SCA Purchases

Mitchell, Paul T MTCHPTAA at
Tue Jul 22 07:27:00 PDT 1997

Galen of Bristol again...

The bulk of the following was written on Monday, but I held it overnight
to be sure:

In an uncharacteristically hostile tone, Lyonel replies to me:
> Greetings, Cosyns,
> Lyonel ici.
> Viscount Galen of Bristol chimes:
>>I don't believe the SCA Chirurgeonate has any obligation to distribute
>>condoms or other birth control, nor do I feel it appropriate to do so.
>>Condoms are not first-aid supplies.
>Now, Your Excellency, let's stay on the subject, shall we?  As Baroness   
>Zina has already noted, no one is *requiring* chirurgeons to distribute
>anything.  They aren't even required to distribute band-aids, if you   
want to
>get right down to "requirements."

Sir Lyonel.  You know full well the difference between an obligation and   

Nor has anyone claimed a condom is a
>first aid supply.

This entire debate has been about including condoms in first aid kits.

We have claimed, however, that a condom is a preventative
>measure--sort of a pre-aid, you might say.  As for your "feeling" that   
>distribution of condoms is inappropriate--well, my feelings on this   
>are diametrically opposed to yours. I guess we'll have to call it a draw   
>the feelings issue.

Nonetheless,  expressing our feelings and opinions is an important part
of what this mailing list is for.  The balance of my posting was intended
to illuminate the reasons for my feeling.  It also happens that I feel   
reply to be one of the least courteous and indeed hostile notes I have
seen posted to this list in many a month, and I had thought better of you   

than this.

>>I wonder how many other preventatives
>>_are_ distributed by SCA Chirurgeons, but I don't wonder so much that
>>I've taken the time to ask my good friend, Baroness and former
>>Kingdom Chirurgeon Zarazina about that.  I tend to doubt that many
>>preventatives other than sunblock are carried.
>>To contradict Aquilanne, sex is not something that "happens".  It's
>>not like sunburn or accidental injuries.  Sex is something that
>>people decide to do.  For many people, condoms are equipment
>>for a particular activity.

>As for Aquilanne's statement that "sex happens";
>you're an adult; you know what she meant, Excellency.  Aquilanne was   
using a
>shorthand phrase.  If you really want it spelled out:
>Adults--especially young adults--upon experiencing sexual attraction for   
>another, will often act upon that attraction and attempt to consummate   
>feelings in a sexual act.  This string of circumstances is preventable   
>rarely prevented.  Making condoms available to these individuals   
>the likelihood that they will use said protective devices.  Refusing to   
>said protective devices available will not, however, decrease the   
>of the consummation of this string of circumstances.  Now, if any of   
>description sounds less volitional than Your Excellency prefers to see   
>feel free to re-phrase as necessary.

As a parent, I have to believe that individual behavior can be modified.   
I must resign myself that my 8-year-old will go through the remainder of   
his life
occasionally throwing temper tantrums when I won't let him play Sega, and   

arguing with him ad inifinitum about whether he is tired and will go to   

People, especially young people, want acceptance.  Today, casual sex is
widely accepted, and I believe that the result has proved to be a great   
deal of

Someone else questioned whether distributing clean needles mightn't be
next, and I thought that an excellent question.  People are going to do
drugs anyway, we should help them be more "responsible", no?

>>Generally speaking, the SCA doesn't
>>provide equipment, except for those new to the activity.  I hope no
>>one's advocating we distribute condoms to minors the way we loan
>>armor to new fighters.  And sex isn't even an SCA activity, even so
>>much as brewing is, let alone fighting, which is uniquely SCA.
>>Yes, sex is practiced at SCA events.  So is automotive repair.
>No, the SCA doesn't generally distribute protective equipment, but a   
>is a far cry from a barbute or even an athletic cup.  Condoms are far   
>expensive, are small and easily stocked, and are disposable.

So would tent stakes be, but I haven't noticed a tent stake conssession
going on, and so many of us pitch tents.

>Moreover, if a
>fighter can't get a helmet, he won't rationalize the need and fight   

I would rather teach people not to rationalize in such a dangerous   

>As to your other claim, no sex isn't an SCA activity.  Nor is sleeping,
>bathing, urinating. Should we, therefore not make spaces and facilities
>available for sleeping, bathing, and urinating?  I mean, if you really   
>we can, we should do away with this stuff.  Tent space, showers, and   
>all cost a good deal of money.

But they are indispensible to attendance at events.  Sex is not.

