Friday, March 17, 2006

can't blog...head hurting...must quote

Finally someone is as proud of Holland as I am:

Holland: Come For the Tits, Stay For the Gays Kissing

...Or if you prefer, come for the gays kissing and stay for the pot. Whatever your bag is, though, you'll have to watch a movie of Low Countries Spice before you can immigrate to the Netherlands:

The camera focuses on two gay men kissing in a park. Later, a topless woman emerges from the sea and walks onto a crowded beach. For would-be immigrants to the Netherlands, this film is a test of their readiness to participate in the liberal Dutch culture.

If they can't stomach it, no need to apply.

Despite whether they find the film offensive, applicants must buy a copy and watch it if they hope to pass the Netherlands' new entrance examination.

"If only the INS* were so enlightened," says reader Charles Bilodeau. Actually, I wouldn't want to be the viewer who has to watch whatever civic integration film the U.S. government would come up with to show our country's freewheeling side, but the Dutch picture raises a more interesting question than just "Where are the wooden shoes?" It's a pretty strong refutation of Stanley Fish's claim that liberals lack confidence in their own beliefs. Here's a whole country projecting a national image based on tolerance for liberal behavior—which admittedly is not a great stretch given Dutch history. But it's one thing to brag about tolerance toward religious dissenters hundreds of years ago, and something else to make it a point of pride to be on the liberal side of what are still radioactive cultural issues—and to send the implicit "like it or lump it" message to people who want to immigrate. "The film shows you how people live in the Netherlands," the website for Coming to the Netherlands says. "Some things that are quite ordinary and acceptable in the Netherlands are forbidden in other countries. For example, in the Netherlands women are allowed to sunbathe on the beach with few clothes on, and people have the freedom of expression to show that they are homosexuals or lesbians. The film includes images of this."

Unfortunately, that's a preamble to the news that you can order an edited version of the film if you live in Iran—which kind of defeats the purpose.

* Of course, Charles meant to say "CIS, ICE, and/or CBP."

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