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Re: [SCA Newcomers] Authenticity as an OPTION for newcomers

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  • Lisa Briner
    Once again, Justin, you are the voice of reason. (Have you considered a career in conflict management?) Thank you, Ysabel
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 1, 2004
      Once again, Justin, you are the voice of reason. (Have you considered a
      career in conflict management?)

      Thank you,
      Ysabel
    • Milica of Varna
      That s what he needs, another career! :-P Milica ... d -- ************************************************************************************** THL
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 1, 2004
        <snort!> That's what he needs, another career! :-P

        Milica

        On Thursday 01 July 2004 18:42, Lisa Briner wrote:
        > Once again, Justin, you are the voice of reason. (Have you considered a
        > career in conflict management?)
        >
        > Thank you,
        > Ysabel
        >
        >
        d

        --
        **************************************************************************************

        THL Milica of Varna
        Middle Kingdom Chronicler
        chronicler@...

        **************************************************************************************
      • Kirianna
        Hello, I apologize that I read it defensively. Perhaps it was my own bias and perhaps it was the way things were worded. We were scared away after our first
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 1, 2004
          Hello,

          I apologize that I read it defensively. Perhaps it was my own bias and
          perhaps it was the way things were worded.

          We were scared away after our first summer of events three years ago by
          a rude officer in our barony who decided to use my husband as an example
          of ... well, I don't really know what. He made a simple mistake with
          wording over an email list (he called a moot "court" not fully
          understanding the difference) and he was pubically humiliated over it.
          We decided not to go back after this as we didn't want to be treated
          poorly over simple mistakes. We didn't fully realize that this wasn't a
          true representation of the SCA. We've been talked into trying it again.
          Which is good, because we did so enjoy that summer and the events we
          attended. (Our son even won a chilvary award!)

          Three years later, we'll be trying it again. We'll be attending a rather
          large event. I'm excited again. But I tell ya... it IS scary. We are
          truly newbies, and will probably make mistakes. I only hope that when
          corrected the next time, it will be done so tactfully and tastefully as
          I do want to be corrected if I do something wrong and I certainly want
          to learn!

          So, what I'm trying to say is I do appreciate being presented with all
          options and opinions, and feel some care could be taken to be sure that
          newcomers are treated with respect when they ask questions or make
          mistakes. Afterall, this is all about having fun too, right? :)

          Thank you for taking the time to explain further.

          ~Kirianna

          bronwynmgn@... wrote:

          >In a message dated 7/1/2004 3:55:19 PM Eastern Standard Time,
          >scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com writes:
          >
          ><<That is the reason why our
          >corpora states that the only requirement is that you make an 'attempt"
          >at pre-seveteenth century clothing. We do not want to restrict them. We
          >want them to come and to learn and to play. Maybe someday they will
          >convert as you did, maybe they will not. >>
          >
          >Why is it always assumed that newcomers are incapable of handling information
          >about how to make accurate clothes? That's an insult to our newcomers.
          >I presented a well-reasoned argument about why it may (note: *may*, not is,
          >or is the only right way, or anything else coercive) be more practical to go
          >with period options from the beginning, and I got told that I'm being
          >unreasonable, that I'm elitist, that I must be rolling in money or throwing it away to
          >the exclusion of other things - and that I am going to drive every newcomer who
          >encounters me away. In short, because I'm an authenticist, I am, of course,
          >pushy, overbearing, and think everyone must play the game the same way I do or
          >they are WRONG. If you re-read my post in the "Fabric Choices" thread, you
          >will see that I never ONCE said using cheap fabric was wrong; I compared the
          >two options and stated that *in my opinion and experience* the use of period
          >fabric was better - not RIGHT, just better. But I then get told that I'm
          >ragging on people, that I am "restricting people", and that I am somehow preventing
          >them from coming and learning and playing, simply because I presented a
          >minority opinion of how to come and learn and play. How can I be "restricting
          >people" or "preventing them from learning" when I'm offering another option of how
          >to play this game, which has not been presented to them before? I'm
          >broadening their options and their chances to learn something, not restricting them.
          >
          > How about the newcomers who come in (and I've encountered a sizeable
          >minority of them over the last 14 years) who WANT an authentic experience, who want
          >to learn about how things were really done, and get disillusioned when
          >everybody tells them they can just fudge it like everybody else, and they never get
          >to find the people who they want to talk to because everybody else steers them
          >away from us and tells them how terrible we are or just neglects to tell them
          >we exist at all? Those people go away and either find other groups to play
          >in, and tell stories about how everyone in the SCA are all boobs who can't tell
          >history from sword and sorcery novels, and us calling ourselves an
          >"educational organization" is a joke, or drop out of the history scene entirely. That
          >benefits nobody.
          >
          >I don't care if people choose to use cheap fabrics because they are just
          >getting started, or for any other reason that seems good to them, as long as they
          >are making an informed decision. I'll even help them make their standard SCA
          >T-tunic or wench garb out of their old bedsheet if that's what they decide
          >they really want to do after learning about all the options. Heck, I just taught
          >a newcomer to my shire the old chemise cheat I was taught when I joined, and
          >gave her and her daughters some of my old clothes that I don't wear anymore
          >because they aren't accurate enough for my tastes. We'd talked about period
          >options and they decided they aren't really interested until one of them learns
          >to sew better.
          >
          >What I mind is that newcomers are never given the chance to make an informed
          >choice, because no one even offers them the period option. They are told how
          >to do things based on SCA cheats and tradition. People assume that because
          >these are newcomers they a) aren't interested in anything else, b) can't handle
          >the information ("it will scare them away"), c) will be content to do the
          >SCAdian shortcuts until they've been around some undetermined number of years,
          >and d) at all costs must be kept away from those authenticity people who will
          >force them at swordpoint to go to the fabric store and spend all their money on
          >wool and linen - or buy and raise a flock of sheep and make their own wool,
          >not to mention growing their own linen, building their own loom with a
          >pocketknife, and so on.
          >
          > I never even heard about either period construction methods or even what
          >period fabrics were until I'd been in the SCA for about 5 or 6 years, because
          >nobody ever mentioned it to me. I never knew that what scadians had taught me
          >about how to make period clothes was entirely incorrect, and that mattered to
          >me, even as a newcomer. I found out by doing my own research and finding out
          >I'd been wrong all along, and it took me another three or 4 years to find out
          >that there is a thriving group of Scadians, some new, some not, who are deeply
          >interested in authenticity and helping people get started with it - not forcing
          >them to, just making the information available for those who want it. That's
          >not right. All the options should be presented equally, valued equally, and
          >the newcomer allowed to choose how they want to play the game. That's all I'm
          >trying to do - present another option.
          >
          >
          >Brangwayna Morgan
          >Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
          >Lancaster, PA
          >
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >

          --
          www.jackntracie.com
          Live, and learn...


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Milica of Varna
          Boy can I relate! My first event, as well as Justin s, was Pennsic. I can t say that I was really scared, but intimidated, yes. So many people in fancy garb
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 1, 2004
            Boy can I relate! My first event, as well as Justin's, was Pennsic. I can't
            say that I was really scared, but intimidated, yes. So many people in fancy
            garb and brass hats. What I did learn is that most of them were not only
            friendly and very nice, but also delighted to answer all the crazy questions
            I put to them.

            When we decided to attempt to start a shire several years later, we made many
            mistakes, but again, we were fortunate to find many kind people in the SCA
            who were patient with our foibles and willing to gently guide us.

            I guess that's why I'm still playing 14 years later. :-)

            Milica

            On Thursday 01 July 2004 20:01, Kirianna wrote:
            > Three years later, we'll be trying it again. We'll be attending a rather
            > large event. I'm excited again. But I tell ya... it IS scary. We are
            > truly newbies, and will probably make mistakes. I only hope that when
            > corrected the next time, it will be done so tactfully and tastefully as
            > I do want to be corrected if I do something wrong and I certainly want
            > to learn!

