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Article #20
E-mail  Fallout

- SlingShot

Here is the e-mail discussion that directly followed the  censoring of SlingShot's final newsletter article.

Since it was really SlingShot's wife who forced the issue, the e-mails bear her name. Otherwise, Bob would not have bothered taking the time for a formal response but would merely never have returned to a club ride, and let his membership run out on its own.

SlingShot and his wife's conversation on the subject was brief, "Ok, I'll help you write the response, but I'm telling you beforehand, it is just a waste of time. Those people will never understand!"

And they never did.

Here are the e-mails starting from the one sent from Mrs. SlingShot's address of record with the club. She was adamant that certain points be made. SlingShot was adamant that mention of  Crazy Mike's trash talking of SlingShot be done in order to relieve the pressure Crazy was receiving due to one of his articles in a  newsletter at about the same time as the censorship event.


Subj: remove
Date: 02/21/03

It has come to my attention that the Spoke 'n Word has instituted a new policy of censorship.

Please remove me from the receive list.


Subj: Re: remove
Date: 03-02-21 18:52:21 EST
From: (William & Nancy Usis)

I don't know where you got that idea but there is no form of censorship
being instituted.
Bill Usis-Editor


Hi Bill : )

> I don't know where you got that idea but
> there is no form of censorship being instituted.

In the Feb. 2003 issue of SNW, the editor's reply to Punch Bag states an apology to people being offended by Slingshot's use of the term 'Bitch', then goes on to say, "I probably should have left the disparaging word implied instead of 'spelled out'."

On page six of that same issue: column one, item 6 states (in BOLD letters): "Board resolved that Newsletter editor, Bill Usis, be given authority to edit submitted articles."

Subsequently in the same issue Slingshot's article ("Bicycling Heaven") had the second word 'SHIT!' bleeped out (becoming "S?!") while Slinghot's byline was moved to the bottom of the page. Since the entire 1,243 word article was otherwise left totally untouched, this is obviously censorship--not editorial management.

I happen to know the particulars of the submitted article, because I am Mary Endico Fugett, Slingshot's wife.

I was also present when he presented the idea of using "SPIN BITCH" to Sharon Giannino prior to submitting the article. Sharon was in fact given the opportunity to have the word changed to "WITCH" but chose "BITCH" as a stronger statement of her strength and skill. Don't forget a "WITCH" is burned at the stake, while a "BITCH" need only salve the head bruise from continually bumping against the corporate glass ceiling. It is ironic that some people struggle to turn the clock back on this issue.

Slingshot is in fact extremely sensitive to the connotation of words and has always made it a policy to check with people prior to submittal of articles that contain possible issues, so he was extremely upset when Punch Bag implied Sharon Giannino was not a "lady" if she accepted the use of BITCH in her nom. This is also a slap in my own face, because I help copy edit Slingshot's work and so give a pass on every word that is included.

Slingshot was especially troubled since he had received e-mail from Sharon, after the article was published, in which she stated (this in regard to BASTARD being abdicated from Kevin to Humberto), "...I refuse to relinquish Spin Bitch (as in Bastard) to anyone, they're gonna have to really earn it..." How dare Punch Bag register such complaint while disregarding Sharon's own freedom of choice!

In fact it is my understanding that Sharon had even been working on submitting her own SNW column titled: "Dear Spin Bitch," in which she would answer training questions with a tongue in cheek harangue followed by good solid workout advice. I've seen her writing and it is exemplary.

Although Slingshot was not happy that Punch Bag's letter was allowed to run unanswered he said, "Well, actually I am glad I wasn't given the opportunity to respond, because the SNW is not the forum in which to address such issues as freedom of speech, linguistics, semantics, the art of literary satire and some people's juvenile attachment to being shocked by word usage."

But when he saw the SNW had censored his article as a result of controversy he said, "Well it is clear OCBC has changed and is no longer the club I joined. Just look at all the political content in the most recent newsletters. I guess it is to be expected. Each and every time that human beings get "a group" together, sooner or later there's a lynching."

He told me that I am free to continue wasting my time reading the SNW and showing up for rides if I wish but to never mention OCBC to him again. Though his articles are humorous, he takes his writing very seriously.

Fortunately I was able to get him to lighten up a little by playing a game of "Hi Bitch" while watching Comedy Central. It was like the old drinking game of throwing down a shot glass of whiskey whenever somebody says "Hi Bob" that people do using the old Bob Newhart Show, except we used Gator Aid.

