Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Kazakhstan deep in a hole

When I first come across Borat, the intrepid but satirical Kazakhstani journalist and star of Da Ali G Show, I assumed his country of origin was also fictional.

And why not? "Kazakhstan" is a humorous amalgamation of an ex-Soviet Republic and an ubiquitous Central Asian "stan." For good measure it even sounds a lot like a real country in the Caspian region.

When I realized Kazakhstan is that country in the Caspian region I thought to myself "they aren't going to be happy with this Borat guy."

Reason being Borat, who is played by British comic Sacha Baron Cohen, proudly represents Kazakhstan as nation where homosexuals are forced to wear blue hats, Gypsies beaten, farm animals molested, Jews tossed down wells and universal suffrage ignores women, but includes horses.

Once the government of Kazakhstan caught wind of this act they threatened legal action against Cohen. Who, in turn, kept his alter ego separate from himself and stated "I have no connection with Mr. Cohen and fully support my government's position to sue this Jew."

Cohen's clever retort got far more attention than the original protest from Kazakhstan -- which by all estimations is one of the most backwards nations in the world.

Kazakhstan's public relations nightmare will reach a crescendo in November when the feature film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is released.

Reaction to early screenings suggests it could be the comedy hit of the year. In an attempt to preempt the damage the government of Kazakhstan will take out a four page advertisement in the New York Times exalting their nation's virtues. There has also been discussion of a summit with President Bush to figure out ways Kazakhstan can improve its sullied reputation in the United States.

What baffles me about this is Kazakhstan is a predominately Muslim country. Haven't they learned from their Muslim brothers the proper way to protest an infidel they find insulting is to threaten said infidel's life?

That actually gets results, unlike throwing money at the New York Times or whining to President Bush.

While it could be Cohen ends up showing more spine than your typical Western
newspaper editor or German opera director or Vicer of Christ it's worth a shot, isn't it?

Through Borat, Americans know the hobbies of the Kazakhstani include disco dancing, archery, rape, and table tennis.

It's too bad for the people Kazakhstan -- and the reputation of their proud land -- their government doesn't make it a hobby to get with the program.

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