[Bards] badge discussion

Michael Silverhands silverhands at sbcglobal.net
Tue Nov 14 03:57:26 PST 2006

I had actually written a long reply to Robin's many thoughts. But  
it's probably not a good idea to compose long replies at 4:00 in the  
morning when you've been woken up to comfort a crying baby. ;-)

So, here's the short version. It boiled down to two things:

  * * *

First, *I don't care* what armory we use as a group. *I do care* that  
we have some means of instant recognition (which I will call "a flag"  
for the moment) that says "here there be bards". *I do care* that we  
have "a flag" that we can use *right now*, *regardless* of whether we  
ever formally create a college or what-have-you. *I do care* that we  
not wait for that decision before we get "a flag" into common use.

Is there a waterbearer's guild? To whom is the waterbearer's banner  
registered, if anyone? Because that's great armory, which as far as I  
know anyone can display while acting in the capacity of a waterbearer  
(worn as a sash, flown as a banner over waterbearer's point, etc.).  
If there *is* a guild (which I assume to be the case) and if the  
armory *is* registered to the guild (which I also assume to be the  
case), there doesn't appear to be any formal process for "joining"  
the guild. I.e., if you display the banner, you are one. And (the  
other side of the coin) if you say you are one, you can display the  

*That* sort of recognition is what I think that we -- oh, excuse me,  
there's that pesky word "we" again -- that the unincorporated bards  
of Ansteorra -- very much need in order to solve one of our  
identified core problems ("lack of recognition").

And if there were an officially chartered college of bards that was  
as ubiquitous and open as the waterbearer's guild, I wouldn't have a  
problem with that. I only have reservations about a college that is  
to *any* degree exclusionary -- such as "you can only fly our banner  
if you're an official member, or a titled bard". I would hope that  
this group can come up with a solution something along the lines of  
"You are a bard of Ansteorra if you say you're one. If you say you're  
a bard, you can fly this banner."

Robin wrote: "There is, however, no precedent, throughout the Middle  
Ages and Renaissance, for a badge for the unincorporated bards, or  
any other subset of the kingdom that has no formal, chartered  
corporate existence."

Ok... so here's my suggestion, for what it's worth: if one couldn't  
register such a "flag" with the College of Heralds, then *don't  
register such a flag with them*. Just fly one. Be rebels. And Robin,  
please don't try to tell me that practice isn't period. ;-)

Or register one to the Kingdom of Ansteorra, with no "for use by"  
clause, or whatever herald-fu allows anyone to use it.

  * * *

Second, is it not possible to have this discussion without the use of  
a footnote every time someone uses the pronoun "we" or "us"? Or  
without absurd asides like "The only heretical part is the idea that  
a submission requires proof of 'need'."? (Robin, that's absurd  
because I obviously made no such suggestion. That sort of jab does  
not further the discussion.) Or without "holier-than-thou"  
comparisons? ("Of course, the current Baron of the Steppes ... would  
never dream of using armory he has no right to.")

Evidently it's not possible. :-/ And for that reason, I am done with  
it. I hope that some of my thoughts to date have been helpful to the  
group. Good luck with this.


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