Borat 2 references a conspiracy group known as QAnon, so what are their beliefs and how do they relate to the film’s storyline? We break it down.
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm references a political conspiracy group known as QAnon, so what are their beliefs and how do they relate to the film’s storyline? Directed by Jason Woliner, the 2020 mockumentary serves as a direct sequel to the 2006 movie Borat. Each of the comedy productions are inherently political and designed to poke fun at American culture. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm incorporates QAnon for a commentary about personal contractions in the time of COVID-19.
Starring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen as the title character, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm primarily takes place in early 2020 America, just as the Coronavirus became a major problem. The narrative centers around Borat’s attempts to please the government of his native Kazakhstan, as he previously embarrassed the country years prior with Borat and subsequently spent 14 years in a labor camp. Borat is sent to America to bribe politicians in the Amazon Prime movie, and eventually plans to set up his 15-year-old daughter, Tutar (Maria Bakalova), with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. When things go wrong, Borat focuses on a new politician, but only after an enlightening conversation about QAnon.
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The QAnon sequence in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm begins at the 62-minute mark. Borat searches for his missing daughter, and temporarily stays with two men with strong political beliefs. It’s unclear if “Jerry Holleman” and “Jim Russell” are real American or actors, but what’s important is that they communicate the core beliefs of QAnon followers. First, they associate Bill and Hillary Clinton with “the plague” (COVID-19), which links to the QAnon theory that U.S. President Donald Trump is leading an underground war against evil democrats. Specifically, QAnon followers believe that the Clintons are part of pedophilia ring that’s responsible for the deterioration of America. In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Jerry and Jim summarize a popular online theory among such conspiracy theorists that the Clintons are evil politicians who torture children by raising their adrenaline and then consuming their blood. In October 2020, Facebook made a vow to ban all accounts associated with QAnon due to the spread of false (or unverified) information.
What does “QAnon” mean? The name stems from the idea that someone going by “Q” has been revealing information about evil democrats for years. When the COVID-19 virus began to spread in America, QAnon memberships on Facebook reportedly increased by 700 percent over a four-month stretch, beginning in March 2020. In Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Jerry and Jim clearly have conservative views (like Borat), and they discuss QAnon conspiracy theories without providing any information to back up their claims. “It’s been said,” Jerry tells Borat when theorizing about the Clintons drinking the blood of children. Through voiceover narration, Borat describes his new friends as “two of America’s greatest scientists.”
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm further pokes fun at Jerry and Jim when Borat educates them with a booklet from the Kazakhstan Ministry of Agriculture and Wildlife. Borat shows the men graphic drawings of women being taking advantage of by doctors during childbirth, a moment which thematically links to the miseducation of his daughter, Tutar. “It’s a lie,” Jim says, “It’s a conspiracy.” Borat’s exaggerated reaction in the Amazon Prime film implies that the entire sequence has been staged, which serves as a wink-of-the-commentary on QAnon conspiracy theories and/or loyal partisans who become entirely consumed by theories while ignoring the available evidence.
The danger of QAnon, or any organization dedicated to conspiracy theories, is that people can easily be consumed by deep-dive investigations. Reports have suggested that many QAnon followers began as non-political individuals who found meaning in the organization during the 2020 lockdown. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm doesn’t necessarily attempt to shame people who are curious about the dark aspects of American politics, but the Amazon Prime film does point out the fact that evidence matters while participating in any political debate.
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