            --
            **************************************************************************************

            THL Milica of Varna
            Middle Kingdom Chronicler
            chronicler@...

            **************************************************************************************
          • tori T
            Brangwayna, I was not trying to attack you or say anything bad about you, I m sorry if it seemed that way. Things in your first post were a bit rash and harsh,
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 1, 2004
              Brangwayna,
              I was not trying to attack you or say anything bad about you, I'm sorry if it seemed that way. Things in your first post were a bit rash and harsh, and it seemed to me (and I may not be the only one) that the bed sheet and dollar-a-yard comments that I made you were saying "no it should not be done this way at all". I was only offering beginners advice that I was given. Not always is it assumed that newbies are incapable of doing anything turely period. This past winter at the winter moot in the canton of wolfhome, principality of northshield, we had classes on true period fabrics. we even went to walmart and browsed the fabric showing examples of what was and was not true period. we were also taught what would be acceptable for those of us who didn't at the time WANT to put a lot of money into it. all of the newbies were especially encouraged to go with for this class. maybe we have different opinions because we have had different experences, and I'm willing to accept that since no
              one is the same, and no place is the same. maybe next time it might be a little bit better to express that it is an opinion, and I do thank you for offering the advice that you did, because frankly I didn't know about some of the things you had said. again I do appologize if it seemed like I was trying to attack you. I wasn't.
              Antonia

              bronwynmgn@... wrote:
              In a message dated 7/1/2004 3:55:19 PM Eastern Standard Time,
              scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com writes:

              <<That is the reason why our
              corpora states that the only requirement is that you make an 'attempt"
              at pre-seveteenth century clothing. We do not want to restrict them. We
              want them to come and to learn and to play. Maybe someday they will
              convert as you did, maybe they will not. >>

              Why is it always assumed that newcomers are incapable of handling information
              about how to make accurate clothes? That's an insult to our newcomers.
              I presented a well-reasoned argument about why it may (note: *may*, not is,
              or is the only right way, or anything else coercive) be more practical to go
              with period options from the beginning, and I got told that I'm being
              unreasonable, that I'm elitist, that I must be rolling in money or throwing it away to
              the exclusion of other things - and that I am going to drive every newcomer who
              encounters me away. In short, because I'm an authenticist, I am, of course,
              pushy, overbearing, and think everyone must play the game the same way I do or
              they are WRONG. If you re-read my post in the "Fabric Choices" thread, you
              will see that I never ONCE said using cheap fabric was wrong; I compared the
              two options and stated that *in my opinion and experience* the use of period
              fabric was better - not RIGHT, just better. But I then get told that I'm
              ragging on people, that I am "restricting people", and that I am somehow preventing
              them from coming and learning and playing, simply because I presented a
              minority opinion of how to come and learn and play. How can I be "restricting
              people" or "preventing them from learning" when I'm offering another option of how
              to play this game, which has not been presented to them before? I'm
              broadening their options and their chances to learn something, not restricting them.

              How about the newcomers who come in (and I've encountered a sizeable
              minority of them over the last 14 years) who WANT an authentic experience, who want
              to learn about how things were really done, and get disillusioned when
              everybody tells them they can just fudge it like everybody else, and they never get
              to find the people who they want to talk to because everybody else steers them
              away from us and tells them how terrible we are or just neglects to tell them
              we exist at all? Those people go away and either find other groups to play
              in, and tell stories about how everyone in the SCA are all boobs who can't tell
              history from sword and sorcery novels, and us calling ourselves an
              "educational organization" is a joke, or drop out of the history scene entirely. That
              benefits nobody.

              I don't care if people choose to use cheap fabrics because they are just
              getting started, or for any other reason that seems good to them, as long as they
              are making an informed decision. I'll even help them make their standard SCA
              T-tunic or wench garb out of their old bedsheet if that's what they decide
              they really want to do after learning about all the options. Heck, I just taught
              a newcomer to my shire the old chemise cheat I was taught when I joined, and
              gave her and her daughters some of my old clothes that I don't wear anymore
              because they aren't accurate enough for my tastes. We'd talked about period
              options and they decided they aren't really interested until one of them learns
              to sew better.

