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Disc: Heraldry (WAS: Re: Query re: A&S/heraldry comp at Pointless)

Poster: "Thorpe, John" <thorpj@caepo1.columbiaSC.NCR.COM>

Greetings from Eldred!

Scripsit Tibor:
%Eldred, I am going to try to turn this discussion, slightly, to the general
%case, and thereby keep it more interesting to most folks.  If I fail, so be
%it: but I tried.  Because a narrow discussion of heraldic "Yes it is" "No 
%isn't" would be dull for everyone, including Eldred and I.

Good idea.

%Eldred, you seem to be stating the following: "Everyone believes that
%registration of arms with the SCA's College of Arms gives them exclusive
%rights, and they can have those rights enforced, and we should work toward
%giving them what they want."  I say "No It Isn't".  (:-)

%This is simply not the case: it is not the intent of the law, nor is it the
%actual law.  The sooner we teach people that, the better.  Sure, there is a
%tremendous social inertia that comes through on the topic, and lots of 
%*want* to believe it. But it still isn't so.

%There is a dangerous slippery slope here, in giving people what they want. 
%we give them what they want, in this case, we start providing an 
%arm to the Society.  I'm not sure I want that camel's nose in our tent. 
%some of the discussions on the West list (or about the West list) for the 
%and present dangers of a Crown that says "Don't do that: I won't allow it".

Good point.  However, this is the reason laws get made.  Someone does
something that (most) people don't like, so the majority make a law that
bans said action.  Now they have to enforce it.  Raise your hand if you
want the CoA to ENFORCE uniqueness upon people's names and
armory.  OK, now are YOU willing to be that enforcer?  There are a handful 
would say "yes" with little or no hesitation.  They would quickly be 
for their role.  Just look at how a lot of heralds get treated now, and we
don't even have any real power to speak of(not that I want it, mind you).

%If, instead, we did a better job of educating people (as you do) in what 
%period, and how we can model period better, we can have even *more* fun, 
%more, and do better for each other.

Bingo!  How many times have I made similar statements (Rhiannon?)

%Tibor had written:
%  %The issue of use of arms in the Society is shrouded in error and
% %falsehood.   No one can keep you from flying arms, whichever arms you
% % choose.  Not even your Crown, and certainly not a herald.

%Eldred wrote:
%  I wish you would quit saying that.  I do not believe anyone has
%  intentionally lied to the populace about the use of armorial display--in
%  period.  The mechanism we have in place to register and display arms
%  simply does not fit a period model.  Erroneous, perhaps, but not 
%  false.  You are correct that no one can prevent you from displaying arms 
%  you choose.  However, your behavior will win you no friends.

%Some of the above which you say is true.  Please, allow me a short aside: 
%people can teach something that is not true, without lying.  I certainly 
%not accuse anyone of lying: nor would I.  Differing opinions can be held, 
%taught, without lying, just as errors can be perpetuated without lying.

%Good Eldred, we can dispute this peacefully, without rancor or raising the
%"truth stakes".  Here, have a homebrew... (:-)

Shouldn't that be "Relax!  Have a homebrew!"  8^)  Forgive me if I seemed
be raising rancor, that was not my intent.  I simply do not like the 
behind certain words.  Oops.  Now I see.  I did not intend to mean that YOUR
behavior was troublesome.  I meant "you" in the sense of "the person
displaying someone else's arms".  Sorry about that.


%People who really and truly believe that the SCA and the College of Arms 
%guaranteed them anything about their names and armory have been sadly 
%It simply is not true.  Yes, I know, I was to avoid "No Its Not".  But 
%is no guarantee.

%We heralds (all of us, even the enlightened ones like you and I, Eldred) 
%collectively doing the populace of the Known World no service at all if we
%teach them that such a guarantee exists.  Instead, we should teach them 
%in period it was a real problem too, and that they found ways of dealing 
with it.
%Some good and some not. One solution was to ignore the problem.

