When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

15 November 2005

Kazakhstan protests Borat

The government of КАЗАХСТАН... er, Kazakhstan... is hopping mad about one of Sacha Baron Cohen's comic characters... Borat Sagdiyev, roving telejournalist and "Kazakhstan's sixth most famous man."
Kazakhstan's foreign ministry held a press conference Monday to condemn Cohen's brand of politically incorrect buffoonery.

"We do not rule out that Mr. Cohen is serving someone's political order designed to present Kazakhstan and its people in a derogatory way," ministry spokesman Yerzham Ashykbayev told reporters.

What specifically peeved the officials was Cohen's gig hosting the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards as Borat earlier this month in Lisbon. Appearing in the guise of the well meaning foreign correspondent with an avid curiosity of all things Western, Cohen arrived at the show on an Air Kazakh propeller plane controlled by a one-eyed pilot holding a vodka bottle.

Following Madonna's show-opening number, the mustachioed faux newsman said: "That singer before me. Who was it? It was very courageous of MTV to start the show with a genuine transvestite. He was very convincing. It was only his hands and his testisatchels that gave it away." And he signed off by saying: "To the world, I love you! Apart from Uzbekistan. Assholes."
Borat loves you, New York City!

Lighten up, Yerzham. (I don't think that the foreign minister of Kazakhstan is entirely hip to the fact that he has just helped kick off the publicity campaign for the upcoming Borat, The Movie.)

Besides, Kazakhstan, you need to get ready for your closeup... with 26 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and right next door to China, too, everybody's going to be Really Interested in you soon enough!

Kazakhstan on Borat: Not Nice (E! Online via Yahoo News)

1 comment:

aligrocks said...

Cohen is a Cambridge grad. Not that I worship world class, elite academic institutions but if you manage to slip into one of them, dealing with you deserves a bit more efforts and careful thinking.

The Kazakh government simply doesn't get it.

They just helped Cohen complete his joke on Kazakhstan.

This New Yorker article fully brings out the stupidity of the Kazakh foreign ministry.

Although, I bet, they must be regarding it as innocuous and a success of their intense, international PR campaign to helping restoring their country's image.

When you have the misfortune of being chosen by Cohen as a topic of his show, the dumbest thing you could do is to respond - especially in a serious manner. Those interviewees who took Borat or Ali G seriously fell right into this trap.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry is well advised to shut up and just enjoy the joke. Or, at least, make sure you understand the joke fully before you open your mouth and say something about it.