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Wednesday November 8, 2006 5:07 am

Does Possible ‘Borat’ Inspiration Seek Reparation, or Just Fame?

Mahir CagriMahir Cagri, a Turkish man and freelance journalist, is claiming to be the inspiration for Borat, the fictional Kazakh journalist and main character in the new eponymous film.  Created by Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat first officially appeared on Da Ali G Show in 2003 –  Cohen had been toying with the character for years in Britain, where he began exposing hidden stereotypes, offending innocent bystanders, and making us laugh.  Cagri first became known to the public when he started a personal website to make new friends.  The site quickly gained popularity due to the unintentionally humorous photos of Cagri playing ping pong and wearing a Speedo, and poorly written text, including an invitation for any women wishing to visit his home in Turkey.  This quickly launched Cagri into instant internet celebrity.  However, Cagri claims, “(Cohen) is making money by using me” and seeks an “acknowledgment or an apology.”

Doesn’t this always happen when someone starts to get really famous?  People start coming out of the woodwork, claiming that they’ve been wronged somehow and demanding recognition or payment.  Granted, there are a few coincidences here, but Cohen could’ve culled his inspiration from many different facets of Central Asian and Muslim culture.  It seems Cagri could simply be riding the coattails of a famous character who happens to look and speak similarly.  And even if he is Cohen’s inspiration, should Cagri have the right to call him out publicly?  Should Cohen feel it necessary to apologize?  We don’t think so.  Borat is hilarious – sometimes, satirically brilliant - no matter where he came from, and, despite this accusation, Cohen has molded him into his own unique character.  Cagri should be content in his own celebrity and feel flattered at the possibility of his own grand influence.  So, leave Borat alone; if he not successful in US and A, he will be execute!

Read More | CNN

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