Saturday, June 23, 2007

Craig Ferguson : An Open Letter Regarding Honorary Citizenship

Dear Craig Ferguson,

(I know you Google yourself, so you might just read this!)

I have been watching, with great interest, your campaign to get honorary citizenship in this great nation of mine.

So many people in the world want to be US citizens and are going through many channels (legal or otherwise) to achieve this.

Interestingly enough, I have never heard you tell your viewers, seriously, why you would like to be a citizen. That might be an interesting monologue and show. With all the negative attitudes concerning America, it would be good for us to hear something positive about our country.

Normally, one does not campaign for citizenship: Either one waits after making out the requisite application, is given honorary citizenship as a result of lifelong service, marries into it, or demands it through mass protest demonstrations. Of course, I had the good fortune to be born here, which is automatic.

The history of honorary citizenship in the United States goes back to the Marquis de Lafayette when he and all his male descendants were granted honorary citizenship in several of the new states.

The notion of citizenship was much different in the early days of our country, as many who had fought in the Revolution and lived within the accepted boundaries of the new republic had not been born in America, but citizenship was extended to them. The states were also, under the Articles of Confederation, far more independent. Hence, one who was categorized as a citizen of a particular state, was ipso facto a citizen of the United States.

Lafayette, though, was never formally declared an honorary citizen of the United States until 2002! (Which was unfortunate since he was not around to enjoy the privileges extended by this.)

However, he was feted, shown around, and even given land and money during his visit in 1824. (I mentioned that in an earlier post.)

The first actual honorary citizen of the United States was Sir Winston Spencer Churchill in 1963; then followed, Raoul Wallenberg, William Penn, Hannah Callowhill Penn, Mother Teresa, Lafayette, and Kazimierz Pulaski. (A bill to honor Anne Frank in this way is currently under consideration.) All but one, Churchill, became honorary citizens posthumously. Going this route you'll probably wait much longer or be dead. Is that what you really want?

As much as I enjoy your show and feel that you have contributed greatly to late night between 12:37AM -1:37 AM, and think you would be a model citizen (!), I fear that you don't have a rodent's you-know-what of a chance to influence the almighty INS to speed up the process. It is unfortunate for you that the state citizenship no longer gives you national citizenship. If I were you, I wouldn't push the issue because some nasty INS agent, who watches Conan, might just put your application on the bottom of the pile after this.

So take a number, wait in your comfortable host's chair, go over the inane test questions, get a good lawyer, keep checking your status , and continue what you're doing to improve late night television.

It will happen.

Yours sincerely,

The Tour Marm

P.S. I'll be at the Warner to see you. Do you need a tour guide in DC?

Layfayette in America Exhibit at the New York Historical Society
Washington, DC Review and Tailored itinerary.
Craig Ferguson: Role Model


Jenny said...

You must not be a regular viewer of The Late Late Show because I've heard Craig Ferguson mention several times why he would like to become a citizen, though if he has done a complete monologue on the subject, I missed that one.

He applied for citizenship ages ago, and it's past time for his swearing in because of the a general INS delay.

Thanks for the history lesson, but Ozark, Ark., other towns, and states are giving Craig honorary citizenships for fun and the show states they are not legal, i.e., it's all a joke.

I think he's more concerned about humorous political comments he makes than INS agents who like Conan.

He's already made several jokes about the simplicity of the test questions. Maybe he's already gone over them several times. He's very bright, you know.

It's just a comedy routine. Why the tirade? Relax and enjoy the fun.

The Tour Marm said...


You obviously aren't a regular reader of mine or you would know that this was tongue-in-cheek and simply a way to introduce the subject of honorary citizenship to my readers. (This is a history and travel blog, after all.)

I thought making the point that most receiving US honorary citizenship, received it posthumously, a longer wait than his current situation, would be ironic.

It's called dry humor.

