Here's my response:
I confess I haven't seen the movie, but I have seen enough of Cohen's Shows to realise what this movie will be.
If people are too ignorant to get the joke, to know about Cohen and Borat because they can't be bothered thinking about anything outside their own little window, sucks to be them.
His act simply wouldn't work on people who weren't ignorant. But there's so many people in the world who are so shallow and close minded that his act will continue to work for many, many years.
Maybe if we had a better education system, better global outlook, and a better society overall, Cohen's humour would be what you claim it is - cruel and manipulative.
But the fact so many don't question him, don't challenge him when he's being racist, sexist and homophobic - enough people to get a successful series and movie made - is the really sad part of his act.
If you have trouble recoginsing the predudices of people in the film, maybe it's because it's your own predudices coming into play.
You claim it is 'courteous people' being made fools - no it isn't.
These people go along with him - for whatever reason - and never once do they say "hey, you're out of line" or "stop doing that" or "I don't give a fudge where you come from, stop insulting those people". Never once do they challenge him, and many go along with him. That's worse than fooling people in the first place. Who is more fool?
The Nazi's killed millions because people refused to speak up against what they knew was wrong, and Cohen is pointing out even many years later people are just as ignorant, even with our internet and globalization.
Hopefully Borat will make people more aware of what they do and how they act. Then Cohen has done what he wants to achieve, and that's a damn better outcome than feeling warm and fuzzy because of portaloos.
Oh, and those "Frat Boys" aren't the innocent fools you make them out to be...
"While Cohen and his production team certainly have a knack for finding and taking advantage of the, shall we say, socially questionable citizens of the "U.S. and A," it's hard to imagine that this suit has much merit. First off, a quick look at Seay's Myspace pictures suggest that "gettin' drunk and havin' a good time," are pastimes he regularly engages in -- not behaviors that the producers likely duped him into. Second, he, along with everyone else in the film, signed an agreement relinquishing any rights to take action. Third, the scene in question is so despicable (even though Seay appears less awful than his two frat brothers) that it's hard to imagine any judge or jury feeling sympathetic to his cause." (link)