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Poster: "David H Ritterskamp" <dhritter@dpcmail.dukepower.com>

     On Fri, 11 Apr 1997, "H L. Falls" <hlf@holmes.acc.virginia.edu> wrote:
     >Poster: "H L. Falls" <hlf@holmes.acc.virginia.edu>
     >   Well, no doubt I'm putting myself back on the OHC watch list, 
     >   Good My Lord Jonathan, I *do* hope you're not saying that a group
     >(or person) is only worth knowing if they have a "hat"!  :-)
     [I'm not sure how you got the premise of whether somebody is "worth 
     knowing" out of my previous statement.  Good heavens, no!  What I'm 
     saying is that this is the way things have devolved..."worth" doesn't 
     enter into it.  The only place that merit enters into it is that 
     baronial awards (and, frankly, anything else a BARONY does) seems to 
     carry more weight.  I know for a fact that Crannog Mor was convinced 
     that they couldn't give Shire-level awards because everybody _knew_ 
     (unproven, mind you, but knew it anyway, BECAUSE OF LOCAL PERCEPTION) 
     that shire level awards didn't exist.  This is still pretty much the 
     case.  Are there any shires that have their own awards the same way 
     baronies have baronial awards?  *I* don't know of any.  I'd like to, 
     though.  But the point is this:  a shire doesn't have any mechanism in 
     place for recognizing its subjects for meritorious service outside of 
     itself; like I said, we knew who the useful people were, but leave the 
     Shire and odds were nobody had ever heard of them.  
     Very few people, for example, have any clue that I organized and ran 
     something like a dozen demos in the Crannog Mor area in the space of 
     two years.  Even fewer people know that I (re-)started and ran the 
     on-campus organization for the SCA for about two years, and got the 
     concept through the campus organizational hierarchy in the first 
     place.  The only people that knew about it were in the area, and since 
     we didn't get along very well, they sure as heck weren't going to 
     mention it to anyone.]
     No, Landi, I'm definitely not saying that people from shires aren't 
     worth knowing.  I'm saying that because of the existing system, very 
     few people outside their local groups know about anything they've 
     done.  I know, also, that it's been discussed that if you're only 
     doing service-type stuff inside your own group that you're not ready 
     for a kingdom award, an attitude that seems to be peculiar to 
     Atlantia.  Think about those two items.  One, I can work my butt off 
     inside a shire and nobody outside a shire's going to know about it, 
     and two, those people that know about it are convinced that it doesn't 
     count for much.
     >   More seriously, I think you're looking at it from the wrong angle.
     >As I see it, baronies are (usually) larger, so they have more people 
     >resources to put on more and larger and more "OOPMH"ful events, so
     >they get more notice.  It's not the presence of a "hat" that 
     >makes a barony and its events more noticable than a shire.
     [And yet didn't we just get done saying that there were shires around 
     that were plenty big enough to become a barony?  Baronies big enough 
     to become principalities?  They DO exist...Canton of the Guardians of 
     the Sacred Stone has more than enough people to be their own barony, 
     for example.  So does Crannog Mor.  As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be 
     a bit surprised to discover that the two groups have roughly the same 
     active membership. 
     [One of the things that makes an event more noticeable is whether it's 
     any fun or not.  I've heard people say that Sheep Raids is a blast, as 
     much fun as Boat Wars or Siege of Troy; therefore, I'm much more 
     inclined to go to it.
     But this doesn't have much to do with group size or resources; it has 
     to do with the motivation of the people WITHIN the group to put on a 
     spiff event.  Shires (by and large) don't have as much of that 
     >   I must admit that Isenfir is the only shire I know well, having 
     >lived here my entire SCA "life", but I honestly can't imagine it 
     >as a barony.  For one thing, the greater part of our populace is 
     >made up of students from UVa, which means that a lot of our folks 
     >move away after 4-5 years, which keeps our population fairly small.
     [Yeah, college population...I'll agree it fluctuates, but I wouldn't 
     say it keeps it small; you've got people coming in every year, don't 
     >And the smaller "cadre" of townies have, for the most part, been
     >fairly well indoctrinated into the "shire" mentality, and have little
     >desire to go barony.  Indeed, I suspect that trying to go barony 
     [That's the word you're looking for, all right; indoctrinated.  The 
     "We do it this way because that's the way we've always done it" idea.  
     Did you ever notice that a lot of the Northern / Southern perspectives 
     always seem to center on the fact that the South didn't have many 
     peers for a long time?  That's not a coincidence.  Unfortunately, it 
     doesn't follow that the people that do the work and are deserving of 
     the awards (which would cause people to gravitate towards them because 
     they're worthy of official notice which means that they must be doing 
     something right, (which is how that "pointy hat" theory works)) are 
     going to get them; the people that get the awards are the ones that do 
     the work and get mentioned enough for somebody to take Official Notice 
     (TM).  Why do you think the Royals, Peers, and such are always begging 
     for people to send them LETTERS about the work other people are doing? 
     It's not a conspiracy to keep the cream at the top; it's just the way 
     things work.  Representation to the higher-ups is what causes people 
     to Get Noticed, which causes people to gravitate towards them (see 
     above paragraph), which causes...etc.  Vicious circle.  You have to 
     get into that circle before you can hope to accomplish anything.
     Maybe a Shire needs a direct representative to the Kingdom just like a 
     barony does.  I don't know if that would do it, but it's somewhere to 
     >likely stir up nasty politics, more due to outside pressure to 
     >sufficient population than to any internal discord.
     >   In other words, much depends on the character and "personality"
     >of the group.  Some shires are indeed "baronies in training" and 
     >others are functioning "teams", to borrow Lady Rowan's analogy.  I
     >don't think there's any profit in arguing the "One True Way".
     >--Landi Haraldsson, Lord by Grant of Arms from 
     >                    His ("Late") Majesty Anton II  :-)
     I hope I'm not claiming this to be the One True Way.  If a group's 
     happy doing what it's doing or if it just doesn't have the stable 
     membership to contemplate Baronial status, or whatever, fine.  
     I'm simply stating what I've seen happen over the past decade with 
     respect to a group's ability to attract outside attention, which is 
     where most groups make their operating capital from.  If you can only  
     squeeze so much blood from a turnip, you need more turnips.  To get 
     the turnips, you need a reason for them to come to you, etc. etc.
     Geez, who thought that the SCA would end up being a short course in 
     Ld. Jonathan Blackbow
     House O'Shannon

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