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THE CHATTER BOX

 
  
  
  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
  
  
  
 
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Borat by tucsonmike on 8 November 2006 1:24am
 
I haven't seen the movie and it is giving me the hives. Borat makes being in a group dedicated to good relations with Kazakh people difficult.

I am constantly having to convince people "no, I have never met a Kazakh like Borat!"
 
Re: Borat by pandab on 8 November 2006 3:31am
 
First, let me say that I understand why Kazakhs (Kazakhis?) feel insulted by Borat.

Still, from what I gather, Borat isn't so much poking fun at Kazakhs (what is the correct plural anyway?) as he is aiming at Westerners. I haven't seen the movie, and don't really plan to, but from the articles and such I've seen, he is more into exposing the hypocritical nonsense of the West.

Problem is, some of us who are his true targets miss the point. Let's face it. Some of us are pretty dense, and the more bigoted someone is the denser they are.

Pandab
 
Re: Borat by tucsonmike on 8 November 2006 5:59am
 
Hey Pandab. Kazakhs is the correct plural. Tomrrow I will post an article from a Kazakh now writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

I have also heard Sasha Cohen's intention was to poke fun at Westerners. I suspect I would not have had the strong reaction I had if I did not have to deal with the fallout.
 
Re: Borat by kazzzz on 8 November 2006 1:21pm
 
You had to deal with the fallout Mike? How?

I haven't seen the film yet but am dying to , but I must say that if anyone takes it at all seriously they need their heads read!
 
Re: Borat by tucsonmike on 9 November 2006 1:05am
 
Because many Americans now think Kazakhs are like Borat. I may go to the movie Sunday just so I can see for myself.
 
Re: Borat by George on 11 November 2006 3:13am
 
Paul Dalglish, our latest foreign soccer phenom for the local team, the Dynamo, was quoted as saying, he "liked the film, but found that it had no plot." Who would argue with that?

I predict that next to "Talladega Nights...", it will be the blockbuster smash of the year!
 
Re: Borat by George on 11 November 2006 3:27am
 
Now from what I've read so far, it's not so much about real Kazaks as it is about what audiences would like to believe about Kazaks, which would be a kind of "thick-headed" whore monger.
 
Re: Borat by sighthound on 11 November 2006 4:27am
 
Some of the people in the film (the frat boys) are now suing the producers who they claim got them drunk and misrepresented what the project was about before they got them, now TOTALLY drunk, to sign the release. Should be an interesting court case.
 
Re: Borat by Sophie-Louise on 11 November 2006 8:37pm
 
going to see this tonight for my bday!!! will it be funny or will i be disgusted?! we shall see! i think funny when i have managed to get myself high on gummy bears and ice cream! SUGAR HIGH!
 
Re: Borat by tucsonmike on 12 November 2006 5:49am
 
Well the other folks in the Sister City Group are overjoyed that I am going LOL!

I guess I should post the group website, so y'all have a better idea what I am talking about LOL!
http://www.tucson-almaty.info/

The notes I have received from group members.

On 11/11/06, Barbara L Chinworth <blueturtle@gainusa.com > wrote:

Dear Michael,
I thought I would go but after the interview on Leno last night with Borat I was really put off. I try to be openminded etc. I hope you go and fill us in.
Barbara

GEE, I thought I WAS discussing it intelligently. Good for you. Come prepared to say a few words next Wednesday.

Jerry



And now an article from a visiting Kazakh journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Hello all. Here is the Philadelphia Inquirer's take on the Borat film. I agree with the conclusion of the writer, Bagila Bukharbayeva. There seems to be no positive redeeming value here, but rather the presentation of a very negative image about Kazakhstan and the lovely people that live there.
Warm regards,
Jerry Gary

Despite premise, Borat still offends

Bagila Bukharbayeva

is an Inquirer visiting journalist from Kazakhstan

Producers of a film starring British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen say that his alter ego Borat, a bigoted TV journalist from Kazakhstan, isn't about making fun of Kazakhs.

They say the idea is to make fun of bigotry in Western society through a character who is outrageously open about his racist, anti-Semitic and sexist convictions. Kazakhstan was chosen because of its obscurity, they say.

Maybe then we Kazakhs should welcome today's opening of the movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan because the idea behind it is a noble one. We, too, are against anti-Semitism, racism and sexism.

So when Cohen, as Borat, says that one of Kazakhs' favorite pastimes is to shoot Jews, that homosexuals in Kazakhstan until recently were obliged to wear blue hats, that incest is a norm, and that Kazakh women are kept in cages - we should understand that he is making it up for his good cause. Since he is Jewish, it makes even more sense.

And I guess when he makes up something like Kazakhs' favorite drink is fermented horse urine, we should understand that the message is about respecting foreign cultures and cultural diversity.

Ironically, probably no other post-Soviet country takes its international image as seriously as Kazakhstan. The government hires PR companies to promote the country, and regularly buys ad time on CNN and the BBC, and in the largest Western newspapers.

The image of moving toward democracy that the government tries to promote isn't quite accurate - the country has never seen free elections. But there has been notable economic progress since the Soviet collapse, thanks to a great extent to the nation's huge oil reserves.

So Kazakh government officials have been unhappy with Cohen, especially after he appeared as Borat on the MTV music awards last year. They became unhappier after his insulting remarks about President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry threatened to sue Cohen and alleged that Borat was a plot aimed to damage the country's image. The Western media jumped on this funny story about some obscure country's government with no sense of humor wrestling with a comedian.

Kazakh officials told me privately later that they realized the attempt to silence Borat, or pay any attention to his antics, was a mistake. So they decided to ignore him.

Cohen, to his credit, nevertheless found a way to engage the Kazakh government, using Nazarbayev's visit to Washington in late September. Borat declared that Nazarbayev was visiting the States to promote his film, in which Borat, after arriving in the United States, falls in love with Pamela Anderson and then chases her across the States.

Nazarbayev probably saw his meeting with President Bush as a high point in his efforts to find the right balance in relations with two powerful regional neighbors, Russia and China, and at the same time build a bridge to the West. Or it could have been a story of this former Soviet republic's struggle to embrace the concepts of human rights and civil and political freedoms.

But for most U.S. media, it was a story of some unknown developing country being taken on by a Western comedian. As Nazarbayev proceeded with his official visit, Cohen, as Borat, gave a press conference outside the Kazakh embassy in Washington.

When Cohen is in character, interviewing people, probing them for their hidden prejudices and phobias, it can be effective. But when giggling journalists interview his character, then the noble idea declared by the film's producers gets lost. He is not making fun of bigotry. He is making fun of Kazakhs.
Contact Bagila Bukharbayeva at bagila@gmail.com.

So there you have it. Kaz, this way you will have a better idea why I reacted the way I did.

I'll let you know how I felt about the movie tomorrow. You all can judge if I already had preconceived notions. I am trying not to. I just did not want to be like the guys in the Vatican criticizing the Da Vinci code without seeing it first.
 
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