Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: It was a tuck


We watched the notorious movie last night, including the infamous closing scene with Rudy Giuliani.

Sorry to disappoint you, but yeah, he was just tucking in his shirt.

It was still stupid and inappropriate, just not as scandalous as everyone was imagining. Giuliani was smarming it up with a pretty reporter, smirking and flattering her. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, except for the condescension and DEAR GOD GIULIANI SHOULD NEVER SMILE. He looks like a creepy skull.

He is then invited into her bedroom for a drink. And he took her up on it! Extremely unprofessional and sleazy! I’ve done many interviews in hotel rooms, and if at the end I was invited to go into the bedroom for a drink (never happened, my interviewers were professional too), I would have said, “No thank you, I’ve got to go” or, if we wanted to continue the conversation, I’d have suggested that we meet in the bar in a few minutes.

Then there was a scene where the two of them were fumbling around removing each other’s microphones. Unprofessional again; yes, you thread the wire from the lavalier mic under your shirt to the transmitter, but it’s not a big production. A reporter would find this part of her daily routine, while a guy like Giuliani has done this a thousand times. He wouldn’t need assistance, and neither would she. I’ve done it a hundred times, usually standing up on a stage, sometimes right in front of everyone. It doesn’t involve taking off my pants.

It does, however, sometimes involve unbuttoning a shirt, and then tucking it back in. That’s what I saw Giuliani doing. It wasn’t a big deal at all.

Also, remember, there was a cameraperson recording it all. What Sacha Baron Cohen caught on film was a creepy politician being condescending and unprofessional, nothing more. It was disappointing, actually, and was simply some unflattering editing of an already unpleasant character who thinks he’s attractive and endearing, when he just gets more repulsive the harder he tries.

The attention that bit is given also detracts from the rest of the movie. The truly horrifying parts where when he got his audience of good ol’ salt-of-the-earth Americans to go along with his prompts: an audience of rednecks grinning like feral hyenas as he gets them to sing along to a bad tune he was making about gassing their political opponents to death; the casual and easily elicited antisemitism; the QAnon fans babbling their conspiracy theories; the weird debutante ball where the Southern gentlemen were locked in rigid politeness as Borat’s daughter does a fertility dance celebrating her menses, and the most they do is hiss, “call her an Uber”.

As is usual in a Sacha Baron Cohen movie, the real freaks we should pay attention to are ourselves, not the clown with a funny accent capering on the stage. Borat couldn’t make Giuliani more of a spectacle than he routinely does to himself on Fox News every day, so I thought that bit fell rather flat.

Also, it was an out-loud, unapologetic feminist movie. Let’s not forget that in all the noise about the final setup.

Comments

  1. direlobo says

    I saw an excerpt of the Giuliani part. And yeah, it looked to me like he was tucking in his shirt, but, while lying down. And I ask myself, who lies down to tuck in their shirt, especially with a young woman in the room? Not me. Not anyone normal. Is he unable to stand up on his own? But I can’t help thinking he thought that if he lied down, and tucked it in slowly, who knows what she might do?

  2. DexX says

    I agree – he was tucking his shirt in. That said, his behaviour up to the point was grotesque and grossly unprofessional. His smarmy, disgusting attempts at flirting made me feel physically sick, and he was unnecessarily handsy with the interviewer.

  3. Sunday Afternoon says

    @3:

    She touched his knee a lot during the interview which I’m sure was all part of the setup. I had some sympathy with Rudy – his people failed to notice a trap. Still the height of cringe, though outdone by the debutant ball and the country song.

  4. PaulBC says

    Borat seems more in the tradition of Candid Camera than a sting operation. I agree that Giuliani’s behavior was unprofessional, and I don’t see any problem with ridiculing him over getting suckered. If Cohen were to uncover actual evidence of illegality in his work, a movie won’t be the right place to expose it.

  5. bionichips says

    I saw the clip. 1st he clearly patter her behind in a sexual manner. With that in mind I disagree – he is clearly playing with himself. Who lays down to tuck his shirt in? In a bedroom?

