…nowhere is my natural anarchism more aroused than at national borders where patient and efficient public servants carry out their duties in matters on immigration and customs. I have never smuggled anything in my life. Why, then, do I feel an uneasy sense of guilt on approaching a customs barrier?
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962)
Niagara Falls. So good they built it twice, once in Upper New York State, once in Ontario. In many respects it sums the border region up: both cities share the same natural resource, not just a thundering source of light and power, but a tourist attraction to boot. And yet the Falls are apprehended so very differently on each side, just as each city, though united in their appreciation for kitsch, has fared palpably differently. It is also, of course, the iconic site of oh-so-many cultural events and representations, which range from the heroic (cue Superman II) to the downright mad (tightrope walkers and barrel riders galore). Continue reading