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Sick at Heart

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.


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Nov. 25th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
I've had a run-in with the individual who posted the tampon graphic. She is the antithesis of the SCA, and not worth your time or effort.

Nov. 25th, 2008 12:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks, that's good to know.

I know it will eventually get lost in the plethora of replies to that post, but it just kills me that someone like that thinks they are somehow sticking to to The Man by doing something so cude and childish.

*sniffle* I love the ideals the SCA espouses - I've tried to live by them my entire life, even before the SCA (which is one of the reasons it was such a good fit when I found it!). I feel so sad when someone in the group sets that kind of example for newer people.
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Nov. 25th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
Huggies. I do think that some people would be better of in some other LARP group. The rule used to be (it is still written in the known world handbook: DOn't spoil anybodie's enjoyment. SO how did the original poster do that? NOT AT ALL. These were legitimate points. PERIOD. And they are useful points to those who are trying to do their bests without a degree in history. I find that surprisingly enough, most people who claim to be concerned about *low income* usually aren't. And they are not watching out for those who are. because there are better ways to do that. If you want to go camping with your buddies, you can do that. If you join The SCA one would expect you to at least enjoy the genuine feeling that comes with the ambiente. If you don't, then you need to quit, not spoil it for anybody else. I very much agree with you here. though I really didn't get the tampon thinghie at all. It was one of these moments when the lawyer in me wanted to shout at the UNiverse: *Objection! relevance?"
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
They wouldn't be better in LARP groups. LARP groups have rules that they'd have to follow.

These are not people who would be better off in another group. They are people who hate everything so much that they want to destroy the fun of everyone around them.
(no subject) - alphafemale1 - Nov. 25th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Nov. 25th, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)
Its been my experience that far too many of those who complain that they don't have money to do it right, never seem to be without money for beer or other such things. Its a choice they make, and party is always at the top of their list. I'm still reading part of that thread, some didn't take kindly to my posts, either. Anyway, I'll see you Thursday and we can burn them in effigy.
Nov. 25th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
Its been my experience that far too many of those who complain that they don't have money to do it right, never seem to be without money for beer or other such things.

or buy the $400 custom made moccasins or spend $1000 on a comic book statue (true story) when they can't afford to pay their rent.
(no subject) - ellid - Nov. 26th, 2008 12:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 25th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
I just went and read the comments on that thread. Its so depressing to see some peoples attitudes to just simple suggestions like "wear a v-neck t-shirt instead of a crew neck so we don't all see the white at the collar".

And then the complaints about how these authenticity attitudes are driving people away.... To be quite frank, as an authenticity-minded person, its the celebration of the "its all OK, just come and don't make any effort" is driving people away. There's no challenge if there's no effort required!

I mean, why should people join our organization if there's no effort involved in playing? There's nothing to learn, to do, to create the atmosphere of the medieval.

I miss the "magic moments" that I used to find at SCA events. Perhaps I'm too jaded, or too tired from chasing a toddler single-handedly to see them myself... but if my little attempts at authenticity helps someone else to have one, so much the better.

Nov. 25th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
I don't think it is the authenticity efforts that drive people away - I think it's the rudeness. Some people cloak their rudeness with unasked-for criticism (usually incorrectly based, no less) of another's authenticity, but that is simple smoke-screen to me. I've actually made fast friends by loaning garb to a teenager or two who wanted to look pretty and fit in better.

Actually, I love to get to know someone who has done research and is working on authenticity - if only to hear them discuss it and perhaps even venture a few questions of my own, or discuss the validity of certain references. I am very careful to approach this cautiously, however, I don't want anyone to think I censure them personally.
Nov. 25th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
Throughout my SCA membership there have been appalling examples of anti-courtesy that I've witnessed, including some by the flowers of chivalry.

Over the years, I have come to think of courtesy as like any other part of the SCA (garb, for example). We admire great efforts at fine authentic seeming garb, but we do not reject those who excel in other areas of recreating the middle ages (e.g. playing music), and wear polyester T-tunics.

You wish everyone could bring the whole package, but we don't.
Nov. 26th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
What he said.

Nov. 25th, 2008 12:55 pm (UTC)
Not riled at all because I've seen such treatment before. I have found it the provence of the younger, whose sense of courtesy and accuracy are both dimilarly low. The fact that such attitudes are not merely endured but in many ways almost encouraged is one large reason that I have divorced myself almost entirely from the SCA bureacracy.
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
That's interesting. My personal experience has been that it is the older people -- those who proport to remember the SCA when elves were allowed or who attended Pennsic minus 3 -- who are so viciously against anyone trying anything authentic. They're too busy trying to prove that they're rebels to realise that they aren't twentysomethings anymore.
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Nov. 25th, 2008 01:36 pm (UTC)
We are a 6 member family (me, my hubby, and FOUR kids) managing on *less* than 30k a year, and I pride myself on being as accurate as possible (and in an insane budget).