    And what I have not read anywhere else – he is supposed to be a cybersecurity expert, high profile, etc. Apparently he did no screening of the interviewer or he would have known. So not only do we have an unbelievable lack of judgment, but think of the security implications – this tape is clearly blackmail material if it were not released. So I would have to ask, if he was duped that easily, is he potentially being blackmailed? And he is very close to the president.

    This is the sort of thing that would raise a giant red flag for getting a security clearlance.

  6. nomadiq says

    Who lays down on a bed to tuck their shirt in? Who does that with a strange woman in the room?

  7. PaulBC says

    One thing that was definitely getting stroked here was Giuliani’s ego, and this is why he deserves any humiliation that results. I am not famous, but occasionally there are silly people aware of my work (mostly job recruiters, but at least once a strange request connected to some old research). I’ll respond politely if I have to (but I don’t with job recruiters). My rule is: assume a scam or a stalker until proven otherwise.

    If it got to the level of some attractive woman inviting me to a hotel bedroom, I would assume it was a grift. It’s a simple negotiating principle: If looks too good to be true, it probably is. Asymmetric bargaining: the people on the other side of the table probably know the “market” better than you do. Or maybe the old saying “If you’re playing poker and can’t spot the sucker, it’s you.”

    That Giuliani could reach an advanced age and not have these instincts suggests to me that he has had a sheltered life that’s enable him to get away with poor judgment. I would not trust this “high powered attorney” to write a will for me let alone do anything of greater importance.

  8. says

    Yeah, I agree: Giuliani was creepy, unprofessional, and stupid. Everything in the context was sleazy. I’m just disagreeing with the claim I’m seeing that he was caught fondling himself on camera.

  9. residualecho says

    Yes, there was a camera operator recording the interview, showing him leering at the lurid sexual imagery in the book she gave him. The camera angles cross-cut in the bedroom are clearly from hidden cameras. There is complete coverage of the bedroom showing only the two of them. He thought they were alone and increased his pawing behavior. Sure, Ghouliani could get the benefit of the doubt that he was only tucking in his shirt, although when I do it, I don’t lie down, and I don’t take all that time to grope myself in front of others. Got to hand it to SBC’s timing; had he not charged in at that exact moment, we might have seen either some alarming blackmail footage, or nothing. The ambiguity is the best possible outcome for all, especially for free promotion, as we all argue about what we think happened.

    Also, the casual cringe-worthy racism and sexism throughout was the point. The woman who stood up for Borat’s daughter and made Borat keep his distance while she wore her mask is the redeeming highlight of the movie for me.

  10. Artor says

    Cohen’s humor falls flat for me. I appreciate that he so aptly shows the warts on so many reprehensible sleazebags, but the cringe factor is too awkward for me to watch.

  11. stroppy says

    “Who lays down on a bed to tuck their shirt in?”

    Well, when you get to a certain age and you’re already sitting down, sometimes it’s easier to lay back than to stand up.

    In any case, the glue that once held his brain together has come unstuck. As with all the other slap-happy twits and overgrown delinquents stumbling around Trump World, it’s way past time for him to stop chewing up the scenery, pack up his stupid shtick, and get the hell off the stage.

  12. DrVanNostrand says

    I made the same unfortunate decision to watch that movie last night and I have to agree with PZ. It was clearly a tuck. As to why he laid down, I thought it was pretty obvious. It’s hard to tuck your shirt in sitting down. He either needed to stand up or lay back.

  13. tacitus says

    1st he clearly patter her behind in a sexual manner.

    From what I saw, he was him touching the left side of her back at waist level. It certainly wasn’t professional, but while it’s the sort of touching that men will do when testing the waters during their sexual advances (wanted and unwanted), it’s unlikely to be seen as completely crossing the line by most people watching like an ass grab would.

    And yeah, it was a tuck. I suspect Giuliani would have willing to go as far as Tutar was willing to take it, but I doubt he has the same predatory instincts as a Weinstein.

    What struck me throughout the movie was everyone’s willingness to go along with Borat’s bigotry and bend over backwards to avoid calling out his appalling behavior. Even the babysitter, who was a hoot and did absolutely nothing wrong, balked at telling Tutar she needed to get as far away from her father as possible.

