Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SCA fail


The Society for Creative Anachronism is on its last legs. A remarkable organization, its greatest strength has proved to be its greatest weakness.

I was a member of the SCA for about 20 years, then I drifted out of it some twelve years ago when my contributions were increasingly being ignored. Becoming marginalized in the remarkably inclusive SCA is really hard to do! I might have succeeded! More of that later.

Ostensibly a medieval re-enactment organization, in reality, it is a social club. There are many fascets on that jewel. It can take over your world. It is the reason why I have the words "Honour", "Chivalry","Noblesse Oblige", "Courtesty", "Generosity", "Courage" and "Faith" stenciled in letters 9 inches high around the top of the walls in my dining room. It has been described as so many things. Because it came out of the hippy dippy sixties, many members had the look and feel of aging hippies, but I always felt it was an organization made up of people who had been bullied in school when they were kids. This is important when you examine it. Its not like the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts are made up of people who "fit in". And like to do so.

It is top heavy in bureaucracy, most of it has no good reason for being. There is a reward system for doing good works, and virtually no punishment system. One way to get the uber reward was to create a new office for the ever expanding bureaucracy. (Yes, they played at bureaucracy as if it was a game!) and when more and more of the University age kids suddenly found themselves married with children, somebody noticed that kids were being left with the group while the parents went off to cake decorating class or whatever programming had been laid on. Often when a few people brought board games for the kids to play, suddenly they became the baby sitters. So somebody had the bright idea of making a "Minister for Children". Ben Schragger was one of those ministers. He abused his authority, along with several kids. Hence the lawsuit which will end the SCA.

So easy to "close the peppergate!" now that the damage is done, but I knew that once we had a person in charge of children, we would have a position which would attract a sexual predator like a moth is attracted to a candle flame. I note that all handbooks for the office of "Minister of Children" have been removed from the official SCA web site, (if they were ever there!), so perhaps this one guy broke all the rules. I hope so, for the SCA's sake. I also know that a great deal of thought and consideration (and compassion) has gone into making a safe environment for all, including and especially children. The fact remains however, that the SCA created a job description, they created a bureaucracy which makes them liable under the law for enforcing and maitaining standards for their little day cares and day care providers. And therefore, they will fall on this lawsuit, even though they knew nothing about it, and did nothing to deserve it. Though it took four years after the incidents with Mr. Schragger to make a requirement that background checks would be required.

There are dozens of lawyers involved now, and the chips may fall to one side of the log or the other. However, the time to halt the train wreck is long before you see the trains coming towards the broken bridge! I halted my share of trains. I personally pissed off a LOT of people when as an officer in those long ago days I demanded that people stop practicing medicine without a licence. (The study of herbalism is theoretical only nowadays, mostly due to my timely warnings that somebody will get hurt.)

Oh well, it is when you believe in something more than you believe in yourself is when you tread on enough toes to annoy people. I drifted out, not so much resigning in disgust as sort of fading away about the turn of the century. I got a life outside of the corporation.

Anyway, I knew this lawsuit was coming, though I certainly didn't think it was going to come through the Ministry of Children. I THOUGHT it was going to come through the cooks! I figured that some cook someplace would make up a shrimp cocktail laced with Salmonella. I know that there have been a hundred close calls...heck I once personally cooked a pig in a pit roast that was near raw in parts! That's not good! But we know, it takes six hundred close calls before one of them gets serious. So you pay attention to the close calls!

The SCA may well survive this lawsuit. If it does, it will become a much more chastened and somber organization. It will have lost a lot of its innocence and playfulness. The days when a drunken eighteen year old in a bunny fur bikini with teeth chattering, would have a cloak lent to her by an armed man, and be escorted back to her encampment in the expectation (and realization!) of perfect safety. Already by the turn of the century, there were the noise curfews at Pensic, the demands that fly screens surround the funnel cake makers, the creation of a "gasp" food court with Mundane food inspectors...gone are the days when you can dreamily request something from the local witch to quell the period pains, or swim naked in a swimming hole with hundreds of people of all ages and psychiatric conditions or leave your kids with "the group" while you don armour and go off to have fun.

