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You keep using that word...

People seem a bit cranky right now, so I'll leave the controversial immigration thoughts for later and cheat with a nice calm, meme or two:  

The General SCA Meme:

1. What is your SCA Name? - Isobel Bedingfield.  Officially, it is Isobel Gildingwater (no "U") of Ditchingham, but I took on my husband's name when I married him, as is English custom of the time.  No, I have never had it officially changed; If someone else really loves the name "Isobel Bedingfield", they should be able to have it, as far as I'm concerned.  People generally know who I am.

(I'm listed with both names in the Atlantian OP.)

2. What time and where do you portray? - England, 1590.  Specifically Southwark, on the corner of Dead Man's Place and Maiden Lane.  Both Bob and I are deeply into the material culture of the period, and knowing who we are and where we live helps with deciding on all the things we make/buy for our personas, including the kind of money we would carry.  It saves money to do the research before buying, so we don't spend the cash and discover that it isn't correct after all.

3. In plain English describe your device. - Black background, yellow border, shield shaped.  A yellow eagle spread out like road kill with three black wavy stars arranged like  a bullet shot each wing, then dead center in the chest.

Evocative, isn't it.

4. How long have you been in the SCA? - Twenty years ago this coming June I attended my first SCA event.  I was 18 (yes, go ahead, you can do the math, I don't mind).

5. Do you have any special titles you have earned? - Aside from the official ones, I have been dubbed the Angel of Death (shortened to AoD), and Attack Laurel (natch).  I have also been called some choice things behind my back, I imagine.

6. What kingdom and local group do you belong to? - Atlantia, currently somewhat at large.  I physically reside within the confines of the Barony of Lochmere.

7. Do you have preferred colors for your SCA Persona? - Not really; in fact, it's the one place I tend to wear lots of colour.  My modern wardrobe is 90% black (With some green, pink, and purple, since they all go well with black).  For the SCA, I tend to branch out and go with whatever fabric catches my fancy.  Currently I'm looking at either pink or purple wool for a cotehardie-like thing (not my period, but comfortable) for Ymir, since I don't feel like wearing Elizabethan.  Don't hold your breath, though - I probably won't follow through.

8. What is your war that you look forward to going to every year? - Pennsic, inasmuch as I look forward to Wars.  I like events and Wars equally, though the amount of schlepping and toting required for a War is getting harder each year.

9. Do you hold any offices? - I am forbidden by my husband to hold any more SCA offices.  I get panic attacks dealing with bad-tempered people.

10. Favorite memory from an event? - Oh, I don't know... probably Bob getting his Pelican.  That was a very good day.

11. Are you a fighter? What kind? - Rapier, currently on medical hiatus.

12. Are you crafty (making things)? - Me and crafts, we go a long way back.  Probably the weirdest thing I ever made was eggshell and wax google-eyed monsters.  I thought they were cute.  For more current stuff, see my web site.

13. Do you teach classes at events? - Occasionally.  I've taught a bunch of University classes over the years, and I'll sometimes teach at other events.  I'm available at any time for a quick consultation, too.

14. Do you play instruments at events? - not as often as I'd like, but I play harp, mandolin, tinwhistle, concertina, and voice. Bob and I did live music for a Gardiner's event this past weekend, and it was great, but I'm still paying for playing the harp in a chair with no back.  And this headache won't go away, either...

15. Do you dance at events? - Not any more, no, though I did a couple of dances at 12th Night.  I like dancing, I just never seem to be in the right place at the right time.  I even attended some University classes to pick up some new dances, but this asshole dance person decided that yelling at me for getting a step wrong was a good way to teach me (it was not his class), so I ran out before I punched him.  I hate being yelled at, and it was completely inappropriate - and left me with a poor impression of the current dance community, so I didn't feel much like dancing after that.

16. Do you feel that there is enough flirting and chivalrous behavior in the SCA ? - The two are competely different.  I feel there is too much inappropriate flirting and sex talk, and not enough courteous behaviour.  I can't affect what other people do, but it would be nice if random strangers were more attuned to the needs of others, and less concerned with their own pleasure.  I have more than once witnessed a younger woman screech "bitch!" at someone who accidentally bumped into them - I would like to see that sort of thing disappear.  I think people too often use "chivalry" as a bludgeon to punish those who do something they don't like, and too rarely apply it in their own actions, but I don't think this is particularly new behaviour, just something one always works to temper.

