I. Marc Carlson LIB_IMC at centum.utulsa.edu
Mon Oct 21 07:55:05 PDT 1996

<Tim McDaniel <tmcd at crl.com>>
>...Let me summarize: I'm not advocating putting "this is ugly" into the
>commentary, or (worse) spouting it to the submitter's face.  I *am*
>trying to defend the value of subjective esthetic judgments...

Good summary.

I am *not* a herald, although I have been to more than a few commenting
sessions, read the Gazette intermittantly, and helped a few people submit 
devices over the years.  To be blunt, some of what some people submit
is pretty darned ugly, pretty darned stupid looking, and pretty darned
unheraldic in a medieval sense.  (Conversely, sometimes a true work
of heraldic art slips past as well).  To my mind, having a group of
heralds sit around and say only purely appropriate things about each
and every submission is, to be generous, naive.  There are some times
that you HAVE to say something about relative artistic merits of a
submission, much less debate the intentions or intelligence of the 

OTOH, to *report* those comments up the line is probably unnecessary;
to PUBLISH those comments is almost always unprofessional; and to carry 
them back to the submitter is *clearly* self-serving pseudo-Sub Rosa 
sniping.  Things that take place during the heat of commenting should 
*remain* there, unless it is absolutely necessary.  But if you really 
believe that nothing bad WILL be said then you are far more optimistic 
about people being people than I am.

Let me give you an example.  Some time ago, I submitted my device, which
had as its charge a Bengal Tiger Rampant.  I knew the Tiger I wanted, and
I submitted that thing, drawn just as *I* wanted it.  It finally came back
(from fairly close to the top, as I recall) for being "too cartoon-y",
and to be honest, it was.  Yes, those comments injured my feelings slightly,
but had they simply returned it with "Not in a Medieval Heraldic Style",
I might have tried a similar device, also "too cartoony." As it was, because
I was angry at what "those bozos"* said, I found the *best* heraldic artist 
I could find and had the stupid thing redrawn and resubmitted it.  I won't
bore you with the details, but esentially it made it to Laurel before it
eventually passed (I had to make one minor last minute change to avoid an 
obscure conflict).

*Actually the terms I used were somewhat less endearing.

Does this mean that I maintain hurt feelings towards those Heralds?  No.
I remain a bit irritated that the revised version looks better, over the
long run, than the original would have, but that's irritation at myself 
for not having realized that in the long run.  But *I*'m an adult, and,
with very few exceptions, have learned to cope with the fact that not
everyone is going to like what I have done (for example, I expect that 
*some* of you aren't really going to care all that much for this message.
But then I'm from the evil old-fashioned school that teaches that if you
protect someone from ALL abuse and ALL harm, they will never grow up).

Do I think that they shouldn't have published their opinions?  As a rule,
I think it might have been a bad thing, although in my case, they had to
force the information past my ego, so it was probably for the best.

I suppose the real question ultimately boils down to "do you really want
Heraldic Art representative of the Middle Ages, or do you really want the
Heralds to simply protect the Society from conflicting devices?"  If what
you want is the latter, simply designate committees of three heralds to
verify that the blazon somehow describes the device in hand, then run
that blazon through a computer program designed to compare it with the
armorial for conflicts, maybe weeding out blazons that are too long, that 
use colors not in the database, and so forth.  Then rejections are simply
"Your submission conflicts with X of Y".  Style ceases to be a criteria,
and goodness knows that the computer isn't likely to say crappy things.

If that IS what the Society wants, please let me know so I can start my
side business of selling all those garbage, crass, fru-fru, twinkie,
and otherwise hideous devices I've been collecting over my decades of 
playing Dungeons and Dragons (I've always wanted to see what my "Gyrony
of 32 (in Gold, Blue, Silver, and Ermine) counterchanged in a "bulls-eye"
pattern looked like).

I. Marc Carlson, Reference Librarian    |LIB_IMC at CENTUM.UTULSA.EDU
Tulsa Community College, West Campus LRC|Sometimes known as:
Reference Tech. McFarlin Library        | Diarmuit Ui Dhuinn 
University of Tulsa, 2933 E. 6th St.    | University of Northkeep 
Tulsa, OK  74104-3123 (918) 631-3794    | Northkeepshire, Ansteorra

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