SCA-The-Dream-msg - 2/9/99
What the SCA means for different people.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: sclark at epas.utoronto.CA (Susan Clark)
Date: 21 Mar 1993 11:02:58 -0500
Organization: The Internet
Yesterday I think I found out what "the Dream" could really mean.
At this year's Ice Dragon, a terminally-ill little girl was invested
as "Her Radiant Highness, Princess Jaqueline" and thence presided
over the day's festivities. The winner of the fencing tourney became
her champion and she was presented with many gifts by many of the
royalty of the Known World.
This was in fact the second "make a wish tourney"--the first
was in Caid, and the banner representing the program which had
flown there was displayed at this tourney. Princess Jaqueline
recieved a crown, a scepter, a book of poems dedicated to her
and the assembled royalty by Hector of the Black Height, and the
good wishes of all. She was "adopted" by a SCAdian girl of about
the same age, who not only befriended her, but gave her the respect
due to a princess.
Her investiture was one of the most touching things
I've seen in ages. I saw many damp eyes among the populace.
For once we could put away our politics and mundane cares and share
in the fulfillent of a dream for a little girl.
So, to the planners of this event in the Barony of the
Rhydderich Hael, "Vivant and Wassail"! May we see more of this
in the future!
Nicolaa de Bracton of Leicester
sclark at epas.utoronto.ca
From: jprod at sagepub.COM (Journals Production Department)
Subject: SCA as Game
Date: 30 May 1993 23:19:36 -0400
Organization: Sage Publications, Inc., Newbury Park, CA
Lately I've been seeing a _lot_ of references to the SCA as a game. I
have serious problems with this concept. It might help if people defined
what they mean by "game" -- Webster's Ninth New Collegiate, which is our
standard here at work, gives as its first definition "activity engaged in
for diversion or amusement : PLAY. It then procedes to a number of other
definitions which don't fill the bill at all.
It seems to me that if you take part fully in the SCA, it's no game --
at least not by the above definition. Certainly it still provides
diversion and amusement, but that ceases to be _why_ one engages in it.
The SCA provides more than just diversion: it offers experiences,
relationships, and fulfillment difficult or impossible for those
participating in it to find in the outside world. In ThinkWell there's
a thread going on about the SCA as a religion, and I think there's
more of a basis for this than for the SCA as a game (although it may
be argued that religion itself is a game for some!).
A week or so ago, someone said "We, being a culture ourselves...." and
Arval said, "...this is an opinion, not a fact" and went on to make
some very good points (as usual). _Culture_ may have been wrong, but
(once again, according to Webster's), _subculture_ is entirely accurate.
The definition that applies is "an ethnic, regional, economic or social
group exhibiting characteristic patterns of behavior sufficient to
distinguish it from others within an embracing culture or society." (Some
might think definition 1, "a culture [as of bacteria] derived from
another culture" even more apt!)
Now, very possibly, people who play a lot of D&D (or other role-playing
games) might also fall under the subculture definition. That makes them
a D&D (or RPG) subculture, but it does _not_ make the SCA a role-playing
game. I think Bettina and HG Cariadoc are both wrong. The SCA may have
started out as a game, but it is far more than that now. Possibly you
would help find a roomate or a job for a stranger someone had told you
played D&D, Bettina, but I wouldn't, and I play. I would try my best,
however, for someone in the SCA -- sight unseen -- and I'll bet most of
the people on this board would, too.
I know at least one knight who insists that the SCA's a game to him, but
he didn't get where he is by treating it like a game, and the members of
his household (who think he hung the moon) are as serious as they can be
about chivalry, honor, and a certain amount of authenticity, even.
I agree entirely with HG Cariadoc in that the SCA is "in the real world."
I think it is more a part of the real world than we (most of us) are
willing or, possibly, able to admit. In that it affects how we think and
what we do, whether we are in garb or out, actively taking part or
functioning in the outside world, it has helped to change and form us,
and it's the rare game that does that. I would venture to say, too, that
if a game -- chess, D&D, what have you -- _does_ do that, then it has
become more than a game.
Would you call the Masons a game? They have rules, like us. They have a
hierarchy, like us. And, like us, when they're at work in the world outside
of their Order, they carry with them the tenets of Masonry, which make
a difference in their lives. I'm not just talking about ideals, here --
people who have been hurt by the SCA carry the bitterness with them;
people who feel they have been passed over for recognition, intimidated
by forceful people, ignored by cliques, etc., etc. have all had their
lives changed by the SCA.
