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...and some you did.

First, let me clarify:  When I say "respect the Crown", I don't mean "ass-kiss the Crown", "Say yes to everything the Crown wants to do", or "Suck it up and smile", I mean treat the position as something more than the transitory person wearing it.  No matter how bad you think any current King or Queen are, they will step down, and the next Crowns might be wonderful - if anyone bothers to pay any attention to them.  This is what I mean by saying that if you act disrespectfully towards one Crown, your behaviour will serve as an example to newcomers, who will not appreciate the new Crowns because they've been taught that the Royalty don't matter.

(By the way, I am not referencing any particular Crowns, present or past, when I talk about this.  I haven't seen one yet who didn't have some redeeming qualities.)

(No, really.)

But on to the questions.  

Imaginary reader sca_woombawoomba asks:  If there's a king on the throne whom I hate, am I obligated to attend court during his reign?

No, you are not.  However, don't make a big deal about not attending court.  Though it may feel super self-righteous to tell all and sundry that you're skipping court because the king is an ass, and you disapprove of everything he has done, and you can't believe that people let him get away with stuff, it reflects badly on you, and makes people assume you like teh drama a little too much.  Bitching to friends is okay; bitching to total stangers about how you can't believe that anyone would attend that asshole's courts is impolite.  It is better to say that you need to get on the road, or you feel unwell and need to lie down - or even just to quietly fade away.  You don't have to be there, but try not to make your personal boycott into a great crusade to make other people boycott, too.

Reader from another dimension acs_drol asks:  I like the idea of royalty, but the current crowns drive me up the wall.  Is there a good way to stay active while avoiding the royal presence as much as possible?

Why, yes there is.  You can follow protocol when it is required, like standing at the beginning of court, refraining from making snide comments and talking during court, making a polite bow when the crowns walk by - basically, the things you would do for any monarch, but unless you are a peer (which has slightly elevated expectations regarding interaction with the crowns), you don't have to push yourself to volunteer directly to them.  Instead, put your energy into helping the local group, or assisting at events in areas where the royalty will not be as active (cleaning up, kitchen work, etc.)  Like in the question above, try not to broadcast your dislike of the current crowns far and wide - if pressed, you can always say "I'm not a huge fan of the current royalty, but I feel it's important to maintain a certain level of respect for the position".  Refrain from saying things like "The royalty sucks!", "I don't see why we should have to repect that", or any other phrases that would give newer members the idea that it's okay to trash the crowns.

Long-time voice in my head evilxevilx666youwillall_die asks:  How do I explain to people the difference between liking the Crown as a part of our game and liking the crowns, especially when I dislike the crowns so much that I wouldn't pour a pitcher of sekanjabin on them if they were on fire?

Many people get confused when I am polite in the presence of crowns I do not care for, and say "But I thought you hated them!  How can you sell out your principles like that?!"  And I reply "If I don't treat the position with respect, then other people won't.  And if no-one treats the position with respect, the next time friends of mine are on the throne, they will not get the support they need, because everyone assumes the crowns aren't important".  What this means is that everyone, no matter how scummy they are, deserves the mimimum respect you would accord anyone in that position, not because they deserve it, but because it's the right thing to do.  This doesn't mean condoning the dumb things they do - heck, it doesn't even mean you have to smile at them when you bow, but it does mean you behave like an adult in a business setting, not a child in a playground.  Your behaviour under that kind of pressure reflects primarily on you, and while it may feel peachy-keen to sneer openly at a crown you don't like, and make you feel all-powerful when you persuade your friends to do the same, it causes more damage than you may realize at the time.

The grand gesture is rarely grand, and doing things like openly dismissing the crowns you disapprove of , while giving you and your fellow haters a thrill, simply makes you look petty.  Teaching people how to gracefully handle a bad set of royalty, how to minimize the damage they cause, and keep everyone solid and ready for the next (good) reign instead does everyone a huge service.  It's also super-good for your karma.

Yes, it sometimes feels like people get away with murder, but the damage is lessened when the people peripheral to the action refuse to become drama-llamas, and work to get everything on an even keel again.  I've watched people drag their friends (and newbies who made the mistake of joining their circle) into a swirling vortex of negativity over people they dislike, and I've seen the long-lasting effects of that negativity in the lack of volunteerism and general apathy that accompanies such behaviour.  If you set everything out as not worth caring about, then people will not care.  And when that bad king or queen has left the throne, and the great king and queen are left begging for support so they can make things as good as possible for the greatest number of people, who has that negativity really hurt?

