It's hard not to laugh out loud at the young British comedian Sacha Baron-Cohn's various comic personae: da hip-hop MC, Ali G; the Austrian fashionisto Bruno (star of "Funkyzeit mit Bruno"); and, of course, the antic Kazakh bull-in-America's-china-shop, Borat, star of the new film Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (now in theaters -- and for a glimpse of all Cohn's characters, see reruns now on HBO). In these tense times, one might question the wisdom of making such an obscenely uncivilized character come from a real country instead of a fake one (such as Andy Kaufman's Caspiar). But not to worry: peace between the US and Kazakhstan is being saved by Kazakhstan's classy Deputy Foreign Minister Rakhat Aliev, whose response to Borat is to invite Cohn on a state visit to Kazakhstan, where he will "discover a lot of things. Women drive cars, wine is made of grapes and Jews are free to go to synagogues."
For a full account of this refreshingly smart act of public diplomacy, see this story by Patricia Lee Sharpe at Whirledview.