And good riddance.

What will they keep? What will the new SCA look like?
Well, I hope they keep the honour, chivalry and courtesty. Perhaps become a little less inclusive. A little more thoughtful. A little less dependant upon university students and their highly political and emotional natures. But I fear not. What will happen is that the walls will be put up against the wrong people...the regulatory authorities and the police. The shrill lady in the back shouting "won't anybody think of the children" will prompt more and more bureaucracy, more and more bylaws and rules and curfews and lawsuits. The SCA risks becoming as marginalized as the "travelers" in the UK. Or maybe it won't. Either way, it is something to watch!

I think I might like the "new SCA".

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

well i have to disagree about the honour and chivalry in the sca. maybe in the fantasy game sense butb the infighting i saw was about as devoid of honour or chivalry as i could imagine. i once won the baqrdic champioship at thirty year celebration in an tir(which was for the whole known world), but was treated horribly on ontario, i actually had to sue them to get them to stop slandering and libelling me. so you are way too rosey in your assessment. the sca has become a cult, and if it survives the law suit, which it seems to be doing, it will becomes more secretive and cultish. that's their reaction to any challenge.

there are more abused than just child abuse. and the child abuse goes right to the founding members such as marion zimmer bradley(who was successfully sued for child endangerment) and walter breen(who died in jail from the same events). they also run local branches as colonies and pay no attention to local wishes. the way to success is to brown nose your way up the ladder. ability and competence don't matter. therefore you get incompetents at the top who have no where else they could succeed. they habg on like grim death and believe in the brown nose system. hence there will be little or no change.

Phillippa said...

I know of what both you and anonymous speak of from personal experience and you both make very sound points. Unfortunately human nature being what it is I'm not sure any of the SCA's down points will ever really change. Sad to say and I regret sounding so pessimistic but none the less it can't be ignored that the SCA is ran by normal human beings who are not always as noble as they would like to seem. Signed, Phillippa

STAG said...

I think I know who "anonymous" is...and if I am right, he was treated horribly. If I have the wrong person, then that would make make two!
One of my guy friends was driven out with allagations of pedophilia...and it was just some hormonal mom who thought he was "creepy". Well, he WAS creepy, many nerds are. But not a pedo creepy.
So much for inclusiveness.

Phillippa feels the SCA won't change. It bloody well will HAVE to if it expects to survive. One think that anonomous and others have glossed over is the great majority of genuinely GOOD people who wring their hands and wonder why it is all going wrong.
Like Camelot, there was a brief shining moment. IF enough good people get on board, it can glow brightly once more.

Anonymous said...

It is an incontrovertible fact that mere excellence is worth by itself almost nothing when it comes to recognition within the SCA, at least for anything above AoA level awards. I know several people within the Society who are Peers only because their spouse/SO was already a Peer and lobbied extensively for them, and the Populace was pretty much shocked by the accolade. The basic problems are that the SCA is the social equivalent of the Island of Misfit Toys, and most of the "serious" players are either narcissists or histrionics that are too "weird" to make any headway in the mundane world. Add to that the fact that the only real path to admission into the upper crust (the Peerages) is through the approval of those already "in", and you have a system ripe for abuse.

New members are first attracted and then enthralled by "The Dream", and then they are systematically wrung dry of their labor with the carrot and stick of 1) awards and rank, and 2) "it is an honor to serve". Those who curry the proper favor with the higher ranks quickly advance, while those without the necessary social skills either eventually get burned out and leave or continue to hang on desperately, either out of a desperate hope that recognition will come "some day", or a feeling that this is "their family" and no other group will accept them.

Believe me, I speak from direct experience as a former Pennsic and kingdom officer.

CLM Toth said...

Gosh it is good to hear that there are others who "saw the light" and left the SCA! Hear, hear!!! to all the above comments.

There were many sublime moments and good memories but they were not because of SCA, Inc., more in spite of.

I do not regret my 15 years spent in the cult (and it is) of the SCA.

But what is severely contracting the organization now is simple ECONOMICS! It is no longer an inexpensive way to have fun.

