Genghis Khan Circling the Drain


Mongolia's legislature is considering a bill that would require businesses to obtain a government license before using the name of national icon Genghis Khan for commercial purposes. Already the legendary conqueror is featured on beer and vodka bottles, and the guardians of his memory fear the worst is yet to come. "We are not showing enough respect to Genghis Khan," one legislator explains. "If today somebody produces toilet paper with Genghis Khan's name, we do not know what to do about it, as currently there is no law to regulate this issue."

Kerry Howley has been tracking the commercialization of Khan and criticism of it for the last year or so.

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  1. Wow, tracking it for a whole year…and a few paragraphs are the fruits of her labor? That kinda sucks, dunnit?

    And by the way, folks, if one dude who died a long time ago and doesn’t really stand for anything that your country is really about, is all you have to hang on to, that doesn’t bode well for your future.

  2. How bout a Jewish Deli called Genghis Kahn?

  3. Is Chaka Khan available?


  5. They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.

  6. jkp,

    No, no, no. He’s an Indian. Played by a Mexican.

    Speaking of Mexicans, why was Anthony Quinn “Mr. Greek” in movie and TV roles? Zorba the Greek, The Guns of Navarone, The Magus, The Greek Tycoon, and, more recently Hercules (yeah, Zeus is Greek–Mount Olympus is in Greece, isn’t it?) all featured this Mexican fellow as a Greek. He was also Arab a number of times. I don’t think you can’t cross ethnic lines when acting, but to become the go-to guy for a nationality of which you aren’t remotely a member? Bizarre.

  7. Razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan. . . .

    So if John Kerry had won, we’d have invaded Mongolia? Whoa.

  8. Pro L, my husband and I dubbed Anthony Quinn the Generic Foreigner for his ability to play pretty much any dark-haired, dark-eyed, olive-skinned ethnic group. So far as I know, the only time he ever played a Mexican was when he was in Viva Zapata!

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for the html notes on the Korea thread. The server squirrels were really hungry and ate my earlier thank-you note.

  9. Karen,

    You’re welcome!

    Anthony Quinn is high on that list, but forget not Sean Connery. Just off the top of my head, he’s played a Russian (Hunt for Red October), a Greek (Time Bandits), an Egyptian (Highlander), and other non-British nationalities, I’m sure.

  10. I have at home a bottle of Vampire wine from Transylvania, home of Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula. Romania has a whole industry based on Dracula. (The wine is good, btw.)

    Hungary should do something with Attila, if they haven’t already.

  11. If today somebody produces toilet paper with Genghis Khan’s name, we do not know what to do about it, as currently there is no law to regulate this issue

    The first thing that came to mind is: Don’t do anything you silly twit.

    The second thing that came to mind is: What would Genghis Khan do?

    My vote is that first of all he’d wonder what toilet paper was for. Then, once he found out he’d simply kill whoever had such toilet paper. Maybe he’d ban toilet paper altogether to avoid temptation.

    I’m pretty sure he’d then engineer a coup and kill everyone in government, the damn poseurs, and show everyone by example how a country ought to be ruled.

    Which brings my final thought on the matter: Maybe they ought to give someone a prize for “inventing” Genghis Khan toilet paper.

  12. Is there any chance we can spread the rumour that Khan said, “Let them eat cake?” You know, take some of the pressure off me?

  13. Tangentially, I am of the opinion that corporations who name themselves after a city but is not located there should be asked to pay some brandname fees.

    For example, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which is not in LA, should pay the city of LA a few dollars for using that name, a brandname in someways burnished by municipal revenues that the Angels don’t pay.

  14. happyjuggler0 wrote, “Maybe they ought to give someone a prize for “inventing” Genghis Khan toilet paper.”
    They already have. It’s called sandpaper.
    Use it first thing in the morning, and it well get you up.
    “Double Deluxe Genghis Khan toilet paper” is sandpaper with poison ivy leaves on it. It gets up and gets you mean for the day and night to come.

  15. Syd: the Hungarians are not Huns, oddly enough. They are Magyars. Different tribe, different language. The Huns spoke an Indo-European language, while the Magyars (and modern Hungarians) speak a Turkic-Mongol language. The Huns, properly speaking, went back to Central Asia after the death of Attila.

    The Genghis cult is reaching the level of state religion in Mongolia. The government is trying to promote a sense of national greatness that, if history is any guide, will end badly.

  16. Actually some of the Huns went to the Crimea and Caucasus where they blended in with some of the other tribes such as the Bulgars. Magyar’s more closely related to Finnish than Turkish or Mongol.

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