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Re: [EK] Operation Renaissance Persona

Poster: Tom Rettie <tom@his.com>

At 06:28 AM 12/17/97 PST, Terry L. Neill wrote:

>What I wrote was that *was not* the original goal.  Certainly not to the 
>level of an Historical Re-enactment Society.

Just so:

* Chivalry without horses.
* Medieval culture without religion.
* Medieval government without the Church.
* Medieval society without peasants or clergy.
* Heating, lighting, and cooking without (for the most part) fire (& smoke).
* Food without agriculture or hunting.

By no means do I suggest that the SCA should start imposing any of the
above; I'm just pointing out that what the SCA does is not the sort of
"living history" that other more focused, less inclusive groups would attempt.

>While I don't suppose for a moment you mean anything like the level of 
>persona they do at Plimoth, perhaps you can understand why I am so wary 
>of movements for us all to be 'in persona' at events.

My own reservation over "personas" are that they are so rarely medieval.
It's like there's a Star Trek Universal Translator that converts everyone's
speech into Elizabethean Movie Dialog.  It's nice for atmosphere, but it's
not how most non-English, non-later-period folks would speak.  Is it really
less jarring for an 11th century Norseman to speak like a 16th century
Englishman than like a 20th century American?  I myself gave up the fake
Scottish accent shortly after joining (many, many moons ago).  It wasn't
medieval, it was just embarrasing.

That is not to mean that personas should not be attempted.  Some pull it
off with great aplomb.  Particularly when smaller groups get together and
reinforce each other with consistent cultural references, it provides a
real sense of drama (and can be quite educational).  But in the context of
an average SCA event, where Mongols, Vikings, and Samurai are all sharing a
meal, it would be difficult.  I have my own "SCA persona," but it's not
really medieval, it's just someone who bows rather than shakes hands,
understands SCA nomenclature, and "goes along" with all the other folks who
are also playing their version of the game.  I don't act like I don't
understand what an electric light is.  

With sincere apologies to anyone I may offend with such words,

Your obedient servant,


Tom Rettie                                       tom@his.com
Heather Bryden                               bryden@hers.com
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