%Were I the herald who was first informed about the problem at Pennsic, I 
%have been delighted to turn it into a learning experience for all, and a
%chance to have a lot of fun resolving the problem.  The classical Societal
%response of asking a herald to "Make Him Take Down My Arms From His
%Camp" produces neither a pleasant neighborhood feeling, nor does it teach
%much about period. (Nor does it teach much about how grownups ought to

I believe I made this exact same argument in an earlier email.  You end
up with "Make me."

%I'd talked about Crowns (real and period) can overstep the bounds of their
%authority, and you answered:
%  No, not across all Kingdoms, but by custom, law, and treaty, the 
%  awards of various Crowns are recognized across the Laurel Kingdoms.  In
%  effect, the outcome is the same.

%Ohh, change of subject alert.  Awards and honors are a different topic than
%the rights to exclusive arms.  Further, if you think about it, you will no 
%realize that one baronies honors and awards are not universal, and that 
%Kingdom awards are not universal.

%But, the awards themselves are a change of subject.  (Although they also
%reflect another area where we don't teach period, or the uncertainties of
%period, at all well.)

I've argued long and hard on this subject, too, Tibor.  At any rate, I 
my argument to armigerious awards to reinforce my point about displaying
someone else's arms.  The other types are irrelevant to the issue.

%                           By your argument, (let's take Master Arval for
%  example) if Master Arval were to travel from the East to Meridies, the
%  populace of Meridies could ignore his Peerage, and refuse to address him
%  by his hard-earned title and any member could display Arval's arms.

%[Clever to use Arval in this example: I am his apprentice in heraldry.]

Well, you do use the same logic and similar arguments...8^)

%By my argument, the only argument I would make is that someone in Meridies
%could use his arms, and there was little he could do about it.  In fact, by 
%argument, if he travelled to Meridies, and found someone displaying his 
%I'd expect the King of Meridies to side with his subject over an outremer, 
%the Crown were to emulate period.  I leave the argument about Peerages for
%another day...

%  However, this would not happen in reality as the agreements between the
%  Kingdoms recognize Arval's status and arms no matter where he travels in
%  the Known World.  I think that the Crown of Meridies would feel bound to
%  uphold any claim that Arval made with regard to his own arms and awards
%  as a reciprocating courtesy to the East Kingdom, else he may one day
%  find himself in the same predicament in another Kingdom.

%I'd expect a Crown of Meridies (if Meridies were a period Kingdom) to treat
%Arval-as-example in a fashion that served his own best interests.  Yes. 
%can say what those were?

%To use your example, however, against you.  If someone in Atlantia 
%to the East, and found that someone there was using their arms: who could
%they go to in a period manner?  And what would they find?  If it was an
%Easterner displaying those arms, I'd expect a period style Crown to uphold
%their subject, unless it was someone really important asking.

%This leads into the whole conflict of fairness... in period the justice 
%have been uneven and unfair (by our modern lights) but a modern person who 
%genuinely outraged over their arms being borne might want a tad more 

I had totally forgotten this element.  You are correct.  In period, the case 
of a
person of higher rank typically outweighed that of a lesser person.  So Duke
Burly Combattantdude, OL, OP, KSCA would win out over Lord Rolloveranddie
in most conflicts.  I would argue that this is still the case today, but 
that is another
subject entirely.

%This is part of the reason I would discourage a modern person from 
%getting upset over the issue.  It's part of the game: play the game... as 
%would have been played in the past.

%  I was making the SCA case.  This whole argument is extremely difficult to
%  handle because we have three different cases to look at and try to map
%  on top of one another:  1) Modern real world 2) Period(s) 3) SCA.

%Ah.  All three of those say that there is nothing to be done about it. In
%period, it wouldn't be an issue for Kings, especially at a gathering of
%many gentles from many Kingdoms: it would have been dealt with one on one.
%The SCA provides no guarantee of usage, and there is no modern authority.

