Bridge Derangement Syndrome
Ugh. I can’t believe we’re still going through this shit.
From The New York Times:
In the genteel world of bridge, disputes are usually handled quietly and rarely involve issues of national policy. But in a fight reminiscent of the brouhaha over an anti-Bush statement by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks in 2003, a team of women who represented the United States at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last month is facing sanctions, including a yearlong ban from competition, for a spur-of-the-moment protest.
At issue is a crudely lettered sign, scribbled on the back of a menu, that was held up at an awards dinner and read, “We did not vote for Bush.”
By e-mail, angry bridge players have accused the women of “treason” and “sedition.”
The proposed sanctions would hurt the team’s playing members financially. “I earn my living from bridge, and a substantial part of that from being hired to compete in high-level competitions,” Debbie Rosenberg, a team member, said. “So being barred would directly affect much of my ability to earn a living.”
It calls for a one-year suspension from federation events, including the World Bridge Olympiad next year in Beijing; a one-year probation after that suspension; 200 hours of community service “that furthers the interests of organized bridge”; and an apology drafted by the federation’s lawyer.
It would also require them to write a statement telling “who broached the idea of displaying the sign, when the idea was adopted, etc.”
Alan Falk, a lawyer for the federation, wrote the four team members on Nov. 6, “I am instructed to press for greater sanction against anyone who rejects this compromise offer.”
Greenberg said she decided to put up the sign in response to questions from players from other countries about U.S. interrogation techniques, the war in Iraq and other foreign policy issues.
“There was a lot of anti-Bush feeling, questioning of our Iraq policy and about torture,” Greenberg said. “I can’t tell you it was an overwhelming amount, but there were several specific comments, and there wasn’t the same warmth you usually feel at these events.”
Rosenberg said the team members intended the sign as a personal statement that demonstrated American values and noted that it was held up at the same time some team members were singing along to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and waving small American flags.
Read it all (or via this non-subscription IHT link).
More from Jon Swift:
I always thought that people who play Bridge, a needlessly complicated card game, were harmless enough, though they certainly could be making better use of their time. But I had no idea that that the world of competitive Bridge was a hotbed of anti-American feeling.
(Hat tip to TBogg)
MORE: A wingnut weighs in with the twisted logic that you should never protest in a place where protests aren’t allowed. Or at least you shouldn’t protest about anything expect how you’re upset that you can’t protest there. Or something like that. And, surprise surprise, just like TBogg predicted, Malkin is on the case, though she really should have pinched my post title.