Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jagshemash! It's Borat!

I saw this book at a bargain bin and I knew I just had to get it. Borat: Touristic Guidings to Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is the funniest book I've read recently. The book is actually made of two parts, with the second one titled Borat: Touristic Guidings to Minor Nation of U.S. and A, which isn't as funny as the section on Kazakhstan. At 50 pesos (about a dollar), the book is practically a steal.

If you've seen the movie, you know that Sasha Baron Cohen's Kazakhstan is totally made up, similar to the real country only in name and geography. Although I doubt that I have readers in Kazakhstan, I just want to make it clear that I know about this; when I refer to Kazakhstan in this piece, I'm talking about the "third biggest country in the world" and the country where "the wheel was almost invented in 1824."

The book is so politically incorrect that it borders on being insulting. If you have no sense of irony, you would totally miss the point. It pokes fun and targets select groups -- homosexuals, women, pedophiles, children, etc. I got scared myself when I found myself laughing at the insensitive bits. How can you not laugh when you learn that the two most popular sports in Kazakhstan is Kokpar, which is similar to golf but the players are riding horses and use a dead goat instead of a ball, and Harusak, a race by men who are carrying women against their will. Swimming is also popular in Kazakhstan; people go to the lone swimming pool in the country that took 17 years to build (although finished 1 year ahead of schedule), has an 80% human solid waste filtration system, and has an average fatality of 17.4 per month (12.2 accident and 5.2 execution).

Also, in Kazakhstan, it's actually better to be a prostitute than to a wife. When they are at home, wives are chained by their husbands and are kept in a large electric pen with other wives in the Hueylewis Stadium when their husbands watch a ping pong game, another popular sport. Children are taught to play ping pong for 6 hours every day in school. Prostitutes, on the other hand, have it good. The wife of Kazakhstan premier is the country's #1 prostitute.

If you've seen the movie, then you would know about the festival of the running of the jew. In the book, there's more hysterically unbelievable instances of prejudice. One of Borat's hobbies is catching gypsies. And people have no qualms about selling children that "have much retardation." My friend told me that he saw copies of the book in Fully Booked. If you think that Cohen was a genius for creating Borat, then this book is a must-have.


Rhett said...

I want this book too. I should have gotten it. Haha! :)