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How Cossacks Culturally Appropriated Kazakhs
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As I’ve been pointing out for years, Sacha Baron Cohen’s character Borat was modeled by SBC on a Russian, and Borat broadly reflects a long tradition of Eastern European Jewish humor about how stupid and backward Slavic villagers are. SBC successfully distracted attention from this straightforward interpretation by eventually asserting that Borat is a Kazakh from a Central Asian culture about whom few Brits or Americans know anything. (For example, I have to rely on spellchecker to spell “Kazakh” because I will go to my deathbed never knowing where the “h” goes in the name.)

But Borat As A Giant Polish Joke makes sense if you assume that SBC is not thinking about far-off Kazakhs, but is instead thinking about the traditional enemy of the Jews in the Russian Empire, Christian Slav Cossacks. For example, Cossack cavalry smash up a Jewish wedding in the pogrom at the end of the first act of Fiddler on the Roof (which SBC is very familiar with because he played Tevye at Cambridge).

But few in the west are informed about the complex history leading to two different peoples with almost identical sounding names, so here’s the history as I understand it.

Medieval and early modern Russia fought a long civilizational struggle on its southern frontier against mounted Muslim steppe warriors known as Kazakhs. But the Kazakh lifestyle of rampaging about on horseback looked attractive than being a serf in Russian to many Christian Slav serfs who escaped servitude in Russia to the steppe frontier. There the Christian Slavs adopted much of the horseback lifestyle of their Kazakh enemies and became known as Cossacks. Eventually, the Cossack leaders made a deal with the Czar to provide him with light cavalry in return for Russia recognizing their freedoms.

So Kazakhs and Cossacks are different but related. It’s all rather confusing, confusion which SBC has cleverly exploited to completely baffle 99% of film critics about what he was up to with Borat.

 
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  1. iffen says:

    Cossack cavalry smash up a Jewish wedding in the pogrom at the end of the first act of Fiddler on the Roof

    I tend to think that the cavalry that rode down the commies in Doctor Zhivago were Cossacks.

    • Replies: @Mr McKenna
  2. karsten says:

    Of COURSE Borat was sending up Poles. Anyone who’s Polish, or who comes from a Polish background, recognizes the angle of attack immediately.

    Borat’s signature utterance, “Jak sie masz?” is literally the Polish phrase for “How are you?” It’s not Kazakh.

    I imagine that Cohen shied of slandering Poles explicitly, by name, because there are just enough Polish people in the U.S. to significantly express their displeasure at being insulted.

    But Kazakhs? How many Kazakhs have anything close to a media presence in the U.S.? So Cohen pretended that his anti-Polish film was anti-Kazah.

    But the Cohens of the world get the real target of the insult. As do the Poles.

    • Agree: Dan Hayes, Kratoklastes
    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    , @Thomm
  3. Anonymous[303] • Disclaimer says:

    I wouldn’t disagree that there are Slavic elements to Borat’s character, but his main traits such as being very anti-gay, having a sleazy obsession with Pamela Anderson and being hysterically anti-Jewish are clearly intended to be perceived as Muslim traits in my opinion.

    If Borat was really intended as anti-Slav propaganda then I think it failed in that aim because most people perceived it as a parody of someone from a backward Muslim country. Many Muslim countries also banned the film, so clearly they perceived it as anti-Muslim propaganda.

  4. Slow news day… waiting for an evergreen moment? (Or is it the other way around?)

  5. Thea says:

    The TV show Fargo is quite explicit in the anti- Russian/Cossack sentiment of Jews.

    Im unaware of any outrage of this rather clear celebration of racist dehumanization.

    • Agree: LondonBob
  6. Hail says: • Website

    It’s all rather confusing, confusion which SBC has cleverly exploited to completely baffle 99% of film critics about what he was up to with Borat.

    The Anti-Defemation League awarding of a lifetime service award, this week, to Sacha Baron Cohen, comedic defamer of various ethnicities, is also enough to baffle quite a lot of people, if they don’t ‘get’ what kind of common ground that particular group and that particular comedian have.

    The ADL award to chronic-defamer Cohen must seem just bizarre, enough to make most believe it’s not true but some elaborate practical joke (similar to most people’s reaction, I expect, to the news that “US Col. Vindman” of the Impeachment Bore-a-Thon was literally offered the position of Defense Minister by Ukraine — they might hear this fact, but won’t register it at first; it just seems a little too ”out-there”).

    What would be a parallel, a National Manners Society giving George Carlin an award for his valuable contributions to the advancement of politeness?

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
    , @Pericles
  7. Kazakhstan is mostly a nation of Eurasians. Henry Golding would blend in there very well.

  8. Anon 2 says:

    Here are some real world data:

    IQ by country according to Lynn

    Poland 99
    Germany 99
    France 98
    Denmark 98
    Russia 97
    Israel 95

    United States 96 (according to a recent post
    by Audacious Epigone)

    • Replies: @anon
  9. Cortes says:

    Weak sauce.

    Do more research.

  10. Weird. Russian & Ukrainian Cossacks don’t have much in common with Kazakhs, the greatest victim of Stalin’s forced collectivization (second were Ukrainian and Russian Cossacks).

    Baron Cohen is an odious Jewish monomaniac without a whiff of introspection & conscience, but this line of thought: Kazakhs > Cossacks > peasant eastern Slavs is simply not convincing. By the way, Cossacks were not peasants; their role in Russian Empire’s pogroms is vastly exaggerated; during revolution & civil war, 1917-1922, they fought on all sides (for instance, Trotsky had highly praised Cossacks because he thought that Bolsheviks had won their hearts).