It seems to me that those who actually treat the SCA with the superficial
attention one gives to checkers don't stay in very long, and most of
them are unwilling even to lend a hand in setting up the pieces or putting
the board away afterwards. That's fine with me -- I prefer people around
me who are intent on and intense in their enjoyment of the immense variety
the SCA has to offer, and who are willing to do a little hard work for
the reward of being a valued part of a fascinating international family.
The SCA is not a game. It is not a religion. It is a subculture, and I
wouldn't be surprised if it were here to stay for a _very_ long time.
Like chess. :-)
Journals Production Department, Sage Publications, Inc.
2455 Teller Road, Newbury Park, CA 91320
voice: (805) 499-0721 fax: (805) 499-0871
via Internet: jprod at sagepub.com
From: mchance at nyx.cs.du.edu (Michael Chance)
Subject: Re: SCA as Game
Organization: University of Denver, Dept. of Math & Comp. Sci.
Date: Tue, 1 Jun 93 19:16:56 GMT
Kvedjur fra Mikjal!
Master Huginn Hrothgeirsson has presented a lecture at a couple of
Calontir university sessions on the "Anthropology of the SCA". After
looking at the "culture" of the SCA from the point of view of an
anthropologist, he concluded that the SCA was not a subculture (like
the hippies of the '60s), but a "guest culture", being more like
groups who are "guests" in a foreign culture and unable to return to
their "homeland" (whether returning is attainable (like Jews and
Israel) or not (like refugees from a on-going civil war)). In the case
of the SCA, our "homeland" is not a place, per se, but a time.
It's a thoroughly fascinating lecture. Unfortunately, he only has the
rough notes from which he has given the lecture, although he does
plan to eventually write a formal paper on the subject.
Michael A. Chance St. Louis, Missouri, USA "At play in the fields
Work: mc307a%viking at swgate2.sbc.com of St. Vidicon"
Play: ab899 at freenet.hsc.colorado.edu
mchance at nyx.cs.du.edu
From: ctallan at epas.utoronto.ca (Cheryl Tallan)
Subject: Re: "Register what you use, and use what you register."
Organization: University of Toronto - EPAS
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1993 23:19:02 GMT
Let me begin by admitting from the start that Quendor does not sound
like a modern name to me (if by modern you mean names that parents are
giving their children these days). However, it does not strike me as a
medieval name either.
It is possible for a name to be niether modern nor medieval (Gilgamesh
is a pretty good example). It is possible for a name to be medieval
AND modern (Mary is an example, as is, dare I say it, Thomas). You
seem to be saying :"If it's not modern it must be medieval" and/or "If
it is modern it must not be medieval". There is no necessary connection.
You also seem to be saying "The purpose of our game is to take us out
of the modern, mundane world. My chosen name does that. What's the
problem?" Correct me if I've misinterpreted the thrust of your
argument (either to the Rialto or to tallan at flis.utoronto.ca, not to
the account I'm posting on).
The problem is that for many of us, escaping the modern world is not
enough. We have a specific destination in mind. For just about all of
us, that destination is the Middle Ages. Seeing (or hearing) things
that are not medieval do not help us reach that destination.
This is not to say that everything you do or say or wear or whatever
must be medieval. Nobody is capable of that! Never mind the money, the
time, the knowledge (more than anyone is likely to be able to amass in
the course of just one lifetime), etc., nobody has the energy!
However, if you are going to devote the time or effort to do
something, whatever it is (choosing a name or heraldic device,
learning a song, making a costume, preparing a feast, the
possibilities are endless) may I encourage you to make that something,
that you are devoting your efforts to, medieval.
It is my humble opinion that everyone gains that way. The Society
gains both in terms of the medieval atmosphere created and by
fulfilling its expressed purpose: education (while creating something
medieval constitutes education, I doubt that creating something
"medievalish" qualifies). Those around you benefit both through the
bit of medieval culture created by you and through education (should
you share the knowledge that you acquired). And you gain by learning
something about the Middle Ages, through the satisfaction of doing
something that you know is medieval,and through the time saved in
documentation (it takes 1/10 the time to document something when you
hit the books first, or less - I found this out the hard way and have
learned from my mistakes).