While Craig has made comments here and there about becoming a citizen and America, he really hasn't devoted any quality time to his deeper feelings. I just thought that a monologue and/or show considering US citizenship would be interesting.

And becoming a citizen of Ozark...Yee Haw! I can give him my red plastic Razorback helmet to wear when he visits. a

Thanks for writing, you cheeky little monkey!

MissM5467 said...

I got the dry humor, but I thought your response to the comment was a bit rude and not appropriate for this venue.

Mr. Ferguson has devoted at least two of his shows and many stories and comments about his real feelings for this country. His 9/11 tribute was inspiring!

As a teacher, I love the geography lessons of the comic bit that he is doing and I think that it does promote citizenship.

Anonymous said...
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Cher said...

Well, 'Duh' from me, too!

I confess that I am not a reader of your blog. I am simply a subscriber to 'google-alerts', and it arrived in my email.

I'm sorry, but I didn't detect one whit of dry humor in what you had to say regarding Craig Ferguson's 'quest' for honorary citizenship. You appeared to be taking Craig's little joke quite seriously. I'm sorry if I misunderstood.

I'm a regular watcher of 'The Late Late Show', and I think that Craig has made the reasons why he wants to be a U.S. citizen abundantly clear. Devote an entire hour to this subject? I can see people turning off their TV's as we speak.

Craig has been waiting a long time for his citizenship to come through. He's not asking for special treatment. This is just a very clever comedy bit.

But, now I'm aware that you already knew that (am I right?). Anyone with a sense of humor could see the humor in Craig's quest.

Well, then, as Roseanne Rosannadana said, "Never mind!".


The Tour Marm said...

All I wanted to do was to introduce the subject of Honorary Citizenship on my blog by using something from current popular culture.

I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!

I'm a great fan of his and he brightens my day.

The problem with the written word where sarcasm is concerned, is that one cannot see the person nor the intonation of the voice.

And to anonymous, I do have a Razorback helmet because I have lived in Arkansas and loved it.

y'all need to lighten up!

SuzyQueue said...

Wow...Perhaps we should leave the dry humor to Craig? I'll take you at your word that this was intended as tongue in cheek.

Maybe it would have been clearer if you'd specifically directed the history lesson to your readers and...not to the man who knows all too well. As one who was a first timer to your blog, it came across as rather patronizing.

I'll also agree with MissM5467, Craig's 9/11 monologue last fall was an impressive tribute to his love for this country. It made me, someone who finds it extremely difficult to be proud of being an American these days, pause and consider. And it still does.

Now you know how to increase your readership - say something controversial about Craig! We'll descend and defend. Even if, apparently, there's no cause. (How very American of us!)

The Tour Marm said...

It's good to know he has an ardent fan base who are ready to defend him. (Even when it really is unnecessary!)

I was using the same technique as he does when he picks up a quill and writes a letter. (No one picked up on that bit.)

In fact, I can sympathize with his current predicament in that my own passport renewal is woefully backlogged and I cannot leave the country! (For a professional tour guide, that's bad news - and in many cases, it has been serving as my second photo ID stateside.) That's Homeland Security!

Again, I was attempting to say that trying for US honorary citizenship was a far longer wait!

However, it is precisely the content and quality of the monologues concerning September 11th, his father, and the recent one about Britney Spears (which I had written about in this blog) that a real thoughtful piece about citizenship could be riveting.(There are several other celebrities from 'free and democratic nations' who have chosen US citizenship, and not just for money.)

Mr. Ferguson is a remarkably multi-faceted man. I find him both hysterical and thought-provoking. Good comedians have an undercurrent of seriousness to their humor. To me he is a mixture of Jack Paar, Ernie Kovacs, and David Letterman.

But the real point is, did you learn anything from the posting concerning honorary citizenship? That's what this blog is really about: Learning.

Take a tour of the blog! The Tour Marm's First 100 is a good place to start.

OK. I won't give up my day job and hereafter I will think twice about posting anything else about Mr. Ferguson.