You heard it here first folks:
“In Defence of Kazakshilik: Kazakhstan’s War on Sacha Baron Cohen”:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a777682602?jumptype=alert&alerttype=new_issue_alert,email
Identities, Volume 14, Issue 3 May 2007 , pages 225 – 255
This article explores the controversy surrounding Borat Sagdiyev – the fictitious Kazakhstani reporter whose foibles mock Kazakhstan in particular and post-Soviet culture in general. With his appearances on Da Ali G Show, Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat persona long ago became the bête noire of the Kazakhstani government. However, when Borat was selected to host the MTV Europe Music Awards, the dispute over Borat’s authenticity as a Kazakhstani became an international incident. In response to his negative portrayal of Kazakshilik (Kazakhness) through the deterritorialized medium of MTV, the government of President Nazarbayev threatened Baron Cohen with legal action and brought down his web site borat.kz. Baron Cohen immediately responded in character via his new domain (.tv) and defended the actions of Kazakhstan, thus fuelling the controversy. The ongoing feud has prompted an interesting postmodern praxis – one in which a fictional persona and national government can carry on a mass-mediated dialogue. As I document the details of this ongoing conflict on the global and local levels, I seek to explain the changes in the international system which have enabled this intriguing paradox. In doing so, I attempt to draw some larger conclusions on the importance of protecting national identity in the postmodern era, especially from threats (both internal and external) which weaken a country’s global brand.