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Pulling the shades on the Ace of Spades

By Mark Vorzimmer
web posted December 22, 2003

Now that the Ace of Spades is being deloused and prepared for trial, and all the other cards in the Iraqi deck have been "disempowered" if not disemboweled, it's time to turn to another deck for strength…perhaps one with more domestic import.

Though I deplore spam, the other day I have to admit getting a piece of…well, ham. A piece of spam with a little substance to it -- a spamwich, if you will.

The subject line read "The Affirmity Deck." Apparently, someone had an observation -- a wonderfully awful observation, as the old Grinch might say -- about a very specific socio-political hierarchy many believe has formed over the years in this country.

"Affirmity" (a not-so-subtle combining of the terms affirmative action and diversity) looks to be the name of a new deck of playing cards in the recent fad that observes a world where the now famous Confederate flag crowd have less political clout (Howard Dean's comments notwithstanding) than endangered species, redwood trees, and -- according to the order of the cards in the deck -- every other group in society.

Two of ClubsThe deuce is the obvious and unsympathetic redneck from the south (a beer-bellied guy with a Confederate flag on his tank top that probably looks more like a photograph than a caricature for many in the south), but as you move up the deck to the more powerful cards, the socio-political ranking becomes less manifest and more disputatious. It's easy to recognize the lack of socio-political standing of the redneck, but what about the elderly (the nines) in relation to women (the eights)?

I'd seen the Deck of Weasels, the Iraqi Deck, the Hillary Deck, and even other politically oriented decks of playing cards in this apparent fad, but none seemed particularly suited to a traditional deuces-low, aces-high game of cards. They're all decks of cards like those my cousin and I used to "borrow" from his older brother when we were kids. You know…the ones with all those nude Russ Meyer women on them, sprawled into seductive stretches that looked more like yawns. The images were fun to gawk at, but no one was ever going to use them to play a serious game of cards. The images don't correspond in any real sense to the hierarchy of the deck itself.

The Affirmity Deck may be different. It actually looks as though it might offer an interesting game of cards. The idea of a taking a hand in a game of cards with three "out and proud" queens, rather than traditional queens, might be too good to pass up. I don't know whether homosexual's socio-political ranking is superior to that of African-Americans (or black militants, as the image on the tens appears) or the disabled (the Jacks), but it's a point worthy of debate.

In the end, this just may be a point worthy of a little social discourse, rather than simply ignoring the matter altogether (which we all seem quite content to do). Like the affirmative action bake sale Stephan Jerabek and his Committee for Freedom had the audacity to attempt on Indiana University's campus this past November. Jerabek's was the "activist" claiming that he and his committee were only trying to illustrate a conceptual problem with affirmative action by selling cookies at different prices to different people, based on race and gender (White males were to pay $1 per cookie, white females 75 cents, Hispanics 50 cents and blacks only 25 cents).

Ace of ClubsAre the Jerabek's and the Affirmity people (not surprisingly, there are no names associated with the cards or the Web site) simply observing a socio-political fact, or are they alarmists fretting over a world with which they're afraid they'll be confronted someday? I don't know the answer, but I am concerned that out of the ashes of historical victimization (of the real sort) a fraudulent sociology was born. The type where you have to be black to recognize racism; a woman to understand women's issues, an American Indian to open a casino in Scottsdale, and so on. What this created is a world where anyone who's not constituent in a perceived victim group, has no "voice," and thereby little socio-political clout.

In any case, in most forums, if a disabled, African-American lesbian (The ace in the deck) accuses you of being insensitive, you may be facing -- as the Affirmity website suggests -- "the perfect political storm".

I haven't played cards in 20 years, but what the heck; it's going to be a long winter with all the electioneering associated with an upcoming election: "Cards anyone?"

Incidentally, the address in the spamwich was www.affirmity.net.

Mark Vorzimmer is an occasional contributor to Enter Stage Right.

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