Ever so few

Mark Wallace blackfox.mwal at webzone.net
Tue Jan 28 00:02:21 PST 1997

Master William Blackfox doth send fair greetings:
In response to Stefan li Rous,
On 1-27 you posted:

>Thank you Blackfox for a well thoughtout
>commentary on the pursuit of the
>Peerage. However, you said:
>"	Phooey!  The system really works!"
>But shortly before, you said (actually quoting another):
>"Out of the tens upon tens of deserving people 
>whose names are never brought 
>up in circle, ..."
>So, does the system really work? I would say no it does not. 
>Not if the second statement is true.
>Stefan li Rous

	No problem.

	Take a good hard look at the people you know and meet at SCA events. 
Two-thirds are there to have fun, party, shmooze, etc.  One-third will put
the many levels of effort into making things run.  By "things" I mean
everything from sitting a 4-hour stint at Troll; volunteering to keep the
Porta-potties stocked with TP; being a runner for the autocrat; running the
lists; wrangling various Crowns, Barons and other dignitaries;  doing the
weeks of pre-planning set-up; coordinating the attendance of VIP's and
special persons for whatever functions; And, of course, there are the
	As the range of responsibilities expand, it becomes ever more clear just
who is doing a pretty good job, who is doing a really good job and who is
doing a really great job.
	In our Kingdom, people who do a pretty good job of service on a regular
basis are recognised with either a Comet(for service to a Shire), a Crane
(for service to the Kingdom) or would be considered for a Baronial service
	People who do a really good job may receive their Barony's service award or
the Star of Merit from the Crown.
	Fighters who do pretty well may (when the Crown is in the mood) receive the
Falcon.  Fighters who show advanced skill and leadership now may be made
Centurions (one-in-a-hundred, which really means something!).
	Stefan, it is in the evaluation of those who are doing >more< than just a
really great job that the cute rules go bye-bye.  
	 The charters of the Peerages are quite clear in stating that they exist to
advance those individuals who have extended themselves in a manner that
cannot be measured in mere numbers of events autocratted or numbers of
projects accomplished nor even the number of tournaments won and mighty foes
vanquished. The Society has endowed the Peerages with the right to "poll',
or to bring reccommendations to the Crown's attention. 
 This enters the realm of subjective evaluation of an individual as to
whether or not they have that special something, that extra spark, that
insight born of a bruising and bittersweet dedication towards the
preservation and continuation of the SCA and what it stands for.
	I return to my admonition to you to take a broad look at all the people
that you know in the SCA.  Ask yourself a couple hard questions like these:
*	Who are the people I know who do a lot of stuff for the SCA? 
*	Out of those, who are the ones who work the hardest?
*	Out of those, who are the ones who seem to do the hard work in ways that
the others can't seem to emulate?  Who among them not only works, but
>inspires< those around them?
*	Out of those, who would you say had the special qualities that would make
them an inspirational figure and a respected individual whose presence and
actions encouraged those around them to strive for something just a little
bit more than they had already accomplished?

	Admit it, the mathematics of this sequence will winnow out many of the
people that you would deem to be "deserving" as I had stated in my first
article.  Yes, many are deserving to be observed because they are noble,
enthusiastic and active contributors.  That is why there are AoA and GoA
level awards available.
	But can you see through the eyes of a Peer who has walked the road and
reached the accolade?  Do you have the perspective and the experience?  The
Peerage orders are like the Senate, you have to "belong".
	The members of the Peerages are always watching for those who may have the
"right stuff", but the saying is true that "many are called but few are
	Stefan, having the "right stuff" winnowed out hundreds of brave military
pilots from the final 7 men who were designated Mercury Astronauts.  Their
names are familiar to any schoolchild: Glenn, Shirra, White, Chaffee,
Grissom. Shepard, Cooper.
	Yes, the SCA teems with people of dedication and there are those who extend
themselves to a remarkable degree.
	It is the rarity of the people who are "Peer material" that makes the
number of candidates under consideration at any one time so agonizingly
small.  A dozen names may be brought up in a year and half of them will be
either shuffled back or dismissed all too quickly.  Of those who are left,
the debates in circle grind at every facade until the candidate's worthiness
is revealed, weil or wae.
	It is this determination which leads to the special saying that one seldom
hears until the situation actually crops up:  "It's not the Award (Belt,
Baldric or medallion) that makes a person a Peer.  The award is an
acknowledgement that the person already  >is<  a Peer".
	The last link in the process is the agreement of the Crown.  That Royal
endorsement seals the special Nobility of the Peerage, secures the unique
privileges of the order and bonds the Peer to the awful duty of carrying on
with what they were doing before they were interrupted by their elevation
	So I hope that you now see what I meant when I said that "tens upon tens of
deserving people's names are never brought up".
	That,  milord, is why the ones who make it all the way are so few and so
	Would you have it any other way?

Please forgive me for my punditry,
I remain your servant,

William Blackfox
Companion of the Order of the Pelican
Court Baron
et alphabet soup

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