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Re: A HERETIC'S view on Reasonable Authenticity

Poster: Kensei <kensei@concentric.net>

At 07:42 PM 11/25/96 -0500, you wrote:
>Poster: carl christianson <einar@cvn.net>
>Posted by Elen Prydydd
>When one is a parent, one tends (quite rightly) to put new shoes, properly
>fitting clothes, school supplies, and oh yes, let us not forget food and
>lunch money ahead of expensive, delicate, wire-framed glasses with the
>hideously expensive ultra-light lenses (that extend the life of your
>delicate, period-looking frames) just so someone who wants everything to
>look like a museum piece won't be offended.  Einar recently bought a pair,
>as he was having problems with his contacts and could not find his
>plastic-framed glasses.  I'm willing to bet the damn things cost as much as,
>maybe more than my engagement ring...like, around $500-$600 FOR ONE PAIR.
>He's so blind, his old lenses looked like Coke bottle bottoms.  You CAN
>_NOT_ put those in most wire-framed lenses.  I know, I tried - back in 1973,
>with stop-sign frames, and they were forever falling apart, with the lenses
>hitting the concrete sidewalk at school, getting terribly scratched.  My
>widowed mother couldn't afford to replace the things for me for a year - and
>she was teaching full-time.

No need to preach to me about money being tight; I know what that is like.
I have not been advocating that everyone rush out and drop big money to
obtain medieval-looking counterparts to modern conveniences/necessities.  I
have advocated the position of making the strongest attempt possible to
appear externally medieval and have noted that many modern conveniences have
low-key or authentic-appearing counterparts available for a reasonable cost.
Einar's glasses situation obviously sounds like a necessity, a la someone's
wheelchair, that no authenticity maven would decry.  Same response for
someone gave their best effort despite serious economic straits.  (Although,
frankly, I would wonder why someone would be spending money on SCA if they
were in a serious economic position with bills and kids...but that's their

The foregoing said, some have made many comments that struck me as "I've got
these plastic-framed glasses (or fill in your favorite modern personal
convenience here), I've always worn them to SCA events, people have
overlooked them, and I'm not going to change."  These people cannot, and
should not, be forced to change by SCA "authenticity police" if they don't
want to.  I don't understand, however, A) why they would not want fully
appear in garb and B) why they apparently perceive no negative effect in
appearing in an admixture of medieval and mundane clothes/accoutrements.

>Now, I realize I'm being pretty dragon-like, but I do NOT like to see people
>being made to feel that they have no business playing just because they
>can't afford to buy the things that will keep them from being snipped at by
>the GaSP (Garb Snob Patrol).  This lady can't afford the blasted things -
>period, end of line.  For myself, I'd rather see her at an event wearing her
>plastic frames than not see her at all, or worse, see her drop out because
>she was made to feel unwelcome simply because she couldn't afford to buy
>what someone else decreed she should.

An interesting expression, "playing".  Other posters have noted this is a
study society, a recreation society, and an educational society.  It's
getting confusing--and, as one poster noted, questionably legal given SCA's
tax-exempt status.

I am not the "Garb Snob Patrol", as you so quaintly put it.  Furthermore, I
am not "decreeing" anything.  If she can't afford more period glasses or
contacts, fine.  I, too, would wish to see her at events vice her dropping
out just because she could not compile a "complete" medieval outfit.  What I
am saying is this: I believe all efforts should be made to have a complete
authentic exterior appearance.  If she made her best effort, then that's
that and I'm all for it.  This is my position.  The lady you chose to defend
responded to my position with her own.  Your lecture above was unnecessary
and rather dragon-like, as you noted.  

>Yes, we are more than a social club.  We're a social club with a theme, and
>all that's really required is that one try to the best of one's ability and
>finances to wear and use period-style items.  My philosophy is, do the best
>you can with what you've got and don't apologize for it.  If someone is
>uncharitable enough to take you to task for it, well, to be blunt, turn on
>your heel and walk away.  I sure as H would if someone snipped at me about
>my sunglasses (I wear contacts, have sensitive eyes and they cut the glare
>and the dust) or my coffee pot (I'm addicted) at Pennsic.

Hmmmm.  If that's your view, you're entitled to it.  Frankly, I would hope
SCA is something more.  If I want a social club with a theme, I can play
canasta with Shorty and the boys dressed in square dance outfits down at the
rec center. What I would like is to study and recreate medieval times.  I
would like to be as accurate as possible.  I'm not asking for anyone's
apologies re why they are or are not fully period; rather, I'm just looking
for comments and thoughts on the issue.

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