    One should not rely too heavily on musicals, because one could end in “The Wizard of Oz” as the best example of huge fag conspiracy & premeditated assault on American values, which all ended in gay triumph, against which R.M. Nixon fought valiantly, but unsuccessfully (the same goes with women, Jews, Chinese- Nixon was a race realist etc.):

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  11. JohnnyD says:
    @Anonymous

    There’s also the incest jokes, which most people associate with the Middle East.

    • Agree: Charon
  12. Anon 2 says:

    Here are some economic growth rates – for those who think there is
    a correlation between the IQ of nations and their economies. In 2018

    Poland 5.1%
    Hungary 4.9%
    Czechia 3.0%

    U.S. 2.9%
    U.K. 1.4%
    Germany 1.4%
    France 1.7%

    Russia 2.3%
    Israel 3.2%

    As expected, the economies of Central Europe (Visegrad 4) are roaring ahead.
    Northwestern Europe is close to stagnation. In fact, Germany is expected
    to grow by only 0.4% in 2019.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  13. anon[617] • Disclaimer says:

    Nice summary, but I do not understand how the Cossacks wound up controlling all the golf courses and doesn’t that matter, like, a whole lot?

    Also, it’s known who brought Buddhism from India to China, but who brought golf from Scotland to Ukraine?

  14. Dmitry says:

    There’s no relation between the comedy of Borat (who is a stereotype of an Arab/Iranian or Middle Eastern personality), and Poles.

    Poles = a very Northern European people and culture, with a very distinctive culture and national personality.

    As I am friends/housemates with Poles, I’ll say some things I find funny about Polish personalities.

    1. All Poles I know, have as one of their main hobbies: whining and complaining about everything with kitchen talk. If you want to have good relations with Poles, then start to complain about things and kitchen talk, and they will join you (because whining/complaining is obviously one of the most popular hobbies in Poland).

    2. They are sensitive about their national image, and very indoctrinated about history by their schools – so avoid discussing anything about history or politics with Poles.

    3. Every Pole I have encountered has a very good sense of humour and storytelling. It seems like a nationality of raconteurs. Jokes and humour usually laughing about themselves.

    In their stories, they also tell you all kind of details about their life you do not want to know (e.g. talking about their digestion, or about their sexual relations.)

    4. They seem like a very abstract culture. (The other side of abstraction is why they can seem as naive people)

    5. Poles do not seem to compliment or say how they actually feel (similar to English, Germans, etc). E.g. they do not say if they like you, and they do not compliment much. Although Polish people all seem quite friendly people.

    6. Polish people are quite pedantic about time and order, etc (similar to Germans).

    7. Polish people are drinking a lot of alcohol (usually beer and wine), without becoming drunk. They drink a lot, but I assume “behaving drunk” is something you should not do with Poles. Small Polish women I know, are drinking more than I can.

  15. karsten says:

    “There’s no relation between the comedy of Borat (who is a stereotype of an Arab/Iranian or Middle Eastern personality), and Poles. “

    Literally the most common utterance by Borat is “Jak sie masz?” So an Arab/Iranian is going to be using the very specific Polish version of, “How are you doing?” Of all languages, that specific one? And as his go-to greeting? And in a correct Polish accent? Yeah, sure.

    You are either naive or being deliberately deceptive, Dmitry.

    I stated why Cohen thinly disguised his slander as Kazakh. No repercussions. But to anyone who speaks Polish (i.e., any Pole, or any Cohen who came from a Shtetl in the Polish-speaking areas of the Pale of Settlement), the Polish identity of Borat is unmistakable.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  16. Lot says:

    So the Khazar Baron-Cohen Calls Cossacks Kazahks?

  17. Dmitry says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Cossacks don’t have much in common with Kazakhs

    Lol, there is no similarity between Cossacks and Kazakhs, beyond that Turkic name.

    As for Kazakhs’s personality – I just had wildly different impression from ones’ I met. One was extremely extroverted -, and one very introverted girl.

    Kazakhs are definitely a civilized people (even if you believe some reports about a rise of caveman nationalism in Kazakhstan in recent years – and I would sceptical about those reports).

    Astana apparently has some architectural problems though, as a monumentalist Soviet city, which was designed in very symmetrical shapes, which look good on architect’s desk or from drone videos, but are creating inconveniently large distances for walking.

    Edit – you can see the inconvenience of monumentalism in the city

  18. J.Ross says:
    @Dmitry

    He literally speaks Polish. Actually, I’ve forgotten the link, but there was an angry Polish audiencemember who did a very thorough job of listing all the ways Borat is specifically Polack jokes. Also, you’re talking about actual Poles you have met, and Cohen is talking about Those Dumb Peasant Straw Men in his mind: not the same thing.

  19. Which one was this guy:

    That was my favorite movie when I was a kid but when I watched it as an adult I couldn’t believe how dumb it was.

  20. @iffen

    In the kindergarten chats which compose most of our MSM propaganda, the story is simple: Russians Bad, Chosen People Good. Heck, we have a dozen regular ‘contributors’ in the comments here who would have us believe it.

    There are sill tiny bits of ‘narrative’ from the other side available online, which can be truly eye-opening. See for example: The Century Magazine, Vol. XXIII, No. 6, April 1882: “Russian Jews and Gentiles” by Mme. Z. Ragosin. It’s lengthy, and harrowing.

