Re: [SCA Newcomers] New person's dictionary
- Good morning! Have you checked the offerings on the SCA publications site? I'm wondering if the 'Knowne World Handbook' might be a
place to start. There are also quite a few issues of 'The Compleat Anachronist' that cover a number of topics.
Have you talked to your Chatelaine? They are supposed to have newcomer info and assist in helping you learn to navigate the 'current
----- Original Message -----
From: Marco and Jitka Sainte
I posted this earlier, but apparently it didn't come through yet.
Is there a "newbie dictionary" (for want of a better term)? If so, is it on the web? If not, would anyone care to assist me in
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- In a message dated 11/8/2004 2:59:51 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<<Point of clarification - I never called you personally a period nazi, or
anyone on this list for that matter. It's interesting that you personally felt
I was directly referencing you. You don't know me from adam but I try very
hard to not lump anyone into a "label" or "category" until I know them,
No, I did not feel that you personally were referencing me. I was responding
to the stereotyped use of the term "period nazi" as a way to refer to anyone
who is interested in authenticity by certain subgroups in the SCA. I was
trying to explain why I have a great hatred for that term. I have had it turned
on me in the past, simply because the word "authentic" came out of my mouth in
a positive fashion. If anything, I was trying to point out the fact that
there is a stereotyped meaning of the term that DOES lump any authenticist into
the category of nasty person, whether you specifically were using it that way
<<Nazi's were elitests who felt that if you didn't fit their mold or
associated with those outside their mold you should be cast aside. They didn't just
start with sending people to the ovens. It started with ostracizing them,
making them wear a marker (the star of David), and spreading propaganda about them
and how to visually recognize them.>>
That's fine. But the model still does not fit the majority of authenticists
I know, and it's still a distasteful image to project about a group of people
simply because of their particular interests within the SCA.
<<You may not like the term and this may be hard for you to hear but there
really are folks out on the West Coast (not the East Kingdom where you live) who
are rude, ostracize new comers, and offer them to wear borrowed clothing then
criticize them for it. I have even had people tell me that so and so new
comer isn't like so they are going to "get rid of them". Hmmm >>
There are most certainly jerks like that here in the East too. You aren't
telling me anything I haven't known for years. The encounter I described with
the person criticizing me happened in what was then the East Kingdom.
<<My first event was March 2004 at my Barony's anniversary where the
Castellan/Chatelain shook my hand and then goes "I just don't have time for you" and
walks away. At first I thought this meant because of the event. Although, I
was a bit stunned by the comment and how he presented himself. I tried for 4
months following to get a response via email from him about new comer classes,
Silver Key (In our Barony/Kingdom they call it Silver Key not Gold Key and the
Hospitaller is in charge of it. We also have Iron Key - loaner armour), and
work on a personna. Not one email was returned. I phoned him 3 times. Not
one phone call was returned. Later I found out that that he was extremly busy
with his business - which is wonderful for him, but then let someone else work
with new comers.>>
I totally agree. That reponse was uncalled for and should have had him
disciplined, if not removed from office, by his kingdom level superior. If he
wants the job, he needs to do it - not that he has to help every single person,
but he should at least be able to say, "I'm too busy to take time to work with
you right now, but let me introduce you to Lady Abigail..."
<< I met another new comer. Sad thing was, her story was very similar to
mine. Come to find out that's common place here. This angered me. You don't
TREAT people like this. This is not the SCA my friends would always speak of.
This is not the SCA I always wished I could be part of. >>
I totally agree that this is deplorable. It is NOT the norm in the entire
SCA, but I'm afraid I hear about it far more often than I would wish.
<<In August I stepped up as Chatelaine for the Barony. I felt that even
though I was new I could at least return an email and greet someone. I resigned 3
weeks ago when my partner, the Castellan, felt that calls at 12:42 am and
then again at 2:22am to work on our report (5 days before it was due) for our
Seneschel was important. This was after speaking to me 3 times that same day and
being told I was in the middle of mid terms and couldn't get to him until
Again, I agree that this is inappropriate. Mundane life has to come first.
