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Re: SCA is different things to different people

Poster: "Tim and Carole " <jpbrew@pinn.net>

I couldn't agree with you more.  Fact is, I believe more people agree with
you than not.  Sure, we want to be historically correct as possible, but
not everyone has the time to do all of the research that is involved.  So
we rely on what is available through our local libraries, what is available
on the Internet (for those who have access), and the research that has be
done by our fellow SCA sisters and brothers.  And many of us don't even
think about questioning the authenticity of what we read.
	Which brings me to another point.  Isn't it possible that we as SCA
members may take the authenticity part a bit too far?  Granted all we have
to go on are the references we find in history.  But facts aside, my
grandma doesn't make apple pie like your grandma, who doesn't make apple
pie like her grandma.  WE as SCAdians base our hobby on the written word of
the history book, just like we read  the instructions on how to assemble
our stereo equipment.  But thats all we have to go on.  Fact is written
reference, although numerous it may seem in the library of Congress, just
didn't exist in great quantities between the medieval people we try to
portray.  So what does this mean?  Not every seamstress used the same
stitch, not every brewer used the same amount of grain, not every
blacksmith used the same exact smithing methods, an so on.  
	I guess the point I'm trying to make is the point you already made.  We go
out and have fun and enjoy ourselves.  As far as living the peasant life,
well I guess no one wants to live the life of  a peasant, but we as
SCAdians "serve" in many ways.   Do we not attend the royalty during event?
 Do we not have those who give service during feasts?  Do we not have those
who take care of armor and weapons?
To many, these tasks may seem as work, but things that have to be done none
the less.  And for those who do them (as in the case of my warlord), these
tasks are done with the joy that others with enjoy the fruits of their
efforts.  (Man , am I getting off track here or what!)
	Anyway, my point is try to authentic as you can but first and formost,
enjoy yourself.
(My armor is on and I'm behind my war shield)

In service
Johann Pearenbloom

> From: einar <einar@cvn.net>
> To: atlantia@atlantia.sca.org
> Subject: SCA is different things to different people
> Date: Tuesday, August 11, 1998 12:08 PM
> Poster: einar@cvn.net (einar)
> Elen Prydydd writes:
> Folks, please promise not to barbecue me... he asked for honest opinions,
> and I'm providing just that.  As you read, please keep in mind that I
> really do know that not everyone in the SCA is cut out to be a research
> scholar or museum artisan making replicas.  And it really is okay not to
> so.  It really is okay to be in this to have some fun.  If we forget
> we'll lose people.
> At 08:16 AM 8/11/98 -0700, William wrote:
> >
> >A while ago I beleive it was the BoD that asked for input as to where
> >SCA was going......something about how we perceive ourselves....are we
> >a historical group?  Are we more akin to the LARPS but just with tighter
> >criteria?  Are we a party organization?
> Speaking as someone who's been in a grad history program for the last
> and a half, I do not think of the SCA as an historical group anymore.  I
> don't want to denigrate anyone's efforts, but by academic standards our
> research is pretty low-level, for the most part.  There are numerous
> individuals who put in a great deal of time into their hobby, and utilize
> sources (original documents and artifacts and fascsimilies thereof, like
> photos) more than they do literature (or books written by someone who has
> done the primary research), and in the process come up with astounding
> outstanding replicas.  There are also numerous individuals who utilize
> literature and still come up with astounding and outstanding replicas.
> ****I am not denigrating anyone's work, I'm just explaining the academic
> perspective.****  8-)  Personally, I think some of the loveliest pieces
> the costumer's art I have seen are not necessarily slavishly drawn from
> period paintings -- they are personal interpretations, and deserve to be
> acknowledged as superior on their own merits.
> Not having played LARPS, I can't comment on that.  But I do think we are
> something more than a party organization, if something less than a truly
> historical association.
> >I know that the SCA is different things to different people, and I'm
> >to hear some of those opinions.......  so please, sit with me and share
> >thoughts.  Specifically, How would you classify the SCA?  How would you
> >acurately describe what we do?  and What do you get/hope to get out of
> >SCA?
> I think of the SCA as an umbrella under which those who have an interest
> the fine, performing, domestic/practical, martial and other arts of the
> period can play together, creating something like a pageant that runs
> intermittently over many years.  In the process, we can have a heck of a
> lot of fun, provided we all remember our socialization lessons from
> kindergarten -- play nicely with others, share goodies and toys, don't
> with scissors... ;->  We can also learn a lot about the material culture
> the peoples and places, provided we know where to find the information.
> That's where the problem lies with the SCA, I think -- a lot of people,
> when it comes to the social and cultural history aspect, don't know what
> read, don't know which scholar's work is considered by professional
> historians to be the best available, who's work has been disproved or
> discounted, etc.  That is *not* a mean comment, just a simple fact.  For
> example, how many people out there know about Andre Wink's work on
> India?  Vol 2 of his _Al-Hind_ is out, and my college's library doesn't
> have it yet -- I found out that it was out because I was trolling the
> Library of Congress catalog looking for more thesis research material.
> I'll bet even Border's at Tyson's Corner doesn't carry it.  Staying
> on the literature when you're not in academia, and don't know anyone who
> is, isn't exactly a piece of cake.  Especially if you're one of those
> souls who had rotten teachers/profs who made history boring as hell.
> In a lot of ways, I wish I had more time to do some teaching and writing
> for the SCA, but I've got thesis as my project right now.  There's a lot
> scholarship out there that members ought to be aware of, even if they
> have the time and inclination to read all of it (who does?!?!?  it's
> how much is out there), and local libraries don't always have everything
> available.  Yes, yes, folks can get stuff on interlibrary loan, but if
> don't know about a writer, or even more importantly about sources on
> microfiche, how on earth will they be able to order it?
> One of my pet peeves isn't the lack of authenticity in costuming,
> making, camping gear, etc., it's the general lack of knowledge about the
> social and cultural history of the various peoples, places and times that
> we attempt to recreate.  The demographics of our recreation bother me --
> most of us are doing the upper echelons and not the mass of society. 
> so peasant clothing isn't as spiff -- but we ought to at least know how
> masses lived.
> At this point, I'm not entirely sure what I hope to get out of the SCA. 
> enjoy it as a forum for indulging in fiber arts -- spinning, weaving,
> costuming, embroidery -- and for socializing.  I suspect that I will end
> indulging in my love of teaching medieval history within the confines of
> the SCA, simply because paid, tenured teaching positions for medievalists
> are damned hard to come by these days.  Mundanely, I'm shifting my focus
> South Asia, and will likely wind up doing modern history for the area --
> I'll have to eat when I get done with grad school.  
> And, no, I won't care how good or bad someone's costuming is, or their
> painting or their dancing, etc., so long as they enjoy what they're
> We can't all be Dafydd!!  ;->
> Elen Prydydd
> ducking behind the oh-so-mundane fire extinguisher
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