[Bards] Standards

Esther reese_esther at yahoo.com
Sun Jan 6 14:55:03 PST 2008

Here is the tabgle, and we've tangled with it before: What, exactly, do we mean when we call someone a Bard? Do we mean Scop, Law-Giver, etc.? (Others far more learned than I have long since sounded out on this, and on this list, as well, so I won't go on.)
  Standards is a very, very sticky thing. It's not the standards, it's who set them. Which Stuart King said, "You make the laws, I'll make the judges?" Who is to say? Who is to vest them with the authority TO say? Again, this has gone around and around and around many, many times.
I say, leave it up to the individuals or groups that form, to set their own standards. If you want to be part of a college, do so, and abide by their rules, but don't force anyone to "meet the standards of the college in order to do x or y" -- unless it's a college competition or other venue, of course! Let the Laurels who have their students counsel them on what is appropriate, etc.
  I think we should ask ourselves, do we need to set standards as an audience. If a performerance is bad, should we applaud it? How do we set critical standards as an audience? Where is courtesy, and "cruel to be kind"? In The Real World, Period as well as Modern day, there is a natural "Boo!" response that sets its own "standards". All to often, bad performances, if not rewarded, are not received as they deserve. How do we approach that? In the Society, mentoring and constructive criticism is built into our "peer" and Peerage structure. What is our responsibility as an audience, as teachers, and, obviously, as judges? I submit, THOSE might be easier standards to "set", as they are, perhaps, more universal?
  Eisteddfod -- I know I wouldn't enter! YIKES! I think the answer to this, is one that already exists, if you wish to apply it -- The Letter of Intent process, with the Kingdom Bard (and those they wish to take council with, such as their judges) accepting or declining those who wish to participate. No one in sane mind would approach the responsibilities of the Kingdom Bardic championship on a whim, in my opinion. (I do think there are those with the skill and experience to enter at the last minute, and again, the Kingdom Bard and the council they choose to take should be able to say yay or nay based on circumstances, I think, rather than a ruthless letter of the law -- unless that is how they want to play it. This means that there will be a general standard, that will vary year by year, at the desire of the Champion.)
  My thoughts, hopefully not too addled!

John Hirling <jhirling at gmail.com> wrote:
  Greetings all

I would like to have your feedback on two issues:

1.  Would you like to see 'standards' for bards?  For example, would it be helpful if anyone who desired to call him or herself a bard would immediately be considered a beginning bard; a bard who could show a certain repertoire would be considered an intermediate bard; and a bard who exhibited an  exceptional repertoire would be considered an advanced bard.  if so, 

a) what criteria would you recommend for an intermediate bard; for an advanced bard;

b) should any criterion be qualitative or should they all be quantitative;

c) what procedure would you suggest for determining a change in standard for a bard? 

If you do not believe standards would be helpful, why not?

2) If you support the idea of standards, should a certain standard be required to enter Eisteddfod?

For purposes of this initial discussion, I'd appreciate it if you respond to this email and not to another's opinion.  Also, while the past can be informative, the present and the future are ours to shape.  Let us look to that. 

Having said all that, of course, you will respond as you see fit :)

Warmest regards,

Ihon Vinson macFergus, OL
Premier Bard of Ansteorra
Deputy MoAS for Bardic & Performance

" When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle." Edmund Burke _______________________________________________
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