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Re: Reasonable Authenticity (was: Smoking and Law)

Poster: James and/or Nancy Gilly <KatieMorag@worldnet.att.net>

At 07:17 24-11-96 +0000, Kensei wrote:
>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?

Please define "non-glaringly modern" metal frames.  Period frames are _not_
metal, and any metal frames I can find at my opticians won't ever look any
earlier than Victorian.

>>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".  

More period glasses or contacts cost more than my total anuual SCA budget
other than event fees.  Anyway period glasses have a miniscule lens so with
my prescription they won't do any real good.  I will probably end up at the
ER with a broken ankle from missing the steps.

>>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?  

I don't recall saying that we were going to recreate anything we wanted, and
anyway hobbits, and "the mish-mash of monsters found in any D&D-affiliated
publication" are hardly medieval recreation by anyone's standards.  I WAS
saying that we choose not to recreate the more unpleasant aspects, which
include blindness, deafness, lameness, asthma, etc.  If the baseline for the
society is a "completely period external appearance" then I know very few
members of this organization, and that includes those of very long standing,
who match your ideals.  The society of its nature cannot have a completely
period external appearance because of the range of times covered.  If this
is the sort of group you want, perhaps you need to find a recreation society
which focuses on a much narrower time frame, and whose members can afford to
spend four figures on their garb and accoutrements at one go.  I have spend
serious money on my garb, but it has been piecemeal over 8 years, and at no
point have I ever spent at one go on SCA garb, equipments, whatnot, what I
have to spend on just the new lenses for my metal framed glasses.  You seem
to expect me to be willing to spend on my contacts more than I spend in a
year on other SCA expenses other than event fees. 

We are (I thought) a study and re-enactment group.  When I have seen and
heard us described, I have always heard "study" come first.  We do the
re-enactment to show off what we have studied.  One of the things we are
supposed to be studying and trying to emulate is "courtesy" (a more
victorian than medieval ideal to be quite honest - the founders of the SCA
came at the middle ages from a very victorian gothic background, as do most
of us, and no matter how much we study them, I think that this will always
affect us).  One important aspect of courtesy is to overlook others faults
when they are trying, and that is what most of us with glasses, plastic or
metal, are doing.  I believe that Duke Cariodoc, one of our members who is
most associated with authenticity, and who himself will not wear his
glasses, because his persona would not have had them, would simply treat my
glasses, or anyone else's, as simply some odd local custom of the strange
land which he is currently visiting.  I simply ask that you extend me and me
fellow imperfect recreators the same courtesy.  

Philippa, who will try not to discuss this thread anymore, because she feels
that she is either preaching to the choir, or to those whose minds are made
up and closed.

James and/or Nancy Gilly

Reunite Gondwanaland!

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