Friday, September 29, 2006

Borat in Washington

The president of Kazakhstan came to town yesterday, and a massive press scrum fought for toeholds outside the country's embassy, where a grand new statue symbolizing Kazakh independence -- a warrior holding a falcon standing on the back of a fierce winged cat -- had just been unveiled.

But, no, of course that's not why we were there. That's not why any of the 50 or so journalists were there. We were there for Borat .

Or rather, Sacha Baron Cohen , the British comic who performs in the gonzo, deadpan, taking-the-joke-almost-too-far tradition of Andy Kaufman and Peter Sellers . He plays many made-up characters on his HBO series "Da Ali G Show," but few that have struck a nerve like that of Borat Sagdiyev -- an anti-Semitic, oversexed Kazakh journalist who spins tales about the national sport of killing dogs and the practice of keeping women in cages -- much to the continuing dismay of the Kazakh government. In a brilliant stunt to promote his movie "Borat" (opening next month), Baron Cohen held a guerrilla news conference outside the embassy at 16th and O streets NW -- without ever breaking the rest of the Washington Post article here and checkout the video.
But I'm not sure why a press conference with Borat Sagdiyev is a "press conference" while a press conference with President Nursultan Nazarbayev is a press conference (that is, minus the "so called"). Borat is just trying to market his movie (you don't have to invest in the production or even see it) while the second -- our "ally" -- is trying to market his corrupt regime (and your tax dollars do help keep the guy in power and pay for his ads and press conferences and lobbyists in Washington). At least, after watching Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan Americans will not be in a mood to send troops to "liberate" Kazakhstan or Kakhistan and launch a color (brown?) revolution there. (And while we're on the subject, you should read Justin Raimondo's The 'Color' Revolutions:Fade to Black.)

Here is how a friend of mine described the Levantine Personality: He wears a William Fioravanti suit -- and dirty underwear.

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