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Homeland Security Says No To Goth

Unless you exist in a rather specialized sector of fiendish and batty darkwavers, you probably haven't ever heard of Das Ich. But in the spirit of the holiday, and in the interest of keeping the conversation on Homeland Security kicking … Read More

By / October 31, 2007

Unless you exist in a rather specialized sector of fiendish and batty darkwavers, you probably haven't ever heard of Das Ich. But in the spirit of the holiday, and in the interest of keeping the conversation on Homeland Security kicking and screaming (insert Cryptkeeper laughter here), it doesn't seem out of line to draw attention to the fact that the popular German goth band was denied entry into the country for their Halloween blowout show in New York tonight. This isn't the first time we've seen this in recent months, customs and passport minutiae keeping the kids from rocking (or would one say 'gothing' in this instance?)

Das Ich is no stranger to touring the world, nor the United States. They are an internationally recognized group signed to one of the largest labels in the U.S. that's responsible for putting out music in the gothic-industrial genre. The band members themselves sent out an e-mail to fans explaining. You're sure to recognize in it many of the tropes we've grown accustomed to taking issue with on this blog, but it's still worth a read (forgiving, of course, that English isn't Bruno Kramm's first language):

Hi, Unfortunately I have to tell you that we had to return from the airport in Geneve without getting the chance to fly to the 'USA. When we started from Frankfurt everything looked great but as we got into a security check of some fucked american special customs, they didn t accepted for some strange reasons Stefans passport, which is fully valid for all countries. He even had been with this kind of passport in the USA a few years ago. They just didn t accepted it because there is new homeland security rules that do not like these european passports without microchip. This is something nobody ever mentioned to us and this is so hilarious if it is not so sad in this case. We tried calling from Geneva a consulate to help us, but they told us that they need minimum two days to do a special visa for this case. We really need to sue the USA for this fucked up behaviour—-this is like in Nazi germany 60 years ago…. I am really so unhappy and frustrated about what happened to us…we traveled the whole day for nothing and now we cannot join your party. Please make my email available to all you visitors, because we think it is time to show the stupidity of your customs to all americans. If this is the so called free world, I must say "no, thank you" Yours truly Bruno

Now whether the dark hearts of the goth legion will benefit from this bad luck–what with loss and sadness generally complimenting the whole aesthetic–is a complicated question. But it's less complicated to say that perhaps the nitpicking with musical artists from abroad is not only unnecessary, but that it does indeed reflect poorly on a country trying to project an image of liberalism around the world (who thinks Mick Jagger would have been held up in Geneva and been forced to miss a gig at the Garden?). What's even more likely is that things like this spawn 9/11 conspiracy theorists and inspire the Bush=Hitler politicking of the counterculture.

It's important to correct the hyperbole and logical errors in many of these theories. Kramm's comparison of the U.S. to Nazi Germany is familiar. But there's an interesting dimension to this. I must confess, in my younger years and in the days when Das Ich was a bit less Hot Topic and a bit more emblematic of the emerging Neue Deutsche Todeskunst (New German Death Art) movement, I had plans to see them in a neighboring city (I was a fan of the Staub LP at the time). Those plans were botched, since the band's keyboard player had been hospitalized because of a scuffle he'd gotten in with a gang of neo-Nazis.

Say what you will about the cogency of their political language regarding the current situation–these guys live a sincere and passionately anti-fascist lifestyle that isn't afraid to go into harm's way for the principle. They aren't the sorts of fellows, demonic as they may appear, that we need to keep out of our Halloween celebrations.

Trick-or-treat. Enjoy a video…

 

 

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