    Maintain your hard-copy libraries, if you have them. They’re considered obsolete of course, but in some ways they’re more valuable with each passing day.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @for-the-record
  21. @Dmitry

    Every Pole I have encountered has a very good sense of humour and storytelling. It seems like a nationality of raconteurs. Jokes and humour usually laughing about themselves.

    True.

  22. inertial says:

    Long tradition of Eastern European Jewish humor about how stupid and backward Slavic villagers are.

    Can you give a few examples of this “long tradition,” outside Anglo-Jewish yaksters? I highly doubt it.

    The best known classic Jewish writer was Sholem Aleychem. He wrote Tevye the Dairyman stories and many others. The stories he wrote were published in ephemeral media (newspapers and such) in a language that no one, other than Jews, knew or cared about. It would never had occurred to anyone at the time that the stories could ever be translated.

    So, according to your theory, Sholem Aleychem would be making jokes about dumb Slavs all the time. In reality I can’t think of a single instance when the author makes a joke at the expense of any gentile.

    Admittedly, I didn’t read all Sholem Aleychem’s stories, only Tevye and a dozen others. But in every story I read the butt of the joke is a Jew, usually the protagonist. For example, Sholem Aleychem gets a lot of mileage out of Tevye not being as smart as he thinks he is.

    • Replies: @inertial
  23. inertial says:
    @inertial

    Actually, I partially take it back. You mentioned the pogrom in Fiddler on Roof and I remembered that pogrom scene in the last of the Tevye stories is a mild joke at the expense of his Slav neighbors.

    Here how the pogrom scene looks like in the literary original.

    We learn that Tevye is the only Jew in his village (which is not Anatievka) and he has the best house there. One day, a delegation of villagers appears at his door. The village head says*, “Tevel (Tevye’s official name,) everyone is having pogroms these days. We had a village meeting and voted to have one too, otherwise it won’t look good on us. But we like and respect you, so we want to ask you what kind of pogrom do you want to have? Do you want us to break your windows? Do you want us to tear your pillows and let feathers fly?” Etc.

    You have to wait until the last page to learn how this turns out.

    Tevye says, “If you must have a pogrom, alright, break my windows then.” To which the village head replies, “Tevel, these are your windows, so you should smash them yourself.” And then the villagers depart. End of the pogrom.

    * Not the actual quote but close.

  24. @karsten

    Don’t forget “Dziękuję” (Jen-cue-yay), which is Polish for “Thank you”.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  25. byrresheim says: • Website
    @Anon 2

    Please compare the level on which “stagnation” occurs to the level on which growth occurs.

    Please give the growth rates of some sub saharan countries as well.

  26. @Dmitry

    How many people reading these posts have actually visited KZ? Very few. And most here don’t understand День победы, и т. д.

    As an American, I respect KZ so much.

  27. inertial says:

    Since I feel like nitpicking today let me nitpick you Cossack/Kazakh origin story. It’s not too bad in general but:

    Kazak means something like “free man” in Old Turkic, so the words Cossack and Kazakh probably have the same origin. But Kazakhs were officially called Kirghiz until 1925.

    – Russian did not fight “long civilizational struggle” against ether the modern Kazakhs or anyone else known by that name. Also, some steppe warriors were Muslims, especially later on, but most weren’t. Mongols certainly weren’t Muslim.

    – Appearance of Cossacks predates serfdom by many centuries (Russian serfdom is rather late phenomenon that really got going only around 1600.) Russia had been a frontier society for 900 years, just like America but far longer and with more dangerous Injuns. Why did Russian men join the Cossacks? For the same reason American men went West.

    – Cossack was a status, not an occupation. Cossacks were doing various things at various times. E.g. the Cossacks that conquered Siberia were boatmen rather than horsemen.

    – The Cossacks who rode horses didn’t really adopt “horseback lifestyle.” They lived in villages and grew grain. They merely fought on horseback.

  28. Hail says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    Astana

    I see you are living in the past!

    We modern-day people call it “Nursultan.”

    • LOL: Bardon Kaldian
  29. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Mr McKenna

    The librarians are especially stupid and vexatiously destructive, having purged as much of the incorrect and good old books as they could when it became assumed that “it’s all going to be on line”. Well, it is not all on line. And what is is often behind paywalls.

    You have to have a MLS degree to get hired for any meaningful job in a library, and that is a degree that sets the bar in correctness and low IQ and laziness for the most part.

    Used book dealers also often tend to be of certain persuasions and some of the more critical titles tend to be used to provide heat in the winter or simply dumpstered. I know of one local used book dealer who years ago told a customer that he bought certain titles, when cheaply available, for the satisfaction of destroying them.

    • Agree: Charon, Old Prude
  30. Thomm says:
    @karsten

    I imagine that Cohen shied of slandering Poles explicitly, by name, because there are just enough Polish people in the U.S. to significantly express their displeasure at being insulted.

    Meh. That didn’t stop Archie Bunker. Plus, Meathead was converted into a deadbeat dad that abandoned his family, so even Norman Lear decided to make the leftist look bad in the entirety of the character arc, rather than do that to Bunker.

    • Replies: @riches
    , @Hibernian
  31. Thomm says:

    Remember that Sacha Baron Cohen is British, and in Britain, Polish immigrants are considered an extremely unwanted group.

    Even Nigel Farage said that black and brown immigrants from Commonwealth c0untries are preferable to Poles and Romanians because the former have a ‘shared history and language’.

    • Disagree: LondonBob, YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Charon
  32. nebulafox says:
    @Dmitry

    The only Kazakh I’ve ever met was a guy in my quantum field theory course. He was kind and an interesting fellow, but very shy and a bit awkward. In other words, a typical physics PhD student…

    From what I recall, he made a moderate effort during Ramadan to pray and fast, but I don’t think he was pious beyond that. Didn’t have a problem with booze during get-togethers.