17. Are you a "Black Hat" or a "White Hat"? - I assume this refers to who's a bitch about making things happen and who isn't?  I am different things to different people, but I don't suffer fools, and I have no patience for professional victims.

18. What is one of the reasons you've remained in the SCA? - The ideals that we strive for and so rarely achieve - they are missing from modern life.  Plus, I've always been a clothes horse.

19. What peerage(s) do you aspire to? - Well, I'm probably not going to make Knight (ya think?), but I'd like to be Queen someday.  But that would mean someone being willing to fight for me, since Bob doesn't fight heavy.  Most fighters fight for their significant other, so the odds of me being queen are pretty small to none.  I am sanguine about this.

20. Who was Crown when you joined the SCA? - Dafydd and Elizabeth.  I remember them clearly.  And fondly.
 
21. If you are a Peer, who was the Crown that elevated you?  - Both times, Cuan was King.  The first Queen was Brigit, the second Padraiga.

22. Have you lived in more than 1 kingdom and which ones?  - Nope.  I'm an Atlantian.  I grew up in England, but I never played SCA there.

23. Have you helped found a group? - No.  I was there for Lochmere's investiture, though.

And now, Byram's Five:

1. What do you like best about the SCA? - I like the optimism.  Don't laugh - it's there.  The hope that people can be better than they are?  That they can achieve great things?  That's positively heady stuff.  Helping them get there is, for me, a worthy goal.

2. Name the first five scadians that come to mind. First five famous medieval persons?
Gyrth
Robert
Dafydd
Theodora
Genevieve

These are all people that have helped effect positive changes in the way we do things, and people whose behaviour is the kind I want to emulate.

Elizabeth I
Eleanor D'Aquitaine
Catherine De Medici
Bess of Hardwick
Catherine Parr

These are all strong women who held their own in a male-dominated world, and refused to allow themselves to be buffeted about by the winds of fate.

3. Who do you miss the most that no longer plays SCA? - Gyrth.  :(  He was everything I hoped to be in a peer, and in moments of indecision, I channel him.  I could always rely on his advice, and always trust his judgement.  I miss him terribly.

4. What direction do you see your home kingdom going in the next 5 years? 10? - Oh, Lordy, who knows?  I hope we'll keep being an example of research and accuracy, and I hope that we'll continue to get better and better at surfing the downturns gracefully.

5. Tell one funny SCA story that has happened to you.

Okay.  We're in the five-man rapier melee that Atlantia holds at Pennsic every year.  We're fighting a team that we've picked off one by one, with one man left.  I'm the shortest, I'm the only girl on the team, and I'm in the middle.  The guy on the other team shoots for me, I parry his blade easily into the ground, and get a fabulous view of six blades hitting him simultaneously in the head.  After, in an attempt to salvage his pride, he comes over to me and in a "Hope I didn't hurt the little GURL" voice says "M'lady, I trust I did not hit you too hard with that last thrust?".  

The look on his face when I smiled cheerfully and said "Oh, no!  It didn't even hit me!".  He looked disbelieving, and said "But I felt the blade hit!".  It was then that I explained what happens when a blade hits the ground, and why slightly moist earth has some of the tactile characteristics of flesh.  It was a quick but technical explanation, then I showed him exactly how I had parried him.

Bob tried very hard not to laugh out loud as he rapidly deflated.

That's it - if you want the more scurrilous ones, you'll have to ask me in person.  They sound better with all the silly voices and hand-puppets.

There's been some talk going around (like it does, every couple of years or so) about how the magic is gone, and the SCA isn't as "chivalrous" as it used to be.  That word is not the correct one for what people are trying to say - they mean it's not as courteous as it used to be.  Either way, they're wrong.  It's just that in the internet age, misinformation, stupidity and a little bit of mean-spiritedness suddenly goes a vast way in very little time.  What once took months to come to light can now be all over the Kingdom by bedtime.  Like modern news, we get to hear about it more, which conflates the incidents in our heads and makes it seem like things are terrible turrible wrong-like.

Two things:  

First, the longer you are in the SCA, the fewer and further between the "goose-bump" moments become.  If you are in the least bit active, congratulations!  You have now become part of the vast army of nut-and-bolt carriers who strive to create a place where the "goose-bumps" can happen for other people.  This is a worthy goal, and in the making, you may achieve more of that tingly-ness for yourself, with the added pride of a job well done.  This is the meat and potatoes of a volunteer society; sitting back and waiting for the magic to happen (and grumbling when it doesn't) just makes you bad-tempered and dead weight.

