims in the worst possible light.
    • Re:Bigot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @03:14PM (#16727227)
      I've seen quite a few Ali G episodes and most of the pre-release hype for Borat, and it sort of strikes me that Cohen's comedy is pure anti-muslim bigotry.

      In other news today, Swift advocated cannibalism as a solution to poverty in Ireland. What a monster.

      Seriously, you're missing the point here entirely. The way Ali G and Borat work is by simultaneously making fun of the ignorant bigotry of the characters themselves, and also taking advantage of liberal tolerance of them. Thus Ali G is in the first place a straightforward parody of middle-class white English kids who ape American gangsta culture, but is also a vehicle by which Cohen can entrap public figures into making fools of themselves: they try to seem tolerant and accepting of what they take for a representative of Contemporary Youth Culture, and end up walking straight into it.

      Unfortunately, Ali G ended up being adopted as an icon by middle-class white English kids who ape American gangsta culture and who didn't quite realise that half the joke was on them. Thus, after selling out spectacularly and milking the character for all he was worth, it was time to bring Borat to the fore.

      Borat is a more sophisticated caricature than Ali G. He's a mish-mash of Slavic and Eastern European stereotypes, and bear in mind that what with the Iron Curtain and all, stereotypes about Eastern Europe are decades out of date, going back to before the Holocaust made anti-Semitism unspeakable. Stereotypes rooted in a nasty past of peasants and pogroms. Borat is a fossil out of this past. In the name of tolerance to a different culture, the people Borat meets will bend over backwards not to give offence, and then the fun lies in finding out just how far the faux-Kazakh guy can go and get away with it, and how hypocritical we're prepared to be in tolerating Borat's intolerance. And, for that matter, in finding out just how different to our ignorant peasant forebears we Western urban sophisticates really are, beneath the surface.

      The only concern I really have is about how it all reflects on Kazakhstan itself. From what I've heard, though, they've caught on that the joke's not on them at all, that it's rather a good joke, and that there's no such thing as bad publicity. At least now we've heard of Kazakhstan...

      I haven't seen Borat's film - I'll be seeing it on Friday, and I'm very much looking forward to it. I was never inclined to see the Ali G film, but Borat I think has a lot more potential.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Swift advocated cannibalism as a solution to poverty in Ireland. What a monster.

        Actually, that was pretty monstrous. Swift wasn't bound by modern political correctness, and thus his bigotry is all the more heinous. Racism against the Irish was widespread in his day. What would you say to someone today who advocated cannibalism as a solution to poverty in Bangladesh? No matter how good his writing, he'd be pilloried as a racist (Orson Scott Card comes to mind).
        • by Nimey ( 114278 )
          Have you read "A Modest Proposal"? His essay looked to be a satirical way of drawing attention to the plight of the Irish.
        • I'm trying to figure out if you're being serious or just having some fun. Sarcasm is so hard to see on the internets. All those tubes skew perspective.
      • Kazakhstan is the most popular country of the first GIS project at the secondary college I work at. It's not even released in Australia yet :P
  • i've been reminiscing about this quite a bit. that was one of the first memes that i remember from the net way back. it's great to see some of this old stuff again.
  • neither is new (Score:2, Informative)

    by NNland ( 110498 )
    I would also mention that playing a character from a foreign country to mock the US was done in the 70's by Andy Kaufman, which makes both of these guys (no matter how funny or relevant) "style biters".
    • I would also mention that playing a character from a foreign country to mock the US

      Interesting that you consider Borat mocking the US. When I first saw him I couldn't figure out if he was trying to mock the US or not. After awhile I decided the humor was targetted pretty generally.
  • This is the first time I heard about the guy. I don't get it. He is like Tarzan on the Internet.

    From Picture4:"I never sex anygirl. Woman I must like first and she must be trust clean too..."
    What the...

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