This was not meant as an attack on you. It is meant as an effort to
share some of what I learned in over ten years in the SCA so that you
might avoid some of the errors that I made.
David Tallan (known to some as Thomas Grozier, Lord Mayour of the Cite
of Eoforwicke, who was first known in these Current Middle Ages as
Trantrist O' Mercenrike)
From: priestdor at vaxsar.vassar.edu
Subject: You see what ya wanna see
Date: 3 Sep 93 03:23:08 +1000
Organization: Vassar College
I don't spend much time here, I was up late and decided to listen in. 200
messages later and well, I'm confused. If you were all so offended at the
blatent oop stuff you saw at pensic, why are you still carring it around?
(talking about it so much?)
Were we at the same war? This year I met people making rope beds who never
tried using a chisel before, saw people making bone needles to sew their
leather lamalar together with, gentles making shoes, finishing garments of
fine cloth THAT THEY WOVE. I witnessed the shooting of a war point with self
wood bows with strong linen strings, folks fighting in stout steel or sturdy
leather, people gathering dye stuffs and soaking samples, MAKING A FORGE ON
SITE AND TURNING ROCKS INTO METAL. I smelled bread cooked in ovens built on
site, tested theft proof locks for caskets, heard tales of Beowolf and Njal.
I enjoyed a perforance of comedia, got to play a portative organ. I saw
people eating on trenchers, drinking from horns, glass or leather, waking up
And all this and more I saw with my own eyes, heard with my own ears...
Yes, we need to reduce the mundanities at the war, but I've heard nothing
here of those gentles from all kingdoms who came to the war and made the past
live. My pensic was enriched by their effort, was yours?
I'd enjoy hearing about that.
Dof (who should probably know better than to try to write at 3:15am)
From: ds4p+ at andrew.cmu.edu (David Schroeder)
Subject: OUR Society
Date: 9 Jan 94 14:51:31 GMT
Organization: Doctoral student, Industrial Administration, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA
People who've met me know me to be a mostly merry soul who delights
in making people smile with poems, songs, puns, and eadible treats.
I'm also a politician in what I hope is the best sense of the word,
someone who tries to move organizations to do what's best for the
people that compose them.
Recent comments from a number of directions have made me less merry.
The comments I'm talking about are the ones that say, in general terms:
If you don't like the direction the Society's heading
in, with more restrictive waivers, required memberships
for combat related activities, and so on, then you
should just pack up your bags and go elsewhere.
Such comments are the SCA equivalent of "AMERICA: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!"
Those of us who've been in the Society for a long time know the real
principles the SCA was founded on. Fleig was there at the first
tourney. I've been around for nineteen years. Others who learned
about the Society from folks like us understand that the values
that were part of the early Society are worthwhile ones that need
to be preserved. It's OUR Society, too. We built it.
It would be easy to blame all the problems we're having now on us
"old-timers" not taking the time to properly explain to the new-
comers what the Society is all about, but I don't think it's that
simple. I think it's mostly a matter of the road to hell being
paved with good intentions. People who don't understand about
civil liberties needing constant defense are all too willing to
give them up, even in the context of a social club like the SCA.
What are the "real" principles the SCA was founded on?
Here's my list. Remember, we began in Berkeley in 1966.
Everyone willing to put on some attempt at garb is welcome.
While we may need a few internal structures we don't want'em
to be all that powerful and reserve the right to complain
about them at frequent intervals. The BoD was one guy's
power trip and has been power tripping ever since.
Ignore it when it gets out of line.
o Rampant Individualism
The rights of members to do-their-own-thing within the context
of the club shall not be infringed so long as it's at least in
some way connected to period history. Oh, yeah, it's 1650.
People try to be their highest and best "selves," in the Society.
We're one big family. We look out for and support each other.
We trust (until given sufficient counter-evidence) each other.
o Valuing People
We judge people by their actions and their contributions to the
Society in terms of work, arts, and so on -- not by their words,
the dollars they send to California, the money they spend on their
'kit' of armor, garb, etc. or their mundane social status.
I'm sure there are a few more, folks, and would love to hear others
suggestions, but these are some of the key principles I think we
were based on and it saddens me to see us becoming another group
that's ossified into a bureaucratic stasis. I won't give up these
founding principles without a fight and urge those who feel likewise
to join me and keep pressing for a return to what we were founded on.
