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Dafydd ap Gwystl, Knight, sends greetings to all gathered to hear
I was pleased to hear Master Bran bring up the main thrust of his
note, inadvertent as it was. As some have said, if we cannot
discuss it we have no chance of changing it.
I have heard similar complaints about groups of Atlantians from
Lilies War this year through some of my friends in the Outlands.
And other complaints about different people, but also groups of
Atlantians, at Estrella, and at Gulf Wars. Combined with Toys
for Tots, that is every War we play at, save Pennsic.
I am very, very distressed about this. This is not one person,
or one group of people. This is a trend. Atlantian fighters
already have a poor reputation in several kingdoms, as I know
from personal experience. It hurts me deeply when I go to
another kingdom, make friends, and they are surprised to hear
that I am an Atlantian. Surprised because I took blows and
was not a jerk. Their expectation was that Atlantians did not
take blows, and were jerks.
When an Atlantian misbehaves at an Atlantian event it is sad.
When an Atlantian misbehaves in another Kingdom it is much worse,
as we are all living ambassadors, representing our Kingdom when
we are elsewhere.
The Chivalry are, by and large, the only major social group that
the up-and-coming unbelted fighters pay attention to. If we take
relatively hard, unbelted fighters will emulate that. And it is
going to be very hard to modify the behavior of Squire X or Lord
Y when that person can look at Sir Z and think "but I'm just doing
what he is doing."
At the Chivalry meeting at last Crown tournament there was some
discussion of an issue that crops up regularly--the public
perception among the general populace that Knights take harder,
and Dukes/Earls harder still, than regular fighters. This issue
has existed since long before I joined the SCA, but that is no
reason to dismiss it.
Near the end of the discussion I said that, in my opinion, we
(the Chivalry) as a group, take too hard and should modify
our acknowledgement downward. And that if we could do that,
we would be able to modify the kingdom's acknowledgement
downward by force of strong example and powerful social
pressure. Everyone listened very politely, but nobody
volunteered to change their own acknowledgement.
I'm not bringing this up to start a spate of knight-bashing, and
I certainly don't want to begin acrimonious name-calling. But it
is possible to have social pressure without bashing or name-calling,
and social pressure is the only tool available for changing behavior.
Therefore I call upon you, upon us all, to be MORE critical of
demonstrated misbehavior. Not to be rude, not to repeat rumour,
but to be honest, polite, and intolerant. Yes, intolerant.
Tolerance is one of the highest virtues of the SCA and its people.
But tolerance of misbehaviour, discourtesy, blow-sloughing, and
other evil is not a virtue, it is weakness. And a weakness that
lets such behaviour continue.
Too often public evil is permitted in the name of courtesy, and
thereby condoned. "It is discourteous to call another man's blows."
Yes, and you may be wrong to do so. Be careful, and be polite.
But that does not mean that rhinos do not exist. And if we find
such misbehaviour, we must NOT tolerate it.
Be intolerant. Be intolerant of evil in others. Be more intolerant
of evil in Atlantians, for they can by their misbehavior hurt the
honour of our Kingdom. Be still more intolerant of evil within your
own household and friends, and be most intolerant of evil and misbehaviour
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