SR - About a philosophy of names
tmcd at jump.net
Tue Aug 10 22:29:34 PDT 1999
If I may maunder about my own personal opinions and notions concerning
There is often some tendancy in SCA branches or new SCA members to
want a name that *resonates*, that *sings*, that has *deep meaning*.
What I've often seen happen in such cases is that their attempt looks
just like a lot of other SCA names, and resembles nothing in period.
In personal names, you get things like "Rhiannon Dragonsword of the
Mystic Woods". ("I'm not making this up, you know.") Groups are a
little less stereotyped, but you tend to get "Dream", "Keep"
(registerable only because of one known period occurrence of the word
in English) or some other fortification, and justifications where the
word looks like one meaning but is documented as meaning another.
(E.g., I believe we don't know of any known places where the noun was
a plain atmospheric phenomena. "Mist Hill", yes; "Mists" and
"Dragon's Mist", no. "Desert Wyndes" was passed because those words
could mean "empty streets". You wouldn't guess that, hearing it.
Also not plausible for where people live.)
Oh, did I mention that they're in English, a Celtic language, or Old
Norse? "SCA means 'Scandinavians and Celts Anonymous'." (There's
some reason for the English part, because of the many usable sources.)
Apparently the pagan community has much the same problem.
I recommend "Lady Pixie Moondrip's Guide to Craft Names", at
http://www.spots.ab.ca/~cogcoa/pixie_moondrip.html . It's hilarious.
On the other hand, if you are individualistic like everybody
else, you may be looking for a name that expresses the
uniqueness of your personality but still sounds like all the
other craft names you've ever heard. Fortunately, this isn't
too hard. Several years back, a gentleman of Lady Pixie's
acquaintance told her that the best way to get laid at a pagan
gathering was to have the PA system announce, "Will Morgan and
Raven please come to the information booth?" Since the
resulting crowd would include at least a third of the female
attendees, he went on, it wouldn't be too hard to meet someone
So I'm jaded. I want to see German names, and Spanish (especially
here), and Italians. Those were places where people lived. I want to
see utterly standard names that a clerk for Domesday Book, or the HRE
chancery, or the king of Aragon wouldn't have blinked to have heard.
I'm sick of eating magic fairy cakes. I want a good manchet with hot
So I like the current Southern ballot.
I expect other experienced SCA people have similar feelings. I once
read a Laurel writing about something that stopped her in her tracks
at Pennsic. She saw a woman wearing wonderful *middle-class* Tudor.
Brown and white and no decoration, but all neat and well-sewn and
authentic. Surely they get tired of the beaded and jeweled
Elizabethan, and want to see the hand-spun and -woven bog dress?
I hope fighters come to feel the same way. Surely they get tired of
fighting the same double-elim that they've fought dozens of times
before? Do they come to yearn to fight at the barrier, like God and
King Rene intended?
Unfortunately, due to the diligent work of the "Sucks To Be Me Dept.",
I doubt that most people agree.
Daniel de Lincolia, reclining languidly in ennui on his chaise longue
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