    • Replies: @Hail
  33. Lep says:

    The Cossack tradition goes back to millennia of Indo-European steppe people, not to some mundane shit.

  34. Hail says: • Website
    @nebulafox

    There are some spectacular mosques in Kazakhstan. But then you learn they’re built entirely with Saudi money and are mainly showpieces.

  35. Anonymous[270] • Disclaimer says:
    @inertial

    Good post. Entirely correct. Take note, Steve.

  36. @inertial

    That’s all very interesting, but you’re not going to get any traction with Steve. As I understand it, the structure of his argument is as follows:
    1. I (Steve Sailer) am confused about Cossacks vs Kazakhs.
    2. I assume Sacha Baron Cohen shares my confusion and my bemused lack of interest in learning anything.
    3. I don’t care for Jews, and this Cossack/Kazakh thing meets my standards for a let’s-throw-it-against-the-wall-and-see-if-it-sticks antijewish conspiracy theory.

    • Agree: IHTG, Thomm
    • Disagree: YetAnotherAnon
  37. I heard a lot of “Polack” jokes, growing up in the Midwest. But the tellers were never Jewish (which is easy for me to remember as there were no other Jewish kids on my block). They were kids of Irish, German and generic British background. Probably repeating what they heard at home.

    • Replies: @inertial
    , @Anon
  38. J says: • Website

    Commenters are making a big thing of nothing. Borat the Kazakh’s utterings are mostly Hebrew, and that only because he speaks not a word in Kazakh language. Occasionally will say a word or two in Polish, which is the language he heard at home when his aunts did not want him to understand. And the whole movie is a funny satire, not a lecture in linguistics.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
  39. inertial says:
    @International Jew

    In Eastern Europe, Pole were never considered dumb by anyone. Negative stereotypes about Poles that I can think of included stubbornness, hot temper, boastfulness, arrogance, and even cunning (yes.)

    So where do Polack jokes come from? Which neighbors did not think much of Polish smarts?

    This map gives a clue:

  40. Dmitry says:
    @karsten

    Well comparing Borat with Poles, even as stereotypes – I am laughing to imagine what must be the view of Poland in America for this interpretation to be perceived. Poland is really not even that far from Germany or England.

    Here are Poles.

    Here is Krakow – real central Europe. (Btw Polish women have always been more independent and feminist than average for Europe).

    Here is Borat’s home – Kazakhs, Tajiks and Uzbeks in YouTube comments are claiming it is an accurate documentary about their home town. (However, racially actors are more similar to Armenians). It’s every stereotype of “Middle East/Asia”

    Conclusion of the film, is about bride-kidnapping Pamela Anderson.

    Here it is accurate for Kazakhstan, and all Central Asia and parts of Dagestan/Chechnya/Armenia/Georgia – bride-thieving has been traditional custom there.

    In most of the film, Borat is more similar to a stereotype of naive Saudis.

  41. Templar says:

    Ok so we have Kazakhs and Cossacks….so where do our old pals the Khazars fit in?
    Now I think about it presumably Khazar is pronounced ‘Hussar’ or something very similar which was the battle cry of the eponymous Hungarian light cavalry.

    • Replies: @Korenchkin
  42. Dmitry says:
    @J

    He speaks Hebrew usually, with the correct words e.g. to describe Pamplona bull running with a Jew. (Although sometimes – in other parts of the film he speaks Russian words in the wrong context/totally meaningless words).

    This film is a masterwork (by the low standards of comedy films). But all his other films – shit.

    I guess he became rich after this film, and lost motivation to use any effort in other films? Or he only had sufficient talent for one good film.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  43. @Dmitry

    The Kazakhstan scenes were shot in Romania.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Dmitry
  44. duncsbaby says:
    @inertial

    As long as we can all agree that no one likes the Dutch.

  45. riches says:
    @Thomm

    This and your later comment are both ass-backward.

    The converting (((Norman Lear))) did with the Meathead character was to change Meathead’s Jewishness (in the original British series) to Polish in the U.S. version. More settling scores from that ilk.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  46. Anonymous[181] • Disclaimer says:

    Actually, the key to the ethnogenesis of the ‘Steppe peoples’ is the Corded Ware culture of the Bronze Age, which was centered, more or less, in what is now Poland.
    Basically, this same ancestry is/was conserved in contemporary Ukrainians and western Russians. In historic times, an offshoot of Corded Ware, known as Sintashta, migrated east to central Asia – these people, or a highly related group, formed to core of central Asian Steppe people such as the Scythians, the original Iranians and Aryans etc. It is believed that another group of these people migrated further east, to the confines of China and mixed with the locals, adopting their language, giving the ethnogenesis of the Turks.
    Ironically, at a later date, the Turks ‘wiped out’ their Iranic cousins from central Asia and imposed their own stamp on it. Also, ironically, their foes the Ukrainians and Russians were also their Steppe cousins.

  47. @inertial

    In my conventional mind, Poles are, simplistically, a nation of aristocrats, intellectuals, moral anguish & futile heroism.

  48. @duncsbaby

    Hahaahh, sorry, but I like them….

  49. @Hail

    The Anti-Defemation League awarding of a lifetime service award, this week, to Sacha Baron Cohen, comedic defamer of various ethnicities, is also enough to baffle quite a lot of people, if they don’t ‘get’ what kind of common ground that particular group and that particular comedian have.

