Political discussions are BANNED from this point forward until further notice. This joint is a huge, irreplaceable, amazing gathering of people from around the globe brought together by a common love for the clothes, films, technology, literature and almost everything else that is romantic and fascinating about the period from 1920 - 1950. There was also plenty of bad stuff from that time too: war, famine, economic depression and inequality. Debate and discussion regarding these things is welcome here. We behind the bar are constantly amazed at some of the scholar-level history that can be learned or just leafed through by the membership here. Any discussion of what the Fedora Lounge 'is' must also include a definition of what it 'isn't.' One of the key things it is not: It is not, and was never intended to be, a hot spot of current political debate. Yet, this unwelcome part of the Lounge has rather taken on a life of its own, and threatens to overwhelm all the very great stuff that the Fedora Lounge 'is.' For the first couple of years after the Lounge opened, it was extremely rare for a bartender to have to edit for content. Discussions of contoversial topics were respectful and representative of people who were on board because they were comfortable with others who prized interesting, mannerly conversation. We would never have dreamed we would see a time when people joined the Fedora Lounge just to be rude, childish, and foul in speech. If you think what we are saying is untrue, if you think that the bartenders are a bunch of reactionary zealots who just want to silence all opposition (whatever that is), we can truthfully reassure you that the volume of private messages from members to our bartenders has risen to a flood in recent weeks and months. Almost 100% of it comes from members asking "does that stuff really belong here?" Most express their dismay at the low level of discourse. Some ask that the Observation Bar simply be closed (and that is under consideration). Many have expressed a line of thinking that has become a watch phrase for those of us who have to read all these political threads and try in all sincerity, to be fair while weeding out the insults, the bad language, the tit-for-tat. Frankly, it is stealing the joy of it for all the bartenders who, after all, do have regular jobs and lives that also require attention. None of us can expect them to use their employer's time, and take time from their families, to babysit rancorous squabbles that have no place here to begin with. We are also very, very fed up with accusations of bias. Conservatives complain that we are liberal; liberals call us fascists. Enough. We do the best we can. if that isn't enough, you are welcome to a refund of your membership dues and here's your hat. Being banned from The Fedora Lounge is exactly like being thrown out of a fine restaurant for disorderly conduct. If you cause a big ruckus in a fine restaurant you will be asked to leave and chances are you won't be allowed back in. The Fedora Lounge is a members-only club for ladies and gentlemen. It is open to any person from any nation with any viewpoint, any background. Two things are required to be a member: a legitimate email address and a willingness to abide by the rules of conduct, which are intentionally quite high. We are not a free-for-all. And no, we are not bound to allow absolute free speech. One wonders where that idea came from. Speech has been policed for offensive content since the doors opened, and that WILL continue. The Fedora Lounge attracts such a fascinating mix of quirky, interesting people of a huge variety of interests. Most of them probably find no outlet for this side of themselves in real life and we are a valuable outlet for them. We feel a strong responsibility to protect and nurture that. We also feel a strong responsibility to keep this joint on track and within the oft-stated parameters of strictly family-oriented content. Folks, there are a lot of children reading these boards. For the time being, outright political discussions are banned as topics in the Observation Bar and all other forums. You can talk about events, debate history, and compare notes on the interesting things that happen in your lives as always. But please, no more political talk for now. The Bartenders are the sole arbiters of what is appropriate. Do not be offended if your thread is deleted - they are just doing their job. Godwin's Law Addendum Reductio ad Hitlerum is not allowed at The Fedora Lounge.