Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Welcome to the USA Video

13 comments
Last month we enjoyed a non-Christmas trip back to the homeland for a few days. While standing in line at immigration in Chicago, I noticed this video playing at the front of the line:


Have you seen this at immigration? According to the video, the United States has all of the following very special things:

* Cities with tall buildings
* Fog
* Pointy monuments
* Smiling women watering gardens
* Little boys
* Bearded guys with top hats
* Yellow school buses
* Smiling schoolchildren
* Smiling people who get married
* Women who sit by pianos
* Bridges
* Traffic
* Smiling people in narrow alleys
* Coffee shops with smiling staff
* Smiling truck drivers
* Smiling children playing near barns
* Smiling children on tire swings
* Smiling families on porches
* Smiling children jumping rope
* Fields
* Vineyards
* Hot air balloons
* Spiky tall buildings
* Fancy restaurants with smiling employees
* Smiling businessmen
* Small airplanes
* Flag murals on barns
* Tractors
* Smiling farmers
* Ferris wheels (with smiling families)
* Silly dancing children
* Scenic rocks
* Bearded guys with fenceposts
* Saxophone players (thoughtful, but then smiling)
* Clouds
* Eagles
* Hills
* Waterfalls
* Bears
* Smiling children who like to fish
* Cafe waitresses
* Old guys who like to fish
* Guys who shovel ice
* Smiling guys who throw fish
* Cities that are lit up at night
* Trees that change colors
* People who ride horses
* Those wacky horses!
* Lone serious dudes
* More tall buildings
* Smiling people who take their dogs to the park
* Smiling couples
* Smiling women who drive
* Smiling people who build houses
* Smiling people who have houses
* Smiling people who have lots of books
* Smiling people who stand by walls
* Smiling firefighters
* Tough guys
* Smiling diner employees
* Cotton candy stands with happy quirky employees
* More cities that are lit up at night
* Smiling ladies all dressed in costume
* Smiling Elvis impersonators
* A big sign that says Hollywood
* Smiling women who shop
* Smiling dancers
* Smiling kids on empty suburban streets
* Churches
* Smiling people who shake hands
* More smiling families
* Smiling ladies in wheat fields
* More and more and more smiling people
* Smiling children in costume
* Smiling park rangers
* Canyons
* More waterfalls
* Buildings with columns
* Statues
* Rockets
* Cornfields and smiling people looking at them
* Carved rocks
* Smiling chefs
* Smiling kids playing basketball
* Rodeos
* Boats in swamps
* Smiling kids playing soccer
* Smiling cheerleaders
* Beaches
* Ladies with leis
* Crazy water activities
* Traffic at night
* Snowy mountains
* People skiing
* Smiling filmmakers
* People who ride bikes
* People who run in races
* People who skateboard
* More tall buildings
* Smiling people who play baseball
* People who play music
* Smiling people who surf
* People who go really fast in wheelchairs in scenic places
* People in cowboy hats
* More canyons
* Greenhouses with smiling employees
* People throwing mortarboards
* Babies with smiling mothers
* Smiling babies and serious babies
* More smiling children on tire swings
* More smiling families.  FAMILIES ARE THE ULTIMATE!!!
* Guys on motorcycles
* Oh, those quirky pregnant ladies!!
* And all these people are so glad you're here.
* Staute of liberty ending!!!

So, would you feel particularly extra welcome as a visitor to the US?  :) 

13 comments:

  1. Well, it would definitely remind me that I don't see that many kids here in Germany -and given the birth rate here, that's no surprise.

    Goodness, I can't wait for our US trip this summer. I can't wait to get back to 'normal' summer weather (read: not cold and rainy) for a while.

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  2. I like how the dude near the beginning (I think wearing a top hat, but not sure) was wearing a T-Shirt that appeared to say "London"

    And, gosh.. man, everybody smiles!

    and man... WELCOME! (but only during the last 30 seconds of a video that you will probably see 16 times, if you're standing in the foreigner's line that has about a 2 hour wait to get to the front.)

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  3. I watched it and felt sure it was a Qantas ad. Except for the statues and the bears eating the salmon, it's the same deal. Varig, SAA and SAS tout similar stuff, I feel sure.

    Second, a welcome video might give you helpful information about customs and immmigration, things to see, where to go, or hints on cultural differences. Why must everything be a goddamn ad in America?

    Third, if I arrive at the border with my foreign-born same-sex spouse, neither of us will be welcome. We will be turned back. A foreign-born same-sex spouse is judged to be too great a risk of overstay, even though we both have stamps in our respective passports showing our right and intention to return abroad.

    So, no. The film doesn't give me a warm glow inside.

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  4. It's so good to see that the fee they're now charging visitors to the States is being used for something besides lining someone's pocket.

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  5. @Juliette: I'll take cold summers...it's the only way to make the humidity more tolerable! Re: kids, Heidelberg is full of them; I think our birth rate must be higher than the German average.

    @Adam: Nice catch with the London shirt; I did not notice that! So, the USA also has Anglophiles.

    @Honorable Husband: The "everything's a goddamn ad" feeling is one of the biggest, weirdest ones I get whenever I go back. Re: overstay risk, WTF, I do not understand that.

    @Letters Home: Yes, taking video of those oh-so-quirky smiling pregnant American ladies. woo.

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  6. That is hilarious. It needs captions though...
    "Nature!"
    "Hats!"
    "Junk food!"
    "Fancy food!"
    "Farms!"
    "SMILES!"
    "Bears!"
    etc.

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  7. I think I've seen that before while waiting in line at immigration. And I totally get the weird, marketing-fatigue feeling when I'm in the U.S. visiting. Like there's an upsell waiting around every corner.

    That bear is a total ninja, though. Makes the whole video worth it.

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  8. Congratulations on watching it so carefully to note all those elements. I started watching it, but got ad fatigue and decided to just skim your post instead. I subscribe to the actions-speak-louder-than-words (or ads) school. Reducing ridiculous barriers and nit-picky paperwork for visitors would do a lot more to make people feel welcome than watching this thing.

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  9. Congratulations on watching it so carefully to note all those elements. I started watching it, but got ad fatigue and decided to just skim your post instead. I subscribe to the actions-speak-louder-than-words (or ads) school. Reducing ridiculous barriers and nit-picky paperwork for visitors would do a lot more to make people feel welcome than watching this thing.

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  10. I kept waiting for the line at the end saying "sponsored by the American Dental Association."

    Also, how did Austin, Texas get to be the only place identified by name? (Look behind the bull in the rodeo scene.)

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  11. > I think our birth rate must be
    > higher than the German average.

    Heidelberg's birth rate is pretty much the lowest in the state actually (iirc there's one or two towns marginally lower), and the city has the lowest population share of children in all of Germany.

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  12. @Kato, damn, that's crazy. Neuenheim is INFESTED with babies. Saturdays you can hardly move at the market for all the strollers. Similar with Sofienstrasse on Saturday. The rest of BW must be barefoot and pregnant at all times in order for HD to have the lowest birth rate!!

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  13. Only 12.8% of the population of Neuenheim is under 18 (2010 statistics).
    For Heidelberg it's average 14.2%, for Baden-Württemberg it's 17.5% (same year).

    Neuenheim-Mitte (and only Mitte, i.e. between Brückenstr and Berliner Str) has a relatively high population share of babies and toddlers under age 3 though at 3.1% compared to Heidelberg's and Baden-Württemberg's 2.6%.

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