    I got the sense that part of that willingness to go along was an innate desire to please and/or a reluctance to condemn. Whether the presence of the cameras made a difference, I don’t know, though I suspect it did, except for the anti-mask rally, which was a public event anyway.

    If there was a right-wing equivalent of Borat (and not just idiots like Jacob Wohl) I suspect they’d eventually find some left-wing people willing to make fools of themselves because the cameras were rolling and because of that innate desire to please and trust people.

  14. klatu says

    @tacitus
    That’s a very “generous” estimation of people in general. Except, the presence of a camera should not fucking matter. If the desire to please is enough for people to keep quiet in the face of what looks like slavery, then those people are fucking useless. Unless they were in on the joke? Idk, I haven’t seen the moviefilm.

  15. klatu says

    […] an audience of rednecks grinning like feral hyenas as he gets them to sing along to a bad tune he was making about gassing their political opponents to death; the casual and easily elicited antisemitism […]

    I haven’t seen this scene, but I can imagine. I also doubt that they are at all ashamed of being seen like this. These are most likely not newly-found beliefs held by easily-swayed dipshits. These fuckers have probably been thinking along such lines for years or decades now. Wannabe-fascists can easily find each other nowadays and build a sizable political base. Big enough to become mainstream. But they’ve always been around, they’ve just been too craven to voice their monstrous thoughts.

    And the US are not alone in this. Here in Germany, the stealth-nazis are getting brave again as well. They’re pretty much in third place now. It’s fucking scary and there is no end in sight. Poland just made its abortion laws even more restrictive, because the world reallyneeds more whites! And with infection numbers flaring up again, nobody is even talking about the starving and burning refugees on Lesbos. Europe is building concentration camps again. But don’t worry, they’re the nice British variant: Where instead of building gas chambers, we let hunger and disease do the job.

    And the worst part is that climate change will explosively increase the number of people seeking asylum in Europe in the next decades. And the EU will not let them in. It hasn’t so far, not on a significant scale. No. We will enslave and murder them, because that’s what we always do to people we don’t like.

    Shit. Sorry for the rant. I’m making even myself depressed now.

    My point is this: I agree with PZ. Who cares about Giuliani? Your fascism problem is far worse than just having a few disgusting figureheads in positions of authority. A sizable part of your population is perfectly fine with mass murder. That’s a much harder problem to fix than just electing the less murdery geriatric. And if you can’t even pull that off… then holy shit. I don’t even want to think about that.

  16. says

    finally pzmyers decided to criticize someone after looking at the source material instead of criticizing him based on critique made by another 3rd party and became a voice of reason.
    One of the worst mistakes the left and the liberals do is spending they credibility on bogus problems, like all people trying to accuse giuliani of more than he did.
    Being sleazy unprofessional jerk is enough and also not a story.

  17. residualecho says

    Now, everybody ditch this low brow comedy and stream from Netflix, The Trial of the Chicago 7, featuring SBC as Abbie Hoffman, one member of a fine cast, with a screenplay written by Aaron Sorkin, and tell me wouldn’t rather be talking about that movie instead.

  18. Silentbob says

    @17

    Oh look, they’ve started leaving out the space between the PZ and the Myers. I think that makes you an honorary trans person. I mean transperson.

    (/snark)

    @18 residualecho

    Mano beat ya to it.

  19. logicalcat says

    I wouldnt even call this sleazy. She invited him to her bedroom for drinks. Thats fine. Shes clearly an adult (regardless of the plot). I swear this is stupid and dishonest.

  20. Ed Peters says

    I agree with most of the above. I also think there is a 3rd possibility (besides ‘tuck’ – innocent or not – and self-pleasuring). Namely, he was getting stiff and needed to re-park the Weinermobile. So he used the undeniable need to tuck in the shirt as cover to re-orient his budding erection, and simultaneously and deliberately, he tried to draw her attention to his excitement (his deep dive, over-manipulation, and excessive duration down there). If she picks up on his not so subtle signal, and wants in, then mission accomplished. If not, the ‘tuck’ provides deniability, though not as plausible as he hopes. So who you going to believe, Gulie or your lying eyes? Watch it again. He spends too much time to be adjusting just the shirt. He’s adjusting Little Gulie too.

