Fucked-Update: Speech–Not So Free After All
U.S. Women’s Bridge Team Pays the Price for Free Speech
I confess, I know absolutely nothing about bridge. I thought it was merely a card game played by old (mostly Jewish) grandmas the world over; I can only guess that television led me to that particular stereotype. But apparently, I was wrong.
A team of American bridge players has caused a stir since
representing the US at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last
month. Now, how does an all-female team of bridge players cause
controversy? Why, by voicing their political views Dixie
Chicks-style. Well, sort of. They held up a sign at an awards dinner
that said "We did not vote for Bush." Many American bridge players
have called this an act of treason. As far as I know, not voting for
the current President doesn’t make you guilty of anything (although I’m
sure Mr. President disagrees).
And now the United States Bridge Federation, the organization who
sponsored the bridge team in question, is threatening to punish them
for "conduct unbecoming a federation member." While not being able to
play bridge professionally doesn’t seem like a big deal to a girl like
me, who didn’t even realize there were international bridge
competitions, apparently, the women under attack make their living
playing competitive bridge.
Supporters of the team are calling the proposed sanctions a
violation of free speech. The USBF says they’re at risk of losing
corporate sponsorship and therefore have a right to choose who is and
is not appropriate to be representative of their organization. I tend
to think both parties are right.
The team’s captain, Gail Greenberg, made the following statement:
“What we were trying to say, not to Americans but to our friends from
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."
think that’s pretty bad ass. However, I also think it was naive of the
team to act without considering possible consequences. Seriously,
folks, this is post-Patriot Act America. Hell, just 4 years ago the
whole world watched as the Dixie Chicks were crucified by country music
fans for speaking out against the President’s decision to go to war
I’m glad the American bridge team spoke out, but I’d be more
impressed if they did so knowing they would be held accountable for
their political statement and unafraid that the consequences could be
life-altering. Free speech has become a dangerous right to exercise.
That doesn’t mean we should shut up; it means we should consider the
possible fallout before we tell the government to fuck off. And when
understand how much we could lose, we should tell them to fuck off
My "Personhood" Thinks Your "Personhood" is Stupid
week the Colorado Supreme Court has given anti-choicers permission to
launch a ballot initiative that would change the state Constitution so
that a fertilized egg is considered a person. Fuckwads.
"He looks just like his father!"
This is, naturally, another attempt to ban abortion if Roe is
overturned. Many states have trigger laws that would instantly make
abortion illegal should the Supreme Court decide that Roe was a bad
decision. But Colorado anti-choicers must be awfully ambitious: if
this initiative were to pass it would not only protect the sacred fetus
against abortion, it would also protect the cherished egg from
emergency contraception and lead to the banning of many other forms of
Before I get accused of being alarmist, I should clarify that last
point. Emergency contraception would be illegal because it doesn’t
prevent fertilization, it only prevents implantation. With most forms
of hormonal birth control and some non-hormonal forms, like the IUD,
there is still a slight chance that an egg will be fertilized, but
there are safeguards in place to prevent the egg from implanting.
If a fertilized egg is now a person, then anything that prevents
implantation would be considered the termination of a pregnancy.
The good news is proponents of the bill have to collect 76,000
signatures to get it on the ballot next November. The bad news is
there are at least that many nutjobs in Colorado. So when canvassers
start collecting signatures to get initiatives on the ballot for next
year, be on the lookout for this shit. Don’t sign it, and don’t forget
to tell them why you won’t.
Santa Claus: This Year’s Poster-Boy for Misogyny
Westaff, a firm responsible for recruiting Santas in Sydney, Australia, has warned potential St. Nicks not to use the phrase "Ho Ho Ho"
as it may be derogatory to women. Prepare for the onslaught of angry,
feminist-blaming parents. The recruiting firm swears that they didn’t
ban use of the word, simply cautioned Santas against using it.
Now, it’s never occurred to me to be bothered that Santa says "Ho".
Although, when I really think about it, the idea of an adult man saying
"Ho Ho Ho" while inviting small children to sit on his lap is a little
creepy. Either way, I think this is one of those oh-so-common
non-news stories that will never amount to anything. I’m sure Santa
will keep saying "Ho" and feminists will keep getting blamed for
trying to ban it, even though as far as I know, feminists have nothing
to do with it.
This should really drive those "War on Christmas" people crazy