Taking Insult for Others

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at bga.com
Sun Oct 13 12:09:01 PDT 1996

I received a post today privately, which I wish to share, along with my
response.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty alike.

The letter began:
>Below find the subject  you can send me mail if this displeases you.

No displeasure involved, but I certainly will comment.

>At home with my friend as a child we stood for each other because some
times it 
>was to embarising to stand for your self or frustratng. Back in (insert
name of SCA group), we did the same.

Normally in the SCA we discourage people taking up other folk's fights.  The
guy who was complaining on Duke Inman's behalf has no idea whether or not
Inman would or would not be insulted.  I've heard people use the "Once and
Future King" phrase to Inman's face.... normally it's taken as a prediction
of victories to come, not a bitch about the repeating reigns.   Obviously
you (and the guy who complained) don't know Inman at all.  He is most
certainly able to speak up for himself, and has never ever needed someone to
stand up for him.  He can flay a person at twelve paces with a
tongue-lashing if he needs to, it's something he's done before.  Therefore,
the result of the person chewing out the original poster for the comment was
to stir up bad feeling where none existed or was intended, a result which
was even worse than any prejudicial connotations any readers might have
attached to the comment.  Inman's "defender" was fixing something that
wasn't broken, and butting into what is definitely only Inman's business.

>You say you have a life. do you have friends? Common types. that is what I am, 
>Common, but I look out for my friends. why be upset when others do, even if
it is 
>for you?

Don't let any of the alphabet soup fool you.  I have awards because I've
been in the SCA 18+ years.  Most of the people I *started* playing with are
Dukes, Counts, Laurels, Pelicans, Barons, etc.  But I have continued to make
new friends of all ranks over the years, and those friends, while they don't
always have lots of awards (yet!), are most emphatically not "common types!"
They are uncommon in their generosity, good sense, artistic abilities,
martial prowess, ad nauseam.  There is no one in the whole SCA who is
"common" unless they choose to be so.  

And I'd chew the ass of any of my friends if they had taken insult on my
behalf.  The most that it is reasonable for a friend to do is to inform me
of what's going on so that I can decide whether or not I am insulted or not,
and whether or not I should speak to the person in question.  Furthermore, I
think it reveals an inner desire to "stir the shit" when you see people
running around saying, "Did you hear what Lady So-and-So said about you?"
since this almost always conveys misleading or flatly incorrect information.
I *always* cut through the bullshit and go direct to any person and ask if
they have a problem and if they have a problem, we discuss it. 

Even if someone does say something insulting about me, it is stupid for
someone else to bitch at them about it.  This situation actually came up at
the last Kingdom A&S.  A person whose entry I had judged didn't like my
critique, but rather than saying so to me, went to a crowded party held
nearby which was well-attended by a couple of hundred SCA members, and there
this person began telling anyone who would listen at top volume what an
idiot I was, how I was unqualified to judge the entry in question etc.  The
correct response when I heard about this was to speak with the person
complaining to work out the problem.  Since this person is also a Laurel's
apprentice, I spoke to the Laurel in question as well, as this person needed
some guidance from the Laurel about "good judgement" and "behavior becoming
a potential Peer."  I was never at any time mad at this person... it's
obvious that the person was upset.  Even if the person was being hateful and
insulting, that one person's opinion certainly doesn't affect my self-image,
or what my friends think about me.  Sticks and stones may break the bones,
but words will never harm me, compredes?  I spoke with the person in
question in an effort to discover what the problem was and take appropriate
action as necessary.  I did not start a vendetta, challenge the person to
single combat, or have my friends defend me.

Running around bitching at people for having an opinion you don't like is a
waste of time and creates more strife in the organization.  You are probably
not "old" enough to remember the Inquisition, where the first King and Queen
of Ansteorra were forced off the throne because of the invidious backbiting
and unrestrained gossip of people who weren't even involved.  I saw the
Barony of Bjornsborg in its early days nearly destroyed by a letter-writing
war that escalated clear up to the BoD, which all got started because one
clique in the group didn't like some of the members of another clique who
happened to be holding baronial offices at the time.  

The examples I just gave are why everyone should butt out of things like
this.  Instantly you create a new layer of ill-feeling... there are certain
to be folks running around now saying, "Ohh, did you hear?  Lady So-and-So
hates Inman, she thinks he should never be allowed to fight in Crown again,
she said so on the Internet!"  (Not at all what was said or intended) Did
you ever play that old game called "Telephone" or "Operator" where everyone
sits in a circle and you whisper a phrase in the ear of the guy next to you,
who passes it alon to the end of the line, and everyone laughs when a
hilariously garbled message is spoken out loud at the end? Except when it
happens in the SCA it's not funny at all, and people get hurt who never
meant any harm.  What happens to Lady What's-Her-Name if people convice
Inman that she is out to get him (which she's not, it was an innocent
comment) and he decides in tuirn that he hates her (unlikely, since he's a
rational man)?  Well, whenever Inman's on the throne, (if he wasn't the
rational and intelligent person he is) she may not get any awards if he
feels that badly towards her.  Further, the rest of the Royal Family may
avoid giving her awards because she supposedly insulted Inman. Is this fair?
Is it right? Is it honorable?  I think not.  The person who bitched her out
not only didn't help Inman (who doesn't need any help) but he has
potentially actively harmed the poor lady as well.

>If you think common curtisy is not to be, then this list is not for me. And
>believe this is the politics of the SCA I love. 

This is not an exammple of courtesy.  Quite the contrary.  The person who
jumped on the poor lady was being rude and butting in where he had no
business interfering. The most that the man should have done if he just was
certain the poor woman was being rude and insulting would to have been
calling Inman up and saying, "Hey Chuck, did you see this?" then getting the
hell our of the way and letting Inman handle it himself.  I strongly suspect
that if Inman had been informed of this situation, he'd have read the
posting in question first, then he'd have blown it off.  If he'd had a
serious problem with it, he'd have contacted the lady and asked her if she
had a problem with him, and if so why, so that he could work it out with
her.  That is how we expect peers to behave in Ansteorra.  And how we expect
non-peers to behave as well.  

>I will not let you help take me to anger, but I am very dissapointed.

Your choice.  But you've gone and taken offense on account of someone else,
thus letting yourself get into the middle of someone else's battle.  If you
spend much time battling on behalf of others, you will find you don't have a
life of your own, you will be contributing to intra-organizational strife,
and you'll end up with hurt feelings that you could have avoided by letting
the principals in the matter take care of it themselves.  It's different if
someone asks you to fight on their behalf.  But you shouldn't take up
gauntlets unless they are thrown at your own feet.



(Note: the use of "Lord/Lady What's-Their-Name" and "Lord/Lady So-and-So" is
not meant to be insulting.  It is meant to avoid obscuring the issue with
proper names, plus saving me time looking up who the original posters in
question wer

Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa (th)ik hversu o(dh)lask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna
heldr hversu na Hersis-A(dh)al

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