<<Everything I was wearing was PRE 1600. I am a full figured gal, as I've
noticed isn't unique in the SCA. She was not happy because I was wearing pants
that go to some middle eastern outfit (they fit the top didn't) and a colored
half length chemise. I put a belt around it. I don't know how many times I
heard her tell me - "your not dressed in period" ... "you know women can't wear
pants". Ok FINE I understand that apparently when you take two pieces of
borrowed clothing that aren't a complete outfit you add the years together
because it doesn't matter that both are pre-period, combine them and they are no
longer considered in period.>>
No, you've misunderstood here. (Well, so did she if she honestly tried to
tell you that there were no cultures within the SCA time frame where women wore
pants. There were several. But this makes one of my points that the people
who are often called "period nazis" very often are just as wrong as and
frequently more wrong than the person they are criticizing. They aren't
authenticists; they are insecure people who are trying to prove they know more than you do
to make themselves feel better).
The problem with your outfit is that taking a piece of clothing from one
culture in period and adding to it a piece of clothing from another culture in
period simply doesn't equal something that you would have seen anyone from either
culture wearing in period, at least in most cases. For a more modern
example, if you combined a Victorian woman's hoop skirt with an Indian choli top,
it's not something you would have seen on either a Victorian Englishwoman or an
Indian woman of the same time period, even though there was extensive contact
between the two cultures at the same time period. That's hard to fathom for
people today, who feel free to mix and match clothing from various cultures and
times in the name of fashion. It hasn't always been that way. And of course,
if you were talking things from two different time periods, for instance a
Viking woman's apron dress with a Tudor gabled headdress, then the problem is
even more obvious; no Tudor woman would have ever seen a Viking woman's apron
dress, so combining the two doesn't result in a period outfit even though the
two separate items are period.
<<I've been to 2 (TWO) wars. I'm located in a remote area and am doing the
best I can on garb. I'm using Silver Key and trying to make bits and pieces
work. What bothers me is that if Silver Key isn't "good enough" then don't have
it in there! I WAS making a PERIOD attempt and it still wasn't "good
The problem is that most of the loaner clothing available is people's
cast-offs. Not too many people are going to put time, money, and effort into making
new good clothes to go into a loaner bin. It's hard enough to find the time
and money to make stuff for yourself. So when people get better stuff, they
put the old stuff into the loaner chest. The problem may not have been that it
was impossible to make a period outfit out of the loaner clothes; the problem
seems to me to have been that you weren't given any guidance on which bits
went together. Do you read Harry Potter? If so, there's a bit in Goblet of Fire
where one of the non-wizards is getting suspicious because there's a wizard
running around in a kilt and a poncho, clearly not something a "normal" person
would wear. A bit later they have an encounter with an old male wizard who is
wearing a woman's nightgown during the day. These wizards THINK they are
dressing like non-wizards because non-wizards wear these things, but the wizards
don't understand the unspoken rules of who wears what and what bits go
together. This is the same situation you were put in.
<<I honestly think there are other things going on here. I don't camp - been
twice in my life before this. I don't have the first clue about it. I'm a
VERY girlie girl (hence liking the frilly late period stuff). I actually had
someone in the Barony tell me that since I don't know how to camp the SCA
wasn't for me.>>
I know lots of SCAdians who don't camp. Some physically can't; some just
don't like to.
<< My dad did boy scouts and after looking at our encampment has decided
to help me make a kitchen box. I have a 10x10 pop up from previous event
planner life, that I use as a day shade. I come from a VERY long line of spinners
and weavers. I have my great grandmother's inkle loom.
My grandfather works with wood and has made shuttles for it, years ago and
new ones for me. He's also made me a luccett. Needless to say I'm very close
with my family. >>
Sounds like you have a great family that supports what you do even if they
don't want to really get into it themselves. That's the best kind. It's
probably just wierd enough to most people's experience that they have no clue that
that is what a family SHOULD be like. So they make rude comments - maybe not
even realizing that to you they are rude.
