Tag Archives: USA

A view from the outside

Sometimes it is quite revealing to change perspective. Andrew Moravcsik comments in Newsweek on the upcoming 50th birthday of the EU and comes to this conclusion:

… it’s significant that 50 years after the EU’s march to unity began, it is now Europe, not the United States, that’s held up as a new lamp unto nations.

Borat

Finally I managed to see the movie with the best title ever: “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”. The movie has been described as quality trash and got a lot of controversial press coverage. For some good comments look here and here and here. In my opinion it is a very funny movie but I don’t want to get into the philosophical debates surrounding it. Love it or hate , take it or leave it! Surprisingly, the movie became a mainstream success and has even topped the box office in the United Studies which is quite odd since it is rather anti-American.

By the way: the scenes in Kazakhstan were filmed in a village called Glod in south-eastern Romania which explains the Romanian swearing at the beginning of the movie. In fact not many people know that Romania has developed a quite professional movie industry due to its relatively low production costs. A list of movies that were directed or produced in Romania can be found here.
However, in my opinion Sacha Baron Cohen is a marketing genius.The campaign for the movie started nearly a year ago (or even earlier) when Borat hosted the MTV European Music Awards being mostly unknown outside the UK. The old quote that all publicity is good publicity has been verified. It began with the story of the removal of his website by the Kazakh authorities. Afterwards lots of little movies appeared on the internet mainly from his TV show. Over the summer, Borat appeared frequently in different places always trying to get as much media coverage as possible.

Finally the trailers were released and everyone was thrilled. Unfortunately, it is a short movie (only 82 min). And the several long trailers here and here (up to 2 min 30) include already the best jokes. I was really looking forward to the movie but I guess I was just a victim of the marketing strategy.

And now the controversy continues: The government of Kazakhstan accused Borat again. Russia banned the movie completely. Some of the people that were mocked by Borat want to earn money as well. Borat got beaten up. Even the Romanian villagers want to take Borat to court. And the result at the box office? The second weekend was even more successful than the first one. In case you want to know how this people got in the movie in the first place I found an interesting article here.

Bye Donald!

It is time to say good-bye to the politician that brought us Europeans the myth about “old” and “new” Europe. As we all know, he is one of THE best stand-up comedians around. Tragically, he was in charge of the most powerful army on the globe. Borat would probably call him “the brave man that began the war OF terror” followed by something with prostitutes in Kazakhstan. By the way: read the nice comment on the new Borat movie by Edward Lucas in the latest edition of the Economist. Coming back to good old Donald: If you already miss his remarkable rhetorics and the famous intellectual outbursts, listen to his warm voice whenever you feel you need it. Just to remind you of his legacy, here a short collection of original DHR quotes:

Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do no know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

You’re not asking the question that I’ve answered.

We would be happy to capture them, we’d be happy to have them surrender, and if they don’t, we’d be happy to kill them.

Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.
I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started.

We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead.

Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said.