    The award to Sacha Baron Cohen would have been wouldn’t have seemed as bizarre until about three decades ago, when they shortened their name from The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.

  50. @Bardon Kaldian

    As I wrote in my review of Wajda’s “Katyn:” “that fatalistic sense of honor that is the outstanding feature of the Polish character”

  51. Investigating this topic on YouTube revealed few clues. Actually, none.

    I must say that the Russian movie version of Taras Bulba looks less awesome than the old Yul Brynner Hollywood version, posted above.

  52. El Dato says:
    @inertial

    1) Belgium should really be speparted into the Flemish and Walloon parts.
    2) An Italy probably into North and South
    3) The map has a problem as “Prussia” is well and truly gone and Poland has moved west in recent history.
    4) I suppose Greek jokes are now more prevalent in The Territories Formerly Known as West Germany (“TTFKAWG”)

    Anyway, wasn’t there some kind of existentialist movie about keeping Kazakhs out of the Empire while your old friends are are living normal lives at home?

  53. Pericles says:
    @Hail

    The ADL award to chronic-defamer Cohen must seem just bizarre, enough to make most believe it’s not true but some elaborate practical joke

    It’s certainly a fact to remember, and bring up, lol.

  54. Orangeman says:

    Is the long comedic bias against US southeners a similar phenom ?

  55. @Anonymous

    Being anti-gay, anti-Jewish and liking blonde girls with big tits was common in every single country in the world prior to the Cucktaclysm

  56. @Templar

    Khazar = Ha Zaar
    Hussar= Hoo Sar

    Whenever you see a latinized Slavic word that includes “kh” just ignore the “k”
    For example, Kharkov is pronounced “Harkov”

    • Replies: @AP
  57. Anonymous[326] • Disclaimer says:

    “Pole jokes” seem to be an American thing. In Britain, Poles are often not particularly liked because they are seen as yet another parasitic invasion, but they aren’t perceived as stupid, in fact they’re probably perceived as more intelligent than the native British working class which is why they’ve been able to outcompete many British in low paid jobs.

    The equivalent of “Pole jokes” in Britain was traditionally “Irish jokes”, but you don’t hear many of those any more because mocking the Irish is considered racism now.

    • Replies: @Romanian
  58. Hunsdon says:

    Astana (Kazakh for “Capital city”) was called Akmola (Kazakh for “White tomb”) until the Kazakh SSR declared its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union. Nursultan Nazarbayev had been the gen-sec of the Kazakh SSR’s communist party, and smoothly transitioned into being president of the newly independent state. He decided to relocate the capital from Almaty (or Alma-Ata, in Kazakh “Father of apples”) to Astana for two reasons: the north of Kazakhstan was heavily Russian and there was fear that the Russian north would seek to split off and unite with Siberia, and secondly he made a lot of bank off of the massive construction that went into building/rebuilding Astana.

    When I was in Astana in the late 1990s, it was still a burg with tons of new construction going up.

  59. Svevlad says:

    Apparently the original target were Albanians, but since Albanians have holy sacred glowie protection and immunity, Sascha didn’t feel like losing his organs.

  60. tyrone says:
    @duncsbaby

    No,No,No,! we love the Afrikaners …..it’s like seeing into our future…real spooky.

  61. Hibernian says:
    @Thomm

    All in the Family had the most Irish Catholic of actors, who like all but the best actors (thinking Sir Laurance Olivier) repeatedly played himself, cast as a Protestant, to be true to the British show from which it was adapted and/or to allow O’Connor/Bunker to make Anti-Catholic jokes. (Catholics never make Anti-Catholic jokes. Trust me.) And the leftist son-in-law was Polish; go figure. If you want to make a wisecracking leftist character a Catholic ethnic, make him a certain type of Italian or a certain type of Irishman. (Think George Carlin as an example of the latter.)

    • Replies: @Flip
  62. Hibernian says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    That is what literate people think, but most people are not very literate. Also, a notion of Poles generally as aristocrats mounting Quixotic cavalry charges makes as much sense as the Irish as a bunch of clones of William F. Buckley. Extreme romanticization is not a good antidote to stereotypes or even a good confidence builder, because everybody knows it’s not real.

    • Replies: @AP
  63. Flip says:
    @Hibernian

    I always wondered how many white Anglo Protestants like the Bunkers there really were in Queens.

  64. @Hail

    Funny way to write, “bases for mainlining the Wahabbist cancer into the country.”

  65. @riches

    “Meathead’s Jewishness (in the original British series)”

    The original character, a socialist layabout, was Scouse, not Jewish. The actor playing him became Tony Blair’s father in law, and actually fitted the typecasting quite well.

    “Booth was married four times and had eight daughters by five women. “

  66. @Mr McKenna

    “Russian Jews and Gentiles” by Mme. Z. Ragosin

    Here is a link where the text can be freely downloaded (PDF):

    https://ia801200.us.archive.org/13/items/1881Russian.Jews.and.GentilesRagozin/1881%20Russian.Jews.and.Gentiles%20Ragozin.pdf

    Interestingly, the following month a (Jewish) reply was published in the same journal (“Russian Christianity vs. Modem Judaism”), the author none other than Emma Lazarus.

  67. El Dato says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Performing preemptive war on the advancing Red Army in 1920 (while not being averse of removing the moneylenders from premises if you know what I mean) when the new Poland was still being cobbled together (with the British Empire not happy) sounds very far from futile heroism. Nor is trying to grab yourself a very German City leading to corridor trouble. Or being good at ethnic killings after the Reich’s collapse (getting it twice by the Red Army within 7 years doesn’t make you a victim).

