I am afraid I am going to rile people up, but I am so angry and unimpressed at the moment by this, I want to cry.
I was going to write something fun today about Thanksgiving, but I am just devastated that not only can someone be horrible and insulting like this, they can be applauded for it. In the SCA. Once again, we get to see the double standard that is applied to anyone who wants to help people reach a higher level of authenticity. It's fine to insult us all you like, but God forbid we even whisper that you might not be making the effort you could (or any effort at all).
It's fine for you lot; you get to look at the pretty things we bring to events, and then mock us for having high standards. We get to look at the people for whom it is too much effort to even change out of their jeans, and then we get yelled at for being so discourteous for making them feel bad because we had the nerve to wear our pretty clothes in front of them. I've been whined at for offering someone a little bit of cloth to cover their cooler under my dayshade, and called a Nazi because I preferred using a wooden chair instead of a nylon chair with a footrest and a cupholder (with a big plastic bottle of water sitting in it) right next to the tourney fence at an event that was trying for a period look.
I have a sense of humour, thank you very much. I dislike the kind of person who runs roughshod over new people and criticizes everything they do, or else I'd never have created the Attack Laurels and made a fun website all about them. I can laugh at myself louder than you can ever laugh at me.
I also like authenticity, and don't consider it a dirty word. I like to think no-one is so poor they can't cover their coolers, or pour their drink out of a can and into a mug of some sort (I will even take a plain coffee cup over a can). I think if I could successfully make a serious and determined attempt when I had no money at all, then anyone else can, too.
And yet, I have no sense of humour about people who think comparing anyone to a fucking TAMPON is funny, clever, or right. I've been in the SCA for a long time, and I think all this silly talk about courtesy and manners is not just hot air, it's a laudable concept, and should be admired and emulated.
You know what that kind of rudeness really is? Reverse elitism. It's a rejection of everything period in the SCA, and a loud statement that people who pursue authenticity and offer suggestions (on a list that is intended for that sort of thing) to help other people get better at it are stupid and wrong. It creates a divide between "fun" and "authentic"; a distinction that those of us on the "authentic" side of that artifical line never make.
We think you can fit fun and authentic in the same sentence, and we can prove it. We have an awesome time at events, while still enjoying the pursuit of authenticity. While we're happy to teach anyone who's interested*, and we don't make class distinctions, we won't force our ideas on anyone who doesn't want to learn.
We don't think anyone's too poor to be interested, and we'd never tell anyone "you can't do this because you don't have any money". We'd much rather say "let's see what we can do to make this possible for you, no matter your income level".
...Not to mention that some of the most authentic people I know aren't exactly rolling in cash. In fact, some of them live dangerously close to the edge, but they've found ways of making it happen. They (and we) don't draw class lines when it comes to education. We don't believe in such things. If you're interested, we will help you achieve your dream. How is that classist?
As far as I'm concerned, it's really classist to assume that poor people aren't interested in suggestions and information on how to be more authentic. And mocking the attempts of well-meaning people is a good way to show everyone how much courtesy in the SCA means to you. I hope everyone you meet treats you with the same courtesy you show to others.
As for me, I'm going to be over here, helping the people who want to achieve great things reach their goals.
*Making suggestions on a list intended for that sort of thing (among others) is not forcing anyone to do anything, and people are free to ignore the post. Being rude and childish is not required.