Thanks for listening, friends. Remember that it's OUR Society, too.
My best -- Bertram
Bertram of Bearington . Debatable Lands . AEthelmearc . East Kingdom . SCA
Dave Schroeder . Carnegie Mellon University . Pittsburgh . PA 412.731.3230
From: motto at cbnewsf.cb.att.com (mary.rita.otto)
Subject: Re: Why the SCA? To dream or to learn?
Date: Wed, 5 Jan 1994 21:00:43 GMT
In article <1994Jan3.231011.18149 at novell.com> chipc at novell.com (Chip Clark) writes:
Greetings, Good Gentles of the Rialto from Rosaline.
It is a cold and snowy day today in Rokkehealdan. I send you all wishes
for warmth and comfort.
I am responding to this post in a most unusual way. I beg your indulgence.
Answer the First
A discussion of the difference between Ren Fairs and the SCA.
The gentle who posted had commented that in experiences with a Ren Fair,
that fantasy was all that was important (or words to that effect).
I was struck by the difference between the SCA and Ren Faires at my
first event. This difference was not apparent at demos I'd attended
which were presented by the SCA, and only became clear once I'd become
a participant. SCA events are for the benefit of the participants.
The Ren Fair and Demos are for the benefit of the Audience. There is
a major difference. There is something ever so much more enjoyable
about recreating a small piece of the past along with others who are
doing the same than to do so with the pressures, desires, and needs
of an audience to satisfy. There is also a difference when the
person who comes up to ask about your garb is also wearing garb and
not mundane clothing, and things like that.
But the most important thing is that there is an undertone of, for
lack of a better word, one would call "chivalry". It is an environment
of mutual respect for the efforts of others. It is an environment
where information is shared. It is special.
This is not to say that Ren Faires aren't special or enjoyable. I
appreciate them very much, and attend them frequently. But there,
even in your best garb you feel very much an outsider if you don't
work there. I was not allowed to sing at the local Ren Fair as I
would have at an event, because the organizers did not want people
to come in and "cut in on" the earnings of the hired performers.
(And I never accept money! I just like to sing.)
In any case, Ren Faires should not be taken as an example of what the
SCA is like and vice versa.
Answer the Second
A discussion of personal motivations for participation in the SCA
How can you describe love? How can you make someone understand something
so full of emotion? It is so easy to sound crazed when you try to
explain what it is that you desire or enjoy or love when the person
listening does not share the same feelings.
Ever since I was a young girl, I have been fascinated by things connected
with the "Middle Ages". Beyond "fairy tales", beyond the "princess --
prince charming" thing; a deep fascination. A fascination that lead me
to read countless books about knights and armour and horses and castles
and more. That lead to the extensive study of history and the writing
of sonnets. That lead to the making of model weapons and costumes and
more. That lead to frequent visits to the Ren Fair and the making of
many friends in the SCA, and finally to joining the SCA.
But how can I explain "why"? That is the hard part. Why do I find the
swords to be so beautiful? Why do I go to the effort to make garment
upon garment? Why have I collected so many books and videos and
artifacts? Why do I find it all compelling enough to devote my time
to it and my effort to it and my time to it? These are very difficult
questions. You might as well ask me why I love my children so much.
I am equally at a loss for a logical answer.
But I will answer your questions in a more unexpected way, which may
shed light to lead you to answers of your own.
>I ask - Is there anyone interested in recreating History for it's own sake
>or are we all lost in our own fantasy worlds?
Nothing is done for its' own sake in this life. It is done for personal
pleasure or gain or to avoid unpleasant (even if self-inflicted) consequences
such as the loss of self-esteem or guilt or punishment.
I am not lost. I have a map (my research) and a compass (my judgement) and
a path to follow (my heart's desire). We all live in the world of our own
perception. To recreate the past we must suspend disbelief (to ignore
wheelchairs, glasses, etc) and thus enter into an agree-upon fantasy.
>After one season, though, it is clear that the fantasy is really what's
>important and not the performance or the recreation. I want to perform.
Perhaps this is the problem. You want to perform. You look upon it
as your stage. The SCA is not a stage. The concept is not performance
but *experience*. I do not "perform" at an event -- I experience the
event as Rosaline, a 13th century Englishwoman. If it is truly your
desire to perform, than you should find your way to a suitable stage.
