Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bush's BFF


NEW YORK It was on the front page of The Washington Post, and bylined by a well-known and respected name, Peter Baker, but one still had to wonder: Did Borat have anything to do with this?

The Baker story broke news about an upcoming visit to this country by the president of Kazakhstan, an accused thief and "autocrat" who, nevertheless, will soon be receiving a warm welcome both at the White House and the Bush compound at Kennebunkport. With this fresh publicity, he may now be the second most famous Kazakh in America, though still trailing far behind Borat Sagdiyev, the comic creation of Sasha Baron Cohen of "Ali G" fame.

The long-awaited "Borat" movie -- with the title character in the role of foreign journalist traveling the U.S. -- is coming out this fall so normally one might suspect that the Kazakh leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has timed his visit to help boost the movie debut of a favorite son. However, the Kazakh government has blasted Cohen in the past (and threatened legal action) for allowing Borat to, among other things, make fun of his homeland, demean women, slander gypsies and (in a famous song) urge listeners to "Throw the Jew Down the Well."

The Borat movie will be an event...