Those "we can't be accurate cuz we're poor" people are 1) likely nowhere near as poor as I, and 2) douche-bags wanting sympathy for laziness.
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
Many of the people complaining about costs have spent more on their ring belts than I have on entire Elizabethan outfits!
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Nov. 25th, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
I posted my response on the other site. Our setup is not authentic, but we try where we can and with what we can afford. I let my kids drink from plastic cups that look period as they have broken several ceramic mugs and it is easier. I have $20 wooden chairs from IKEA that may not be as period as a Glastonbury, but it is wood. These are examples of trying.

NEVER have any of the “Period police”, as she called them, come over to me and said anything rude to me. They have been welcoming and helpful. They have never been condescending. While they have high standards for themselves, they have never forced it on anyone else. They have always been courteous.

The person who has been rude, condescending, and lacking courtesy was her.
Nov. 25th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
I have to say that I still admire the memory of your wall-paper covered drink cooler that looked just like a dresden-china urn... very, very nice!
(no subject) - sunniva_kyrre - Nov. 26th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
You are unlikely to rile up the people who read your LJ. :) We will be the ones happily agreeing with you, and waiting with bated breath for your next project post and the inspiration you give us.

I was however sadly disappointed by the number of people who agreed with Redsonja.
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
It was only one part of a huge number of response threads, but the sheer rudeness of it, and the people that applauded the rudeness just blew me away. >:(
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Nov. 25th, 2008 01:51 pm (UTC)
I teach a class called "Authenticity 101 -- Five Things You Can Do Right Now to Be More Authentic". It's five little suggestions (like "Take off your belt favours" or "Cover your head") that take the scariness out of authenticity. I designed the class to be a "gateway drug", a way for people to take a taste of authenticity before they got really hooked and dove in full force. It is much like what the gentleman poster suggested in his post: low or no-cost suggestions for those who want to be more authentic.

And there is always some asshat who wants to prove that he is a rebel, that he flips off the establishment.

You know there is no love lost between me and the SCA. And I think that the groups ideals are largely a lot of lip service that no one pays attention to when something real happens. But this "elitism" and "classist" bullshit is just that: bullshit. I have never EVER done what I do to show off to someone that I have more money that they do. I have never trampled on the not-quite-theres to make myself bigger. I have never not tried to help those who want to rise.

This low-life isn't worth your worry, darling.
Nov. 25th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
I know, I know - it was the imagery and the over-the-top resopnse that just set me off. I have never said (nor has Sir Corby, who is very mellow and cool) that anyone should be forced to do anything beyond their income, nor that tonly the most authentic people are somehow better than everyone else. It's the ginormous chip on the shoulder people that create this imaginary "us vs. them" line, and I'm periodically sick enough of it that I rant.

...Then all my readers remind me that the funtards are a tiny minority, and I'm okay again. :)
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Nov. 25th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
I thought that post would have been more suited for sca_snark. It pretty much devolved into a Bad Garb Bingo fest. I had considered commenting, but I feel I have better use for my time.
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
What you've said here, and in sca_snark, really speaks to how I feel.

I don't know if there's any way to teach these people how to be courteous (without a lobotomy), but I fear they will influence others away from courtesy as well.
Nov. 25th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)
Throw them out. If the overriding tennent of the SCA is that you are nice to others, they have violated that. Don't play nice with others? Stay home!
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Nov. 25th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC)
I am astonished and horrified that someone would complain about rudness and then turn around and make such a comment.

The truth of the matter is that expense is not a requirement for authenticity. Effort is. Many of my most authentic items are also the ones that cost me the least amount of money. But they are generally the ones that took me the most time.

Sadly, like any organization, the SCA is a cross section of society with just as much bad behavior as the rest of our world. The truly tragic thing is that we are supposed to be striving for a greater ideal.
Nov. 25th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
I recently joined the SCA and due to job changes had VERY little money until recently- so I trolled the thrift shops and scanned the clearance racks in the fabric store.
However, I do not and will not be getting rid of my glasses, I am unable to use contacts, and consider that if sunscreen and bug spray are encouraged my glasses should be as well. I was told that if something similar had been available in period it would have been used.
Nov. 25th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
glasses are cool by me; I use modern medication to keep me going. :) Medical needs are always okay - we're not that cruel.
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Nov. 25th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you. What really appalled me was not so much the original rude comment, which I chalked up to general a**holiness, but all the folks who applauded and agreed with it.

Nov. 25th, 2008 02:20 pm (UTC)
There are always assholes who will laugh at the antics of their own kind. Consider those who applaud as a bully harasses someone weaker or those who cheer as someone does a cruel (and often damaging) prank. Hell, there have even been people who cheer on a rapist.
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