[Bards] First Principles.

Michael Silverhands silverhands at sbcglobal.net
Mon Nov 6 20:18:02 PST 2006

On Nov 6, 2006, at 8:07 PM, Jay Rudin wrote:
> ... I hope to set up a co-op -- a group of people agreeing on their
> own to band together for mutual support.  This would not be  
> something that
> the kingdom gave to us; it would *be* us -- owned and operated by  
> bards, for
> bards.

I believe that we are actually in violent agreement on that point,  
Robin -- hence my repeated statements to the effect that "we have met  
the enemy, and he is us". (Pogo -- a fine, insightful comic strip  
that passed into the ether long ago)

A college isn't a cadre of officers. It isn't a government body. And  
it isn't a charter. It's *us*.

> Before we can begin to discuss how a charter should be written, we  
> need to
> address this specific issue.  Michael's and my disagreement on  
> whether the
> kingdom deputy officer should be an officer of the college is  
> clearly merely
> a consequence of this crucial decision.  If it's a part of, or  
> directly
> responsible to, the KMOAS structure, he's right.  If it's a group  
> of bards
> choosing to band together for mutual support, then I'm right.

Actually, I wasn't trying to argue that a kingdom deputy officer  
*should* be an officer of the college. I'm terribly sorry if I came  
across as such. I actually wasn't trying to argue *any* point of the  
"proposed charter" (or whatever the heck I called it). I was just  
striving to accurately and succinctly state what had been  
collectively stated or implied here, so that we would have something  
concrete to talk around.

If I was arguing *for* anything, it was clarity and specificity.

This was only after asking for concrete talking points, or sample old  
charters, or anything along those lines from you or Willow or whoever  
else could or would provide such, and finding only vague suggestions  
and a sense of (not trying to be snide, just paraphrasing) "it's  
good, really it's good, I can't explain how or why, you'll just have  
to believe me". A vacuum, at least as far as specific issues to talk  
about. I assure you, my "rough draft" was just an attempt to fill  
that vacuum with the ideas that had been tossed into the air here.

And here we are... so *some* good must have come from the effort,  
however misguided it might or might not have been. :-)

In any case, now that I'm not trying to codify everyone else's  
opinion, I'll return to my own which was stated in the beginning:

I don't think that we need any formal college or structure or  
officers or anything of the sort.. I think that if we want an  
informal brotherhood of bards, then all we have to do is stand up and  
be one. There. Done.

(Robin argues that "we aren't doing that now" and seems to imply  
"therefore we won't". I agree that we aren't now, but I'd like to  
think that we could if we decided to.)

If we want a means to recognize each other, we already have one (the  
star-in-harp insignia).

If we need or want a banner-bearer, I think the Premier Bard is a  
great choice. And I think that idea resonates with others here (in  
its raw form, at least, sans details) -- even though we haven't yet  
heard whether that idea resonates with the Premier Bard... picky,  
picky. :-P

I think that we need somebody to be responsible for getting  
Eisteddfod on the calendar. The Kingdom Seneschal takes care of  
getting Crown and Queens on the calendar. If the Kingdom Seneschal or  
KMoAS would be responsible for getting Eisteddfod on the calendar,  
I'd be happy. No other "duties" for them (as such) that I can see  
relative to us. It *is* a recurring Kingdom event, listed in Kingdom  
Law and everything, lords and ladies... I don't really think it's a  
big stretch to presume that they already have that duty. If they  
agree that they do, then this entire paragraph is a moot point. :-)

On the other hand... if we want a formal organization with a charter,  
etc., then I think we need someone on the "role-play" side (to be a  
chairperson for discussion of bardic matters), and someone on the  
"business" side (to be our formal interface with the Kingdom officer  
corps, again for the primary (if not sole) reason of getting  
Eisteddfod on the calendar). I personally think that the Premier Bard  
and KMoAS (or deputy thereof) are the logical choices if we want to  
go that route.

(So, Robin, to come back to your point above: our "disagreement on  
whether the kingdom deputy officer should be an officer of the  
college". That's actually backwards to my line of reasoning here. I  
would argue that *if we need officers*, then one of the officers of  
the college should logically be a deputy kingdom officer of arts and  
sciences, with a direct line to the rest of the officer corps in the  
kingdom, and with the specific duty of scheduling Eisteddfod and  
finding a hosting group (unless that point is moot, i.e. if there's a  
Great Officer who acknowledges that the duty is already theirs to  
perform). It just makes sense to me. But that's not *quite* the same  
thing as saying that a now-existing officer of the kingdom should be  
an officer of the college -- even though I realize, in retrospect,  
that that's how it came out.)

But to restate the previous paragraphs: I don't see the need, really.  
We already have insignia registered. We are already bards. We are  
already talking to each other. Admittedly, our presence, our  
communications, our "rep", etc., could all be improved.

Robin seems to me to be saying "if we build it (a college), they (all  
of those things that need improvement) will come".

Whereas I think that "if we *just do it* (just start acting like  
bards who give a darn about all of those things, and who are  
individually and collectively willing to personally do something  
about it) they will come". I don't think we need more than a banner  
(which we have), a hero to cary the banner (which we have), and a big  
round tuit. Oh, and someone to get Eisteddfod on the calendar. :-P

But either way, I'm willing to go forward into the fog and see what  
we see. An experiment to see if we can just act like a brotherhood,  
and see what happens? I'm for it. An experiment to launch a formal  
"guild" per se, and see what happens? Ok, I could be for that. As  
long as at the end of the day we've made ourselves, individually and  
as a community, better off than we are now, I'm for it.

*However* (a BIG "however") the moment that I perceive that this has  
become just a vehicle for someone to lord it over others; or tell  
bards (or anyone) how to be or not to be; or tell people whether they  
are, in fact, a bard in the first place; I'm off the bus. I'll still  
be "a bard of Ansteorra", just not on that bus.

> So how about it?  I'm asking everybody here, and I will spend the next
> couple of months trying to ask the much larger group of bards who  
> aren't
> here: Do you want a group that will "exist under the authority of  
> the Crown,
> via the Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences, and/or his/her  
> appointed
> deputy" with "oversight of the college's adherance to Corpora,  
> Kingdom Law,
> and the best interests of the kingdom" maintained through this  
> "existing
> organizational channel", or do you want to join together in a co- 
> operative
> venture of bards?
> Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin
> [Note that I am using somebody else's words to describe the vision  
> I don't
> share, to avoid the temptation of characterizing it unfairly.]

Those are my thoughts. Others, please chime in!

I think this list is a great place to kick-start this dialog. It is  
the place where Robin and Willow brought up the subject, and I see  
nothing wrong with using it -- nor do I think that using it  
automatically excludes anyone who doesn't have an Internet  
connection, any more than using a meeting hall automatically excludes  
everyone who couldn't make it to that meeting -- as long as we also  
use all of the other venues available to us.[1]

If you've made it this far, thanks.

Respectfully and with kind regards to all here,

[1] from my previous post: "populace meetings, officer's meetings,  
fighter practices, events, backyard bardic circles, fire-walking, and  
any number of other venues into which an adventurous, creative and  
above all: shameless bard might intrude, thus spreading the word."

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