No Satire, Please. We're Russian.
Well, the good news was that the Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan, Mr. Rakhat Alievthe, proved even cooler than Sacha Baron Cohen -- by inviting the British comedian, better known as Borat, to visit the country he has been so gleefully lambasting. (See entry below.)
But now uncooler heads are prevailing, as the Russian Federal Culture and Cinematography Agency, which certifies films for distribution in Russia, has banned Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan , on the ground that "it could be offensive to some religions and nationalities."
Uh, duhhh ... Mr. Cohen's film is every bit of that, with the number one religion and nationality it mocks being Christian Americans. It is also screamingly funny, which makes all the difference. (If only those German opera directors would acquire a sense of humor, not to mention those Danish cartoonists, they might get a pass from me.)
Suggestion to Mr. Cohen: Invite the spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Yury V. Vasyuchkov, to be a guest in Da Ali G Show. On this show, Cohen (in his persona of Ali G, a patois-speaking Brit-hip-hopper) holds mock interviews with real guests, only to ambush them with exquisite vulgarity until they sit frozen and blinking like a moose in headlights.
This is hilarious, if painful, when the guest is 1) unhip; 2) self-righteous; and 3) comedically challenged. Among the worst casualties have been Pat Robertson and James Lipton (the stuffy and rather silly host of Inside the Actors' Studio). It is even better, though, when the guest catches on and tries, at least, to stage a counter-ambush. These do not always succeed, but they do stimulate Cohen/Ali G to greater heights of outrageousness. What's more exciting, watching a cat kill a baby mouse or watching a mongoose kill a cobra?
Anyway, it would be fun to watch Cohen/Ali G do his thing with Mr. Vasyuchko, a man whose job it is to say things like, "We do not have the right to ban a movie ... We simply refused to certify it." Also Michael Schlicht of Gemini Films, the distribution company for 20th Century Fox, who not only accepted the ban (what choice did he have?) but also felt obliged to echo Vasyuchko's doubletalk: "Russia is a liberal country. They make recommendations, and we follow them."
Ali G, me main man, what you waitin for? We peeps want them tongue-forkers now.