Hint:  Not the bad ones.  They don't care.

So, for the sake of the rest of us, at least stick to the basic courtesies.  Keep your loathing of any particular royalty under wraps except with close friends.  Resist the temptation to create drama.  It's not selling out, it's preserving a dream in the face of what can seem like impossible odds.  Play the game, and play to win - by taking the long view and the high road.
 

Comments

( 43 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
patrikia
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
I was always taught that a peer says what needs to be said to the Crown...behind closed doors. Once you leave that room, the peer supports the Crown's decision.

Period.

Maybe it's said in That Tone of Voice, "I support the Crown's decision." But it gets said, nonetheless.

I try to teach my apprentices that we will always do what is best for the Kingdom, whether it is in our own best personal interest or not. I expect the Crown to do the same, but if we don't agree on what is best, supporting the Crown's decision is -always- best for the Kingdom in the long run.

Not saying we/I are always successful, but that's the goal in any case.

Thanks for the reminders. They are always welcome.
attack_laurel
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
I, myself, have perfected the poker face. :)
(no subject) - mistressrhi - Jan. 30th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elasait - Feb. 1st, 2008 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fiannaharpar - Jan. 30th, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
maricelt
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
well written.

And yes, I do agree about respecting "The Crown". I especially like your last couple of sentences.
preserving a dream in the face of what can seem like impossible odds :: cue Baritone.
bdeb
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
Great entry. Simply great. BTw, I have that same voice in MY head! Who knew?!
attack_laurel
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
He is legion, apparently.
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attack_laurel
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I get on an SCA kick every now and then, and like to follow an idea through.

I think people trip themselves up because it feels so good to scream and make a fuss - all eyes are on them, and their friends won't tell them they're being an idiot. The topic of the "grand gesture", i.e., making a big public fuss like walking out of the middle of court, came up on a peerage comm fairly recently (were you there for that? I don't remember), and it was generally agreed that other people felt the GG was in bad taste, and set a very poor example.

Peers get a bit of extra teeth-gnashing during a bad reign because what they do (especially if they're high-profile) is noticed, and people use their actions to excuse their own. So I feel a huge obligation to keep a close reign on my personal views and encourage people to see the bright side of any reign (and there have been some...).

I've found, though, that my own enjoyment of things goes up - in searching for the good stuff for other people, I find it myself. It's probably why I'm still ridiculously fond of the SCA, despite all the tears it's brought me.
(no subject) - grian_ruadh - Jan. 30th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
isabelladangelo
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
Long-time voice in my head evilxevilx666youwillall_die asks: How do I explain to people the difference between liking the Crown as a part of our game and liking the crowns, especially when I dislike the crowns so much that I wouldn't pour a pitcher of sekanjabin on them if they were on fire?

This sounds like a horrible waste of perfectly good sekanjabin. Grab the lemonade. It's not period and shouldn't be at an event anyways. :-)

Serious hat:

I think this, like so many other things in life right now, boils down to one simple principle: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Do you really want your nemisis to be snobby talk poorly about you to newcomers on an already stress-filled day? No. Instead, just politely acknowledge the person whom you may have a personal disagreement with and ignore them unless you need to interact with them. Never, ever let personal disagreements affect how you interact with other people; it's how gangs got started and why domestic violence has been going up. Control your emotional states and remember that you too ain't perfect.

Silly hat:
BTW, the icon is for the lovely, fictional, evilxevilx666youwillall_die . I thought she might like it. :-)
attack_laurel
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
I don't think evil has a specific gender, but it is cute and fluffy (see icon), so thank you. :)

It actually works on the business etiquette model - sometimes business people need to interact with people they otherwise wouldn't waste their breath on, and need to do so politely and professionally. You're not required to act like you like someone, just as if you respect them.

So much better for everyone than sulking like a child in a sandbox, which is the other SCA model for dealing with problem royalty[tm]...

And of course, when out of costume or amongst close friends, say what you want about the people involved; just avoid doing so in an open journal. *innocent look*
(no subject) - janinas_nest - Jan. 31st, 2008 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 4th, 2008 10:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - landverhuizer - Jan. 30th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
reasdream
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC)
I love the not-real usernames. They have improved my morning tenfold.

(also, the content of the post = helpful)
myladyswardrobe
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
I saw your previous post on this but didn't reply then.

As you know, I don't do the SCA but the concept applies in other re-enactment groups. In Kentwell where I am, we have the gentry and the lower orders.

