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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Meet the New Dixie Chicks

posted by on November 14 at 14:45 PM


These women won a bridge tournament in China—and held up an anti-Bush sign when they collected their trophy. Well, not necessarily an anti-Bush sign. The sign simply said that they didn’t vote for Bush. The 23% of Americans who still back Bush would regard anyone holding up that sign as having insulted themselves. But no matter: These lady bridge champs are now being hounded off of the pro bridge circuit. In addition to insulting Dear Leader, officials at the United States Bridge Federation are concerned that these ladies might have insulted the tournament’s hosts. Says the USBF’s lawyer…

This reflects a complete disregard for the fact that the Chinese government, which does not exactly have a history of sympathetic views toward political dissent, provided the bulk of financial support for both the 2007 World Championship and the 2008 World Bridge Olympiad.

Ah, yes. We Americans have to watch what they say in China about our own government lest we tick off the Chinese government, which doesn’t want its own citizens getting any ideas about speaking their minds. Because, you know, if we piss off the Chinese they might start putting lead in our children’s toys.

The New York Times has the story. John at Americablog has the rant.

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Freedom of Speech is one of the freedoms and liberties we Americans hold dear.

Americans will never live in Fear, but will stand up for our rights and liberties and show that we are made of sterner stuff than those who Fear want.

And that we stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Middle Class way of life, no matter what the ultra-rich want.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 14, 2007 3:04 PM

International terminal gift shops at all US airports should sell "I Did Not Vote For Bush" t-shirts. They'd clean up.

Posted by DOUG. | November 14, 2007 3:04 PM

When traveling abroad I always wear a t-shirt saying "I did not vote for Bush". It gets you laid and free booze.

Posted by New Deal Demoncrat | November 14, 2007 3:05 PM

It was an international tournament which takes place in different host countires on, presumably, a rotation, so would the same act be insulting if the host country had been, say, France?What if it had been held in someplace neutral like Swizterland or an International House of Pancakes?

Posted by inkweary | November 14, 2007 3:29 PM

I think the bridge federation or whatever they're called trying to grind their own members under their wheels is more un-American than expressing hatred for Bush could ever be.

Posted by Natalie | November 14, 2007 3:30 PM

What a bitter bunch.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | November 14, 2007 3:34 PM

I'm particularly disturbed by this quote:

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.”

They have to 'name names' and sign an apology they didn't even write? Welcome to the New World Order.

Posted by Natalie | November 14, 2007 3:35 PM

Natalie @7, there's a name for this. It's McCarthyism.

Posted by Perfect Voter | November 14, 2007 3:41 PM

i don't see anyplace where the organization is attempting to squelch the freedom of speech. politicizing a non-political event could be considered rude. what's difficult about that?

these players felt it was worth it to get a certain message across. now the organizers have to deal with issues they really didn't want to.

and for what? because they want people to know something about them. "we didn't vote for bush." that just means, please don't hate us personally, or, we're not idiots. a more inspiring message would be, "End the occupation," or "stop torture", or, "bring the troops home safely."

or maybe they just wanted some free booze.

Posted by infrequent | November 14, 2007 3:41 PM

@8 - I was going to say that, but then McCarthy didn't have to get up off his knees and take his sponsor's phallus out of his mouth in order to issue a statement decrying uppity underlings. That's the difference, I think.

Posted by Natalie | November 14, 2007 3:48 PM

@9: Controversy over choice of forum and the bridge organization's tacit support of the players' political views would be rationally debatable and possibly defensible positions. However, the US Bridge Federation didn't cite those normal, sane reasons for their actions. They chose to support their discipline by citing China's hostility towards free speech, a laughably bizarre justification for an American organization to try and squelch the rights of its American members.

Posted by Greg | November 14, 2007 3:54 PM

You would think they were busted for sneaking that man at far right into the tournament rather than their political stance.

Posted by martinnnn | November 14, 2007 3:55 PM

it is somewhat surprising they'd think the chinese found this offensive. i'm pretty sure most of them didn't vote for bush either.

Posted by infrequent | November 14, 2007 4:01 PM

Well, considering the Chinese Government owns about a Gazillion U.S. dollars worth of our foreign debt, I suppose not wanting to piss them off would be some sort of rationalization -

- if it weren't for the fact this is a freaking "federation" devoted to a boring card game.

I mean, if this were the American Banking Society, or The Association of Bridge Players Who Work At The Federal Reserve, then MAYBE I could understand their sense of dismay...

Posted by COMTE | November 14, 2007 4:06 PM

They can't go to the World Bridge Olympiad? Whoa, dude, that's harsh!

Posted by J.R. | November 14, 2007 4:54 PM

Hey, I know, let's start our own bridge foundation. Drag bridge - now there's an idea whose time has come. Dan can host.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | November 14, 2007 5:07 PM

What the fuck? The Stranger isn't pro-Chinese? You had me fooled! Half your Slog articles are in support of pro-Communist Corporate bullshit aimed at putting down democracy. Isn't China your model culture? Go figure!?!

Posted by James H. | November 14, 2007 6:13 PM

If anyone wants to e-mail the board of directors and the president of the federation personally to tell them how stupid they are, a quick google search found that their e-mail addresses are still up on the web, here: . Personally, I'd rather send the women a statement of support, but had to settle for pointing and laughing at the board of directors.

I'm sure the e-mail addresses will be gone as soon as they check their e-mail and can contact their webmaster, so act now while there's still a chance they might read it!

Posted by Melissa | November 14, 2007 6:35 PM

You can voice your opinion to Jan Martel, President of the USBF at:

Postal Address
1511 Portola Street
CA 95616 Davis
+1-530-758 4088
+1-901-398 7754
Web site


Posted by Jan Martel | November 14, 2007 6:39 PM

I'm currently living in China and can assure people that Bush isn't any more popular here than the rest of the world. I can't imagine that the Chinese government would be seriously upset by this, they love to point out the very real problems with the U.S (as well as some fictitious one's) to draw attention away from their own very real problem
In case it's not clear I'm strongly imposed to both Chinese Dictatorship and the Bush dictatorship. After spending the last two years in China I do appreciate the fact that we atleast can criticize Bush, I would hate for that to change.

Posted by gfds | November 15, 2007 12:24 AM

Maybe the ladies were looking to get laid? At any rate, they should be bowling with balls like that.

And I'd bet the Chinese gubment is just fine and dandy with expressions of criticism of other countries.

Posted by fnc | November 15, 2007 2:24 PM

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