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Re: [EK] Operation Renaissance Persona

Poster: BLorenz753 <BLorenz753@aol.com>

    Just out of curiousity, if you did not feel that one of the goals of the
SCA was to recreate some of the culture of the Middle Ages, then why did you
join the SCA?  To fight to your heart's content and get trashed?  I doubt
that, as you have said that you practice the art of spinning and enjoy wearing
garb. I mean, that is what being in persona really is---not necessarily an
elaborate story.  Persona is doing things that they would have done in their
spare time; it's leaving the mundane world behind in place of our slightly
altered version of the Middle Ages.  The problem of which I am speaking
(complaining) is that many do *not* leave the mundane world behind--they drag
it with to events and refuse to let go.

<< I like the breadth of the SCA.  One can have elaborate persona or one 
 can have nothing but a name and garb. >>

I agree whole-heartedly with you here.  Having just a name and garb is great,
and it's enough if you try to go beyond just saying, "Hi! My name is some-
wonderful-period-name. So how about those Phillies?" I never meant to imply
that we have to have an elaborate persona history, just that we should perhaps
start behaving a little more like some faction, some culture from the middle
ages.  I promise you that the subject of sports teams phrased that way would
not have arisen in the pre-17th century culture!  
<<Careful.  One person'a magic is not another person's magic.  If the SCA 
 became a place where one had to be "in persona" _all the time_, I would 
 leave after almost 22 years of great enjoyment.>>

I agree; everyone's idea of "magic" is different.  However, after talking with
many SCA old-timers such as yourself, I have come to the conclusion that
despite the fact that everyone's opinion of "magic" varies, many agree that
the SCA is not what it used to be, and that it has become more of a place to
get filthy-stinking drunk than to re-create the Middle Ages.  (though getting
drunk is quite Period, they were sober some of the time, and they did other
things than fight and get drunk).
<< Not doing anything?  I spend my times at demos spinning my fingers off 
 and showing others how to use a drop spindle.  Almost all of the demos 
 I've been to lately have a huge variety of stuff going on.  In addition 
 to the fighting, there is usually music, dancing, Arts and Sciences, 
 costuming, etc.  I've seen wood carving, mail making, knitting, dyeing, 
 viking faering boats, nalbinding, lace making, painting, etc. at demos.>>

Aye, at demos, everyone's doing a myriad of things, but not so at many events.
For the most part, we end up standing around talking about our latest computer
problem or role-playing game.  
 <<What I like about the SCA is it's participatory nature.  We aren't, even 
 at demos, there to put on a show.  We are at events to show off the 
 stuff we've done, teach others to do it, practice our arts, both gentle 
 and marshal, and have a great time with friends.>>  I do demos to show 
 others how much fun this can be and some of the variety of things that 
 were done during our time period.>>

Very true, we are not putting on a show at demos, but if you're sitting there
spinning, and you suddenly ask your friend about the latest problem with AOL,
then you contradict yourself.  Why do these period activities, make these
wonderful period things, and then go to an event to talk about mundane things?
Why not just go to a coffee shop and save yourself the hassle and money of
attending an event?  I mean, hell, we don't even talk very often about the
history that surrounded the culture which we are supposed to be recreating!

<<I do demos to show others how much fun this can be and some of the variety
of things that were done during our time period.>>

Exactly.  And if you have so much fun creating these period things, then
doesn't it seem only proper that you model them with a more period attitude?
"Anachronism" might stand for "out of place in time," but it was meant to
signify that we as scadians feel out of place in Mundania and that we would
feel far more comfortable at the Battle of Hastings than in rush-hour New York
traffic.  It wasn't intended to mean that we simply like older hobbies and
that we get together to have craft shows to show the hobbies off.

<< The Dream is a more ambiguous term than The Magic.  My dream of the SCA 
 is not your dream of the SCA.  There is no "The Dream".  There are tens 
 of thousands of individual dreams.>>

Aye, there are tens of thousands of dreams, but, for the most part, they at
least have one large common factor: the love of the Middle Ages.
 << The SCA is not and never was a Medieval Living History Society.>>

Then what is it?  According to the *official*, board-approaved webpage of the
SCA, we are "an international organization dedicated to researching and
recreating pre-17th-century European History."  That sounds suspiciously close
to being a reenactment/living history group to me....

<<not a few of us deciding everyone should go there>>

I don't want to drag anyone with me; I sent this post out to see if anyone
else shared my concerns, and appearantly, more than a few do judging from the
responses I have received.  The only way that anything is going to change is
if the majority wishes it to; I don't wish to force anyone to do anything or
to take away their "dream".
    Nor do I believe that we should be in persona all of the time, no matter
what; there is a time for everything. I'm sorry if I cam across as a Nazi in
this regard.  However, from what I have seen, we spend more time talking about
our cars and/or our computers than we do discussing and recreating the history
which we are purported to love so much.  


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