Time and time again we get the lower orders grumbling about the snooty gentry who don't do anything except sit around looking pretty etc etc. There are always grumbles about curtseying/bowing to the gentry. When it is done, mostly is a sketchy reverence and a glare.

Usually I am gentry and when someone DOES give reverence to me, I always graciously acknowledge them with a gentle and polite bow of the head and a smile. A sincere smile because insincerity is picked up so quickly.

This I feel is very important. If I show due respect BACK to those who "play the game" properly then hopefully I will improve the general opinion of the Gentry as layabouts and clothes horses.

When I am playing a middle class/lower orders person, I ALWAYS make sure I give a proper, respectful reverence to the gentlefolk. Even though I know them very well. I try to put aside that familiarity and be the middle class person I am at that moment. It provides an example to everyone else and I feel that I am being a Tudor/Elizabethan properly.

Going more the SCA Royalty concept, the idea of respecting THE Crown is quite historically accurate. Without going into real world politics and debates over monarchy vs democracy, this is really how the present monarch in England (and where-ever else) should be treated. Prince Charles may not be any better a King than his first name sake was but he will be the King (assuming he outlives his mother) and respect should be given to his office and to him as the holder of the office.

The 16th century had the concept of the Body Politic and the Body Personal. Could give a distinct imnpression of a dual personality. What QEI could do as a Monarch may not have been what she wanted to do as a person. This I feel, really defines the difference between THE Crown and those who wear it.

From my limited understanding of the SCA, the Monarchs are in situ for so little time in the grand scheme of things, that it should be fairly easy to ignore any odd or unlikeable behaviour. I assume there are rules in place that prevent them doing x, y and z so its not as if the whole SCA would change completely due to a new Monarch in place.

To use a dreadful phrase, "at the end of the day", if someone disrespects the Monarchs (or Gentry), it really says far more about THAT person than it does about "holding to ones principles". If people can't play nicely then perhaps they shouldn't play at all.

Very interesting post.
attack_laurel
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you. And thank you for the thoughtful and illuminating comment.

I think US SCAdians picture their royalty more like their president - someone put in place to do what they want, and someone they can heap abuse on if they don't do it right. They are, therefore, shocked and dismayed when the crowns behave in an autocratic manner - sometimes justifiably so, sometimes not.

But I think it's the lack of experience with a symbolic presence like modern British royalty and the etiquette that surrounds it (not to mention the overarching US attitude that everyone is equal) that makes it hard for them to even play-act. I see this also in the attitude of some self-professed "peasants" in the SCA who loudly and continually proclaim their "peasant" status as if it were somehow more virtuous than the rank of Lord/Lady.

It was fascinating watching "Manor House", and seeing how the people picked to be upper class got all guilty and apologetic, and the lower class people got a serious case of class resentment - so even in the UK, there's a strong bias now against the idea of rank, and people find it frightening even to play at it - as if that playing somehow translates back to the real world. Very odd - and probably fodder for endless psychology dissertations. :)
(no subject) - myladyswardrobe - Jan. 30th, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 30th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
RE: No coifs on "Colonial House" - heatermcca - Jan. 30th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
molly_world
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC)
Keeping a unified front applies not only to the Crown, but also to sitting Baronage as well. We privately go toe to toe with our seneschal sometimes (one of the bennies of being friends with him mundanely), but when we hold a public meeting, the Baronage & Seneschal present a unified front. It's made for some interesting perceptions that one of us or the other is "in their back pockets", but the end result is to allow people to enjoy playing the game.

Your post was really eye opening and I think it will make me more aware of the impact of my vents (even to friends) if they were overheard by a passerby. There are some people who I _just_don't_get_ and I have discussed it at an event with others (guilty, guilty). Something like that (even accidently taken out of context) could seem very disrespectful (be it conversations about a person, the crown or even a group). You've given me food for thought...time to get chewing on it, smile.
attack_laurel
Jan. 30th, 2008 03:52 pm (UTC)
You can chew it over with me, any time. The Baronage in some ways have a harder time of it - they're sitting longer, and they're suddenly higher ranked than the rest of the group they have been playing with (sometimes for years). :)
(no subject) - gwacie - Jan. 30th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
jljonsn
Jan. 30th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Summation: Suck it up and act like an adult.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - isabelladangelo - Jan. 30th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
sunniva_kyrre
Jan. 30th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
The one gripe I really have is about the folks that choose not to play when they do not like the current K&Q. They take a break. But in doing so, they hurt others by not being there to help and teach. Turgeis gets especially passionate when he hears a knight say he is taking a break for this reason. Who is he suppose to fight to get better, who is suppose to teach him how to improve his game? If you feel this way, don’t go to Kingdom level events but still go to practices, meetings, and local events. Still teach and help where you can.

