ES - Courtesy & Other Things (rather long though)

Michael Richardson mike0001 at
Thu May 28 22:40:05 PDT 1998

G.R.Rhine wrote:

This disclaimer also goes for me. The individuals that I observed
were not anyone that I know or have met.

> ***Short disclaimer before I bash***
> In each of the instances below, I did not see anyone *I* knew
> personally, so I see this as more of a Society or Kingdom wide
> problem, than a problem in Elfsea
> *** End of disclaimer***
>         I would like to add comments on another note of courtesy
> however. Since I have been playing (again) I have noticed that the
> courtesy on the whole is not what it used to be (5 years ago, when I
> began). At both Elfsea Defender, and Elfsea Springfaire I got to site
> before my lord, and set up camp by myself. On both occasions there
> were men (healthy full grown men) standing around watching me, who
> never  offered to help me. (At Defender they did finally offer
> when I went to set up the walls of my tent.) This weekend, there were
> several times when I was walking from camp to the list field with
> my arms full of HEAVY things, no one offered to come to my
> aid, and when we were setting up camp (next to the vigil) on Friday
> night, there were several Knights who stood and watched myself and
> another lady unloading our vehicles, without the offer of aid. How
> are newcomers supposed to learn these things if not by example?
>         As for asking for help, it seems to me that since chivalry,(the
> respect and courtesy with which we are supposed to treat one another)
> is one of the main building blocks, which the Society has been
> created upon, no one should have to ask. Maybe that is taking a bit
> of a hard stand, but then again my belief is that most of us are big
> boys and girls and shouldn't have to be reminded like children. If
> those of us who have been around a while, will teach by example, then
> newer people will learn, and will understand much better, than being
> told "Do as I say, not as I (or a good portion of the people) do."

I have been mulling this post over since yesterday. It was a subject
that Afan and I discussed at length both at the event and later. At the
risk of really ticking people off at me, I must say that this is the
one aspect of the SCA that has been a big disappointment. In the first
place helping someone carry something or set up a tent shouldn't have
anything to do with SCA chivalry. This is something my mother taught
me to do. I was brought up that it is just polite. Now after I spend
an afternoon unloading the truck and setting up camp, I get tired too.
My fondest desire is to just sit in my camp and chill. And rightly or
wrongly, I haven't made a habit of wandering around afterwards looking
for work. (Army taught me that I think) But, if I see someone with a
big load or struggling to load/unload something, I offer my help. I
do this for absolute strangers in the mundane world where chivalry is
just a word you learn in English Lit. I would expect it to be a little
more forefront in the minds of the SCA. 

Next subject (takes a deep breath), I realize this part will royally
(no pun intended) tick some folks off...  But with regards to the
chivary, they should be the ABSOLUTE first to think/offer help. I know
that some do, I've seen it, and these are the ones I wish to emulate.
But I was at the camp, next to a vigil for a new knight. When I was 
there, I didn't have a problem with noone coming over and ask to help.
But I drove off to air up the mattress in the parking lot. (I didn't 
want that annoying whine of the pump to disturb the vigil.) I came 
back about 15 or 20 minutes later and there was Afan and my wife still
setting up camp alone. A large group (6-8) of people were standing
outside the vigil tent waiting for their turn to give advice to the
new knight. Not a single one had come over to offer help to what to
some (those that had arrived after I had left) were two young ladies
setting up a camp by themselves a meer 10 meters or so away. Now I
have thus far had excellent experiences with the chivalry, Sir Axel
listened and answered  my annoying questions later the next night even 
though he very much wanted to go to bed. This is behavior that I respect.
The other is not. Now I may be new, but I didn't just bounce off the
cabbage truck. When I was in the military, I did and got away with all
sorts of stupid things as a private. However, once I was promoted to 
corporal I was a non-commissioned officer. One single stunt like I had 
pulled as a private would have gotten at least one if not both of those 
little stripes pulled straight off my uniform. Rank hath is priveleges 
that is true. But rank also hath its responsibilites. The higher rank an
individual achieves, the more under the microscope that individuals
actions become. It's not fair, but it is the nature of power.
The very fact that this occured outside of a vigil for a new knight
probably gauls me more than any other factor. I was thoroughly 
disgusted with the lip service to chivalry at the time. Since then, I 
have talked to and met other knights that have rekindled my belief. 
Perhaps I am responsible due to my own naivety as a new member. I don't 
know, but a peer should be the absolute embodiment of all that is right 
and good in the SCA. Now they are just people and will have good days and
bad days I'll grant. But keep in my the standard is higher therefore
it stands to reason that more effort must be made to keep the ideals
at the forefront as often as possible.
**Thus my sermon ends**
I have little doubt that I have angered and/or insulted a number of
people with my little diatribe here. For that, I am truly sorry. I 
have thought about my wording of this post since last sunday and believe
me, this is a much nicer version than my original thoughts. It might
even be more appropriate to post this to the Ansteorra list instead of 
just Elfsea's and perhaps I will. If I have offended you, please do not 
hesitate to email me regarding this. I will most humbly apologize with 
heart-felt sincerity for offending. But, I cannot (in good conscience) 
apologize for my feelings in this matter. Those that uphold the standards 
of chivalry, I thank you for the example. Those that find themselves 
lacking should look deep and I'm not just talkin about those with
white belts either.

With greatest respect,
Incipient Canton of Glaslyn
(Mike Richardson)
p.s. Dang, this turned out to be unbelievable long, sorry bout that too.
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