Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Stressful times in Southron Gaard

Things have been rough in Southron Gaard for some time and in acknowledgement of that one of our longer-serving couples generously hosted a general meeting last Sunday where people were encouraged to discuss what kinds of things they'd like to see us do over the next couple of years. On the whole it was pretty positive. Most of the people there seemed to recognise that we're a pretty broad group with varying interests within the SCA context and that that is OK. For me the meeting was disappointing in two respects: 1. Despite the above there were still a couple of people who seem to feel that they have some right to dictate what people can wear to SCA events, above and beyond what is stated in the SCA's governing documents. The following is quoted from the introductory section of those documents: "As a living history group, the Society provides an environment in which members can recreate various aspects of the culture and technology of the period, as well as doing more traditional historical research. We sponsor events such as tournaments and feasts where members dress in clothing styles worn in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and participate in activities based on the civil and martial skills of the period. These activities recreate aspects of the life and culture of the landed nobility in Europe prior to 1600 CE. The dress, pastimes, and above all the chivalric ideals of the period serve to unify our events and activities." Given this clear focus on the nobility of Europe, which is repeated in other core documents of the SCA, I can't understand how it can be considered a bad thing to do exactly that. Moreover, I can kind of get those who would like to see the SCA raise its standards of dress a bit but the fact is that the SCA has always been open to anyone willing to make an attempt at medieval or renaissance costume and that openness, I believe, is very important. But the people at this meeting want us to drop our standards. Excerpt from Corpora: "Anyone may attend Society events provided he or she wears an attempt at pre-17th century clothing" Surely that means that I can wear an attempt at a faithful recreation of an Elizabethan or Burgundian noblewoman's gown if I wish? The only reason for it that I can see is that some people, despite having no desire to have more authentic noble costume, resent that others do have it. For we all start with nothing, some of us work hard and spend a lot of time learning a skill (whether it be fighting, armouring, costuming or any other skill) because we enjoy those things, and others, who presumably don't, don't. Classic tall poppy syndrome I guess. Sad though. Anyway - enough of that. My other disappointment is that very few people (if any) offered to do any more than what they generally do. There was a lot of "we need to do X" and even more "people should do X" and very little "I will do X". Hopefully people are going away and actually thinking about what more they could do or what behavioural changes they can make but it didn't come out at the meeting unfortunately.

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