Second, things are no worse than they used to be, but thanks to the miracle of near light-speed communication, we have been given a wonderful opportunity to see what far-reaching effects the bone-headed actions of some can have on the morale of others.  We can see in ways we never did before what the autocrats and staff of an event feel at the end of the day, and how our individual actions contributed to or detracted from the event.  Instead of hiding behind a wall of "no-one said anything to me, so it's not my fault!", we can finally understand that we are part of a massive whole, and that each person makes that whole better or worse.

We cannot dictate the actions of others, we can only police ourselves.  The only way I can personally leave the SCA better than when I found it is to strive each day to be better than I think I can possibly manage - more courteous, more careful, more tidy.  Yes, it's more effort, but the payoff is huge.  And when we set a good example, more people are likely to follow.  The defeatist attitude of "good behaviour doesn't get you rewarded, it gets you crapped on" that pervades our modern lives has cleared the way for a philosophy of "every man for himself"; we want to move away from that in the SCA, not towards it.

"Playing nice" is cumulative - the more people do it, the more the people that don't behave will stick out like sore thumbs.  The more they stick out, the stronger the peer pressure to play nice.  Yes, there will always be jerks, but using that as an excuse to give up on playing nice entirely is like saying measles willl always exist, so there's no point in getting vaccinated for smallpox.  Being the very first person is hard, but someone has to take the lead.  Rise above petty temptations and behave the way your favourite peer would want you to.

Play nice.  Pass it on.

(This message brought to you by the Foundation for a Life With Well-Balanced Humours.)
 

Comments

( 53 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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thornbury
Jan. 22nd, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC)
I just read your whole post, and now I have to delete my goofy "cranky" comment.

I miss Gyrth, too. :-(
compass_rose
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
I was able to advise on an incident of 'people behaving badly' this past weekend where one person made some very strong claims against another (and complained on EVERY level in the Kingdom)... and of course they were speaking on someone else's behalf who was so very wronged and upset.

Through incredibly polite business-like letters we were un-surprised to learn that the supposedly wronged person was horrified about the entire incident and the manner in which it had been presented. In fact, the problem was noted as a miscommunication at best, and one which had not been important enough to make a real issue out of.

So now, the badly behaved person, through their repeated email conversations has only made theirself look like a complete ass. There is something to be said for giving a person all the rope they want and then watching what happens from the foot of the gallows whilst knitting and occasionally tossing somewhat rotted vegetable matter.

I just wonder some days... is email the death of courtesy in the SCA. It is so much easier to say nasty things when it need not be in person... and rapid fire nasty notes just seem to fulfill some great need in certain individuals.

Edited at 2008-01-22 03:01 pm (UTC)
attack_laurel
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
Is email the death of courtesy in the SCA?

No, it's just made it easier to get in trouble faster. What used to take several weeks of gossipy conversations and one spectacularly embarrasing ill-timed confrontation five minutes before Court at a major event now only takes two seconds and a "send" button.

The asshats are the same; it's the rest of us who now need to learn that e-mail responses should be the exact same format as FTF responses: Polite silence, polite disagreement, or polite refutation if the asshat is wrong, and polite agreement, a call for calm, and a gentle reminder that we are all adults if the asshat is unfortunately right (but blowing it way out of proprtion).

Too often, we end up with an overresponse because we're all so bad at confrontation, so someone comes down on someone else like a ton of bricks, and we all get to watch. Once upon a time, the ton of bricks cascade happened behind closed doors. Now, it's beamed into our computers in all its lurid texty glory.
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reasdream
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
"Play nice. Pass it on."

w00t. (ie, yes.)
or, to parse in a way more appropriate to my generation: "Be excellent to each other - party on, dudes." :D
mistressrhi
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:19 pm (UTC)
"...a little bit of mean-spiritedness suddenly goes a vast way in very little time..."

Boy, howdy.
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swordmage
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Anubis is pleased
Rule #1 Don't look like a$$
Rule #2 Don't make me look like a$$
Rule #3 Don't be that guy


I like that idea. It's something to strive for.
valkyr8
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
I asked my student the other day "what it meant to her to be a Peer?" She answered:

"Dress nice and wear the proper fabric."
"Be nice to people, help them when they need help and teach them how to do things."
"And don't bring McDonalds to events"

She's 9.
duchesspadr
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
and the SCA isn't as "chivalrous" as it used to be. That word is not the correct one for what people are trying to say - they mean it's not as courteous as it used to be.

