Saturday, November 11, 2006
Borat: Vexillogical Learnings of Asia to Make Benefit Glorious Domain of Geography
Last night, Lady of tdaxp and I watched Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The movie begins with a beautiful rendition of the flag of Kazakhstan:
The Republic of Kazakhstan is one of several Asian nations to prominently feature a Sun Disk on its flag. Other common elements are the Star, the Crescent, and writing:
The Star may be the most common of these symbols, and it’s often included within the other symbols.
So I mapped the countries of Asia by which symbol they used. Because stars are so common, I colored those states by other symbols (so, for instance, Iraq is classified as “writing" even though it has both writing and stars). Thus:
The Sun Disk radiates out from China. The origin is even older than the KMT’s adoption fo the symbol in the flag of the Republic of China. The Qin Dynasty also used the Sun Disk. However, just as the People’s Republic only uses the Star, so do its dependencies:
The destruction of the Sun Disk, as well as mutilation and attempted obliteration of Chinese characters, are the works of Mao Zedong, a noted psychopath. This is unlike, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, however, which is the work of Sacha Baron-Cohen, cousin of an expert on autism.
I haven't seen the film yet, but intend to. HBO just ran all of the 'Da Ali G Show's back to back - I did record them. Ali G and Bruno, Cohen's other two characters, are equally funny and equally able to maintain a straight face in situations where, well, I wouldn't be. You should check them out. Ali G gets Pat Buchanan to rap and call 'WMD's 'BLT's repeatedly during an interview. Good stuff.
I've not heard anyone say so, but it sounds to me like Borat is mangling Polish when he speaks. Granted, Russian (and, I'm assuming Kazakh) sounds pretty similar sometimes, but his "dziekuje" and "Jak sie masz" sound Polish to me. (Moja zona jest Polka, i mieszkalam w Kielcach (Malopolska, blisko od Krakow) na prawie 3 lat) Nerdy Trivia: In Return of the Jedi, C3PO and the robotic arm doorman at Jabba's lair speak garbled Polish. C3PO says, "Czy tutaj mieszka Jabba the Hutt?"
Enough of that. Must be Saturday morning or something. This Aten's for you,
If only I could paste in an image...
Posted by: Isaac | Saturday, November 11, 2006
I first watched Baron-Cohen's "Borat" on Ali G DVDs at a friends house. The movie is very consistent with that performance. This is a pretty big accomplishment, as its hard to translate a 10 minute character into a 90-minute plot.
Borat's combination of obtuseness and gentleness is classic comedy. Sacha plays him well. You laugh at Borat while routing for his success. The ending is very happy.
The film mixes up various greater Eastern European nationalities to create "Kazakhstan" -- I think the only Kazakh participant is Borat's wife, who is a Kazakh national who just so happened to be in Romania during the filming.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Saturday, November 11, 2006
What's the yellow flag with the dragon?
Posted by: Michael | Monday, November 13, 2006
The flag of the Qing Dynasty of China.  The Qing, ethnic Manchus, were the second and last non-Chinese dynasty to rule China (the first were the Yuan, ethnic Mongolians). They ruled from 1616, after the fall of the legalistic Ming dynasty, to 1911, with the establishment of the Republic of China.
To the Qing flag's let is the Chinese Republic's (Taiwan's) flag. To the Qing's right is the current flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Chinese People's Republic.
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Monday, November 13, 2006
[This might sound odd, but] Something about this topic reminds me of the remake of "Rollerball"...
Posted by: Jayson | Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Ok, I'd read about the Qing, but I'd never seen a picture of their flag.
Posted by: Michael | Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Chinese flags are interesting, though I wonder how far back flag-design in Zhongguo goes.... While writing a follow-up article I saw the "Empire of China"'s flag for the first time 
Isaac -- how so? (I never saw rollerball).
Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Thursday, November 16, 2006