    To paraphrase Neal Stephenson, Poles are like Germans, only more so.

  68. AP says:
    @Hibernian

    That is what literate people think, but most people are not very literate. Also, a notion of Poles generally as aristocrats mounting Quixotic cavalry charges makes as much sense as the Irish as a bunch of clones of William F. Buckley

    In Eastern Europe, the common negative stereotype of Poles is one of cartoonishly boorish aristocrats: arrogant, haughty, greedy, foppish, overly mannered, treacherous, cunning. Sometimes they ar elike Britiush villajsn in American movies, other times (as in Dostoyevsky) they are foppish, well-mannered people who cheat at cards. The American view of Poles as dumb and simple is bizarre for eastern Europeans.

    The reason is that the most destitute and downtrodden of the Poles ended up in America, largely illiterate peasants. While Eastern Europe dealt with Polish invasions and rebellions led by highly cultured Polish aristocrats.

    There is somewhat of a parallel with French as seen in parts of Canada and New England where dirt poor French from Canada settled – they are viewed sort as a sort of uneducated poor white underclass. Which, elsewhere, is a strange perception of the French.

    • Agree: Bardon Kaldian
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  69. The word for Cossack in Russian is Kazak, accent on second syllable. Close to but not identical with Kazakh, the “kh” being the gutteral sound.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  70. @inertial

    I like how Norway, Denmark, and Finland all bag on Sweden.

  71. Ultimately, whether it’s intended as a parody of Kazakhs, Poles, Gipsies, Eastern Europeans, or Muslims it’s a very crude and prejudicial depiction.

    The character is ostensibly Kazakh, but a Romanian Gypsy village stands in for the character’s home town, and his catchphrases are Polish. Most Kazakh’s are Muslim, so many Muslims were also rightly offended.

    The character is presented as immensely stupid and hailing from a backwards, ignorant culture. It’s certainly not a flattering depiction of whomever it is spoofing. The best conclusion is that it’s an amalgamation of many cultures that Mr. Cohen looks down upon.

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  72. Anon[314] • Disclaimer says:
    @International Jew

    This article seems very “friendly” to Poles:
    https://books.google.com/books?id=NHw-AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA297#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Only Poles mentioned in Rosten’s Joys of Yiddish are an “impudent young Pole” who threatens to strangle a bird and a “brutal governor” (who, to be fair, might actually be Russian).

    These are not “Polack jokes” as Poles are not represented as particularly stupid, though. (Also they are not jokes).

  73. J.Ross says:
    @Ripple Earthdevil

    I avoided pointing this out earlier because I don’t think it’s helpful: Russian minorities have this wierd little thing where they often have an unrelated ethny with almost but not quite the same name (Kazakhs and Kazaks, Kumyks and Kalmyks, Tuvans and Chuvans). Part of this is probably choosing new names that will borrow from an established greatness, like the town of Zilwaukee.

  74. J.Ross says:
    @Dmitry

    >became rich after this film

    He was born to wealth, lived in an excellent section of London, and his brother is actually an important scientist: as George Saunders pointed out in his masterful response to Borat, the film is really a un-self-aware celebration of Jewish power, as Cohen’s agent was an important guy in Hollywood and enabled a lot of connections.

  75. anon[838] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon 2

    IQ is also known as BS . BS has nuggets of truth in it So does IQ has some uses.

    Is Poland a better place than is Malaysia ? Not at al. Why does Brexiter hate Poland so much ? Same feeling among local are seen in native of N Y and IL towards Polish.

    Can be said a lot about Denmark and France as well.

  76. It never occurred to me there was any connection between Cossacks and Kazakhs.

    This must be how dumb people feel every day….

  77. Mr. Hack says:
    @somebody_somewhere

    I’d have to agree, but even still, some of the crude humor was funny, undoubtedly stimulating some very primitive sections of the whole brain. I recall watching this film with my sister, who’s generally pretty straight laced, and experiending a few good howls of laughter. 🙂

  78. KunioKun says:

    Borat is the only movie where I personally know people who tell me they left the theater before the film is over. I figured it would be one long toilet joke so I never bothered with it and that was before I started noticing patterns about who really loves those poop jokes.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    , @Ian M.
  79. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    As far as American and even Canadian humorous stereotypes about Poles and Ukrainians is concerned, I once had an experience with this stuff while vacationing on the North Shore of Minnesota (a truly lovely place!) close to the Canadian border. Stopping into a small grocery strore/gift shop on the way to Fort Willliams and Thunder Bay (both with large first wave Ukrainain populatons) but still in Minneota, my eye was first drawn to “Ukrainian sausage” and then later to a small booklet including the then fashionable “Polish Jokes”. Actually, the booklet was titled “A Polish Dictionary”. Scaning the index of the booklet, I spotted an entry that defined “Ukrainian” as:

    A Polak who owned a bank savings account”

    I got a small chuckle out of this, knowing that the stereotype was really not based on reality. Both Poles and Ukrainians that lived compactly in my neighborhod had members that included upper middle class individuals that did well for themselves, mostly investing in real estate. Others were well represented as well as paid professionals and businessmen too. Of course slackers could be found within both ethnic groups too. 🙂

    • Replies: @AP
  80. @KunioKun

    Actually, there are two good funny scenes: first, when Borat & his companion, a hairy fatso, “wrestle” completely naked in a bed & Borat’s nose is stuck in the hairy ass of his companion (disgustingly hilarious, not gay, but a simple idiotic vulgar fun); then, in an Evangelical church, when Borat is to confess blah blah- and some guy is running around in circles in the church (what is he up to?).

