Saturday, November 04, 2006

Borat fools reviewer

Journalists shouldn't get as clumsy as Mr. William Arnold, who wrote a heartless review about Borat's movie for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The gentleman fell for a trap set by Borat, a fictional Kazakh journalist in the movie. Sample this:

In the review lead you'll see:

[Editor's Note: This review has been edited since it was originally published to remove a statement that could be interpreted as ethnically insensitive.]

What was so ethically insensitive that had to be removed? This line:

(He's obviously Islamic, but the movie is afraid to use the dreaded "I" word, and we have to guess it from his anti-Semitism.).

The removed sentence was at the end of this paragraph: Along the way, he has encounters with various American characters and institutions in which he demonstrates himself to be a sexist, racist, ultra-nationalistic, harrowingly crude and insensitive jerk.

Borat should be proud. Arnold, the reviewer, fell, hook, line and sinker for Borat's forte: acting dumb and making people laugh with his antics. Borat's really Sacha Baron Cohen, and being Jewish in real life, he can mock Judaism, atleast to an extent.

As for Arnold's review claim: is Borat the caricature an 'Islamic'? Borat does come from a Muslim nation, but Kazakhstan is multi-religious. His name (Borat Sagdiyev), by face value is Islamic, but he could also be Christian, or Hindu.

Arnold just assumes the "I" name and assumes the enmity between the "I" and "J". That's just sick. Does Borat use the "H" word for "Hindu"? I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know. It's a stupid assumption Arnold makes, something he should not be doing.

Borat's track record's impressive: he's gone as far as instigating the Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev to call the powerful Bush to get Cohen to stop giving Kazakhstan bad PR. Personally, Nazarbayev's gesture was mighty impressive. In Central Asia, no leader cares about their country, atleast Nazarbayev does.

Goes without saying, Kazakhstan is not as bad as Borat makes it seem. Kazakhstan is the world's 9th largest country, and it has plenty of money with oil companies lining up to drill into its massive oil reserves.

I went on a day trip to Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city (capital is Astana), and it seems like a modern city with a vibrant population. People are friendly, but they do seek an extra buck from tourists if given a chance, like in all Central Asian nations.

Some Kazakhs can be Borat-ish, especially the vodka sharpshooters along Mongolia's borders. That vodka culture has spread into the mountainous Mongolian province (aimag) of Bayan-Olgii, known as the unfriendlist part of Mongolia.

But .. the Kazakhs can be friendly folks. Who exactly are they? Mostly a mixture of Mongoloid, Cossack, Russian and more. Kazakhstan's been a stopping point for empires trying to expand, so Kazakh people have a nice mix of cultures. More about them in the next entry.


Blogger Id it is said...

I have been meaning to see this one, and now i most certainly will. Look forward to the next entry about Kazakh culture.

5:55 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home