Friday, August 26, 2016

Reenactment vs. Recreation - politics and art in the SCA

A huge word storm erupted among some of my SCA friends this last week.  That is only one way some of this has been cycling through my awareness lately, just look at my last post.

And a new friend from a very different direction who does Roman re enactment made a small comment, no offence intended, that the SCA doesn't care about accuracy.  My reply is that some people do.

The official literature of the SCA will say that what we do is re-creation.  We do pre 1600 European centric history, without all the unpleasant things like plague and inquisitions.  But the C does stand for Creative.

And this is where the word storms blow up.  There are many talented artisans seeking higher level awards (or sometimes surprised by higher level awards) who pursue very serious scholarship in the name of doing their chosen art in the most historical way that is modernly possible.  And as we are an educational non-profit, this is to be greatly appreciated and encouraged.

On the other hand, there are members who as passionately pursue participation for the fun of it.  There are a number of geeks and gamers, equally interested in history and fantasy, who just want to have fun.

Sometimes these two groups rub each other the wrong way.  It should also be noted that there are people how totter the fence on this one.

Where it gets ugly is when they start calling each other names; things like boring, war bunnies, anal, party animals....

And I feel really torn each time this argument breaks out again.  I really greatly admire the level of scholarship with which some people apply themselves.  Sometimes I get really interested and dig pretty deep, but I just don't have the time and resources to go be as disciplined and complete as some our wonderful scholars are.  Also, I live this stressful life; I need fun.  Sometimes I can hear a well researched and perfectly period performance and be .... bored to tears even while appreciating it.

I am a creative person, it is in the very nature of my brain to color outside the lines.  With the wrong color.  And so I am one of those that uncomfortably straddles the fence.

But here is the thing, we need feet on the ground.  We need memberships and site fees.  We need volunteers to do any of the things we love, even if we don't always love the something.

We are Anachronism, something out of it's proper time.  We are Creative, we have to be to pull of the Anachronism.  But before that, we are a Society.  We are a community, a tribe, a corporation.  We are geopolitical groups and households. We are families by birth and chosen families.  We are smart and silly and stubborn and irritating and socially awkward and nobel beyond belief.  We need each other to make this work.  We need to serve the dream, our dream, in a way that doesn't turn it into somebody else's nightmare.

These are my own views, don't blame the management.  But I love you guys, I really do.  The day that you stop challenging me to dig deeper and think harder and try something new, I will be out of here.  The day that it is more work than fun, I am out of here.  Life's too short, and getting shorter all the time from my point of view.  But hey, lets see if we can figure out gentle ways to communicate, especially online, so we can last another 50 years.