>As for the question of distributing condoms to minors--aren't you   
>in a bit of ad populum argumentation here, Your Excellency?  I don't   
>anyone discussing "minors" in any portion of this string, until now.

Indeed, nor have I noticed any mention of what measures, if
any might/are/should be taken to avoid distributing condoms
to minors.

Now, "ad populum" is a Latin phrase I hadn't encountered, and I don't
quite catch the meaning from the context, so I don't know whether to
plead guilty or not to that charge.  You were right that no one had
mentioned minors but me, until Her Ladyship Eowyn, arguing for
condoms being made freely available in restrooms, posted the following:

"They should be made available in an area that is not being monitored. "

Now, I've had things I'd written banned from SCA newsletters because
the Chronicler's office has a policy that nothing should be in an SCA
newsletter that you couldn't show to the mundane father of a 16-year-old
girl who was joining the Society.  While I think that is far too   
a policy, Eowyn's suggestion seems like the other extreme to me.

>>I don't believe that the SCA's officers need to take responsibility
>>to equip adults for non-SCA activities which they may choose to
>>engage in at SCA events.
>Yeah.  That's right, let 'em bring their own damned toilet paper.   
>Your Excellency, you're making this too easy.

You're way off target Your Excellency, and you know it.  Sex is
not an involuntary response like blinking your eyes or going to
the restroom.  And it certainly does not follow that because I
disapprove of SCA officers distributing condoms, especially
when paid for by SCA funds, that I therefore likewise disapprove
of port-a-johns being stocked with toilet paper.

>>I don't place condoms in a category
>>with band-aids.  I place them in the same category with motor-
>>cycle helmets:  a device intended to make a risky activity
>>slightly less risky, but by no means safe.
>But how likely are folks to need motorcycle helmets at events?  Besides,
>your logic can just as easily be applied to sunblock.  If a large   
portion of
>our populace were riding motorcycles, and if helmets could be as readily
>made available, I'd say go for it.  Sorry Your Excellency, the analogy   
>the motorcycle helmet just doesn't hold up.

It wouldn't hurt my feelings if Chirurgeons didn't stock sunblock.
As to helmets, I think your collectivist tendency might be showing.
Tax all to provide what you feel most of us need.  As long as it's
not too hard.  Condoms are easy.  That's about the best thing
you can say for them.

>>If condoms must be distributed at SCA events, I suggest someone
>>other than Chirurgeons should be the ones.  Aren't they usually set
>>up at a central point during the _day_?  Haven't they usually gone
>>to take part in other activities when the fighting is done?  Or should
>>they be asked to man Chirurgeon's Point from dusk to midnight,
>>as well?  Better it should be seneschals.  Or perhaps some new
>>officer with a suitable title, "Minister of Responsibility", or   
>>equally Orwellian.  Perhaps they could distribute other equipment
>>for the amorous, such as vibrators (why should we discriminate
>>against those who _haven't_ "gotten lucky"?) and more ... esoteric
>>devices.  Rope, for those who... whose tents need setting up!  (Yeah,
>>that's the ticket!)  They could also set up their point on Sunday, to   

>>motorcycle helmets for the bikers who've forgotten theirs, and new   
>>for those whose tires have gone bald.  I can't wait to see the first
>>for this service.  (This paragraph has been an exercise in satire.)
>How sad that this was all intended as satire.  Most of what you describe
>sounds like the sort of things my old barony always set up at gate point   
>camping events.  We had a chirurgeon on duty (at larger events) or on   
>(at smaller events) around the clock.  Hey, people get up and twist   
>in the middle of the night.  In any event, we always had *someone* awake   
>gate point, and the gate guards had access to the chirurgeon's
>distributables.  Our gate people also kept hammers, ropes, and spare   
>on hand for tent emergencies.  Fire extinguishers, too.

I'm impressed.  I've never heard of such a thing in Meridies, Ansteorra,   

Furthermore, as
>Baron of 1000 Eyes, I helped jump start cars, tow vehicles, and change

I'd be surprised to find that none of the officials at Ansteorran
>events have ever done likewise.  You know, they never DID tell me what I   
>that Pelican for.  Say, you don't suppose...?

Lots of people have done this sort of automotive assistance, but I've   
seen it formally provided by an SCA branch.

