On authenticity and fun

Leslie Miller miller at pp.okstate.edu
Thu Feb 23 14:02:21 PST 1995

>         There's a difference between pointing out that X is not period (& 
> stating why) and "griping".

You're right.  And I did not mean to imply that *you* were griping.  
In all the years I've known you, I've never heard you talk enough at 
on time to consider you to be "griping". ;-)  Well, maybe once or 

> I have pointed out several different things 
> which are demonstrably not period and why (one quite factual and others 
> with IMHO sound reasoning). My statements have never been attacked on the 
> truth, but instead because "I like it" or "It's fun" or "It's what we've 
> always done."

OK, let me go out on a limb here and say that some non-period things 
have become part of our modern SCA culture because they are fun 
(Hole-in-te-Wall, for example), and that I really don't see the harm 
in maintaining them.  The use of duct tape is another example.  Our 
Ansteorran fighting styles, armor, and garb.  We have our own 
culture, society, etc., which, when you get right down to it, is not really 
very authentic.  Within this culture, we encourage people to research 
and educate themselves about the middle ages.  I've learned alot, 
you've learned alot, most people who play for any length of time 
learn *something*.  I *know* that Hole-n-the-Wall is not period.  But 
is it destroying the purity of the SCA because we dance it?  Not for 
me.  No more so than using duct tape to hold our armor together.  If people 
enjoy Hole-in-the-Wall, it may get them interested in other, more period 
dances.  Educate them in the difference.  

I guess it comes down to differences in what people want out of their 
game.  For some, the accurate recreation of the Middle Ages is the 
most important thing, and doing that is what gives them the greatest 
pleasue.  For others, accurate recreation doesn't hold much 
priority at all.  And then there are people all along the spectrum in 

Thing is, the trend I see is that the longer people play, the 
more interested in authenticity they become.  Of course, this is true 
of myself, so perhaps I am incorrect in assuming that this is a 
"universal" tendency.  But, if this is indeed more or less true, we will keep 
more members, encourage greater participation, and ultimately 
*educate* more people if we keep a ider diversity of "hooks" to get them 
seriously interested in the first place.  Groups like the MSR in NYC don't 
have as wide a membership as the SCA.  They're more accurate and more 
serious about their authenticity, and they're simply not as fun for as 
many people.  (And yes, I say this as a person who cringes when I see 
a squire wearing flourescent green striped sneakers on the list 
field. :-)  )

I truly do prefer greater authenticity, and there are times when I 
have to stop myself from snarling wen I see gold spandex woman 
walk by, but then I remind myself that "hey, it's just a game", and I hope 
that gold spandex woman will find someone in her group who will lead 
her in a more appropriate direction.  And I happily dance Korobushka 
because it's a heck of alot of fun.  I stand the middle ground and 
secretly (well, not anymore) hope that Korobushka doesn't go away entirely, 
even though there are undisputable reasons why it probably should.

> What *are* the reasons *why* 1) no one wants to teac and 2) no one 
> wats to learn?

Well, the obvious answer that leaps to mind without greater 
reflection is that people don't find them *fun* to do.

> >Wouldyou ban everything non-period?  No duct tape?  Where do *you* draw
> >the line, Estrill?  Anyone?
>         It would be very interesting to try and ban everything non-period,
> but that's totally unreasonable because no one would be there.

That's just it.

> course we can't ban duct tape: it has a light side and a dark side and 
> holds the univere together  :-) 

Heh, heh!  Gosh, and all this time, I thought my cat's appetite 
was the greatest force in the universe.  *She* certainly seems to 
think so, anyway. 

>         And as for where *I* draw the line: **it depends**. If it's 
> something that *you* are in direct control of, like having discovered that 
> "Korobushka" is fom the 1900s, then the answer is simple: *stop*doing*it*.
> This hurts no one

Well, it would hurt me... but, I guess I don't really matter in the ultimate 
scheme of things.. sniff. :-(   But perhaps your resolve will encourage 
others, and a more authentic atmosphere will prevail.  :-)

Shire of Mooneschadowe
Stillwater, OK
miller at pp.okstate.edu

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