              What I mind is that newcomers are never given the chance to make an informed
              choice, because no one even offers them the period option. They are told how
              to do things based on SCA cheats and tradition. People assume that because
              these are newcomers they a) aren't interested in anything else, b) can't handle
              the information ("it will scare them away"), c) will be content to do the
              SCAdian shortcuts until they've been around some undetermined number of years,
              and d) at all costs must be kept away from those authenticity people who will
              force them at swordpoint to go to the fabric store and spend all their money on
              wool and linen - or buy and raise a flock of sheep and make their own wool,
              not to mention growing their own linen, building their own loom with a
              pocketknife, and so on.

              I never even heard about either period construction methods or even what
              period fabrics were until I'd been in the SCA for about 5 or 6 years, because
              nobody ever mentioned it to me. I never knew that what scadians had taught me
              about how to make period clothes was entirely incorrect, and that mattered to
              me, even as a newcomer. I found out by doing my own research and finding out
              I'd been wrong all along, and it took me another three or 4 years to find out
              that there is a thriving group of Scadians, some new, some not, who are deeply
              interested in authenticity and helping people get started with it - not forcing
              them to, just making the information available for those who want it. That's
              not right. All the options should be presented equally, valued equally, and
              the newcomer allowed to choose how they want to play the game. That's all I'm
              trying to do - present another option.


              Brangwayna Morgan
              Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
              Lancaster, PA


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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            • Mackenzie
              ... experience, ... my garb ... Ditto. I spent 4 or 5 months researching everything I could find about fabrics, construction, names, anything I could think of.
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 1, 2004
                > >>How about the newcomers who come in (and I've encountered a sizeable
                > minority of them over the last 14 years) who WANT an authentic
                experience,
                > who want
                > to learn about how things were really done, and get disillusioned when
                > everybody tells them they can just fudge it like everybody else,
                >
                > Count me as one of those newcomers. I want to be more authentic in
                my garb
                > for MYSELF.

                Ditto.

                I spent 4 or 5 months researching everything I could find about
                fabrics, construction, names, anything I could think of. That started
                a year and a half ago. Five months ago I used 12th Century Fashion
                for English Women as the topic of my research paper in school, and did
                it all from memory (luckily I documented a lot of what was in my
                notebook, the rest I just fudged around to find sources for). The
                teacher said she could tell I was interested in it, and that it was
                well-researched. Simple being interested in something is enough to
                start that spark that'll grow into the need to study everything you
                can. I'm currently restraining myself from reading Le Morte D'Arthur
                since I want to save it for reading in school. If anyone's interested
                in that time period I can type the report into my computer (it has
                crashed since then, but I have a paper copy) and you guys can see
                what's really authentic, even if you choose to use just the
                construction techniques (a wise choice, it will save much more fabric
                than will darts, flares, or princess seams) and use random cheap fabric.

                Maybe the prices are slightly easier for me since I'm in high school
                and don't really have any financial commitments except what I choose
                to commit to: buying the clothes I want so I'm not taken to K-Mart for
                my clothes (Kohls, WalMart, I don't have a problem, but K-Mart is for
                little kids or adults, they don't even have t-shirts that I know of)
                or buying CDs or a new guitar. But then, in my area the average
                annual family income is $40,000, which I am of course no where near at
                $5 an hour every other week for 3 months a year (uh, try dividing it
                by 100).

                Even after all that research, I still haven't sewn anything, just in
                case there's something I'm missing (I think I got it all now, my dress
                pattern was approved by an long-time-member), so now I just need a
                ride to the fabric store since I got everything in my head, on paper,
                and online that I could need to know to make garb.
              • Tirloch O'Riordain
                ... There was no insult implied or meant. I was merely stating what the corpora states, as information for any new people who may have been confused by this
                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 2, 2004
                  bronwynmgn@... wrote:

                  > Why is it always assumed that newcomers are incapable of handling
                  > information
                  > about how to make accurate clothes? That's an insult to our newcomers.


