Thursday, September 28, 2006

Borat riots conspicuous by their absence

There is a great article over in the New York Times (registration is free) about the contrast between the official reaction to Sacha Baron Cohen's character Borat, insulted, and the popular reaction, mildly amused. This is far from the reaction to Danish cartoons, Papal speeches etc. in the rest of the Muslim world. This sounds remarkably, well, balanced:

"Last fall Mr. Bayen prepared a six-minute feature on the controversy over Mr. Cohen’s MTV performance that included clips of the skit depicting Mr. Nazarbayev, borrowed from Russia’s NTV channel. Mr. Bayen cited a history of political satire dating to Molière and recalled an old refrain from Soviet times: “I have never read Solzhenitsyn, but I condemn him absolutely.”

“I do not feel any false patriotism,” said Mr. Bayen, who, like all ethnic Kazakhs, bears no resemblance to Borat whatsoever. “I saw portions of his show, and I can say it is funny.”"

Here's the response from the man himself to 'his president's' comments:

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