Yay you! I dislike having to be the dictionary when we discuss giving chivalry prizes. We so often mean courtesy prizes, and I get tired of feeling both semantic and pedantic in settin gpeople straight.

I recently unsubscribed from the Merry Rose, so I no longer have the temptation to respond to silliness.
maricelt
Jan. 22nd, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
Begging a favor from Attack Laurel
Hi there... sorry for the pestering, but I need a bit of help, if you're willing. I would really appreciate your insight on the matter of petticoats, bodied petticoats, stays, bodies, kirtles and french bodies.
Are you willing to see if I've got it right in my head?

http://evilapprentice.livejournal.com/138334.html
attack_laurel
Jan. 22nd, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Begging a favor from Attack Laurel
Answered in your journal. :)
landverhuizer
Jan. 22nd, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
ok, you brought out my original thoughts on something I tried to say about this in the sca in lj... just with more words. Dang, then it ended up being a conversation about what chivalry is... wasn't talking about chivalry tho and thought people understood... woops! should have used "courtesy" or "good behaviour", "being encouraging"... playing nice! darn meme lol

Though I completley agree with the internet simply bringing news closer... murder isn't new, we just hear about it quicker... a lot of the horror that our groups have been crying about has been mainly local and people, despite the wonder of the net, seem to think it is only their group that is having these troubles. *sigh*

Playing nice though, it is underrated.
alina_s
Jan. 22nd, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
The issue about email making it easier for bad things to become common knowledge throughout the kingdom is applicable to just about everything nowadays.

(unrelated tangent alert!)

For instance, I strongly suspect that child abductions by strangers are not any more common today than they were 30 years ago. But thirty years ago, it didn't spread much past your little rural town and then got buried under the rug. Today it's front page news on CNN.com before they're even sure the kid was abducted. So everyone runs around whining about how awful life is today, and how much more dangerous, etc. It's not really any worse than it ever was, it's just different. Take a look at turn of the 19th century newspapers and you'll see the same complaints about the decay of society.

(And in case somebody has hard stats on stranger child abductions, I picked it as a random example. The theory holds generally true whether you're talking about mine disasters, serial killers, or people whose dogs called 911 while they were choking.)

vom_schwarzwald
Jan. 22nd, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
Because I HAD too
"This message brought to you by the Foundation for a Life With Well-Balanced Humours"

Well my cold is finally gone, so I'm not Phlem-matic any more. I ironed my shirt, so my collaric is just fine now. I'm off to grab a turkey sanguich but no fruit for me, don't want to be a melon-cholic ever again....
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attack_laurel
Jan. 22nd, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor Nitpick
...Except that everyone always brings up "chivalry" when they really mean "courtesy". They don't mean courtly behaviour and knights in armour, they mean people giving each other basic considerations, like picking up trash at events, not screaming epithets on lists, and attempting to live by the rules of the society. While the two words may have overlapping definitions, one is not the other.

Courtesy may be a part of chivalry, but chivalry has little to no use as a definitive when you're talking e-mail lists and problem solving - in fact, it is sometimes misguided chivalric notions that cause people to go into "mighty righteous punishment" mode, and make things much, much worse for all involved, when a little courtesy might have made everything better. The idea of "smite makes right" is to some extent a part of the chivalric ideal, but it's about as far removed from courtesy as you can get.

I appreciate the definition nit pick, though. It explains why people get it so wrong all the time.

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callistotoni
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:07 pm (UTC)
>>We cannot dictate the actions of others, we can only police ourselves.... (snip)...Playing nice" is cumulative

Amen sister. My main piece of advice I give folks at their Laurel vigils -- especially those being recognized for their costuming -- is to never offer advice to someone unless asked, but out and out compliments are alway a good idea to give. My second piece of advice is that it is far more effective to lead by example than by critique. The urge to make snarky comments about *interesting* costuming choices should be fought at all costs, since they just make Laurel and the SCA in general look bad.

Sorry, that's a soapbox of mine. Oh, and Genevieve must be a good name; I guess I'm lucky that it's my SCA name too! :-)

P.S. If you ever travel to the West Kingdom for an event I'd love to host you. :-)
attack_laurel
Jan. 22nd, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)

My Genevieve knows who she is, but it is a good name.
(no subject) - pinkleader - Jan. 22nd, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 22nd, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
aumtattoo
Jan. 22nd, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
do you mind if I link to this in my own LJ? Thanks
attack_laurel
Jan. 23rd, 2008 10:55 am (UTC)
Not at all.
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