Borat: Maybe There Really Is No Such Thing As Bad Press

by Nathan Hamm on 10/23/2006 · 7 comments

With the release of the Borat movie coming up so soon, there seems to be quite a bit more attention being paid to Kazakhstan by Western media. While that in itself is not particularly new, more and more of that attention is not centered on Kazakh officials’ dislike of the character. The hullaballoo, it seems, has put Kazakhstan on the map.

While there still are stories about the controversy, they go beyond merely providing a ringside view of the fight. Borat is mentioned in the title to this story, but it looks like he simply made Kazakhstan’s Nomad the center of a story on submissions to the Academy Awards’ foreign film category.

There have also been a few travel stories. The Independent’s Julia Stuart mentions Borat quite a bit in her story, but she has at least gone to Kazakhstan and writes about her visit. Stuart does not have too much positive to say about the food, which is the focus of Michael Steen’s story for Reuters. The interesting things about that one are that Borat is not mentioned at all and Steen maintains a fairly open mind about the cuisine. Frederick, Maryland’s News-Post also has a story on travel to Kazakhstan that, unlike most others one will find, focuses on the delights and attractions of Uralsk. And word has it that The Guardian will be coming out with a story soon on “the real Kazakhstan” as a sort of antidote to Borat.

In sum, it would seem that there is some truth to there being no such thing as bad press.

By the way, Sean Roberts has an excellent post on the political psychology of the relationship between Borat and Kazakhstan. He may have quite a bit in common with some of the country’s elites.

A little a/v treat below

The first four minutes of Borat

Deleted Scenes


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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on Registan.net.

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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{ 7 comments }

johnnie b. baker October 24, 2006 at 12:24 pm

found here –> http://hollywoodhotline.latimes.com/

INVITATION TO KAZAKHSTAN: Sacha Baron Cohen, whose slyly satiric Kazakh journalist “Borat” character hits movie theaters Nov. 3, has been invited to Kazakhstan to see the nation for himself, Reuters reports. Deputy foreign minister Rakhat Aliyeve, son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, extended the invitation. The Kazakh government has been none too happy with Borat’s depiction of the country as a nation of misogynists, racists and anti-Semites whose favorite drink is fermented horse urine, and went so far as to shut down the British comedian’s website http://www.borat.kz — although it’s accessible through http://www.borat.tv

Nathan October 24, 2006 at 12:41 pm

I forgot to mention in regards to that story that it was reported on a regional television station that Borat accepted the invitation to visit the country and was promptly arrested.

Amanda October 25, 2006 at 3:12 pm

I was a bit suprised by the joke that ended the Reuters article: if you you don’t know Kazakhs don’t have any interaction with pigs except for pig fat, and if you haven’t eaten the food—if you don’t have friends who refused to go ghosting unless they know that they’ll be served plov and not beshbarmak—then it’s opaque.

[quoted from article:]
The Kazakhs can even joke at their own cuisine: A Russian gives a Kazakh friend a pig and tells him to feed it whatever he eats himself. A few weeks later the two friends meet again and the Kazakh says the pig has died.

“I did exactly as you said,” the Kazakh says. “It had tea for breakfast, tea for lunch, and beshbarmak in the evenings.”

ChrisM October 25, 2006 at 10:29 pm

Re. the Borat film (Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan), BBC World have just broadcast a news report on the film’s premiere in London. Check out http://www.chrismerriman.com/index.php/archives/209 for a video clip of it…

Leila October 26, 2006 at 7:59 am

Aliev promotes tourism by issuing invitation to Borat really 🙂 Journalists buy Air Astana tickets, stay in luxurious Almaty hotels, go to horse meat restaurant (there are three national restaurants in Almaty maybe, and they are not the cheapest). Good addition to booming economy of glorious nation.

Kyrgyz kid October 29, 2006 at 11:32 pm

Borat has started his election campaign to become US president.

http://www.borat2008.com/

Thank you for visiting my site!

I am sick and tired of seeing a country as prosperous as the US rot under the reign of the Bush royal family. It’s a 21st century and the American roads are still not capable of supporting camels! Jews are still allowed to marry. An average American still can’t afford having rat meat for dinner and gypsies are allowed to wear pants.

USA claims to be a super power but even Stalin would laugh at the US war of terror. Bush has failed to deploy the war elephants to Baghdad. He then made another mistake and deployed soldiers into the field without women who were strong enough to carry them into the battlefield. I would have understood if he at least supplied them with horses.

Kyrgyz kid October 29, 2006 at 11:41 pm

http://www.examiner.com/a-365323~Yeas_and_Nays__Friday__Oct__27.html

Is America ready for Prez Borat?

Forget Hillary, McCain, Romney and Obama.

The 2008 race is going to be all about the candidacy of Borat Sagdiyev (aka, British actor Sacha Baron Cohen).

Not only does the Kazakh newsman have a movie coming out next week — “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” — he also recently unveiled his own campaign Web site, http://www.borat2008.com.

Assuming that Sagdiyev is able to somehow skirt the Constitution’s natural-born citizen requirement between now and then, how would he fare in a presidential campaign?

Well, he already has a political platform, and a truly odious one at that — all the better to square it with the socially backward character’s penchant for misogyny and anti-Semitism. Trust us: These were the least offensive examples we could find.

Abortion: “Like all Democrats, I support a woman’s right to choose. She must definitely be able to choose the color of her cage. …”

The war in Iraq: “Iraq is a beautiful country with a great relationship with Kazakhstan. Iraq has been the biggest importer of anteaters from Kazakhstan. It is also the No. 13 exporter of mules in the world. … USA claims to be a super power but even Stalin would laugh at the U.S. war of terror. Bush has failed to deploy the war elephants to Baghdad.”

And he’s no fan of our current commander in chief: “I am sick and tired of seeing a country as prosperous as the U.S. rot under the reign of the Bush royal family. It’s a 21st century and the American roads are still not capable of supporting camels! … An average American still can’t afford having rat meat for dinner and gypsies are allowed to wear pants.”

Finally, he says he would “change the law and make it illegal for the ugly and stupid people to mate. Celebrities such as Sacha Baron Cohen should be an exception to this rule.”

He may need a refresher course on democracy, however. “I am here to fix this system!” he warns. “If you don’t vote for me, I will take power!”

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