<<Ah, well that's only one lady who does that here in our barony - ironcally
the one who tells me I'm not period. A majority of people talk about "staying
in period" with clothing. >>
I bet they are looking at it as "each of the sets of clothing fits into one
period and culture", even if the same person has outfits from a whole bunch of
different periods and cultures. Just one of the many ways of playing persona
and period in the SCA.
<< I'm asked weekly if I want to get into armour. For some reason "no
thank you" and "no, it's not where my interests lie" just isn't clear enough for
them. They try to get all the women here to be fighters it seems - I really
just don't care for it, no I haven't tried it but nothing appeals to me about
it. Yeah men are hitting each other with sticks ...um need some water? I'll
make ya lunch but I don't care to be out there. I've even had someone in my
barony who is well respected tell me that if you do anything after 14th century
you aren't really playing the game the right way. He's told me there is no
chivalry after that time. >>
That I'd definitely consider as trying to push your way of having fun on
everyone else. And I understand there are some folks in the West who, from days
of old, have a real thing about the SCA being about the heyday of honor and
chivalry - essentially, the time when most of the Arthurian romances were written.
<<I use the term period nazi to mean people who seem to think their way is
the only way to play the game and disparage others playing it in a way that
makes them happy.>>
I use various terms like idiot, jerk, and rude SOB for that, because it
really has nothing to do with being period, and everything to do with being a
control freak. They probably go to work and tell other people how to do their
jobs, when they've never even tried it, too.
<<You've mentioned "rules". Ok well I've looked on the SCA website and there
are no "rules" listed. The only thing that it states is that you make your
best ATTEMPT at period clothing, and a name (personna) being before 1600.>>
That's exactly what I meant by "the few rules the SCA has". There's a bit in
the Known World Handbook which says there are three rules 1. Dress in an
attempt at clothing from before 1600; 2. Pay your site fees; and 3. Behave as a
lady or gentleman. Mind you, this is an article someone wrote; it's their
<< I checked with the baronial herald and he's coming to my home on Wednesday
for dinner and I've invited anyone else in the barony to join us so I can
look at books and work on my name / device.>>
Great! Sounds like you've got someone willing to help you out there.
<<I have even drawn my device. All on my own and with out any help. I'm not
sure if it's what I want. In talking with someone they gave an excellent
suggestion - draw it on a paper, color it, and put it somewhere you will see
daily. Give it some time, like a few months, and if you like it then register
I totally agree. I didn't do that with my first one, and by the time it
finally got through the registration process, I hated it so much I never used it.
<<The frustrating thing here is that heralds will tell you to pick a name a
try it out for a year or so. Yet the authorities/authenticity jerks around
here push "have you got a name yet?" I'm working on it. Oh if you don't come up
with one we'll name you something and only call you that reguardless of what
you pick. They already did that to another new comer.>>
I think a year is a bit extensive. But I think it's also just plain rude to
saddle someone with a name whether they want it or not. Again, I don't see it
as an "authenticity" thing; I see it as a "control freak" thing. Or a high
school trick - you know, saddle someone with a stupid nickname so you can call
them that and feel superior to them.
Somebody once said "The SCA has all the subtle social dynamics of a
kindergarten at recess". They were right in far too many cases.
<<I think for someone new, whose local resources aren't available I'm doing
pretty darn good. I'm sick of online research. My brain can't process any
more right now. I am going home for Christmas for a week and would like to take
some books with me to read. Capt. Alais has been the only one to give such
resources - THANKS!!!! >>
Sounds to me like you're picking your way despite a pretty non-welcoming
environment. Elias is good people; that's why I pointed you to him. I simply
don't know where to direct you for the info you want; it's not an area I really
know anything about, because it's not my focus.
<<It's all in how you present things. Are you making statements like I
mentioned above? Are you telling new people make your best attempt and when they
do then criticize them? Are you phrasing things as a statement of fact and "you
can't be wrong"? Or are you trying to open up dialog and get someone to ask
you questions and guide you in where they want to take their quest for
authenticity? (these are rehtorical questions)>>
You have no idea how many times the Authentic-SCA list has had this exact
discussion, because there are people who do those things, but they aren't the
people on that list!
