Another reason to hate the sexual revolution


It may have killed bridge.

Brent Manley, who is the editor of The Bridge Bulletin, the monthly magazine of the A.C.B.L., told me that when he went to college, in 1967, the student union was filled with bridge players, but that interest among young people dropped precipitously at some point after that. “We feel as though we’ve lost a generation,” he said. My recent tournament partner, who graduated from Yale in 1969, thinks the culprit was coed dormitories—a plausible hypothesis, since finding ways not to think about sex would have become less important as soon as having sex became easier.

Defying any urge to be cool, I took up bridge for about three weeks in college. My roommate and I at the time each bought a bridge book, applied ourselves to it, learned some strategy, but then... had no one to try it out with, so we gave up. We opted instead for bridge's slightly reatarded but much more popular little sister, spades. I still have that book, though, and I still read the bridge column whenever I get my hands on a newspaper.

The article linked above is actually a pretty fun read, throwing in sex, violence and mystery while charting the decline of bridge. Or maybe bridge isn't declining, the article speculates that the game's popularity has now leveld out and that bridge is becoming something that lots of old people but virtually no younger people do as opposed to the way it was 50 years ago where people from all age groups took it up.

The article also contains one of the lamest things I've read in a while:

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who play avidly, sometimes as partners, have created a program to support bridge in junior high schools but have had trouble giving their money away. (Buffett is deeply addicted. He once said, “Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn’t mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players and who were willing to keep the game going twenty-four hours a day.”) The A.C.B.L. has made various youth-oriented efforts of its own—for instance, a Web site for juniors, which McPherson describes as follows: “There is a blog, pictures of girls and boys in sunglasses and on cell phones, and a sixty-second animated video with a hip-hop soundtrack that flashes pictures and graphics that say ‘Hit it!’ and ‘It was cold as ice until she took the hook!’ ” Teens can also download bridge-themed Instant Messenger icons. Some bridge buffs have mixed feelings about such efforts even when they’re successful. One of McPherson’s teachers told him that he finds young bridge players “weird,” adding, “What does it say about them that they like to spend the bulk of their time with people three times their age?”

OK, I confess. I just googled "bridge blogs" with an eye to subscribing to one or two, but then thought better of it. I did, however, check out and it's exactly as lame as it sounds. And it's nice to see that Warren Buffett is putting those billions to good use!

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on September 14, 2007 8:51 AM.

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