>Perhaps I need to return to the stage and Shakespeare. I love history.
>Perhaps I need to return to school and study it in earnest.
A love of history can be pursued in many ways. School is just one place
where it can be done. Earnestness is independent of location.
>So - I ask again - Doesn't anybody like recreating history for it's own sake,
>or are we all lost in our own worlds of fantasy?
And I answer, No and No. Nobody recreates history for its' own sake - they
always do it for other gratification. And No, we are not all lost. I would
hope that we can all find our own paths in life to experience many interesting
and pleasurable things. If part of the experience is to enjoy the creativity
and innovation within to enjoy a wider variety of entertainment than is
available without such effort, then a person is likely enriched by being
able to enjoy fantasy as well as reality.
I have waxed philosophical today, haven't I? But such is my nature.
I have been in a thoughtful and philosophical mood of late, reflecting
on the absence of my mother and father who would have celebrated their
birthdays this week were they still alive. And my 36th birthday is
swiftly approaching, and at each birthday I find myself examining my
life and weighing the choices that lie along the path ahead of me.
On the 18th of this month I will be another year older, and I will
have accomplished a great deal in the preceeding year. It is up to
me to determine what I will try to accomplish in the year ahead.
I will leave you with this thought. If every day I can say that I
am open to learning something new or old, trying something new or
old, and sharing the knowledge I gained in my life, then I am
satisfied that I am living positively.
Long-winded and philosophical,
From: vader at meryl.csd.uu.se (]ke Eldberg)
Subject: Re: Why the SCA? To dream or to learn?
Date: 6 Jan 94 02:05:40
Organization: Indiana Jones University
Greetings from William de Corbie!
John Wemyss asked:
> Is there anyone interested in recreating History for it's own sake or are
> we all lost in our own fantasy worlds?
The middle ages that I love are those of pageantry, chivalry, feudalism,
cathedrals, scholasticism and a life enveloped in ancient traditions.
A world where people live among mysteries and wonders. A time when a
man's word means something even if he has no plastic card. A place
where people are close and depend on each other. A small world, where
anything on the other side of the mountains is strange and wondrous.
This is a romantic image. I leave out the dirt and drudgery, the evils
and oppressions, the cold and darkness, the rotten food and the death.
Still, I can love the middle ages without adding to them -- or can I?
A realization dawns. As a re-creation involving modern people, the
middle ages are unavoidably flawed. We are unable to truly depict
that distant era, because most of us do not share the beliefs and
attitudes of medieval man. The relationships and dependencies between
us are not the same. There is so much of medieval culture that has been
lost. What remains is not always interesting -- lots is just boring.
At least, it does not serve to re-create the world I am looking for.
Authenticity is a creed that many of us profess, but we do not mean
full authenticity. We still use power drills when making armor, and
modern facilities like showers, sleeping bags, coleman stoves, tape,
matches, and so on. The authenticity we are talking about consists in
things that look like real medieval items. Pavillions instead of modern
tents. Longbows instead of compounds. Handwritten scrolls instead of
printed diplomas. But we use synthetic fabric in pavillions, fiberglass
and dacron for the bows, and most scrolls are written on paper with
steel pens, and the gold is usually paint, not leaf.
All of this demontrates that our chief interest is not archaeology
or historic research, but an experience of wonder. We often call it
"the Dream". If this is truly what we want, and we are ready to abandon
history in order to simplify things, then how do we define the
authenticity that we claim to desire? Isn't it just another buzzword
by which we can mean whatever suits us when we say it?
I think I know why we talk so much of authenticity, while we are
not really authentic, and often do not even try to be:
The Dream can never be our principle, because we all have different
dreams. In a Society where everyone follows his medieval dream, we will
get elves with pointy ears, maidens in silver polyester gowns, Robin
Hoods with compound bows, dozens of wizards named Merlin and Gandalf,
and perhaps even courts conducted to rock music. All these things may
be part of somebody's Dream, but they will conflict violently with
other people's Dreams. We need something more objective and reliable
than that, to found our work on.
My own Dream contains many things that are not authentic. I would love
to have the royal procession enter court to booming wagnerian music.
I confess that my Dream is more a product of movies and romantic books
than of historical research per se. For me, anything that contributes
to the "experience of wonder", the magic moment when I'm suddenly not
here in the 20th century any more -- any such thing is good.
