Pop Culture Junkette

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Why The Fascination with Turkmenistan?

Sure, it's megalomaniacal President ides last year and other than for people living in North Korea, it's government seems amazingly bizarre, but why so many articles about Turkmenistan? Let's even ignore the article The New Yorker ran a few months ago (here's the abstract), and turn to the the New York Times' (and more specifically Moscow bureau chief C.J. Chivers') is obsession with this nation. See here, here, here, and here (although you need TimesSelect to see some of these articles). That's right, four articles on the nation of 5 million people by Mr. Chivers in less than a month. Finland, a nation of an almost identical size, has had no articles written about it this entire year in the Times. (Sure, it's been mentioned, but not any articles analyzing it.) What's the story with Mr. Chivers and his fascination with this admittedly unusual nation? And how much longer can he get these articles published? (Note: I almost wrote about this last week, forgot about it, but it came back to life with today's Turkmenistan article.)

Update: It seems that I'm not the only one who has noticed this bizarre trend. See here. But you read it here first.


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