It is incredible the number of times we found 'bitch' used while all sorts of stuff was bleeped around it. Did you know that one may freely say the word 'bitch' in any context but not use any phrase containing the word "God" before it? Apparently using the word God is much more risky than using the word bitch. It seems 'bitch' has survived censorship, while 'God' has not.

Finally Slingshot said, "Well this doesn't change anything. Just because something is done, doesn't make it right. Just because we find phrases using the word 'bitch' all over Comedy Central, that still doesn't mean it is a good word to use. Look at the number of times "bombing" and "Iraq" are combined as a phrase everywhere else. Then he quoted Punch Bag, "Talk about 'degrading and highly offensive'?"

Slingshot has gone on to other things saying, "Look, Punch Bag had an issue and she expressed it. That's a good thing. However I will not respond. It is just not worth it. The SNW is about cycling and rides, not about politics and literature. Plus I will not waste my time engaging in Jerry Springer, Phil Donahue, Geraldo Rivera and Fox News (et al.) kinds of "he said/she said" screaming crap. I'm only interested in one thing: how long is the ride, and how fast can we do it? If people don't get it: they don't get it. I will not waste my time writing for third graders."

Actually I am pleased Slingshot will not be spending the typical three days full-time writing and editing (while pouring over each and every word) as he has done for the articles he's submitted each month to SNW for the last three years. I'd rather he spend the time continuing his work on a Masters in Humanities while completing a book about my art work. I only let him do the articles because he seemed to enjoy doing them so much.

However before sending it, I did have Slingshot look at this response as to why I was requesting to be removed from OCBC membership, and he said, "Nice work. But it'll never get printed. And even if it does, it'll probably get hacked up beyond recognition while removing all the relevant bitch and shit words. Plus nobody will catch on that 'God' not surviving censorship is a reference to the great "God is Dead" controversy of the 1960's. They'll probably even think Punch 'BAG' is an error."

Mary Endico Fugett (Mrs. Slingshot, aka: The Black Widow)

BTW: Slingshot loved, Loved, LOVED Crazy's article about kicking his ass during the last Tour de Goshen. He said it was perfectly true on every point, especially the taunting Lance look-back on the same hill as the year before. It was the only thing in the newsletter I could get him to read after I told him about the Punch Bag letter and his censored article.



Although the e-mails were CC'd to the Club President at the time, no response to the final was ever returned from either the President or the editor. Not even a word of apology about how something might have been misconstrued ever appeared in the newsletter. This all worked to Slingshot's advantage, because he enjoyed the immense pleasure of an "I told you so!" at his wife's expense.

Note the mention above about how, in the same issue as the censoring, the club leadership had got together and made a formal decision that the editor did in fact have the authority to edit?as if the exact fact that a person is designated an "editor" does not already presuppose beyond any question that they do have the right to edit as they see fit.

What knuckleheads.

Small minded people who feel they must band together in order to make their tiny little decisions appear more substantial have once again proven that small minds when combined do not result in a larger mind, but in a progressively smaller one inversely proportional to the number of those minds gathered into the mob for the lynching.

Soon after all this, the editor gave up his post, resulting in the even more horrible (how could it be) situation wherein the boyfriend (husband to be) of the person who wrote the complaining letter took over the role as controller of speech within the club by editing the newsletter.

So do you expect the situation has thus changed any? Doesn't matter, because now everybody has an attractive alternative in American Road Cycling with an attractive fee structure, ID cards, Awards program, ROAD RASH COMICS, etc.

More e-mails exist regarding SlingShot's refusal to pay dues, plus his eventual (possibly ill advised) acquiescence to all those who pleaded with him to return to rides. Happily, the full weight of the American Road Cycling web site has ultimately served to squelch the routine and unending harassment that SlingShot was enduring, harassment not from the vast majority of club membership, but from the couple of assholes that felt it was their duty.

For the time being, Bob is now on a "respond as required" basis with regard to the American Road Cycling web site, so if anybody has a burning desire to know more about this, submit a request using the QUERY FORM.

Else wise, there are roads to ride with hills to climb, and American Road Cycling chooses to  be involved in those activities rather than wasting time beating dead horses over the heads with dead issues.


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this page last updated:
02/01/2015 10:38:46 PM

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