Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, November 10, 2021

You know you’ve been acquainted with the InterWeb for far too long when you can remember that bizarrely goofy turn-of-the-century “I KISS YOU!!!” website.

And in fact, as I was being exposed to all the preview marketing during the past couple of weeks for Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, I did think of Mahir Cagri’s improbable attainment of his 15 minutes of fame. Not that I can’t distinguish between Turks and Kazakhs; I think it’s just the broken English employed by both characters (if I may characterize Cagri as a “character”, at least in the Internet sense).

All those malapropisms spouted by Borat is the prime reason why I’m not going to catch this flick in theaters, by the way. That brand of humor wears extremely thin with me, and despite all the accolades the movie’s gotten, I have a feeling I won’t be able to endure two hours of that cheap-laugh approach. I’ll probably rent it later, when I’ll have the option of quitting in the midst of it without incident.

Anyway, I’m not the only one to make that linkage. Cagri is claiming Sacha Baron Cohen stole his schtick, and he’s seeking compensation:

“The world knows he is copying Mahir,” the Turk, who’s also a freelance reporter, told AP. “I’m not saying this—the world is. I have received so many emails from people in the United States who tell me he is imitating me.”

No word whether Cagri has a prostitute for a sister, enjoys naked wrestling,or obsesses over Pamela Anderson—”Pam-ellla” as Borat calls her.

Nor, for that matter, if Cagri enjoys archery, rape, disco dancing, or any other purported national pasttimes of Kazakhstan. But I digress.

Besides an apology, Cagri wants the comic to stop allegedly profiting off his image as well.

“The bombshell is going to fall,” he noted, adding that he’s planning a trip to London on Tuesday where he’s scheduled to meet with his manager and an attorney to discuss a potential lawsuit and talk to the British tabs to gin up public support on his behalf. “[Cohen] is making money by using me.”

Hold on — this schmuck has a manager? And he’s going on talkshows? All on the strength of some crappy webpage he tossed up seven years ago? What a world.

Cohen Baron’s not saying anything about this so far. But he previously revealed his alleged inspiration for the world’s best-known (albiet wholly fictional) Kazakh:

The comedian first came up with the rabidly anti-Semitic Borat in 2001 as part of his U.K. television show before coming to the U.S. and did provide some insight into the awkward journo’s origins on the commentary track of Da Ali G Show DVD, stating that he was inspired by a guy he met on a trip to Russia.

“I can’t remember his name—he was a doctor,” Baron Cohen said. “The moment I met him, I was totally crying. He was a hysterically funny guy, albeit totally unintentionally.”

So, one would presume that another threat of legal action is on its way, from Russia. But since the movie’s been banned there, I guess there’s a good chance that the doctor won’t see it.

By the way, Cagri hails from the Aegean coastal city of Izmir. Izmir once was known as Smyrna, a Greek town that inspired the establishment of New Smyrna Beach in Florida. I’m just sayin’.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/10/2021 09:11:12 PM
Category: Internet, TV, Movies | Permalink | Feedback


I don’t know if any Asian influences were cited in the creation of Celine Dion’s weepy ballad, “My Heart Will Go On”. That woodwindy-style instrumental track initially brings to mind Celtic music, to me.

But, judging from the constant performance of that song by all those classical Chinese instrumental ensemble groups on the subway platforms, the song at least lends itself easily to cross-cultural rendition. I swear, everytime I duck down into a major hub platform, like Times Square, the resident performers are always in the middle of that number. It won’t be long before it’s identified less with Titanic than with a general East Asian atmospheric soundtrack.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 11/10/2021 05:15:41 PM
Category: Pop Culture, New Yorkin' | Permalink | Feedback