    It’s at 1:11 here

    The rest of the movie is tendentiously boring.

  81. Spot/Catch/Throw the Juicy Connection here. Give up?

    • Replies: @Reality Cheque
  82. AP says:
    @Korenchkin

    Whenever you see a latinized Slavic word that includes “kh” just ignore the “k”
    For example, Kharkov is pronounced “Harkov”

    No, it’s a harder sound than “h”. Ukrainian has both “H” and “Kh.”

    “Kh” has no English equivalent. It’s like the “x” in Mexico when spoken in Spanish.

  83. AP says:

    But the Kazakh lifestyle of rampaging about on horseback looked attractive than being a serf in Russian to many Christian Slav serfs who escaped servitude in Russia to the steppe frontier. There the Christian Slavs adopted much of the horseback lifestyle of their Kazakh enemies and became known as Cossacks.

    A lot of adventurous nobles joined the Cossacks, and became their leaders (particularly in Ukraine). Like this guy from western Ukraine:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petro_Konashevych-Sahaidachny

    Whose Cossacks were massive sea raiders, swooping into Turkish cities and plundering them.

  84. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    My best friend from university is from Poland. He was rather shocked by poor working class Polish areas in Chicago he discovered, and decided he probably wouldn’t look for work in that city so as not to be around them or having his kids being exposed to that sort of society (this was in the early 90s, before a wave of educated Poles came even into Chicago). Ended up moving to a southern boom town with enough Polish tech workers with whom mix with at church or social events, and of course Polish school for the kids. One of our friends married a classmate who was a Mexican diplomat’s daughter. She made him turn down a job offer in LA because there were too many of the “wrong” kind of Mexicans there and she didn’t want to be around them, or to be associated with them. Ironically their kids are going to be advantaged over poor native white kids because they are “people of color” (white lol).

    In the USA, Ukrainians enjoyed telling Polak jokes, probably due to historical rivalries. The situation was also flipped, with Ukrainians having the economic upper hand over Poles in the USA.

    Most Ukrainians I know were amused by Borat rather than offended. But we are Gen X, not millenials looking for an angle with which to somehow be offended victims. Also it sort of played like making fun of OTBs.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
  85. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    The situation was also flipped, with Ukrainians having the economic upper hand over Poles in the USA.

    You’re probably right and already have statistical evidence for this point of view. Mind elaborating?

    • Replies: @AP
  86. Ian Smith says:
    @Anonymous

    One of the inspirations for Borat was a Turkish blogger who wrote in broken English. With the suit and mustache he could be an AK Party mayor of some town in Anatolia.
    The brilliant thing about making Borat Central Asian is he could plausibly mix Slavic and Muslim stereotypes in one postmodern package.

  87. @Hail

    Well, the mega-mosque that stands across from the US embassy in Nur-Sultan/Astana is the most obvious case of Saudi Wahabist influence. It’s kinda weird to look back and forth across the street and grok it all. But that’s an edge case.

    There are many ancient mosques, too. Those are the cool ones. Most of the population are very secular in nature and attitude. They will observe some religious traditions, but they are not hard-core. Most in KZ are secular and the government is as well. Similar to how I may attend church services at Christmas and Easter, but it’s kind of a formality.

  88. Dmitry says:
    @SIMPLEPseudonymicHandle

    Visually, they could almost have filmed in a village in Kazakhstan.

    E.g.

    Just the racial component does not match to Borat and his Armenian assistant. Culturally, in Borat, there is nothing about the Soviet Union. Also there are way too many children in Borat’s village.

    To go offtopic – ghost cities in Kazakhstan could be good for post-apocalypse film props:

  89. Dmitry says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    Some more stereotype things about Poles I forgot.

    1. Collective anglophilia. (This is common in many countries – but with more educated people, while I assume anglophilia in Poland affects all layers of society).

    Although Brexit will be reducing anglophilia levels in Poland.

    2. Common rusophobia – but always nicely as “I hate the Russia’s government, not Russian normal people”. (Do not discuss how the Soviet Union helped to rebuild their country, paying for construction of whole districts of their cities, and all kinds of capital and even parts of building being transported from Russia to Poland to help reconstruct there.)

    3. Often wants to talk about injustices of the Second World War.

    4. Poles going to church on Sunday (this is a cultural similarity to Americans), even when they live abroad from Poland.

    5. Poles claiming their ancestors are aristocrats, or saying “we think my great great grandmother was secretly a Jew – even though she was Catholic, she had very dark hair”, with no evidence for this except claim based on something like hair colour

    6. Poles talking about “We as Europeans” and saying “We in the West”. Poles pretentiously declaring themselves “We in the West” – even though they were part of the Warsaw Pact.

    7. Very independent women who talk a lot.

    intellectuals

    Lol perhaps, or just behaving very pretentious, as if you are an intellectual.

    Nowadays, Poland also produces some of the most pretentious hipsters in the internet.

    https://youtu.be/-rHbLgF49ac?t=227.

  90. AP says:
    @Mr. Hack

    Actually, the difference is small:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ethnic_groups_in_the_United_States_by_household_income

    25. Ukrainian American (2016): $72,449

    33. Polish American (2016): $71,172

    And Poles surpass German Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, and Dutch Americans.

    Traditional old Polish neighborhoods in America tend to be very poor and full of lumpens – like the ones in western Chicago adjacent to the Mexican neighborhoods, or Slavic Village in Cleveland, or Hamtramck in Detroit. They are like the worst old Irish ghetto in south Boston, except with less crime, because Poles, even dirt poor ones who drink too much, have a lot of decency and tend not to be very violent.