But the more I learn about medieval reality, the more sensitive I get
to things that are not authentic. And if the Dream was our principle,
we would only get annoyance, through the clash of so many conflicting
Dreams. The only thing we can use as a norm or a goal to work towards,
But authenticity, for most people in the SCA, will never be a goal
in itself. The goal is the Dream, and authenticity is a vehicle to
make it come true for as many people as possible.
From: meg at tinhat.stonemarche.org (meg)
Subject: rewards and freeloaders
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 94 11:47:27 EST
Organization: Stonemarche Network Co-op
From Megan come these words.
Having recently read sundry ideas from certain combustable folk who lurk
about in the corners of this otherwise lovely Bridge, I am moved to think
about, to ponder the nature of the Game we Play in regards to rewards and
those accused of "freeloading".
I cannot speak for all the Knowne World, for, Official Statements to the
Contrary, it has been my experience that there are always differences
between Kingdoms. I speak only from my own experience. Here in my Barony
(I do shudder to say it) we do have some people who attend events
regularly yet seem to contribute little to the ordering or planning or
running of those events. At first glance, it seems these folk get
themselves up in garb, haul along their gear, and show up at the door,
cash in hand ready to play. What do these folk contribute, I wonder?
They have not done anything to make the event happen, they just show up.
Ah, but they do play. They provide amusement and partnership and
competition and backdrop by their very presence. Their presence adds to
the ambiance of our assemblage. I try to imagine our event without their
presence. Smaller, less noisesome, less colorful, fewer players make for
a lonelier game.
What then, if they contribute naught save their own presence? They
become the props for my fantasy, the extras in the background who add
ambience to the scene. They pay their site fee, which enriches our
coffers, enabling us to have better events, nicer feasts, more sumptuous
regalia, more interesting and larger publications, etc.
And, mayhap, they will become ensnared in the Pleasure as I have, and so
seek to learn, to do, to aid, to become a part of the process rather than
a mere on=looker.
Why do people hang on with out actively participating? Perhaps they are
shy, or ill, or disinclined to expend personal finances or time or energy
for something for which they feel no sense of ownership. Perhaps they are
parents or students or workers who have little free time. Perhaps they
feel disenfranchized. Perhaps they feel they are contributing enough by
their site fee and their presence. Perhaps no one has personally asked
them to become involved. Perhaps they feel overwhelmed by titled folk
who "share the burden", and feel uncomfortable intruding in their august
presence. Perhaps they have lent their aid in the past and have found no
pleasure or reward or satisfaction in it.
Rewards. We give them to those who act, who do, who make and who work.
We withhold them from those who merely sit and look on. Service for its
own sake is rare at best. Many serve for tangible ends...a more
agreeable event is the honorable motive, but some serve to reap rewards
of a dangly nature. Some seek the prestige the act itself bestows (vivat
the cook) others enjoy the social interactions of politics and
In my experience of 18 years, hanger-on eventually become ensnared, or
Dues and membership costs and site fees not withstanding, we ALL pay to
play in some manner or other. Who are the free=loaders? Are they the
peasants of our society, against the crafters, the merchants, the
artists, the nobility?
Just a few thoughts.
Pensively yours, Megan.
In 1994: Linda Anfuso
In the Current Middle Ages: Megan ni Laine de Belle Rive
In the SCA, Inc: sustaining member # 33644
meg at tinhat.stonemarche.org | YYYYY |
From: gpetrola at prairienet.org (Gregory Petrolati)
Date: 6 Apr 1994 17:22:29 GMT
Organization: University of Illinois at Urbana
I see my lady has added her tuppence to the fray regarding
the much aforementioned Scottish personage.
The thing I most remember about my times spent "In goodly
company" was THE DREAM. THE DREAM was when all worked well
and conditions worked right, you forgot (however momentary)
the twentieth century and WERE the dream. It happened several
times for me. Once (and most memorable for me) was at the
Pensic War III (I think, as time dims the specific year).
We had arrived late the previous night, somehow, the tent
was pitched, though at the time I don't remember doing it.
We retired. I was up a the crack of dawn and walked out in-
to a fantastic morning. I could smell bacon frying somewhere.
Someone was working on armor down the hill. I could hear his
quiet tapping. There was a low fog that hid the National
Guard water wagons and portapotties at the base of the hill.
