Kazakhstan is probably best known by Americans as the country Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat character hailed from, but now, hopefully (finally), we can all put that inaccurate depiction of the country behind us and remember it for something real. Something based in fact, and not a borderline slanderous comedic portrayal. Something like, say, the fact that one of their government officials just called Spongebob Squarepant a hooligan. From the Moscow Times:
“SpongeBob beats up his neighbor, misbehaves and enjoys that,” Zabira Orazaliyeva, who oversees children’s rights at the Kazakh Education and Science Ministry, was quoted as saying Wednesday by news site Newskaz.ru.
“This hooligan behavior stays in the child’s mind. They [see SpongeBob] as a role model and try to re-enact [his behavior] in real life,” Orazaliyeva added.
To be fair, it’s not like someone just walked up to a podium and announced “Kazakhstan’s official stance on SpongeBob is that he is a hooligan who must be stopped,” and then walked away. There’s some context here. The point Orazaliyeva was getting at was that the show doesn’t have a great deal of educational value, and that there may be better alternatives out there if you’re planning to park your young children in front of the television for 30 minutes. It’s actually a perfectly reasonable stance to take, all things considered. It’s just, I mean, a government official called SpongeBob a hooligan. A HOOLIGAN! I’m gonna need an hour or two to get the giggling out of my system before I consider the rest of this argument on its merits.