Friday, October 31, 2008

Getting Even with Borat?

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan has pretty much faded from memory (although I noticed that Cinemax gave it at least one screening this week); and along with it has faded much philosophizing about ridicule, cultural relativism, and offending audiences. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan is prospering with oil and mineral resources, while the source of those "cultural learnings" has become a more viable target for ridicule by dint of those economic follies that have been feeding its addiction to consumerism. All this seems like an appropriate context for the latest news from Kazakhstan as reported by Jeremy Grant for the Financial Times:

Markets are plunging, banks are collapsing and talk of recession is all about, but the global gloom is not stopping the launch of a MasterCard credit card inlaid with a diamond and laced with gold.

Known as the “Diamond”, the card has a 0.02-carat gem ­embedded in its centre and a picture of a peacock for female cardholders and a winged horse for men.

The card, which has a $1,000 (£620) annual fee, is to be issued in two weeks’ time by MasterCard and Kazkommertsbank, the second largest bank in commodities-rich Kazakhstan, where the oil and minerals boom of recent years has created a fresh crop of billionaires.

Kazakhstan has apparently found the best way to get even with Borat: Living well is the best revenge!

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