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Beyond Tolerance

Poster: SheehanTA@aol.com

While the pot is still boiling and well stirred, I though I'd throw in yet
one more thought into the soup.

Earl Daffyd makes a very good point that we, as individuals, need to stand up
when we see inappropriate behavior in the SCA, particularly on the field of
combat.  Yet how difficult that is!  Not only in approaching someone who has
offended, but also to recognize when an offense has occured.

I am minded of several recent conversations with knights of my acquaintance.
 I love their company dearly for their enthusiasm and wit.  And in my
friendship with them I would never attribute any malice or ill will to them.
 Still, I have heard them use expressions like "clubbing them like baby
seals", "making him cry", or "send him to visit Uncle Dirt-Nap."  

Are these words used among friends for the sake of bravado and good
storytelling, or expressions of a real desire to pound an opponent into the
ground to prove what a great fighter they are?  And are they likely to be
misunderstood by anyone not familiar with them, or worse, taken as the
correct attitude for a knight?  Is this kind of posturing reinforcing their
chivalry or degrading to it?  Somehow it makes it sound like the need is
beyond winning the fight; that one's opponent must be reduced in personal
dignity as well or the victory lacks savor.  Perhaps we need to find a better
way of expressing our enjoyment of martial prowess that elevates the quality
of the fighter rather than the quality of the fight, although I for one would
regret the passing of the fun and colorful language.  Still, in many ways our
words define and reveal us.  It may be less exciting to achieve total
triumph, but it could be less damaging all around if we esteemed a good win
more and a complete win less.

Let us by all means be intolerant of all social transgressions in ourselves
and others and strive to achieve decency and honor.  But please, let us not
forget humor, humanity, and compassion in the process.

Mistress Deirdre O'Siodhachain
(Terry Sheehan)

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