Bad Press

by Nathan Hamm on 12/14/2005 · 6 comments

Reporters Without Borders is rapping Kazakhstan for shutting down Borat’s site. There is tons of press coverage and plenty of blog conversation regarding Borat. Kazakhstan is looking pretty foolish.

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Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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upyernoz December 14, 2005 at 6:49 pm

obviously, i think kazakhstan is being pretty stupid going after borat like this. but when i was reading one of the articles which listed a couple of borat’s jokes, i did feel a little sorry for the kazakhs. borat’s humor is based entirely on american ignorance of what kazakhstan culture is like.

at the same time, kazakhstan is just making things worse waging it’s campaign against borat. it’s just generating more attention to borat’s schtick and, frankly, makes the kazakhs look like the backwards bafoons borat portrays them to be

Nomad December 15, 2005 at 2:12 pm

Kazakhs are very sensitive in such issues. Borat’s jokes are way over his height…Such joke “Please, captain of industry, I invite you to come to Kazakhstan, where we have incredible natural resources, hard working labour and some of the cleanest prostitutes in all of Central Asia” would definetly hurt any Kazakh person including myself.
I hope Cohen first gets a life and finds better jokes rather than insulting nations.

Peter December 15, 2005 at 6:32 pm

Hey look, there’s an article by a really well informed writer here, ahem;

Nathan December 15, 2005 at 8:11 pm

Nomad, I see what you’re saying, but the joke’s not on Kazakhs so much as it’s on Westerners. Sure, it’d be nice if he made up a country so no one would have to feel hurt (though I’m sure someone would find a way), but the Kazakh government could very well ignore him. Plenty of countries have to put up with this all the time and don’t resort to acting like children having temper-tantrums.

Peter December 16, 2005 at 4:45 am

Having seen Borat evolve over time, I can tell you that the original joke was intended primarily to mock the interviewees depicted during his skits. The concept being that you could get people to admit to terrible things if they believed they were talking to a foreigner from a country where PC had not been invented. Sadly, the satire appears to have fallen away as the character has become more famous, but the fact remains that to some extent the joke is still on the fool who gullibly believes everything he is told by television.
In at a recent talk I went to the Kazakh ambassador to the UK dismissed the furore over Borat while bemoaning the fact that people overlooked real great historical figures from his country. The only example he gave was Attila the Hun, though nobody worked out if he was joking or not.

Nomad December 16, 2005 at 9:05 am

If the same joke was about US, UK, Spain or any other known country, I wouldn’t give any $hit and laugh out my azz since I know the fact of these countries.
But for an unknown country, I would look for a truth behind those jokes.
He is misleading below average people with these stupid jokes.

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