O.k... MY two cents worth... (not an
attack... a *differing view*... attacks are for melee armies and tourney
Expertise is an exercise in perception... and
being lucky enough to have somebody ask you only the questions you know the
The fact that some folks 'perceive' a Laurel as
an 'expert' is mistake one. A Laurel might know more than you do about
some stuff... but that doesn't make them an 'expert' per se.
Now, there are SOME Laurels out there who truly are 'very' expert at what they
do... but most, including myself, are what I like to refer to as 'talented
amateurs'... That is, we've simply done the research and the practical
aspects enough that others within the SCA community have recognized us as having
given... and giving... something of value to the SCA. "Laurel" should
never be confused with 'professional academic"... (personally, I
think that there are relatively few of us who could ever get a job in the
teaching, academic or writing profession and make money at it...) So,
I guess the question here is: "Hoiw do you define expert?"... I
might be viewed as an expert compared to some... but there are others on this
list who have areas of knowledge and skill that far exceed mine. So...
does not knowing what they know make me less of an expert in what I know?
Does their not knowing some of the stuff I know make THEM less of an expert in
what they know?
Part of the problem lies in the fact that we're
all experts in what we're experts of... I'm not trying to be cute with
that answer but to make a point... expertise is a perception issue that is
primarily based on the perceptions and expectations of the person who would
really like the other guy to BE an expert and have all the
answers. To expect ANYBODY in the SCA to be truly an 'expert'
in their art/science/skill is, I think, unreasonable... if you define
expert as "knowing everything"... I'd remind ya' that 'the experts' all
believe Troy was a myth until that German Feller' dug it up... The
experts also said that man couldn't fly, run faster than a horse and that the
world was flat. Then there's the other interesting philosophic
issue... does "academic gottcha'" equal expertise? I don't think
so... just because you find something that proves somebody wrong doesn't
may YOU an expert... it makes ya' a guy who did some good research and added to
the base of knowledge we're all trying to build.
Now... that being said, I'm actually confused by
Donato's statement about having lost respect for 'the whole documentation
process within the SCA'... What *documentation
process*?? I think you're confusing the actual academic process with
the A&S system. Documentation is communication and has
nothing particularly to do with the Faire except that most Faires
require you to document yer' stuff... Now the Faire doesn't write
your docs for you... its YOUR job to do the communications... and
how and what you communicate is up to you. If you can't get the necessary
info across to the other guy there are two possible problem
1: You're not communicating well (I.e., ya'
can't write for crap...) or;
2: You're audience isn't up to the challenge
(I.e., yer' reader can't read for crap)... or;
3: Both 1 and 2 are in play.
Documentation, described simply is "Who, What, Where,
When... How."... it might also include "Why" if you're going to engage in
any comparative analysis... Now... that ain't so hard is
it??? Don't confuse the process with some of the clowns that read it
or claim authority to play 'Siskel and Ebert' with your docs... and
let's not tar everybody with the same brush... If ya' think about
it.... doing so is only a step away from doing what we all hate others doing...
shooting from the hip, indulging in self professed expertise with nothing to
back it up, etc., etc. [I think we're getting to that 'tolerance'
Brian wrote: "Someone who got their
Laurel 15 yrs ago may or may not necessarily have kept up their research and
might not know everything they think they do. Other people have been doing
research and new resources have become available. Just think of the internet.
How many more references are available now compared to available 20 yrs
ago? This newsgroup is an example of resources that weren't available 10 years
ago. Now we have access not just to the experts in our kingdom but to experts in
all of the kingdoms including sharing of color photos
This is an EXCELLENT point... we all run on the
knowledge we THINK is current... but, unless you're constantly wired in to
all the latest and greatest research out there (in which case research is
your life... or, you might really need one...), there's gonna' be a
butt-load of stuff you don't know. (Hey... did you know that those
spiffy Wal-Mart folding chairs with the sling type seats are PERIOD???
Yep... a three leg version was founding a grave site 1st c.
AD England... wasn't 'Real-Tree Camo' though... and the legs
were forged not tubular... but the working design and function was right
1: Documentation is not only something that happens in
Faires... its just something Faires can, at times, be prone to
abuse... Documentation is a tool WE use to understand what the other guy
is talking about...
2: When doing documentation... never assume you're reader is smart
enough simply know all of the stuff you forgot to put in you paper.
3: Academic debate and argument is part of the process...
everybody is right until proven wrong. ... and even that can be open
4: Documentation is a skill... not unlike woodworking...
the more practiced you are at it... the better all the pieces fit together and
the fewer gaps you have in the joints...
I guess my point here is, I have lost respect
for the whole documentation process within the SCA. Arts and Sciences
competitions are a good idea, they encourage a person to dig deeper to find a
more thorough context; but they are not period in themselves. They also do not
encourage people to be free thinkers and discover hidden treasures which are
NOT hidden in the words of primary documentation. I save my
accomplishments for sharing with people who I think REALLY will enjoy
what I have to offer.... a good glass of mead with friends, some excellent
music, and good conversation about the roots of where these all came
from. I no longer need to worry about proving I know everything to a
judge who may, or may not know more than I do. I will leave the A&S
competitions to people who feel they have something to prove. (now
I will get off of my soapbox and let the attacks