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Re: Reasonable Authenticity (was: Smoking and Law)

Poster: Kensei <kensei@concentric.net>

At 01:11 AM 11/24/96 +0000, KatieMorag@worldnet.att.net wrote:
>Don't I wish!!!  I too am extrememly astigmatic and nearsighted, but I am
>unable to wear hard or gas-permeable contacts.  The only ones that work cost
>over $300 per pair.  Because I am currently unemployed outside the home
>while raising my daughter, does this mean that I must not attend any SCA
>events until such time as I can scrape this money together, along with
>another $300 for a back up pair of contacts?  

Of course not.  My point was that, if one goes to expense and time of
joining a Society whose goal it is to recreate the medieval period, one
should make the strongest attempt possible to be period in garb and bearing.
In my opinion, plastic-framed glasses are not a strong attempt to be period,
particularly when ads for national eye-care chains run on a frequent basis
hawking 2 pairs of eyeglasses for the price of one, and so forth.  If
contacts are too expensive, surely period-type (or non-glaringly modern)
metal frames could be found.  Another poster decried my call to period
standards as a dismissal of -all- personal, modern conveniences such as
shampoo and medicines; that was not my point.  I do decry, however, the
presence of -obvious- modernities creeping into our reenactment.  I mean, we
are more than a social club, or should be.  Else, why bother at all?

>I seem to recall that Corpora states that one of the rules for attending an
>event is to make a reasonable attempt at pre-seventeenth-century garb.  I do
>not think that most of the members of this organization would consider
>glasses in combination with a good houppelande or T-tunic out of line with

Just so.  But, as I have noted, it's the type of glasses.  In any case, the
combination of garb and plastic-framed glasses is only one small point.
When mundanes see modernity commingled with the medieval, the entire effect
we strive to create is lost to them.  When those favoring authenticity
within the Society encounter this culture clash, the time, money, and effort
put into the recreation by everyone is lost.

>...as I am sure many people are also posting, my glasses are _not_
>merely a "personal convenience".  I am legally blind without them, and if I
>do not have them, I cannot even get to an event, never mind get around one
>without assistance.  Do you have a good guide dog to lend?

No good guide dogs on hand, sorry.  Like I said, I'm pretty close to your
condition without my specs/contacts.  Nevertheless, I'm not saying "leave
your glasses at home", I'm saying "Get more period glasses or contacts".  

>If I sound a little hot under the collar, it's because I am.  This is the
>Society for _Creative_Anachronism_ not the Society for Compulsive
>Authenticity. We are _not_, to the best of my knowledge, attempting an exact
>recreation of the middle ages.  My glasses are no more anachronistic when I
>am wearing my Tudor or Italian Ren, then my garb is when I am standing next
>to a 10th century Viking, or a 6th century Roman.  

Glasses in concert with the proper period garb, maybe not, in principle.
Obviously modern, plastic glasses:  an anachronism in any age.  What puzzles
me is the willingness of some people to drop serious money, expense, and
time on everything to make themselves look period except in this area.  Why?  

>The SCA was founded to search for the medieval ideals of coutesy, chivalry,
>etc., not to exactly recreate how they lived and played.  We study that so
>that we know more about them, and so that we can choose which aspects we
>want to recreate, and how to avoid the more unpleasant ones.

Hmmmm.  I'm not sure I agree.  Otherwise, we would still be including
hobbits in the mix (as they did at the first tournament) and likely would
have progressed onward to the mish-mash of monsters found in any
D&D-affiliated publication.  We must have a baseline of authenticity in the
Society that calls for a completely period external appearance--as far as
can be obtained in today's mundane world.  Settling for plastic-framed,
modern glasses is not an example of expending the extra effort needed to do
this.  We can't "choose an aspect or aspects to recreate"; it would make no
sense to decide to recreate the top half of yourself as a Viking and leave
the bottom mundane, would it?  

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