ANST - Long Courts, Loud Populace

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at
Wed Jul 30 12:12:16 PDT 1997

Talen wrote:
>My lady and I were in the FRONT row at Kein & Alicia's Coronation, and we
>only heard about a third of the court.  Yes, projection was a problem, but
>more of a problem was all the conversations occurring off to the side. 

Talen, you've made some good points, but I have to disagree with some of
what you say. The conversation problem is always going to happen during
long courts when people cannot hear anyway and get bored.  I know it's
upsetting, but frankly, there is nothing to be done about it.  People will
not think about much but their own boredom, especially when they are at an
event outside their own area where they and their friends are not likely to
be receiving awards.  Make that double when they are hot, sunburned, ant
bit, etc.

>ATTEND THE COURT OR LEAVE IT!  I can't believe the rudeness of some people!
 >A little quiet conversation is okay.  A lot of it is a dull roar.  

And this is polite?  Talen, it might be better to speak directly to the
people acting badly at the time they are doing it.  Nonetheless, I
guarantee that even if you had had pin-drop silence from the entire
populace, you'd still have had a difficult time hearing anything.  When I
was standing 3 feet away from the Laurelling ceremonies I couldn't hear
much.  Part of it is that people are speaking while facing away from the
audience.  We all need to make more of an effort to speak out toward the
populace and PROJECT.  It might be nice to try and arrange award-giving so
that the Crown and the recipient are standing sideways to the populace, and
they need to turn their heads out towards the audience when speaking
clearly and in a carrying voice so folks can hear.

>I know courts can sometimes be long and boring (to some).  As an armigerous
>Lord of this realm, I feel it is my responsibility to attend my King &
>Queen when they hold Court.  I know not everyone feels this way.  It's part
>of MY Dream.  Quit stepping on it!  

I think you'd do better, and be more in keeping with the ideals of Courtesy
and Noblesse, to see what you can do to help future long boring courts be
less boring and more audible so that people can stay attentive rather than
castigating those who weren't able to pay attention with your own
razor-intense focus.  Especially given that the event was so hot and a
physical trial to so many.  It is impossible to pay attention when you are
bored, can't hear anything anyway, are being eaten alive by mosquitos and
fire ants, are miserable from the terrible sunburn you incurred earlier,
and have downed some liquid anaesthetic to make yourself not notice what's
making you miserable.  We all know that alcohol is bad on top of
dehydration and excessive heat, but not everyone pays attention to that,
obviously, either.  Perhaps you might take up voice heraldry so you can
help out at some of these courts, for instance.  You are looked up to as an
example of Chivalry, with all the associated chivalrous virtues, and your
verbal slap above probably stepped on some folks' Dream in and of itself
for sheer lack of those virtues.

>In addition, if you know that you have recommended someone for an award, 
>even though you don't know they will be 
>getting it, you have an obligation to know where that person is during
>court.  If they aren't in attendance and can't be reached within 30 seconds
>or so, too bad.  It was their choice not to attend Their Majesties, and I
>don't think court should be held up so someone can go running around the
>camp looking for them.

I think you are dead wrong here.  One of the best things about getting an
award is when it's completely unexpected.  Therefore, if you cannot keep a
person who you suspect might be getting an award in the vicinity without
clueing them in that they might get an award, you have done that person a
disservice much worse than having to wait a bit while he or she is fetched.
 The best procedure is for the Crown to send someone after the person who
is absent, then go on to the next award or two until the person is located
and hauled into the Royal Presence.  This allows the flow of Court to
continue, and still lets folks go get an errant member of the populace.  By
the way, most of the people missing from court were either trying to bathe
or cool off, having broiled all day in the heat.  I don't think this counts
as disrespect for the words of the Crown, but rather simple

And here's another thought... I knew who I had recommended for awards, but
I was not very mobile.  How exactly was I supposed to run down the people I
had recommended?  And as a Peer, I make a bunch of recommendations, only a
small percentage of which are going to be acted on at any given time.
Should I not make recommendations if I can't guarantee the person's
presence in Court?  As a Peer, I also recommend people for awards who are
not in my local group... and I may or may not know where they are, who they
hang with, and where they have gone.  Again, should I not recommend a
deserving candidate for an award because of this?

>And while I'm on this soapbox, let me say that Court is NOT held for the
>entertainment of the Populace.  Court is held for the Crown to conduct
>official business pertaining to the welfare of the Kingdom.  This is why
>official Courts cannot be held at non-calendar events -- actions of long
>term significance to the Kingdom and the SCA are conducted in Court and by
>Law these can only be done at published events (I'm sure the Seneschallate
>can give the more Official wording).  Awards fall under this category. 

Again, I strongly disagree with you.  Yes, the Court is for official
business.  However, I feel that the primary job of the Royalty and Nobility
is to Give Good Court.  We could have the College of Heralds just do the
whole thing without the presence of the Royalty if we didn't do it
primarily for the pagentry.  Sometimes it is hard to get the kind of
projection that's needed.  A combination of a good herald who can be heard,
having the herald repeat what cannot be heard for the populace, and the
Crown's own ability to project well enough to be heard are components of
"Good Court."  

All Coronations, by their very structure, involve a bunch of stuff that is
of no interest to most of the populace.  I can think of ways to make some
of the official business more interesting to the populace, though, all of
involving more pagentry, and I'm sure you could too, if you'd think about
it some.  The oaths of fealty can be en-masse, with the herald loudly
calling out the words of the Crown.  If individuals wish to swear a
different oath, they should make time to do it with the Crown later.
Instead of each landed baron and baroness swearing individually, one way
this has been done in the past is for each barony to send its banner, which
the baron./ess take up, and lay at the feet of the Crown, then the Crown
allows a mass oath of some sort, then has them take back their banners.
This is very visual, the whole populace can see the ceremony and
understands the symbolism of surrender and re-vestment.  Maybe it would be
better to have the knights, nobility, peer and personal fealties come at
the very end of Court, rather than at the beginning, since they matter to
those limited groups much more than they do to the rest of the populace.
Again, the best thing to do here would be to research period methods of
handling these ceremonies, and use some creative thought on how to make the
process more streamlined or at least more interesting for the Populace.

>Presentations to the Crown generally do not.  Household business does not,
>nor does it have a place in Court -- take it private.  It's nice if Court
>can be entertaining, but it's not necessary.  Good Fools and good Court
>Heralds are wonderful, but unfortunately few and far between.  It would be
>nice if there were more of them, but Court goes on nonetheless.

Well, I agree with you here.  There is just too much going on at
Coronations.  It would be much better to do all presentations either in
private or at a later, less crowded Court.  The Fools and Heralds can help
out a lot in providing "filler" entertainment while papers are being
shuffled, a person is coming to the front, etc.

Talen, I'd really encourage you to try and think up better ways of running
such a mammoth court so it would be less boring for the Populace, and also
for you to try and speak directly to specifric people who are loud.  Then
you'd be serving not only your own needs, but making the Court better for
others as well.  And I know you can be the perfect picture of Courtesy
whilst doing all of this.

Wæs Þu Hæl (Waes Thu Hael)


Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa þik hversu oðlask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna heldr hversu na Hersis-Aðal
(Ek eigi thik hversu odhlask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna heldr hversu na Hersis-Adhal)


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