Giving it up for the ‘Shtans

Seems 20th Century Fox is releasing crazy tongue in cheek comedy action about Borat from Kazakhstan (apparently another pop culture phenom i hadn’t noticed). Of course, clips abound on Google’s youTube – both of deleted scenes and an “official” clip posted by the producers.

If the Borat Ministry of Information website is any indication (looks like a 1997 geocities project), the art direction seems fantastically campy and smacks of realism with a touch of over the top-ness so no one is confused – case in point, the Borat tv page and Borat’s Myspace.

Boart and friends I am fan of the mock-u-mentary format in general (faves include: David Byrne’s underrated masterpiece “True Stories,” (Byrne’s site) “(This is) Spinal Tap” (fansite and even “Best in Show” by the same crew) and hope Borat’s adventure doesn’t rely stricly on fart and sex jokes and boosts some underlying social commentary so it educates not just entertains.

Certainly, I am idealistic to hope the film offers a way of looking at ourselves (meaning “decadant” western cultures) from another lens. Is this a big and unrealistic request? Perhaps but Borat may well be up to it.

Incidentally, I wrote a play for a class about global issues featuring a country called Shtanastan (.pdf) which has some fun at these folks expense as well in the context of some oil exploration coddled by indifferent/drunken bureaucrats.

Ahhh, funny accents and huge mustaches amuse me fer sure but certainly, these central Asian countries are almost forgotten by western world despite vast size and likely abundant resources so there is something to be gained along with the chuckles.

Religion? Economy? Culture? Politics? In reality, I don’t really know about the region except what I’ve learned from Ewan and Charlie’s Long Way Round.  But already, thanks to Borat, I’ve learned more from Kazakhstan.com (news), Kazakhstan’s Wikipedia entry, and Kazakhstan’s Lonely Planet info and also learned that the official Kazakh’s aren’t real enamoured with the film project but the .kz root webserver isn’t going anywhere so i read what i can but a little hunting took me deeper into the heart of Kazakhstan.

Anyone wanna me a couple plane tickets to the Shtans? I’ll go and make a podcast and take some snaps for ya.

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