I was a "peer" and saw both sides of that and I can tell you, it is a mess of system. They sit on years of all sorts of nastiness and illegal things that never got to the level of the Ben S. suit, sorry to say.

I always say there were far worse ways to have wasted years of one's life.

Anonymous said...

The East Kingdom has the distinction of having a former king die in prison in FLorida, convicted of felony murder. Paul Serio, aka Aonghais dhu MacTarr, was arrested and convicted for conspiracy to murder and felony murder of a woman in Ft Lauderdale. As part of his defense, he pled insanity on grounds of multiple personality disorder, citing Aonghais as one of his manifestations.
Walter and Marion Breen were flaky, but not intentionally harmful to children.

Anonymous said...

As your Jame piques my interstate, did you once hold the moniker of "cupbreaker?"

Anonymous said...

Sorry, meant name and not Jame. Small keypads are a pain, you know.

STAG said...

Me? No. Perhaps you mean Mr. Toth...

CLM Toth said...

Could not be me as I am a missus Toth. Never remember hearing anyone called "cupbreaker". Many, many other names & nicknames, but not that one.

stag said...

It is interesting that so many people think that the SCA is humpty dumpty...it has fallen and is irrepairable.
I don't think so, but I DO think that the "new SCA" will be a very different animal than the one I wandered away from 13 years ago.
When things started getting shoplifted along merchan't's row, and people didn't help get cars unstuck from muddy parking fields, I knew that this "society" was a bit of a sham. But not so much, and it had such potential!. A LOT of people spent YEARS trying to clean up rules and laws...I watched Dame Exxx go grey struggling to be all things to all people, and by and large, it worked. I don't think the stones she so labouriously pushed up the hill have rolled down. I note that all of mine have...grin!
When I try to explain the SCA to mundanes, I usually fail to a greater rather than a lesser extent. I am still too angry to be truly objective. But do I think it is a cult? Um...most assuredly NO. I have seen cults, the SCA fails the litmus test for cults by several degrees. There is no charismatic leader who takes young women into his bed like Joseph Smith did. There is no demonizing of outside law and order or of other cults, and there is no Jim Jones requesting people to destroy themselves for his, or their greater good.
It is pretty cliquish though. But then, have you ever witnessed two rival martial arts schools square off against each other?

stag said...

Will it change? I dunno. The rocks I rolled up the hill were pretty central, I thought. Demanding that herbalism be an intellectual study only because anything else was simply practicing medicine without a licence. This will lead to another lawsuit sooner rather than later BTW. I see that my regulation was quietly dropped, and the fringe religious groups are again using the SCA as their happy recruiting ground. In violation of corpora... I might add.
The second major rock which I pushed uphill which has been allowed to roll right back down was the decade long struggle I went through to provide parity for all Arts and Sciences contest criteria. It was tossed because somebody else wanted credit for creating the criteria. Fine. I won't bother with it any more.
And of course, I walked out and never came back when I demanded the Knights get off their asses and deal with those half dozen newbies watching them with stars in their eyes. They were developing a fan base! I wanted some assistance over where I was...at the front end. Each knight in turn recited their "oath of knighthood" and noted after each line that "nope...nothin in there about teaching new people".
Okay, I said, you deserve to die on the vine then, and walked out, never to return.
No doubt they wondered why I could not take a joke, but I was prepared to come back, and train the new guys if asked. Its been 13 years, and nobody has asked. Literally nobody. So I guess I know how important they found my teaching activities to be.
Since then, I have gone on to teach more than three thousand students how to fight with swords at the local College, and another thousand at a local community centre. One or two were SCA. Most were people who wanted training, and did not get training in chivalry and sword handling on an SCA list field.
I hear ya about the peerage. I was building a post and beam building in the medieval way down in Milton, and a local Laural asked me if I had considered apprenticing to a wood working laural in preparation to becoming a peer myself. I noted that nobody was building post and beam buildings, so who would I apprentice to? Who is better than I was? He got a knot in his face and told me that "well, with an attitude like that I would never rise to be a Laural". My response was "why should attitude have any bearing on it?" He wandered away, and of course, I was never asked to be an apprentice Laural by any peer, let alone a wood working peer. Or a metal working peer! The fact that I was doing all the training never got me picked up by one of the knights either. Guess they wanted people they could train, and I was untrainable then, and untrainable now. (I run my own armour shop and make armours professionally, and I run my own fight school, which has trained more than 4 thousand fighters in the last 11 years. And I'm not good enough to be a Laural's apprentice or a squire? Get real!)

