Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Kazakhstan is here
Borat didn't need to use Kazakhstan; he could have portrayed Israel
Apparently there's no need to explain who Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev and Sacha Baron Cohen are - they are all one and the same. For the few who are still unfamiliar with Baron Cohen: He is a wild English comedian who has created a series of crazy and fictional characters currently appearing on TV, film and in numerous scandals.


The hottest character is that of Borat Sagdiyev, a Kazakhstan TV reporter, who is ostensibly preparing a documentary on the culture of the US so that he can present it to the great Kazakh people.


In a series of (real) interviews with (real) US citizens and with infinite courage, vulgarity and (artificial) racism, he manages to reveal his interviewees' true character: They are racist, violent and foolish.


The problem is that while revealing their true characters, Borat has portrayed Kazakhstan in a deeply derogatory manner. In order to win the hearts of his interviewees and to coax them to release their evil tongues, he presented the Kazakh people and himself as a primitive, illiterate, anti-Semitic and of course a shameless and uninhibited people.


That's how he got a group of people sitting in an American bar to sing along with him to a made up song: "throw the Jew down the well." That's how he held a conversation in an arms store regarding the question of the best gun with which to kill Jews. That's how he got an interviewee to agree with the "Kazakh law" obliging maimed human beings to be locked up in cages, among other such revealing matters.


Bottom of the human pit

The Kazakh government is furious and has demanded revenge; this is understandable. Without due course, Kazakhstan is being depicted worldwide as a garbage can full of horse urine drinking racists, who oppress their wives, persecute religious and sexual minorities, exile eight- year-old girls, and force homosexuals to wear identifying blue hats – this is just a partial list. This is the bottom of the human pit.


Even Borat's fans are finding it difficult to espouse this baseless cinematic lynch of a country that has done no harm.


It makes sense that if his audience is foolish enough to face the camera and say such hair-raising nonsense, it is probably also foolish enough to believe the rubbish Borat is saying about Kazakhstan.


Not good.


But it's especially bad, because with a little forethought, Sacha Cohen could have spared himself this embarrassing fiasco. Had he presented himself as an Israeli reporter to begin with – a country that under some of our strange laws is his as well - he would not have had to lie so much to reveal his interviewees' true character.


Without batting an eyelid, he could have said that in his country homosexuals have to wear a pink badge in order to partake in a rally. And if homosexuals want to convene publicly in their capital, they must do so in a cage.


And he would not have had to invent imaginary songs, he could have sang "death to the Arabs" along with his interviewees. And the debate over which is the best gun to kill Arabs with could have been taken directly from the daily routine of an Israeli arms store.


Without insulting an innocent country, he could have told how women are banned from testifying in certain courts of law and that religious officials compare homosexuals to beasts. He could have mentioned how if a person is not born to the right people he or she cannot purchase Israeli land. And that to kill minorities is much easier and widespread than picking a protected iris in the Galilee.


That rabbis feed their cattle strange crackers during the month of March, so that their milk can be consumed in April…and a series of other humoristic and enlightening rules and regulations.


He could have also talked about the boutique wineries in our country, whose flavor does indeed resemble that of fermented horse urine.


He could have done all that without lying, without exaggerating and without getting himself into trouble. Because Borat's Kazakhstan isn't in Kazakhstan, it's here. So next time – please be more careful.


פרסום ראשון: 11.14.06, 16:24
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