Friday, November 16, 2007

The Wide, Wide World of Bridge

Mata, I read yours on Closet Conservatives in Hollywood, and thinking about how to praise you to the skies for your crisp and insightful commentary, decided to take break, and found an article which seemed to run in parallel to yours; but this one instead makes a direct kama-kazi nose-dive.

It's written by Jon Carroll at the San Francisco Chronicle. Dateline: today, November 16.

At the world championships, held in Shanghai, some members of the American women's team decided to hold up a small sign - no bigger than a piece of stationery, really - during the closing ceremonies. The sign said, "I did not vote for George Bush."

Please notice that no epithets were hurled; no boycotts were suggested. The women simply stated a fact. It was, of course, a fact with some political resonance. One of the women, Gail Greenberg, the holder of 11 world championships, put it simply, "What we were trying to say, not to Americans but to our friends in other countries, was that we understand that they are questioning and critical of what our country is doing these days, and we want you to know that we too are critical."

In fact, it is an utterly unremarkable statement, ranking somewhere behind "I'm on LSD now; can you tell?" or "We're here and we're queer."

Anyway, as Mr. Carroll rightly observes, the players received punishment more severe "than the one Britney Spears was given for driving drunk with her kids in the car."

He's right. They did.

But I'm not entirely on the same "rush to judgement" on the bridge officials as Mr. Carroll. He calls them pinheads. For all I know, this incident of using ==anything== in order to play Pink Politics may not have been the first time for these chicks. Mr. Carroll takes the other approach and seems to arbitrarily decide their swift punishment was the act of a boorish tyrant wishing to cherish a Reign of the Ottoman's blood bath of the innocents.

Mr. Carroll has suggested that little to no research by him went into ascertaining whether or not this "pink political fan waving" was a first.

I do know, however, from my many devoted bridge playing friends, that distractions from the playing of bridge can bring a roof of wrath down upon the disruptor. What the chicks did was entirely disruptive. And rude, and dull, and well, pinheadish.

However, had the bridge officials just played "first warning" dialoging as Mr. Carroll suggests, perhaps over time fewer and fewer folks would donate or even wish to pay time and attention to the bridge championiships and matches.

Heck, I already know this outcome: I was a MAJOR fan through so much of my life for the international Olympics -- that is, until "politics" was allowed to invade. Then, the olympics became boring to me. Lacked its shine, its courage, its focused attention upon achievement, the work, the glory, the defeat. It became more of a "news watch" as opposed to an exciting and exhilarating adventure.

Heck, I could always just stand in downtown Berkeley for the same shinola, and it was live, non-special, non-extraordinary, and in front of me. Why would I tune into some channel specifically to watch a staged event?

In re Hollywood, there are times, I really do think Liberal Hollywood is trying to help America recover from the 60s by making all these anti-American films. The subtle manipulations of "aversion therapy". I mean, really... every time another Anti-American film comes out, the rest of us get the message from Hollywood loud and clear -- Hey you Ugly Americans. You live in a crappy house. We are better than you are, we just rent. You own. Therefore, you are ugly Americans. Take it from us, we know better than you."

Their message just makes everyday people dig their heels in even harder.

Fine by me!


MataHarley said...

Indeed, quite the parallel, Alia. I caught the NY Times' version of this story. To me, a better recap, sans the obvious SF hormonal/testosterone emotion here.

Much of the uproar is from bridge fans and players alike... some pro, some con INRE the placard stunt.

And while I believe elevating this asinine action to suspension caliber is overkill, it appears the US Bridge Federation has the reponsibility to console major contributors. ala, any actions may be dictated by capitalistic survival.

That, however, will not prevent the opposition from howling "foul" and portraying the Federation as a fascist entity. ala... the idiots with the placard have now been elevated to "victim" status. sigh...

Personally, I'm still of the mind to give the right to all to make an "arse" out of themselves... just so we can see just who is who in the herd. Then let the free market pass judgment with their pocketbooks.

Alia said...

Excellent conclusion of which I'm in full and good standing in agreement with, Mata.

However, Bridge would be awfully horrid if players are permitted to act out of turn. The very basic rules of bridge require civility as its most essential tenant. Permitting bridge players to act like these spoiled "protestors" is so endemically wrong to the rules of bridge, I believe I'm coming to the position of full concurment with Bridge officials and their stance: Give them the heave-ho immediately, and clearly.