But thats's just me...the reason why I left...I scared people, and I asked hard questions, and I was made to feel VERY unwelcome. I demanded change, and I still do! Do it my way, and you will survive. Do it the old stupid way, and the SCA will burn on a pyre of lawsuits.

Do I regret my time? Heck no! They were GREAT times.

Oh, and I think "cup breaker" was Elizabeth.

Anonymous said...

How many aspiring knights or pelicans have been ordered by their house leaders to do unsavory things like talk down others (or outright lie) for the "good" of the household, and doing so because they think (rightly, unfortunately) that failure to adhere to the demands of the housecarl will ruin their SCA enjoyment? Household members are told that being part of the household is their ticket to the peerage, and once they are in, it becomes pretty clear that to withdraw from the house under any but the most obviously justified circumstances will almost certainly spell doom for any of their SCA aspirations.

The SCA per se may not be a cult, but it *is* a social club comprised of several cults of personality, each with the real power of blocking or advancing the cause of each of those under their "care". This is what makes the SCA so distasteful to me anymore.

stag said...

Young people (heck, ALL people) will always have their problems "fitting in". In mild cases, this results in a "nerd versus jock" culture, most recently illustrated by the outcry from the "geeks" about Fan expo in Toronto adding a "sports collectible and memorabilia" section to "their" show.
In extreme cases, you have situations like the Halifax rape and subsequent hounding and social media pictures which has led to her suicide. Not the "jock's" suicide I notice...

The SCA is a pretty big organization. All organizations are built up of "cults of personalilty". A good organization recognizes this, and uses it. A good tavern for instance can rise or fall on the attitude of the bartender.
A bad organization is one which assumes that there is a task or a job which is more important than individuals. Militaries and police sometimes end up like that.
Not liking the "cults of personality" is simply stating the obvious, that you don't like "That Particular Personality". Which is good enough as far as it goes...I was pissed off when I tried to make awards available to anyone who could successfully "Challenge the Exam". The award in this case would be a rank in a guild. Presumably a Laural of any kind would have no trouble challenging such an exam, or even writing such an exam.
This was rejected of course because they would get people like me collecting Guild masterships. Promotion by merit has never been a hallmark of the SCA culture. That would have made it even harder to get rid of me!

Anyway....I didn't leave because of the people. Nor did I drift away because of "some" of the people...heck...often we would have some rousing good fights, and trust me, I won my fair share of them. I cut through a lot of weasel activities with a very sharp sword and an even sharper wit and tongue.
No, I drifted away because I got tired of that game...and preferred to start my own, in which advancement was based on merit, not on how well one gets along with the clique.

Anonymous said...

I considered joining the SCA years ago but decided against it. Met nice people, but some rules and regulations were absurd. I wanted to portray a Templar, and had put a lot of time, study, and effort into my kit and persona before looking into the SCA.

Was told by one person that I couldn't portray a "religious" character. When I mentioned that I, as a Templar, would technically be a knight, another fellow went ballistic on me. He told me that I would have to "earn" my knighthood. I explained to him that I, as a Templar, would not be addressed as "sir", would wear insignias of honor, and that my knighthood would really be an incidental part of my portrayal. He'd have none of it.

When I described my kit, another person told me that I had to earn the right to wear even spurs! Someone else told him that he was being silly, that anyone who rode a horse in the Middle Ages would have worn spurs, but still he insisted that "spurs" had to be earned.

Again, I met some really nice people, but also some self centered fat heads who treated the SCA like an exclusive "club" that was THEIR private property. They weren't interested in thoughtful contributions from new comers or in gaining friendly and eager new members. They were interested in their personal status in the "club" and in THEIR "honors" and "awards", probably more than they had in "real life" or ever would.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, in the sentence

"I explained to him that I, as a Templar, would not be addressed as "sir", would wear insignias of honor, and that my knighthood would really be an incidental part of my portrayal. He'd have none of it."

