I NEEDED a good, long shower after watching the latest Borat film – not because of Sacha Baron Cohen, his jokes are impeccably and brilliantly brutal, but because the targets he’s so astutely chosen left me feeling filthy and revolted.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is dangerous art. It’s dangerous because after years now of the new right, the old right, the alt-right, and the far right getting ever more powerful, ever more cocky, aggressive and loudmouth, Cohen’s absurdist creation Borat has come to mock them into silence. Nothing ruins like laughter. This film is danger writ large to rightwing extremism.

This isn’t the garbage comedy of BBC panel-shows with comedians who think it’s edgy to slag off Donald Trump or Boris Johnson for the umpteenth time using the same tired-out gags simply because that’s what a liberal crowd wants, and that’s what gets cheap, empty laughs.

What does that kind of comedy change? Nothing. Saying "Trump’s a lunatic" or "Boris is an idiot" is as challenging and original as saying "I like wine". Just because something is true, doesn’t make it funny. Panel-shows are the comedy equivalent of Twitter – where everyone is in their own bubble, laughing at the same jokes, condemning the same things, signalling the same virtues, while nobody else listens, and thus the entire exercise is meaningless.

If satire is meant to hold a mirror up to the world, then BBC panel-shows have turned the mirror to the wall. Borat shoves the mirror in your face – it gets so close it’s threatening. This is what I’ve been craving for years. We live at a time when satire is more important than it’s probably ever been. Where have all our wealthy comedians been hiding when it comes to looking the modern world straight in the eye? Why have none of our court jesters been brave enough to do with this dreadful decade what Charlie Chaplin did with the 1930s in The Great Dictator? The return of Spitting Image was a fleeting hope that went nowhere. Cohen and his grotesque Borat have finally done what culture has been demanding: drag those in power to their knees, and use comedy to keep them there.

But Cohen’s film isn’t just a danger to the new right, though – it’s also a danger to the extremists of the left as well. I find the term ‘woke’ detestably stupid but let’s accept it as shorthand for the new Puritans who’ve turned leftwing politics into a wasteland without humour. The Borat film is fearlessly politically incorrect, and its brilliance lies in the fact that it fights for politically correct causes without giving a damn for the straitjackets and dogma demanded by the new Puritans.

Misogyny, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia – none of these evils have been curbed by cancel culture or years of screaming on social media. In fact, it could be argued that the excesses of the new Puritans fed the fires which fuelled the growth of such hate. Borat bumbles along with a ‘yakshemash’ here and a ‘wa wa wee wa’ there, and flattens hate culture effortlessly.

This new Borat film is a different creature to the first movie, though. In keeping with the times, Borat 1 in 2006 was lighter, less intense, less unsettling. Both films take aim at bigotry in all its forms, but Borat 2 has at its centre some very unsettling things to say about men and women, gender and sexism. Film 1 jumped from target to target – a racist here, an anti-semite there. Film 2 is similar, but it also keeps returning to the issue of sexism. Although, sexism doesn’t quite feel like the right term to describe the target Cohen is aiming at – it’s more like he’s trying to highlight the gulf that exists in the worlds men and women inhabit. He’s shockingly on point.

The film’s framing story sees Borat journey to America to offer Johnny the Monkey, Kazakhstan’s number one simian porn star, to Donald Trump as a gift. Unable to get to the President because he used Trump Tower as an outdoor toilet in the last movie, Borat decides to visit Mike Pence instead. Spoiler alert – Johnny the Monkey dies and so Borat plans to give his 15-year-old daughter Tutar to the Vice President instead.

The movie skewers our culture’s ghastly acceptance of sexism. Tutar – played by Maria Bakalova, as gifted a comedian and improviser as Cohen – is seen as little more than a ‘thing’ by most of the grotesques the father-and-daughter team encounter in America. To some, she’s simply a sex object – and remember the actress, who’s 24, is playing a 15-year-old girl in the film. It’s predatory, horrifying. The much publicised antics of Rudy Giuliani – which don’t live up to the hype – are eclipsed by the disturbing scene where she’s leered over during a debutante ball.

One stroke of genius in the film centres on a dance routine which Borat and Tutar perform in public. Tutar lifts the hem of her skirt to reveal blood on her underwear. She’s having her period. The routine is a direct nod to a scene in the previous film where Borat and his obese director run naked through a hotel. The movie asks us: so you’re okay with a gag about the bodies of naked men, but your not okay with a gag about the bodies of women? It’s subversively clever.

However, the movie also carries a ‘women beware women’ message as well – don’t objectify yourself, the film asks its female audience, in one ghastly scene featuring a ‘sugar-baby influencer’. It takes another woman to tell Tutar she doesn’t need to fall into the sexist traps of the beauty industry to be a happy human being. If I was 30 years younger and had two X chromosomes I’d find it a pretty decent message. With Poland waging war on women through the country’s abortion ban, and Roe v Wade at risk in America, this is a feminist battle cry much more powerful than any lazy hashtag.

If you’re easily offended – which judging by social media everyone is these days – then you will be shocked. Good – that’s what real satire is supposed to do: shock you to your senses, and give you a laugh along the way.

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