November 27, 2007

Bridge players deserve our respect

As snarky as I like to think Tim Murphy believes his column two weeks ago was (“Burning the Bridge to Nowhere,” 11/15/07), I was frankly insulted by the levity with which he goes about trivializing the careers, opinions, gender, and age of the women of the U.S. National Bridge Team. Clearly, Murphy believes that his own “illustrious career” as a history student and newspaper editor at the University of Chicago gives him the right to belittle the opinions of a group of experienced women who have earned a podium from which to make their opinions heard. Can Murphy say the same about his own soapbox?

I’m not sure why Murphy feels the need to put these women down. And I’m particularly frustrated with his implicit denigration of celebrity’s responsibility to use visibility to push action on human rights and social issues. Why shouldn’t, as Murphy sarcastically suggests, the cribbage champion call for divestment from Sudan? And why shouldn’t we all declare hunger strikes to support the Burmese monks? Are these actions any more idiotic than an underage opinions editor spending 30 minutes writing about how much he hates them?

I happen to love and respect my mother, not only for her “endearing eccentricities,” but as an experienced, knowledgeable “45–65-year-old, middle-class [woman] who own[s] two or more cats” and drives “in [an ’89 Toyota], moving slowly enough that you can read every single one of the ‘end the war/presidency/embargo/occupation/madness’ bumper stickers plastered indiscriminately across the back window.” I respect the people who bring their own bags to grocery stores, rather than feeding their beer habit with the “free” trash bags from the checkout line.

It seems to me that the only person in this situation who has been subjected to a “living nightmare” is Murphy himself, who must be entirely overwhelmed by society’s unfair treatment of washed-up history majors, in relationship to champion bridge players who speak out their political beliefs rather than hiding behind blind, bigoted criticism.

Way to make a name for yourself belittling other people.

Andrew McCullough

Class of 2008