                  There was no insult implied or meant. I was merely stating what the
                  corpora states, as information for any new people who may have been
                  confused by this thread. There is nothing wrong with trying to instruct
                  new people about period fabrics and period methods. I encourage it. At
                  the same time, they should know that these methods will not be required
                  of them. The SCA has written minimum standards, which is the only thing
                  I was trying to point out.

                  >
                  > I presented a well-reasoned argument about why it may (note: *may*,
                  > not is,
                  > or is the only right way, or anything else coercive) be more practical
                  > to go
                  > with period options from the beginning, and I got told that I'm being
                  > unreasonable, that I'm elitist, that I must be rolling in money or
                  > throwing it away to
                  > the exclusion of other things - and that I am going to drive every
                  > newcomer who
                  > encounters me away. In short, because I'm an authenticist, I am, of
                  > course,
                  > pushy, overbearing, and think everyone must play the game the same way
                  > I do or
                  > they are WRONG. If you re-read my post in the "Fabric Choices"
                  > thread, you
                  > will see that I never ONCE said using cheap fabric was wrong; I
                  > compared the
                  > two options and stated that *in my opinion and experience* the use of
                  > period
                  > fabric was better - not RIGHT, just better. But I then get told that I'm
                  > ragging on people, that I am "restricting people", and that I am
                  > somehow preventing
                  > them from coming and learning and playing, simply because I presented a
                  > minority opinion of how to come and learn and play. How can I be
                  > "restricting
                  > people" or "preventing them from learning" when I'm offering another
                  > option of how
                  > to play this game, which has not been presented to them before? I'm
                  > broadening their options and their chances to learn something, not
                  > restricting them.


                  I apologize if you feel that any personal attack was made. My comment
                  about not wanting to "restrict" them was not made at you. I was pointing
                  out that the SCA has a very low minimum standard, and that there is a
                  reason for this. While many recreation groups are very stringent about
                  "period", the SCA, inc. made the conscious decision not to be. This
                  decision was made so that we (the SCA) would not be restrictive. It was
                  made to encourage people to participate and to have fun. There are very
                  period medieval recreation groups out there. One of them is the Regia
                  Anglorum, which is extremely authenticity based. None of them have the
                  membership numbers that we enjoy. One of the reasons for this is that we
                  as a Society, are much less stringent. While I agree that teaching new
                  people about period methods is a good thing, I disagree on how it should
                  be presented. I think that it should be presented as an option, but not
                  as a superior option. We are not an authenticity based group, in many
                  respects we are not even an actual recreationist group. We are an
                  historical interest group. While this may bother many people drawn to
                  the actual recreation aspect of the Society, it is the trade off that we
                  have that allows so many people to play. If authenticity is your major
                  concern, the Regia Anglorum is branching out from the U.K. to the U.S.
                  and I can get you their contact information if you wish.

                  > How about the newcomers who come in (and I've encountered a sizable
                  > minority of them over the last 14 years) who WANT an authentic
                  > experience, who want
                  > to learn about how things were really done, and get disillusioned when
                  > everybody tells them they can just fudge it like everybody else, and
                  > they never get
                  > to find the people who they want to talk to because everybody else
                  > steers them
                  > away from us and tells them how terrible we are or just neglects to
                  > tell them
                  > we exist at all? Those people go away and either find other groups to
                  > play
                  > in, and tell stories about how everyone in the SCA are all boobs who
                  > can't tell
                  > history from sword and sorcery novels, and us calling ourselves an
                  > "educational organization" is a joke, or drop out of the history scene
                  > entirely. That
                  > benefits nobody.