<<Just from the way you stated it in this email, to me, it struck me as you
go up to people, totally unsolicited, and inform them of how "wrong" their
attempt is. Yeah that would piss me off and make me want to call you a name. If
you don't like how someone is playing the game - don't play with them. I was
left with the impression that you are of the thinking that if people don't
play the game "your way" they are doing it "all wrong" and not only will you tell
them about it but then you won't have anything to do with them afterwards.
Again, it's an IMPRESSION I have, doesn't mean it's how you really are - but
maybe you are, again I don't know you personally. I know if you came across
that way in person to me I'd be leary of approaching you in the future about
things and probably stay away from you.>>
I'm really not sure how you got that impression. I have never and would
never go up to anyone unsolicited and tell them that, in my opinion, they had
screwed up. It would piss me off, too, if someone did that to me. I tried to
point out the fact that true authenticists like myself are afraid even to answer
questions about how someone has done with something because no mattter how
diplomatic we try to be, we've always had someone get upset when the answer to
the question they asked us wasn't what they wanted to hear. I absolutely DO NOT
refuse to associate with people who don't do things the way I do - I simply
have, as most people do, closer relationships with those who share my interests
than I do with those who have vastly different interests. Don't you prefer
to hang out with people who like the same kind of music or same social scene as
you do? It's the same thing. I have lots of friends who do things
authentically and some friends who really don't care - they are all my friends.
<<Thus far those who think they are the authenticity police that I've come
across don't take "no thanks" for an answer. If you respond with "ok so for
this time period, trying to achieve x, what should I be doing?" they can't
answer. For me, if you are going to tell me I'm doing it wrong, you BETTER be able
to tell me how to do it "right" when you call me on it.>>
Again this tells me they aren't really authenticists, because if they were
they would either be able to answer you themselves or they would be able to
point you to someone who could - just as I pointed you to Elias. They are
insecure people who just want to make themselves feel like they know more than
somebody - anybody - else.
<<Again it's in the presentation. If you asked someone "Hey, I'm interested
in your garb, did you do a lot of research on it?" sounds a lot more pleasant
and welcoming to discussing authenticity than just blurting out "you know you
can't wear that that's not period". If someone came to me with the former
I'd respond with "well I'm new, this is what I'm trying for but I'm using loaner
garb and unfortunately am on a limited budget so do you have any ideas?" But
when the later happens it just makes me shut down and not want to be with
Exactly. I'd respond exactly the same way.
<<I don't think any human being wants to hear constructive criticism in such
a brutal manner.>>
I wouldn't give that kind of approach the honor of being called constructive
critcism, because it's not constructive at all - it's destructive, and it's
not meant to help. It's meant to bolster the giver's ego.
<< There aren't any fashion police in the mundane world and trust me I've
wanted to tell people a time or two "DO YOU HAVE A MIRROR?" but I haven't mainly
because that's just rude and because it's a matter of taste and one's personal
likes. What makes that any different in the SCA? Honestly, it shouldn't.>>
No, it shouldn't, and the people in the SCA who do it to other folks are the
same kind of people who walk up to someone in the mundane world and tell them
how to raise their kids, or what not to eat or do when they are pregnant
(something I'm encountering since I'm 7 months along), or who make faces or rude
comments about the book you happen to be reading.
<< Most in the SCA are able to be authentic for their time period - not for
the entire time span of the SCA, because if they could, they would have been
able to tell me to look up Freedom Fighters like Capt. Alais did. ;) >>
I can't imagine the memory you'd have to have to remember all that detail for
all the time periods and cultures the SCA covers. In this situation, it's a
good case of "It's not what you know, but who" - if I don't know the answer, I
can still help you by pointing you to someone who does.
<<I don't care for the garb for early period Norse, while I do understand
that it's easy to sew and from what I understand comfortable to wear. It's ugly.
