Today, we'll be exploring the Borat explosion, posting videos we think might help us make sense out of the bushy-browed, anti-Semite sexist as our proud nation prepares to cradle him to its bosom -- where he'll undoubtedly make sexy time.
But before there was Borat, there was Mahir Gağrı, who posted a Web page in his native Turkey in 1999, and whose broken English and charming directness -- "I like sex" -- made him an early Web phenomenon. Some thought Sacha Baron Cohen's Kazakh TV journalist, "Borat Sagdiyev" seemed clearly influenced by Gağrı's Web persona, and Gağrı is threatening a suit against Cohen. (Cohen, meanwhile, insists he was influenced by a Russian doctor he met once.)
But Cohen did play one small role in coopting Cagri's success: In 2000, Lee Jeans created two Websites, Super Greg (a mirror site of the original is here), a Latin DJ from the barrio, and Rubberburner, a Eurotrash motorcycle racer. Cohen played Super Greg, whose monobrow may suggest Borat, but whose street persona is pure Ali G. The sites were Lee's early, unsuccessful attempt to create a little Web magic ala Gağrı and capture the kids' interest. And while Super Greg is long gone, one of his songs, "Da Number One," still haunts the net.