>As for "Minister of Responsibility"--hmmm, not bad, Your Excellency.  We
>called them autocrats and security.  I thought the currently popular   
>was "stewards."  That's all a steward is:  someone who takes care of   

Appointing a person whose job it is to take care of us is the opposite
of taking responsibility for ourselves.  I think most of us expect events
to provide things like a place to do what we do at SCA events, a feast
that we buy, and various other traditional things that we've established   
the years, such as list ropes, toilet facilities, and first aid on a   
basis.  We bring our own stuff; camping gear, artistic supplies and
materials, armor, clothing, medicines, food, feast gear.  We try to
help those who've forgotten some things, but we can't stock everything,
and I believe there are things we shouldn't try to stock, and that
birth control devices including condoms is among those.

Being "responsible" means being prepared to personally deal with
the results of one's own actions.  Using a condom is not being
responsible, it is being cautious.  But not very.  Especially if
you've forgotten your own condoms and are only going to use
one if you can get it with extreme convenience, on-site.

>As for distributing vibrators--here I think you've touched on the very   
>of our disagreement.  Condoms (with a few exceptions that don't work   
>well anyway) are not pleasure enhancement devices.  Making condoms   
>does not increase the likelihood of sexual activity.  Giving out condoms
>increases the likelihood of SAFE sexual activity.

No, the heart of our disagreement is that I believe that sex is for
responsible adults and you believe that the SCA should make
sex safer for irresponsible people.  I would rather see the SCA
membership, as a --little "s"-- society foster a bit more restrained
conduct as a virture, in the same way that we've had such success
fostering courtesy, chivalry, honor and honesty as virtues.

>>Finally, much as been said to equate the use of a condom with
>>being "responsible".  Given condom failure rates, and their   
>>in stopping the transmission of viruses (a virus is far smaller than
>>the sperm a condom is designed to stop -- latex is a _porous_
>>material), I am forced to question the assertion that a condom
>>constitutes "protection".  I can't agree that a decision to have
>>sex with a partner whose history you don't know, and with whom
>>you don't intend to pursue an exclusive relationship is made
>>"responsible" because a condom is involved.  Sex has consequences,
>>and nothing can change that.  Reckless driving is not made
>>responsible with the addition of seat belts.
>While an interesting bit of propaganda, Your Excellency, the medical
>profession has come down firmly on the side of condoms as the best   
>means for limiting the spread of STDs.

Except abstinence.  Sexual intercourse is not an involuntary response.

As for "a partner whose history you
>don't know," I would submit that you NEVER really know.  All you know is
>what you've been told. And even that reportage--no matter how honest   
>partner--doesn't ensure your safety.  If you decide to have sex with a   
>you trust implicitly and who has been faithful to, say, a recently   
>husband for the past ten years, you still don't know that the husband   
>faithful to her.  You could, in such an event, sleep with a woman who
>recently contracted AIDS or another STD, unknowingly.

True enough, but a recently-bereaved widow of a 10-year marriage isn't
that likely to be having casual sex at SCA events, either.

>As to your analogy concerning seatbelts, I concur.  Seatbelts DO,   
>make driving safer despite the many other bad drivers on the road.   
>condoms have been shown to prevent the spread of disease--the porosity   
>latex notwithstanding.

Reduce likelihood, yes.  But to call condoms "safe" is simply to lie.

>>I would encourage people who disapprove of unprotected
>>promiscuous sex to show a little disapproval of it, rather than
>>finding some way to assuage their conscience by making
>>it "safe".
>By all means, disapprove; I hope no one wants to deprive you of that   
>I disapprove of unprotected promiscuous sex.

But it's apparant from the tone of your note that you don't want to hear
about it.  Still, there are many things which we in the SCA openly and
loudly disapprove of when we see it:  lying, stealing, poor blow-calling,
not keeping promises, discourtesy, unchivalrous or dishonorable
behavior.  Because we openly disapprove of these things, we see them
far more rarely in the SCA than in the wider world.  We can and do
change people's behavior, each of us has been or is being changed,
usually for the better, and I believe that that is one of the SCA's   

That's why I want to see
>condoms made available.  Then it won't be "unprotected."  Another's
>promiscuity is none of my business and, I respectfully submit, none of   

Agreed.  What is my business is whether I want the club I support
through both my dues and my efforts to subsidize and protect -- rather
than condemn -- such conduct.  My answer is no.  That is not the
official policy of my office -- this has all been carefully couched as
opinion -- but it is my considered opinion.

>Until the whip comes back, je reste
>lo vostre por vos servir
>Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace

 - Galen of Bristol
pmitchel at (hm)
paul.t.mitchell at (wk)

Wondering what the phrase "legal, therefore moral" would translate
to in Latin.  

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list