                  I have had similar experiences. Many people I have known from collegiate
                  history departments that find the SCA, often find it much too open and
                  loose to actually interest them. The SCA often embraces Arthurian Legend
                  history over actual historical practices. This is even evident in our
                  highest orders of the Knighthood, Pelican, and Laurel. They are our
                  system, but they are not compatible with actual historical systems. The
                  thing is, that some of us learn to accept this breaks, because of the
                  other things that this Society offers us. Others cannot accept this, and
                  they leave. While this is a loss to our Society, I personally can see no
                  easy fix for this. My recommendation for people who really want a
                  historical authentic experience is to a) find the others in the SCA who
                  play this way (such as Caraidoc of the Bow and his enchanted ground at
                  Pennsic) and play as they do by setting an example. b) find a group that
                  actually creates an historical authentic experience.

                  As for the comment: "...because everybody else steers them away from us
                  and tells them how terrible we are or just neglects to tell them we
                  exist at all?" I assume that you are speaking of authenticity
                  supporters? While I agree with you that they sometimes get the wrong end
                  of the stick (that's a Roman reference by the way for you historical
                  people), they also can be rather adamant about trying to impose their
                  beliefs on people who do not follow this methodology. Just as you have
                  seen people discouraged because they wish authenticity, others have been
                  discouraged because of rude authenticity supporters. This list should
                  present both arguments, but it should do so without any judgments, or
                  recriminations. Merely as "these are your options".

                  > I never even heard about either period construction methods or even what
                  > period fabrics were until I'd been in the SCA for about 5 or 6 years,
                  > because
                  > nobody ever mentioned it to me. I never knew that what scadians had
                  > taught me
                  > about how to make period clothes was entirely incorrect, and that
                  > mattered to
                  > me, even as a newcomer. I found out by doing my own research and
                  > finding out
                  > I'd been wrong all along, and it took me another three or 4 years to
                  > find out
                  > that there is a thriving group of Scadians, some new, some not, who
                  > are deeply
                  > interested in authenticity and helping people get started with it -
                  > not forcing
                  > them to, just making the information available for those who want it.
                  > That's
                  > not right. All the options should be presented equally, valued
                  > equally, and
                  > the newcomer allowed to choose how they want to play the game. That's
                  > all I'm
                  > trying to do - present another option.


                  That may simply be due to the area, or group with which you started. I
                  do not find this attitude prevalent within our Barony or for that matter
                  our Kingdom as a whole. I believe that most people are exposed to the
                  many options that are open to them. I think that the main difference is
                  that while they are taught the different options, that no one option is
                  presented as being "better" than any other. I am sorry that you feel
                  that you were somehow cheated by your early experiences, and happy that
                  you did find that place that is good and comfortable for you. My opinion
                  of this list, and of being a Chatelain, is merely to help new people
                  find that same place for themselves.

                  Your Servant,

                  Tirloch
                • bronwynmgn@aol.com
                  In a message dated 7/2/2004 4:11:54 PM Eastern Standard Time, scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com writes:
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jul 5, 2004
                    In a message dated 7/2/2004 4:11:54 PM Eastern Standard Time,
                    scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com writes:

                    <<If authenticity is your major
                    concern, the Regia Anglorum is branching out from the U.K. to the U.S.
                    and I can get you their contact information if you wish.>>

                    Regia Anglorum, a primarily Anglo-Saxon era group, does neither 12th century
                    English, which is my particular area of interest, nor 14th century English,
                    which is my husband's area. La Belle Compagnie, a group here in the US, does
                    14th century, which might work for my husband, but leaves no outlet for my
                    interest in the 12th century. There is no "authentic" reenactment group in which
                    both my husband and I can indulge our primary areas of interest at the same
                    time. Neither of us is interested in switching to the other's time period, nor
                    do we consider involvement in two separate groups to be feasible in terms of
                    both time and money outlay, not to mention the fact that it would mean we either
                    can't pursue our hobbies together or we would both have to go in-depth in
                    areas we simply aren't interested in.
                    The SCA is literally the only group out there that allows us both to
                    participate in our specific areas of interest at the same time. Counseling people who
                    want more authenticity to find another group that would meet their needs
                    better ignores the facts that a) authenticity can be done in the SCA in a
                    satisfying manner, and b) that there may simply be no other such group available.


                    Brangwayna Morgan
                    Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
                    Lancaster, PA


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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