It's drab. It's plain. It's totally unflattering to a woman's figure -
especially if she's a fuller figured woman. Same with some Celtic garb. We have
a full figured gal in our barony that went from itallian to celtic. I
wouldn't dream of walking up to her and telling her that she looks like she has a
tent on, but she does. I'm sure in period they didn't care about that stuff.>>
Actually, they probably did care about that stuff just as much as we do -
after all they had mirrors and tweezers, and cosmetics and fashion trends and
stuff. It's just that their idea of beauty and desirability was different from
<< And that's fine. I just happen to know that she is single and would like
to meet a nice gentlemen. I'm sure there is a gentlmen out there for her. I
just think picking materials and garb that makes you look your most becoming
is important. Apparently, her personna isn't wealthy enough to afford a mirror
and so that's what works for her. Does it make it "right" or "wrong", no.
It's niether. It's what she likes and wants to do.>>
Or, her interest is in the time period/culture and not in being what the
modern world considers a fashion plate. Perhaps she is more interested in a man
whom she can discuss Viking culture with than one who thinks she looks hot from
a 21st century perspective.
<<See and to me that just sounds like hypocritical justification to play the
game the way you want to and I wouldn't consider it "authentic". >>
From the standpoint of a historical re-enactor, it's the only possible way to
be authentic in the SCA. You cannot control what the others around you are
doing, as you could in a more focussed group, so your focus must be on getting
what you are doing right and letting everybody else do their own thing.
Letting the "I'm a 12th century Englishwoman speaking to an Elizabethan seacaptain"
get to you keeps you from being able to think like a 12th century
Englishwoman. To Brangwayna, Elias is a sailor from the other side of the country,
where she's never been, and since she lives inland she doesn't know much about
sailors anyway. So how would she know that he's 3 or 400 years removed from her
in time? She wouldn't. If I was in a focussed 12th century English group
then I wouldn't even have to think about it because there wouldn't be any Elias
to throw me off. But a coastal sailor would still be an oddity to someone who
lives where the only thing that can navigate the river is the equivalant of a
rowboat or VERY small cargo boat.
<< I think that's what aides to my distaste for those proclaiming their way
to do the game is "right". For me, if you're going to claim you are doing it
right and others are doing it wrong - then REALLY do it right. Don't just do
it right when it fits your budget or out of convienence. >>
How can you do it any other way? You yourself said that you can't get any
better with your garb right now because you have neither the time, money, or
skills to make or buy more accurate clothes. You are doing what you can with
your budget and with what fits in your lifestyle; I'm doing what I can with mine.
<<What I think many fail to recognize is what Anachronism means:
1 : an error in chronology; especially : a chronological misplacing of
persons, events, objects, or customs in regard to each other
2 : a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place; especially :
one from a former age that is incongruous in the present>>
What most newcomers fail to recognize is that the SCA got named backwards.
The founders didn't decide what they were going to be and then pick out a name
to describe it as accurately as possible. They had one party in someone's
backyard, had a good time, and wanted to have another one in a park, but then
when they went to fill out the paperwork to rent space in the park, they needed
to put down a group name. They didn't even think they were really a group at
the time. So somebody thought for about a minute, said "That sounds good", and
put down the name "Society for Creative Anachronism" The actual group didn't
formally get created until at least a year or more later. The name was never
meant to mean anything about what the group did, but most newcomers think it
<<So what someone wants to be a pirate. Ok, so you don't like that personna.
Ok so does that make that person "wrong"? No. It means they have different
interests than you. Why not inquire about their research or the references
they use? >>
It only makes them "wrong" if the pirate they want to be is from after the
1600 time frame - which is exactly what the majority of people in the SCA who
say they want to be pirates do want to do. Just as someone who wants to
recreate World War I is "wrong" if they try to do so inside an American Civil War
<<Why not let go of whatever rubs you wrong about it and just have fun?
Meaning, why the need to inform people when they aren't doing it "right". What if
it's "right" for them? >>
I don't have a need to go up to people and tell them they are wrong. But I
don't think there is a problem with pointing out to someone that they are
breaking the rules and ignoring the time frame of the group. Even if it's "right
for them" to want to play that part, it doesn't make it "right" for them to
play that part in the SCA, necessarily.
Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
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