%Only custom can be prevailed upon: and custom is a lesser being than rules.
%The complainent has no absolute rights here.  When dealing with such a
%situation, perhaps the best thing to do is make a period game out of it.

%  Even though armory is not identity, it is so closely associated with 
%  that it almost makes no difference whether it is identity or property.

%Ahem.  This is not true.  Perhaps you are ignoring issues of inheritance,
%rewards of property and titlature and armory in period, or the basic issues
%that people from even nearby regions might have identical armory?  (Scropes
%won one and lost one, remember?)

%  True.  And I do agree.  However, we are stuck with inertia.  People have
%  become so attached to our model that change to a new one will be very
%  difficult.

%So, my friend Eldred, why do you not help me to teach and educate to the 
%model, instead of arguing with me here?  Come, let us reason together...

Hah!  What makes you think I'm arguing against you?  I am merely playing
devil's advocate (as best I can) to your arguments.

%  OK.  Obviously we agree that SCA heraldry does not work in the same way 
%  period heraldry from any given jurisdiction.  Obviously, there are many 
%  would like to see this change to mirror a more period model (I am one of
%  them, believe it or not).  What we have to deal with here is Modern SCA 
%   In no uncertain terms, the charter for the College of Arms specifies 
that each
%  person registering armory have arms that are unique within the SCA and
%  without.  Because of this charter, people have the right to assume that 
%  $8 they paid to the College of Arms, SCA guarantees that they are the 
%  owner of said armory--at least within the context of the SCA.  Poor
%  assumption given that the CoA has no enforcement powers to speak of, but
%  that is the intellectual reality of the situation.

%But this is counter-factual.  If you read the rules, they say that Laurel 
%a list, and if you register something on that list, nothing else should 
%to be too similar to it, that is also on that list.  (Not that mistakes 
%sometimes made, but by and large).

What?  It is not counter-factual.  You are re-iterating my statement more
concisely.  I must have missed something.....

%That's it.  Laurel has a list, and if you are on it, you know that nothing 
%on the list is the same.  It doesn't mean that folks don't bypass Laurel, 
%does it mean that Laurel can do much about it.  (Jaelle, my friend, I know 
%hate it when I talk that way.)

I know it too, and it is a harsh reality that I tell people that very same 
when they submit their arms and names to the CoA.  On occasion I do have
to say:  "If you really want to display the arms of the King of Scotland, 
then by
all means go ahead, catch merry Hell for it from other people, and don't 
my time or your money trying to send it through our registration process." 
not that crude or forceful about it, but that is the gist of my warnings. 
 Yes, that
flies up the nose of a lot of heralds I can enumerate, but the normal 
to this is that the person stops, thinks a bit, and designs something for
themselves that at least fits our model, and if we're lucky, looks close to
appropriate armory for their persona.   A lot of it is how you educate your
submittors.  I always remind them that the SCA is not "real" heraldry and
does not fit period models.  But for the sake of our game, I tell them how
to get arms passed in the Society.

%And who would Jaelle use to remove that armory?  I am personally assured 
%all her minions are good ones, and no good minion would do something they
%aren't allowed to do... <tease, tease, Jaelle>  (I told her at Pennsic that 
%she wants a REAL EVIL MINION, she should let me know... but on reflection,
%truly evil minions like me don't work for authority figures... unless the 
%is extraordinary.  Oh, Ruler over Ordinaries, may I have an Extraordinary?

Nope.  I'm a neutral minion.  I agree when appropriate and I disagree when
appropriate.  At any time either response can be against Jaelle's wishes
and thinking.  Since I sometimes do as I'm supposed and sometimes not,
that makes me neither good nor evil, so by default, I must be a Neutral
Minion(tm) and so I am.....

%My goal here, truly, is to educate people on what is historical and real, 
%what is current and real, and to teach them to delight in solving period
%problems in period ways, instead of demanding rights they don't have from
%enforcers they wouldn't really want.  After all, how do you make enforcers 
%away when you are done with them?

Enjoying a bit more mead....here, Tibor, finish off the bottle.

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