Ok I used up my 2 cents for now.
soldiergrrrl
Jan. 30th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC)
We actually have ended up dealing with this, a lot!

Our shire was dissolved. I wan't in the area at the time, half of the folx playing now were in Germany, and really, none of us *care.* Not because we don't care that people ended up with hurt feelings, but we can't do *anything.*

So, there are a lot of folx who have decided to stop playing entirely, at least until the Crown/Evil Mean Bastards who started the proceedings and watched them through the bitter end, aren't playing any more, or have come to their senses...or something. Then they'll consider starting again.

So, we're stuck in the mess that was left, with angry people who are still on the Kingdom mailing list and were making sniping comments...

AGH! Can we please act like *ADULTS!*
(no subject) - ermine_rat - Jan. 30th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
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gianetta
Jan. 30th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
I do the same thing with friends who are Peers. I sometimes address and refer to people by their SCA name outside SCA settings to differentiate all of the Jens and Mikes and Lauras in the group. No one seems to mind that as it simplifies things ('No, not you - the other Mike!), or at least they don't complain about it, but it results in my forgetting to address people properly at events. They're not likely to get bent out of shape about it, but it sets a bad example.
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Jan. 30th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vom_schwarzwald - Jan. 30th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - molly_world - Jan. 31st, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
chargirlgenius
Jan. 30th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
but unless you are a peer (which has slightly elevated expectations regarding interaction with the crowns), you don't have to push yourself to volunteer directly to them.

Could you elaborate a bit more about this - what specifically you mean? I haven't noticed anything beyond "fill out your polls" and "come into court when they're all called up". But then again, I'm not playing heavily. Never met the current king.
attack_laurel
Jan. 30th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
That would be about it - peers will slightly more often get called on directly by the crowns for something (we're higher profile), and it would be rude to say no outright, though I find that saying "I cannot, but I will find someone who can" usually works if I really cannot do it.

I see this sometimes more as a White Scarf (not a peerage!), where we're expected (and expect) to serve the Queen more directly, but as a Pelican, I would suck it up and work to help if asked, because it's not the crown that neccessarily benefits from my work.

Other people's mileage may vary. I remember a big kerfluffle a few years ago when one king asked all the knights to swear fealty at his coronation, then invited "all other peerages" to swear fealty. There was a general feeling that this was insulting, but I didn't see what the big deal was, and ended up being the only other peer to swear fealty. Talk about being the center of attention!

While it may have not been the most well-considered action on the King's part, it didn't merit a huge boycott, and I thought it reflected badly on the peers. I'm sure other people felt differently, and felt perfectly justified in not going up. For my part, it wasn't a big deal - and certainly not such a big deal that I would go back on the oath of support I swore to the Crown when I was made a peer. As other people have said, I'll speak my mind in private, but I won't embarrass the Crowns in public - it's poor form.
Almost a subject change - stitchwhich - Jan. 30th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Almost a subject change - molly_world - Jan. 31st, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Almost a subject change - stitchwhich - Jan. 31st, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Almost a subject change - attack_laurel - Feb. 4th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
victoriapringle
Jan. 30th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
It seems like we over heard some of the same conversations at Twelfth Night.
ldeerslayer
Jan. 31st, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
In regard to having problems with a Crown
I'd add... express it to your people... and let it go...
if you dwell on other people's honour (or lack of it)
you will do nothing but diminish your own...
and burden your people...

I know several people who still haven't come back from when we had a "bad reign"... and that was several years ago...

I understand it to a point... when you start to see all the stupid stuff...and it outweighs the good stuff... you either have to fix your vision...or leave...because if you stay you become very embittered...

and I know several people who have left because the were the pivot people in some very bad situations... ya know... the person who dealt directly with the problems... and had little or no support in dealing with them so got burnt from both ends...

when you get to a certain point in years/experience...
to stay successfully... you have to find ways to have the positives of the SCA outweigh the negatives... sometimes it's not easy ;)

I'm still working on it...
driftingfocus
Feb. 5th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Your journal is *quite* interesting. Mind if I add you? I found you through bunnyjadwiga. Feel free to check out my profile, it's pretty extensive.
( 43 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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