Apparently, U.S. Customs is not only protecting citizens from terrorists entering the country, but also from British writers with questionable morals. In this week’s New York Times “Possessed” column, David Colman writes about “infamously debauched writer” Sebastian Horsley and his adventure at Newark Airport trying to enter the United States from Britain on an author tour for his latest book, “Dandy in the Underworld.” After a long interrogation, he was put back on a plane to England for reasons of “moral turpitude.” (Um, who would’ve thought?)
Apparently, what tipped them off (pun intended) was Mr. Horsley’s very tall top hat–officials wanted to know what was under it.
Colman, however, seems to think Horsley (certainly no innocent–just read on) was better off not entering the country on behalf of questionable morality of U.S. citizens themselves:
“One might read the statement by a Customs spokeswoman, citing concerns of “moral turpitude” relating to his past arrests in England for drug possession and prostitution—which in his book, “Dandy in the Underworld” (Harper Perennial), Mr. Horsley asserts that he has both solicited and proffered— and think that the United States was protecting itself. Or, since Mr. Horsley says that he has given up drugs and prostitution, one might think that considering the ready availability of those vices here, the United States was protecting Mr. Horsley.”
Horsley, by the way, practices what he calls “Dandyism”–hence the hat–which he describes as “being real in an artificial way” and having “everything tailor-made: my shoes, my clothes, my personality.”
A seedier spirituality of fashion, perhaps? Turns out “Dandyism” has an entire website devoted to the subject and its practitioners (mostly men, and involving bright pink suits).