ANST - Educational view

Decker, Terry D. TerryD at Health.State.OK.US
Mon Nov 10 14:11:16 PST 1997

>> />>Since we are a EDUCATIONAL HISTORICAL recreation group, I say
>> />>ditto. Events are fun, but if you are not sharing the wealth of know-
>> />>ledge, how else are we to grow? 
>> For it to rub off on others WE have to be enthused about and spread the fun
>> of the things WE do that are MORE "PERIOD", and MORE "HONOURABLE" etc...
>I myself am having a harder and harder time believing that the SCA is an
>educational group.

The SCA is legally defined as a non-profit educational corporation with
the appropriate tax status.  Members of this organization do research,
write papers, teach others and in general communicate their findings and
opinions to others.  In this regard, we meet the legal criteria for an
educational organization.  Some of our members feel more strongly about
the educational aspects of the SCA than others.

The other side of the coin is that the SCA is also a social entity, and
has developed internal social norms which may be at odds with it's
avowed purpose.  This is the dread costumed cocktail party syndrome.
>If we were educational, how can the phrase "recreate the middle ages as
>they should have been" be a motto?  "Should have been" is fiction, not
>education.  It's like showing the movie/musical Camelot to educate people.

There are legal, practical, and societal limitations placed on any
recreation.  A number of the SCA's limitations are stated in the
Corporate documents and may be found in the SCA Organizational Handbook.
>If it were educational, why is somebody who cares about accuracy termed an
>authent-o-crat and generally looked down upon (from what I've experienced)?
>In general, SCA'ers seem more concerned with socializing and partying all
>dressed up in garb than historical fact.

The Authenticity Nazi can be a dreadful bore.  They can also be dead
wrong.  I've seen excellent work with documentation be written off with
the statement, "It's not period," because it did not fit the speaker's
opinion of what was period.  Authenticity is fine.  Arrogance, ignorance
and plain bad manners in the name of authenticity is not, and engenders
the reaction to authent-o-crats you have observed.  
>Is the picture the SCA is presenting accurate?  How many inacuracies can
>you think of?  How many observers may start to believe that the sort of
>things we do are the way things were?

Is the SCA accurate?  No.  But the finest research paper written by the
best scholar has similar problems.  We were not there.  We do not know.
We are not medieval people and our view of those times is through the
lense of our modern world.

Frankly, the SCA is closer to Victorian Romanticism than Medieval
Reality.  It is a vehicle of social enjoyment which presumes the member
is intelligent enough to seperate reality and fantasy and permits
non-academics with a scholarly bent to indulge themselves without
isolation.  Is that so bad a function?
>If I joined the SCA for "educational" purposes, I'd learn that in the
>middle ages:

<list deleted>

Many of your points are actually limitations imposed by the laws of our
society and the rules of our corporation.  The rest are primarly
internal social issues which can only be addressed by the entire
membership acting as individuals to change the norms.  They are valid
points, but not necessarily at odds with the avowed educational
>The SCA is more of a 20th century, politically correct, polished version
>of the middle ages.
>Granted, I'm no authent-o-crat myself.  I appreciate the things of the
>middle ages, but I'd prefer a party to a museum tour.  But I'm not trying
>to fool myself that it's education for me or anyone else.
>-Karl von Augsburg
>Joel Schumacher                        JCPenney Co. - UNIX Network Systems
>jschumac at          12700 Park Central Pl
>(972) 591-7543                         Dallas TX  75251

>From your post, I'd say you have learned something, even if not about
the Middle Ages.  That would suggest your time in the SCA has been
"educational," if not in the way you desired.

It would be more correct to think of the SCA as a opportunity to add to
one's knowledge or to party hearty or both, as you choose.

Bon Chance

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