On the Paradoxes of Multiculturalism and the Ethnics of Laughter," with its subtle play on Voltaire's Candide, ou l'Optimisme (1759), focuses on the character of Borat as an avatar of cultural critique in the Enlightenment tradition - the latest in a long lineage of characters dating back to Usbek
in Montesquieu's Persian Letters (1721)--used to highlight cherished elements of collective life that are arbitrary and irrational and in so doing, impart universal reason and rationality.
Whereas in the Lettres persanes, Montesquieu's Usbek leaves his home country of his own free will, mainly driven by his desire to know what lies beyond Persia, Zilia has been forcefully wrenched from her homeland.
In Montesquieu's Lettres persanes, Usbek explains his desire to leave Persia with the following words:
Just as Montesquieu flatters the French when he hints at the occidental/French light for which Usbek is longing, Graffigny also makes a conscious move at gaining her reader's sympathy by having Deterville, a French officer, deliver Zilia from the Spaniards, whom Zilia describes as savages.
26) The novel took the form of letters written between two Persian travelers in France, Usbek
and Rica, and the eunuchs and wives whom Usbek
had left in his seraglio, or harem, at home.
These narratives were originally intended to criticize a particular culture, through the use of an outsider--a fictional character functioning as a cultural other (such as Usbek
and Rica in Montesquieu's Persian Letters), or an insider who is considered abnormal (like the pathologically naive protagonist of Voltaire's Candide), or in the most extreme example, a being not of this Earth (as in Voltaire's Micromegas).
2) Elle etoit connue, du tems D'Alexandre le Grand, sous le nom de Sogdiana, D'autres l'appellent aujour d'hui Mauranneher, comme qui diroit, selon la langue du pays, Au dela des eaux, ou vers le coulant des eaux, Mais dans la plus part des cartes Geographiques elle est appellee Terra Usbekorum, le pays des Usbeks, parce que les Usbeks avoient une fois subjugue les Bouchars, en s'emparant de leur Capitale, nommee Bouchara & en se rendant presque tout le reste du pays tributaire.
3) Les Usbeks continuent meme aujourd'hui, a les incommoder par leurs courses continuelles & les obligent souvent a payer le tribut.
Drawing a line from the South-East comer of Afghanistan to the North-West you will find, broadly speaking, the confederation of Pashtun tribes to the East and those of Turcoman origin from Central Asia to the West, Usbeks
, Tajiks, Kazakhs and others.