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Re: [SCA Newcomers] New person's dictionary

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  • Marco and Jitka Sainte
    Weeeell... that s kind of why I was asking. We re working on creating resources for newcomers. Fiora ... From: Elizabeth Chase To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 43 , Oct 29, 2004
      Weeeell... that's kind of why I was asking. We're working on creating resources for newcomers.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Elizabeth Chase
      To: scanewcomers@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 8:38 AM
      Subject: 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
      middle ages'.


      ----- 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
      compiling one?


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    • bronwynmgn@aol.com
      In a message dated 11/8/2004 2:59:51 PM Eastern Standard Time, emmmrld@yahoo.com writes:
      Message 43 of 43 , Nov 9, 2004
        In a message dated 11/8/2004 2:59:51 PM Eastern Standard Time,
        emmmrld@... writes:

        <<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,
        personally. >>

        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
        or not.

        <<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
        after midterms.>>

        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
        that person.>>

        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.

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

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