Saturday, April 04, 2009

Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic Request Your Moral Support

[This hits a little close to home, since they're friends and heroes to us, we have similar stories and paperless lifestyles, and Bethany and I got the 3rd degree from US customs about our relationship status just a few weeks ago - but they didn't try to deport one of us! Apparently heroic, independent female creative geniuses are super-duper-extra suspect...]*

*Bethany may have a follow-up to this shortly.

Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic Request Your Moral Support

The "Exotic Enemies Do Get Married" Campaign

by Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic

Surprising news has just arrived for us at our American home address. Although we have been married for four years now, the American Immigration services can't find any paper trail for the two of us.

We have no joint bank account, no insurance accounts and no joint children. The authorities therefore suspect that our marriage is a phony "Green Card marriage," and they would like to have Jasmina deported from the USA.

This is not too entirely surprising a mistake, since we're an Internet couple. By our nature, we just don't generate much paper.

We use electronic banking. Bruce uses American banks, while Jasmina uses Serbian banks. Why would anyone want to make his or her alien spouse use an American or Serbian bank?

There's no reason for us to jointly speculate in American real-estate, since we each already own places to live. No sane European would ever want American health insurance. And so forth.

Like a lot of geek couples, we live out of our cellphones and laptops. Furniture, wedding china, massive home improvement loans: we don't even go there. We have a light material footprint that'll generally fit onto a couple of rollaboards.

We're nevertheless a genuine married couple. Any reasonable Internet person would recognize this fact in two minutes.

What proof can we offer to you, the Internet websurfer?

Well, Wikipedia says! When have they ever been known to err?

We got married in the LAX Airport in late 2005. BoingBoing's Xeni Jardin was our bridesmaid. That online news source gets more unique hits than TIME magazine!

Bruce's new novel THE CARYATIDS is dedicated "To Jasmina," not the sort of thing authors generally do as part of an illicit human-trafficking scheme.

We've been together so long now that we're starting to look like each other. Older friends of ours will recognize that this didn't use to be so.

However, the American immigration authorities would rather prefer more cogent assurances than a blog post.

Luckily, even people without a consumer tonnage of joint material possessions can establish that they are married -- if enough people say so.

We must therefore implore your help. Have you ever witnessed the two of us hanging around together? Were you convinced that we're the real deal, spouse-wise? Do you have solemn, impressive, legal-looking letterhead? For instance, are you some kind of American federal agent yourself? Lord knows we know some.

If so, then, please -- write to the American authorities, using your own letterhead. Please tell them we are, indeed, a "bona fide marriage." You are addressing the "UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES" in Vermont, USA.

Then send us a dot-pdf or a scan of your paper. We will truck them over to our lawyer. She is offering a possible template you might care to use. It's in the next blog post.

Please get cracking. The immigration feds are eager to bring out the hounds. April 15, 2009 is your deadline.

We would do the same favor for you. In fact, if you will send us a scanned copy of your letter attesting to our marriage, we will sentimentally treasure that for years to come.

Bruce Sterling --

Jasmina Tesanovic --

Then, if you ever end up in our weird situation -- (we know you're not planning that, but frankly, neither did we) -- then we solemnly pledge, right here and now, that we WILL do the same favor for you.

We will write to your national authorities -- whoever they are, wherever they are -- and we will bear witness to your union and your desire to go about your joint existence. Gay marriages welcome! As a Serb married to a Texan, we're not fussy and judgmental about any of that stuff!

Consider this an investment in our planet's marital future! It may be, in glittering days of tomorrow, that almost EVERYONE will be married to some foreigner -- yes, just like noted futurologists Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, William Gibson and Cory Doctorow! There is clearly a groundswell here! People whose intimate relations are primarily electronic need to mobilize!

Will you help us to deal with this, please? And spread the word about our situation? Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely, Jasmina Tesanovic and Bruce Sterling


stormy said...

I see the subliminal message here. Just stay in your house, don't say anything, and don't marry a foreigner. While people around the world are getting really mad and protesting ridiculous bureaucracy, we here in America are hiding in our houses.

Is there some kind of test to get a job at the immigration department like the test they give you when you apply at Best Buy? A test that filters out anyone who has the least amount of individuality and character. What kind of cretin picks on someone like Bruce Sterling? He's like one of the coolest people ever! And to meddle with his marriage on top of everything? People lucky enough to be good friends, and not have to spend their lives in lonely isolation, getting singled out as troublemakers just because they have each other?

This country is getting scarier by the minute. Just wait till people start pushing back.

Chris - Art Director said...

I visited the original letter on WIRED, and Bruce added this:

> PS: Please do not personally lobby the US Immigration and
> Naturalization Service on behalf of everyone who has ever had an
> Internet romance. That won't help the two of us. Also, that's
> not our point with this effort. We are recruiting real friends
> who are willing to swear that they have PHYSICALLY MET US and
> that we really do exist as a couple. If you can't do that for
> us, this effort is not for you.