Thursday, October 20, 2011

fellow travelers and undesirable elements

From the NYT, an article about Britain's artist visa process, at which all Americanistanians may rejoice, since it seems theirs is as punitively byzantine as ours. (There was a time when I would ask "How did Foreign Performer X manage to book a tour?" and the answer would always be "Because she/he/they live in Brooklyn." Now I just assume.)

The article does beg the question, though, of why the violist would "sail through" while the violinists are sent for interrogation and the cellist is deported outright. Is this because they couldn't believe anyone would hire a violist to play for money?

This was all so much easier when it was just about commies.


  1. Holy shmite, Kiarostami!

  2. In the days before I became a certified Canuckistani entry to the US required that I complete a declaration that I had not engaged in Nazi activities between 1934 and 1945. I have often wondered what the consequences of claiming to have been a pre-natal Nazi would have been.

  3. lol As long as you had a pre-natal PhD in Physics, I'm sure it would have been fine.

  4. LOL

    I bet it's even worse for ancestral Communist connections. "Have you, or anybody you know, or your parents or grandparents, or their ancestors, or anybody at all you've heard of, as much as contemplated being a member of the Communist Party?"

    But more seriously: Iris Murdoch never stepped on to the US soil because she could never get a VISA due to some youthful Communist allegiances.

    As for this side of border, and more recently: Aleksandar Hemon, before he decided to stay in the US permanently, actually contemplated Canada since he already had some cousins here. He read all the documents and "the permanent residence application was so intimidating and left no hope" that he went for the US one. Having dealt with the same document myself, I can assure you he is not exaggerating.

    There was a good cartoon in the New Yorker about the time I managed to gather all 1200+ documents and apply for the permanent residence in Canada. It showed a US senator working his aide on a new immigration bill. "It's a simple one. Admit all coming on concorde", said the line under the cartoon. Yep, that about sums it up, I thought.

  5. The Communist provisions were, iirc, repealed during the Clinton Administration, because by then the Cold War was soooo last cent--zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Doesn't surprise me about Iris Murdoch -- I think once you were on the list, you were on the list -- and it's interesting to see who else was barred entry under the McCarran-Walter Act before then (including, it seems, Pierre Trudeau before he scored a Get Out of Jail/Gaol Free card by being elected Prime Minister of aforementioned Canuckistan).

    What's also interesting is the similarity of the anti-immigration language used in support of McCarran-Walter (back in the day) to what's being mouthed now in GB. And we would expound on this further if we weren't so busy building this Antimexicanische Schutzwand to keep all those durn Mexicans from coming in and stealing tomato-picking jobs from the white American middle class.