  21. John Morales says

    logicalcat:

    I wouldnt even call this sleazy. She invited him to her bedroom for drinks. Thats fine. Shes clearly an adult (regardless of the plot).

    Sure. I mean, what young woman would not want to invite that sexy hunk of a 76-year old into the bedroom for a drinkie?

    (heh)

  22. says

    My immediate impressions:

    Re: Giuliani: I pretty much agree with Ed Peters @ #21. Also, this right here is the key issue.

    Second,

    Also, it was an out-loud, unapologetic feminist movie. Let’s not forget that in all the noise about the final setup.

    Yes! The feminist/father-daughter central theme was wonderful. I find myself thinking about the debutante ball scene and going back and forth on it, and that’s good! That’s good comedy! (I think the “call her an Uber” quote was from the Republican women’s event.)

    Third, I was worried when I read “The truly horrifying parts where when he got his audience of good ol’ salt-of-the-earth Americans to go along with his prompts,” but the only people who came across as truly evil to me were the ones at the rally and the plastic surgeon.

    Fourth, the scene in the synagogue with Judith Dim Evans was really layered (and funny). When she asks if he’s Jewish and he says yes, in the context of the film, it almost breaks your heart.

    Fifth, Maria Bakalova is an extremely talented actor.

  23. PaulBC says

    I’m not inclined to overanalyze this. A guy who one might think was once sharp enough to take on the leaders of organized crime in New York just got punked. There’s no way to spin it as something flattering. He appears to be an easily manipulated old man who thinks very highly of himself.

  24. says

    What I’m surprised isn’t getting more attention is Giuliani claim that China created and purposely released the virus. He’s accusing China of engaging in biological warfare.

  25. PaulBC says

    William Brinkman@26 It’s de rigueur for Republicans. Sen. Tom Cotton has also accused China. I agree that it should be a story, but it’s just not much of a surprise.

  26. hemidactylus says

    @26 & @27

    Don’t forget the emphasis on the Chinese Communist Party there amongst the GOP thought manipulators. They dusted off the ChiCom hook in their bag of tricks. This is contemporaneous with the manipulative perception of Biden as a rabid socialist. So they accuse China of biological warfare, but what they are really doing is engaging in election steering ideological warfare. They are insincerely distorting the epistemic picture in a very immoral manner— a crafty bit of subterfuge that actually serves as a clear example of how Habermas’s three worlds (objectivity, normativity, and subjectivity) operate. They convey false information, do it in a manner that shits on communicative norms, and in a way no sane person should take seriously given the source. Do they really believe this crap themselves? They are either trapped in a commonly held delusion or outright lying.

  27. PaulBC says

    hemidactylus@28 I think it’s simpler. They just want to stir up racism on the assumption that no one who isn’t white can ever be a full American, even if the stereotypes applied to Chinese are typically more positive than those applied to Blacks and non-white Latinxs. I’m sure it plays very well to their base, and they know it.

    The term “communism” comes along for the ride and they’re more than happy to use it. My wife is Chinese and my in-laws live in China. I have also worked with many people from mainland China. If I had no other reason to never ever consider being Republican, that would be enough. And Republicans do run the risk of alienating high-income Asian voters who might be conservative in other ways. Well, that’s their problem, not mine.

    The government of China is terrible, but not because of “communism.” It would be hard to compile a complete list, but there is the occupation of Tibet, the oppression of Uighurs, the oppression of Falun Gong, the current attempt to renege on the 50 year agreement on Hong Kong, and continued refusal to accept Taiwan’s sovereignty.

    On the other hand, they have a booming economy and take good care of their “own people” (that is, the Han Chinese majority). It’s an impressive nation and I might add that they cleaned our clock on the COVID-19 response, not through some nefarious bioweapons plot but by building field hospitals and confining the spread of the virus. (It is true they got a late start by trying to hide it.) This is not even an “amazing” success, just a competent one on an impressive scale. The US was once good at this kind of thing (for about 40 years after WWII anyway).

