Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov of Kazakhstan recently voiced his approval for the 2006 film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan – a film which portrayed Kazakhstan as a barely post-feudal country populated by town rapists and hairy nudists. According to the Associated Press, Kazykhanov told a session of parliament that Borat boosted tourism to the country, increasing the amount of visas issues by Kazakhstan by tenfold — please insert joke here about the number of tourists in Kazakhstan increasing from one person in 2006 to ten people in 2007.
Kazykhanov’s praise is a decisive turnabout from Kazakhstan’s usual relationship to the movie that made it bizarro famous. The former Soviet state banned the movie in theaters; more recently, there was an outcry when the movie’s fake national anthem played during an actual awards ceremony. Perhaps the foreign minister has simply realized that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Which, when you think about it, is really the most important cultural learning of America of them all. The more you know!
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