It was just the that The afore mention Scott (who was crown-
prince at the time, if memory serves) and two compatriots
who had been up all night reveling came swaggering down the
the hill singing an outrageous (period) song. CLICK! I was
not in Pennsylvania I was ELSEWHERE!
I tell you this because it is a treasured time for me. Now
it is sullied. I will not be able to remember that morn with
out thinking how things have fallen out. Sad.
As the tale has been related to me Angus has drawn the SCA in-
to his mudane crime as defense. To this old Baron, he is
harming the image of the SCA that we (and I say we because we
all worked on it) labor long and hard at raising. We have, over
This seems to me a treasonable offense. Treason among the
peerage has its own punishment.
GREGORY VON LUCIDA
(once Baron of Bahkaill)
From: ddfr at quads.uchicago.edu (david director friedman)
Subject: Re: Asking for advice
Organization: University of Chicago
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 1994 04:14:45 GMT
Voluspa asks "how can young or shy or new people find the heart of
the SCA and really enjoy themselves? " An interesting and important
I think the first step is to realize that the SCA is many different
things to different people. At a large event, or in a large group,
that means that there are many subsets of the population for which
"the SCA is X" is true--with different X's. There are the people for
whom it is a chance to have wild parties and promiscuous sex. There
are the people for whom it is an opportunity to "freak the mundanes"
(my least favorite category). There are the people for whom it is a
chance to make friends with a variety of interesting people. There
are the people for whom it is a romantic dream made real. There are
the people for whom it is a chance to pretend, for a little while,
that they are really in the Middle Ages (not the same as the previous
category, although there is a lot of overlap). There are the people
for whom it is an opportunity to do research for fun. There are the
people for whom it is an opportunity to practice interesting skills,
such as writing and reciting poetry, or doing heraldry, for which
there is little space in the ordinary world.
The next step is to find the people for whom the Society means what
you want it to mean. At Pennsic, you can do it, with sufficient
searching, for almost any plausible X. In a small group, they may not
exist--and your only hope is to get other new people, and perhaps a
few old people discontented with the game they are playing, to play
your version of the Society. In a large group your odds are
better--but it depends how homogeneous the group is.
Most people like to talk--about themselves, and about others. One
possible tactic might be to encourage people in the group you join to
tell you about the group. You can accept their information without
agreeing with their judgement. If they tell you that person Y is an
authenticity freak, you can take that as a reason to avoid Y or to
seek him out, depending on what you are looking for. Similarly for
From: MICHAEL ALLEN CRAMER <valgard at mercury>
Subject: Re: children of SCA
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 16:32:06 -0800
Organization: California State University Sacramento
On 24 Jan 1995, SouthArt wrote:
> I grew up at many tournaments. I have long been inactive in the SCA, so
> please excuse my ignorance. But my family was active in the late 70's in
> Kentucky, Lexington and Louisville. There are many approaches and
> attitudes in the Society, but just a glance at the topics and the number
> devoted to recreational drug use (for example), I feel reflects a certain
> 60's ethos at work; the pre-Raphaelite Romanticism at play in the
> Sixties. I have been deeply influenced by my involvement as a child and
> teenager in the SCA. I remain (for the best I believe) a dreamer and a
> romantic, refusing to except the grey, plastic nature of the modern world.
> I lived recently in the Czech Republic, which also hearkened me back to
> my days in SCA. The epic of Charlegmagne is a far cry from Rescue 911.
> So a toast to you all.
Amazing, that someone long removed from the group should cut right to the
heart of what (at least from my perspective) we are all about. I joined
the SCA when I was newly fifteen, but had lived near the counter culture
for many years and, in fact, my parents had been to SCA events as early as
year 3 in Berkeley. Many people forget that this group was born in
Berkeley in the 60's, a time when you could walk down Telegraph Avenue
and one in four people you met would be wearing a t-tunic and harem
pants. The counter culture was one of the most powerful forces in the
growth of my kingdom (the West), and even though we've evolved and
changed, moved more from the fantasy to the historical, gotten more
conservative with age (well, some of us), and formed strong, deeply held
opinions about chivalry and knighthood and kingship (and I am one of the
most opinionated I know), there are still days when I look around a
tourney field at all these people dreaming an impossible dream, running
around in funny clothes on a bright spring day, listening to music being
played right there in front of them, drinking and laughing and trying to
live in a better world just for a couple of days, and I think this is no
different then a Whole Earth festival or a Graeful Dead concert or a
weekend up at Sweet's Mill, and I fall in love all over again.
