"Growth" vs. Awards Policy

Jeanne C. Stapleton jstaplet at adm.law.du.edu
Thu Jan 16 09:04:46 PST 1997

> Your Excellency,
> My apologies, you extended the example further than I had mentally
> at the time I made the comment about
No need to apologize, my lord, and I want to make it clear that my 
message was not meant as a reprimand nor an attack, merely to clarify 
your meaning in my own mind, and possibly for other readers.  The
statement did have the effect of a sweeping generalization.  I am 
rabidly pro-group growth and development myself.  However, cancer
is also a growth which ultimately kills its host.  With the SCA, 
examples of truly pathological development are fortunatley rare.  I
just wanted to point out that your statement could (and has) been 
taken to defend abnormal development such as vampires ("well, 
medieval people believed in them") and other things which, especially
when confined to a local area, had the net effect of causing 
participatns, who generally don't know any better, to not "fit in"
with the overall game.

> >> I, for one, do not consider it appropriate for any individual to
> >> actively oppose the development of the SCA as an organization at
> >> any level _and_ still receive major awards.
> My intent was that the growth was being judged in terms of numbers
> and possibly ability, the areas that seemed to be a source of pain
> for the original poster in the thread.
That seems a reasonable, sound definition.  i would also add the 
development of activities new to an area, in keeping with our overall
time period and cultures as stated in Corpora, which perhaps were not 
"traditional" or "done" in that area up until now.

> (I am now about to knowingly commit a transgression in the etiquette
> of e-mail: re-ordering your words in my quoting. I do this only
> after consideration, and in the belief that it makes my additional
> responses more readable...)
That's fine, I won't send Uncle Guido to break your arms.  :-)

> Your attention to detail deserves additional consideration, however
> (The semi-mythical heraldic 'Rule of Toyota': you asked for it, now
> I'm gonna give it to you -- my opinions, that is).  I will respond
> to each of the situations in turn:
I'm famed for my attention to detail.  :-)
Okay, there are mornings when I miss the entire boat...
ONe of my weird skills is reading critically (background as legal 
assistant and tech editor) and when I first read your message,
that sentence caught my attention.  By the end of the messag,
it was still with me, so I went back and read it again.  I went on
to other mail, and it was *still* with me, so I went back and re-read 
it a third time.  That's when I decided to write my message to you.

> > are you speaking of the inclusion of Oriental and New World
> > personae in a group which has in its charter "Western Europe and
> > lands affecting it [MAJOR paraphrase}?
> I am in disagreement with the premise of the paraphrase, holding in
> particular that the older, "gentler", concept of "cultural contact"
> is both more conducive to inclusion and simpler to apply.  Even
> using the sense of "lands affecting it" I would deem must of
> necessity include the New World and the Orient so long as we
> continue to define our "period" as 600ce through at least 1600ce.
> *Particularly* as concerns Spain and the New World, Italy and the
> other areas impacted by "the Silk Road", the Byzantines and their
> use of Oriental silk, and the spice trade in general.
Here, your grasp of detail is far greater than mine; I don't have a 
problem with Oriental or New World personae in general, since there 
was some cultural contact (particularly with the New World toward the 
end of period).  A couple of things that get done but rarely, at 
least in the parts I've been in, are African personae (people were 
coasting along Africa looking for gold and there was contact with 
Timbuktu via the salt caravan in the 15th C!) and Indian personae 
(the ties there go *way* back--Alexander the Great is a particular 
historical hero of mine).  But it's a can of worms, because many 
people take the narrower approach, which is what I was putting forth 
as devil's advocate in my first post.

> > are you speaking of a shire where everyone decides to be vampires?
> Eeek, no.  When your original population base for a given locality
> is drawn primarily from gaming groups, I am well aware of the
> problems that can occur.  It is the responsibility of those
> assisting the formation or ensuring the continuance of a local group
> to make the clear distinction between the SCA and live-action
> roleplay gaming opportunities.
Yes, Indeedy.  I don't feel compelled to offer an environment for 
people to bring their gaming characters to life, and I'm always 
disturbed at the confusion in some people's minds between gaming and 
rolling up a fantasy character, and the SCA and creating an 
historicaly based persona (however scanty that creation may be).  I 
vividly recall a discussion I had with a young lady at a Pennsic 
wherein I was saying that I was alarmed by the number of people who 
believed that medieval people had supernatural powers and she said 
(obscurely) that "people back then were much more in touch with their 
magickal side"--by which, I gathered (in context with what we'd 
already said) that she was one of those who really *does* believe 
that the Middle Ages were a time of dragons and faerie and people 
having heightened supernatural powers that have been obscured or 
dulled by all this technology and progress.  I find this kind of 
alarming as a belief system, but if that's what she personally 
believes, that's great; but it does rather clash with trying to see 
that this organization does have some kernel of historical basis at 
it's heart, despite the fact that I myself wear contact lenses and 
don't make my shoes by hand.

> > are you speaking of a group where a cult of personality
> > has gone seriously out of control and the locals may love 'em but
> > what they're promoting is not compatible with the SCA or the
> > kingdom so the Royals or a kingdom officer has to step on them? 
> > (had that happen to me--as clouter, not cloutee)
> This one, yes: I would speak of in terms of the cult of personality
> working against the goals and ideals of the Society.
So would I.  This is an example of abnormal growth, and it does 
somewhat conflict, in my view, with your original statement as not 
revised.  Hence, I'm glad for your revision.  :-)

> >> However, Mr. Bosko (acrubray at wtrt.net ?) may have misunderstood
> >> the award process.  The Crown can only act based upon the
> >> information actually in Their possession. If all they have seen
> >> are recommendations based upon the artistic achievements of an
> >> individual, or the service achievements, or the combat prowess,
> >> it is not Their fault that a local issue of which they have no
> >> knowledge may cloud any award given.
> > This is totally 100% true.  The Royalty cannot be omniscient and
> > it is amazing how many people expect them to be so.  Also, I've
> > known people, had some as friends, who behave one way in their
> > local group and another outside of it.
> Thank you for reinforcing this "from the other side of the process",
> i.e. having been seated as Crown. (Not something I expect to
> experience myself anytime soon...)
No problem.  Seriously, readers, I was stunned by the scant numbers 
of award recommendations I received; and this was not mitigated by 
the people who wanted to approach me at the last minute as I was
prepping for court with a verbal recommendation.  There is so much 
that is great about a well-thought-out, well-written letter of 
recommendation that says that not only is this a great person, but 
that here's a thoughtful individual who thinks well of them.  I could
go on at great length about how to write effective letters of 
recommendation, but this message is really friggin' long already.

But do write letters of recommendation; and if you must write about a 
problem person, curtail your hyperbole and try to remain objective 
about what the actual problem is.  "The whole earth is going to 
overturn in fire and water!" is not nearly as effective as "this 
person means well, but is unable to perform the basic requirements of 
the office such as reporting, returning phone calls and attending 
group meetings".  

> Bless you, Your Excellency, for gracing us with your presence, your
> thoughts on this matter, and especially your forbearance in drawing
> out additional detail when you had questions as to my motive /
> stance. If I have continued to be unnecessarily obscure now, or am
> so in the future, slap me down as appropriate. (You do it so nicely
> that it is indeed a gentle reprimand, which I will take to heart.
> And commend to memory.)
OH, you're quite welcome, and once again, this wasn't a slap or a 
reprimand, I just really wanted to be clear in my own mind as to what 
limits you were suggesting.  We're not as far apart as I'd feared.   

Countess Berengaria de Montfort de Carcassonne, OP
Barony of Caerthe
Kingdom of the Outlands

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