    I think the impression of Poles being poor may have been magnified because when Polish people become successful they simply leave the old lumpen prole neighborhood, so that those neighborhoods while still somewhat Polish are not really representative of Polish Americans. They stay poor and crappy, populated by those left behind due to their deficiencies. In contrast, old Italian neighborhoods become fancier because as Italians became richer they stayed (or at least kept their restaurants there and made them go upscale), Ukrainian areas such as Ukrainian Village in Chicago or East Village in Manhattan have become relatively upscale and fashionable.

    Chicago writer (and Simone de Beauvoir’s lover) Nelson Algren vividly described poor Polish-American life in his city in the 40s and 50s. The Polish community managed to keep his books banned in Chicago for awhile.

    Here’s a redemption story about Slavic Village in Cleveland:

    https://clevelandmagazine.com/in-the-cle/the-read/articles/the-kingdom-of-boz

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Mr. Hack
  91. @AP

    I suspect successful Poles tend to change their surnames because Polish names are hard to spell and pronounce. Successful Italians don’t because Americans don’t have big problems dealing with their last names. So there are a fair number of successful Poles you don’t realize are Poles, like Martha Stewart.

    • Agree: AP
    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    , @MC
  92. Anonymous[953] • Disclaimer says:

    Actually, the ‘Borat’ character was based on a real life internet personality, back in the pioneering internet days of the late 1990s and early 2000s. As I recall he was a blogger – no, I cannot remember his name for the life of me – and I seem to recall him being a Turk from the more westernized Anatolian portion of that country. With the big moustache he looked like Borat.
    It was his I’ll advised attempts at ‘humor’ together with a certain ‘nudge, nudge, wink, wink’ lewdness and the whole bizarre – to western eyes – but earnest flavor of his work that turned this guy into an inadvertent in house joke amongst certain snobbish western cognoscenti.

    Rather like the ‘Star Wars Kid’ or that Goldman-Sachs Russian thug/spetsnaz video application.

  93. Romanian says: • Website
    @Dmitry

    Borat in the village is actually filmed in Romania, in a Gypsy village called Glod (a very old word for dirt).

  94. Romanian says: • Website
    @Anonymous

    in fact they’re probably perceived as more intelligent than the native British working class which is why they’ve been able to outcompete many British in low paid jobs.

    Incoming foreigners are often assigned lower status (for instance, through credentialism, like the immigrant doctor-turned-janitor trope), which leads to mismatch in sorting in social classes. This is in the absence of a mechanism, like heavy liberalism and clannishness, that allows them to immediately accede to the upper classes. I suspect that the appearance you discuss, should it be true, is due to the fact that the incoming Poles occupy lower social rungs than they would have back home. University educated people waiting tables and becoming hotel staff and the like. Just because you have a brain drain does not mean that the brains are used much better in the place that got them.

  95. Mr. Hack says:
    @AP

    All of which support my thoughts about Ukrainians and Poles sharing a similar socio-economic status within the US. The largest Ukrainian community in the US is to be found in Parma. I think that it’s basically an outgrowth of the old Ukrainian community in Cleveland. Lots of Ukrainians in the Minneapolis area have moved to wealtheir suburbs, however, there is still a sizable amount left in the NorthEast part of town. Also, as you probably know, most of the old Ukrainian community in Detroit has moved out to the northern suburbs. I think that a lot of Chicago Ukes still live in the officially dubbed “Ukrainian Village”, although a lot have made the move to Palatine long ago. A lot of Chicago Ukes have retired in sunny Arizona too.

  96. @Steve Sailer

    There are a fair number of successful Poles you don’t realize are Poles, like Martha Stewart

    That’s because she married Mr. Stewart. When she graduated Nutley High School she was Martha Kostyra. A better example would be Tadeusz Konopka, who became famous as

    [MORE]
    Ted Knight

  97. @Reality Cheque

    Could someone kindly Catch/Fetch this out of moderation limbo?

  98. Wency says:
    @inertial

    You basically have it, though I’d disagree with your assertion that most steppe warriors were not Muslim, at least as far as Russia is concerned. The Turkic peoples began converting to Islam before the Russians began converting to Christianity. So from Russia’s Christianization on, the only time that its steppe neighbors/enemies/overlords/subjects weren’t Muslim was the less-than-a-century between the Mongol conquest and the conversion of the Golden Horde to Islam.

    The name most commonly heard in reference to the Islamic steppe enemy of Russia is of course “Tatar”, but that’s a complicated word with a meaning that has changed over time.

  99. EdwardM says:
    @Dmitry

    Just back from Astanta, I mean Nur-Sultan. I agree with you — they are civilized, and a good-looking people. There are lots of them in the Gulf region. The country is 70% Muslim, but doesn’t feel like it there. You hardly see any mosques (the only ones seem to be ostentatious, like the rest of the city) or women in hijabs. Breakfast buffets have cooked pork, and they have a strong drinking culture.

    You’re right about the city, too. My god, the distances are far to walk, especially when it’s -25C. From the famous Khan Shatyr mall, you can see the famous Baiterek Tower, but it’s deceptively far, like the Washington National Mall except denser with buildings.

    Overall, a cool place. The 24-hour cigar bar in the Radisson is worth a visit.

  100. MC says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Jack White is half-Polish, albeit though his mother. His surname at birth was Gillis.

  101. Ian M. says:
    @KunioKun

    …before I started noticing patterns about who really loves those poop jokes.

    The Germans?

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