(Off-Topic) Cartoonists and Border Guards Don’t Mix!

by admin on October 29, 2009

I’m a regular reader of two webcomics, one of which is “Piled Higher and Deeper,” by Jorge Cham. It’s a satirical look at life in academia, mostly focusing on the life of graduate students. “P.H.D.” is a huge cult hit (especially among grad students, probably not so much among professors), and as a result Cham has been able to quit his dead-end job as an engineering professor and go into the exciting career of cartooning!

Nowadays, Cham gets invited to universities all over the world to give talks. What a life, right? He gets his expenses paid to visit all these great institutions of higher learning and talk about procrastination. Heck, if he shows up late to his lecture, he can just say that he was practicing what he preaches! But little did we know that there is a darker side to our beloved cartoonist …

So last week Cham went to Great Britain to give a series of seven lectures, and guess what happens? He gets detained and almost deported by the immigration officials at Heathrow Airport! This is an absolutely true story — not made up — and Cham is doing a series of cartoons about his experience right now at P.H.D. I don’t know the full story yet because we’re only up to cartoon number two, but so far he has revealed that the reason for his detention was that he was not considered eligible for an academic visa because he is a cartoonist and not a doctor (sic!). At this point we don’t know yet  how he avoided deportation — presumably we’ll find that out in coming installments. (Hopefully his legions of fans stormed Heathrow Airport and demanded his release!)

The whole episode is handled, of course, in Cham’s wonderful and classy tongue-in-cheek style, and you’ll laugh at the same time that you’re saying to yourself, “Oh my god, I can’t believe they would do this.” I’m sure that while it was happening, it was not nearly so funny.

Anyway, check it out! Sorry about the off-topic post. As you know, I do keep my non-chess blog posts to a minimum. Now back to our regularly scheduled topic …

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