Thank's, SouthArt, for reminding me -- from one Pre-Rafaelite dreamer to
another. A toast to you as well.
By the way, would love to hear about Prague.
(valgard at mercury.sfsu.edu)
From: uunet!:uunet!sphinx.sps.mot.co (10/1/94)
MH>What was it that you saw back at Pennsic IX that got you to stick around
MH>or to inquire further?
Lets see: Mom got her MA by sinking the final nail into the coffin of the
pre-1950s "truth" that Chaucer wrote the Romance of the Rose (he translated
the work of its two French authors) and Dad taught World History (when it
was basically European Civ. through 1912) and I grew up in a house full of
books ranging from JRRT to Will Durant<sp? never liked his prejudices> and
Churchill's history books <liked his less>, Chaucer himself and in
"translation" tons of F&SF and American Heritage from V1#1 etc.
Couldn't stand the SF Congoers met in high school, I mean they were
basically good, but incomplete people who got their kicks from others'
writing and couldn't move outside their books and their authors.
Couldn't stand Dad's view of international politics and the folks who
thought the U.S. was right in sending people a few years older than I was to
support corrupt Christians over an elected Buddhist in Viet Nam, especially
because he was educated in Moscow (France too, but that's another tale)).
(he started to change as I became a card-carrier (fortunately, never got
beyond 1-H, though I still have my CO and 4F files hanging around here
somewhere) Rebelled a bit and went looking for Woodstock Nation.
And suddenly, I find it, colliding right with the history I was raised
with, along with the fantasy elements the Fen miss out on - the idea of
becoming a real person, in my case, two real people, one who hangs out
during the 100 Years War and is well-developed and one who was born a few
generations later and fences.
Yeh, doubters, this feudal society is what Abbie was talking about only
he was off by about 300 miles and 500 years - a place where if you just walk
in, someone will clothe you, and if you're hungry, someone will feed you and
if you've got cash you can leave it in a tent (or as I did my second year,
on the ground) for hours or days and it'll still be there when you get back
unless someone takes the time to track you down to return it.
And it was a place where those who knew taught, trading skills and
history and poetry; a place where most folks carried weapons but no one
feared getting hurt; where a merchant could leave $20,000 worth of stock in
a TENT without worry - and go walking into the night, also without a care.
And where there were 15 different parties going every night from stodgy
purists at dance to drunkards drinking until they spewed; places where
skalds recited hours of poetry, good, decent poetry (much more of the bad
stuff, but we ALL know what Sturgeon said).
Where I could correct someone on herb lore, while another taught me the
skills of the epee. Where I did literally risk my neck by getting into armor
for 15 minutes to discover EVERYTHING I had read about fighting in armor was
absolutely WRONG! Where there were fewer working telephones per thousand
people than there are in all of Egypt; where a regional power failure had
absolutely no effect on us!
Where everyone but the violent, discourteous and intolerant were welcome,
or at least tolerated by all. Where the only outside "news" anyone ever
listened to was the occasional NOAA weather broadcast.
Where almost everyone was "family."
This last War was both the best and worst for me - best because I spent a
week resting up from the world watching (and helping out) as a bunch of
pastures and farm fields became a city of 10,000 - worst because my mundane
expertise is not-for-profit fraud and mismanagement investigations. After
four years in, I realized the Society was not perfect and I spent too much
time learning the oddities of California not-for-profit law while teaching
federal not-for-profit law and tossing around suggestions which basically
broke down to Federalists vs. State's Rights types (OK, world organization
or kingdom - I'm for having a single strong nation with a better bunch of
advisors to the Crown myself).
And I'm probably gonna have to volunteer some work setting those things
aright so I can get back to learning how to work steel and satin and period
sealing wax, and, damnit, how to properly speak Middle English!
I hope, m'Lord Stefan that this begins to answer the question. It adds up
to a gut-level thing, I mean I pulled into Cooper's this year and the first
blue-shirt who started giving me directions to Troll was greeted with a loud
shout from me of "I'm HOME."
Aleksandr the Traveller
[david.razler at compudata.com]