    So we’re up against a superpower again. Unlike the Cold War, it’s a nation with a very productive export economy, not just bombs and rockets. This would strike me as a wake up call to stop acting like a banana republic and get our act together (independent of the politics of that “act”) but it looks to me like we’re basically screwed.

  28. PaulBC says

    And I’ll add that I have zero tolerance for the “logic” that goes: We can’t respond to COVID-19 as successfully as China, because we have Freedom™ which makes us much better than the Chinese even if leads to the death of hundreds of thousands of our most vulnerable.

    That’s nothing to be proud of, and it merely shows us to be ungovernable and on the way to becoming a failed state if we’re not there already.

  29. Stuart Smith says

    Huh. I honestly expected it to look like a tuck, and it looked like more than that to me. I agree that it was overblown – she didn’t look like or claim to be underage, which was what the initial reporting implied, but he definitely looked like he was doing more than tucking in a shirt there.

    The most interesting part to me was the Qanon guys. Most people were either presented pretty flatly as good, or as bad, or as just confused and horrified. But they were really given some depth. On one hand, yeah, they believe some pretty stupid shit, much of which is likely to lead to them doing bad things. But on the other hand, the segment started with one of them meeting a confused foreigner on the street, and inviting him home to stay with them because there’s a quarantine. Now if SBC were a bit swarthier, maybe things would have played out differently, but honestly they came off as basically decent people who just believe some crazy shit – crazy shit that may well lead to them doing really bad things despite not being innately bad people.

  30. KG says

    PaulBC@29,

    I think there’s a reasonable case for considering the Beijing regime to be nearer to fascism than communism. Alongside the one-party state and Xi’s establishment of a personal dictatorship (which could belong equally to either), consider the increasingly strident nationalism and aggressive foreign policy, the complete dominance of the Han majority and persecution of minorities, the heavy male domination of politics (there any very few women or non-Hans on the Central Committee), the very high degree of eonomic inequality combined with continuing state oversight and on occasion direction of private comapnies (very reminiscent of the Nazi economy as described by Adam Tooze in The Price of Blood: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy).

  31. PaulBC says

    KG@32 It’s certainly an authoritarian regime, and that does make me sad as well as introducing some difficult ambivalence since I find the growth of the Chinese economy exciting in many ways and it is a positive thing for people I like personally, not only family. (It is a bad thing for the environment, but let’s “look at the log in our own eye” first if you don’t mind a gospel reference.) I was there last in 2004, which I suppose is a different eon at this point, and it was something to talk to people my age who were just happy about stuff–like having a car for the first time–and not grimly fixated on terrorism or WMDs or other parts of the national hysteria in the US at the time.

    Democracy died at Tiananmen square (OK, that came out as trite, but really it was a turning point). Since then, any belief that prosperity and trade will lead to Freedom™ should have been put to the lie. The Chinese government understands what they accomplished in 1989 and it is much like what Trump would have liked to accomplish with tear gas and Bible waving. (I guess it takes tanks and bullets though. Don’t tell him!)

    Is it fascism like Mussolini or even Hitler? I like to think it’s not, but I’m biased. Also, the oppression of Tibet and other indigenous people follows a long tradition that the US has drunk deep of itself. It is certainly evil though.

    What gets me especially about the GOP China-bashing though, it is just so stupid. The key to failure is to underestimate your competition. Without rendering a moral judgment on China, they actually look very successful, and it is not by “cheating” unless being the world’s manufacturing behemoth and managing public health competently is not playing fair. They make other mistakes I’m sure, but if there is to be a Cold War, it is not necessarily one the US is going to win.

  32. deanlgold says

    I rarely tuck in my shirts but when I do it does not look like that.
    But here is the point. What if this was Lawrence Krauss and the young lady was a journalist writing about atheism at a conference after recording Krauss in an interview.

    PZ, I think your reaction would be different. You would call it what it was, an abuse of the difference in power and sexual harrassment.

  33. PaulBC says

    Speaking only for myself, if I had to tuck in my shirt around anyone who was not a close friend or family, I would probably say excuse me and turn away from them, at the very least, or possibly just leave things as is until I had some privacy. It does seem a little odd, but I’m not a celebrity former mayor so what the fuck do I know?

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