I meant to say, "would not wear insignias of honor.."

stag said...

Well, the SCA is not a costume society or a LARP. It is what it is. Take it with the warts and all, or leave it like so many have. I rather like the idea that you can't "BE" anything unless you "ARE" that thing... Like, you can't be a knight until you have learned chivalry, honour, and prowess. (please, you in the back...stop sniggering!) You can't be a cooking Laurel until you learn to cook. You can't be a blacksmith swordmaker without flashing up a real forge. Its not a video game.
This means that you can't call yourself a "Thief" in the best D&D tradition unless you are prepared to be punished AS a thief if caught, you should not be an "executioner" unless you are prepared to execute someone, and you really should not call yourself a priest of ANY religion because the SCA has specifically forbidden ANY religious activity or persona because of early problems which are beyond the scope of this comment.
Believe me, there were good and sufficient reasons at the time...mostly because we didn't want witch burnings, pogroms or massacres at SCA events. NOT EVEN IN JEST.
So, yeah, its a "lets pretend" organization, but it has the dubious distinction of occassionally walking the walk, instead of just talking the talk.

anonymous said...

to the person who said walter breen and marion zimmer Bradley were flaky but not harmfull, are you an apologist for all pedophiles and rapists?

walter breen died in prison serving time for rape of several underager boys and marion zimmer Bradley was successfully sued by one of those boys for letting it happenin her house. in the deposition, which are on line, she admitted she knew what walter breen was doing. this is about a harmfull as it gets.

anonymous said...

to the person who said walter breen and marion zimmer Bradley were flaky but not harmfull, are you an apologist for all pedophiles and rapists?

walter breen died in prison serving time for rape of several underager boys and marion zimmer Bradley was successfully sued by one of those boys for letting it happenin her house. in the deposition, which are on line, she admitted she knew what walter breen was doing. this is about a harmfull as it gets.

STAG said...

Blow it out your ass anonomous, and DO NOT put words in my mouth. That was NOT courteous. If you can't be courteous, then leave.

Anonymous said...

"Promotion by merit has never been a hallmark of the SCA culture."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Anonymous said...

I am SO glad that the SCA in my little part of the Known World is not like the crap that most of you have been hen-pecking about. Sure, there is the usual favoritism that occurs in any organization that has a hierarchy. But overall, it seems pretty awesome compared to whatever realm you all are from.

stag said...

It has always been like a group of taverns...each tavern owner has his own little clientelle. His own personality. His own brand of beer. I think that rather than complaining about the "cult of personality", it may be well to play the ball as it lies.
In many kingdoms, you can simply go to the next town. Here in Canada, the next town is normally a couple of hours drive away. So, ya gotta play the cards as they come to you. If you have a problem with personalities, well resolve them. Not everybody gets along with everybody else. Meet them half way, do things which impress people. Don't think creating a household will help...though sometimes it allows an alternative. I created the South Tower Armouring Guild household because the armour was so shitty. Members of MY household are amazingly talented people who once in a while bother with the SCA.

Anonymous said...

I had fun with the SCA 35 years ago in Kansas City. No one seemed to take themselves too seriously. "We are, we are, we are, we are from Couer d'Ennui! And no one is our equal in simple lechery! So grab a bench and clench a wench, and enjoy our revelry!" It was a funny song, and no one appeared to be raping anybody nor was anyone messing with children or young teenagers. Nor was that group too fussy about your 'garb,' as long as you wore some kind of garb to show you were into the spirit of the game. I stopped going when the friend I went with stopped going. Marriage, college, granduate school, children and a successive professional career have kept me busier than I would have liked to be, so when I got a breather, I checked the SCA out again.
Since then, I've shown up at two SCA minor events (2006 in Hawai'i and 2010 in Virginia), but no one seemed to be having much fun. At RenFaires, I am often asked if I am "SCA" because now my garb and the garb I sew for my husband and grown sons is so much more authentic. But no, I doubt I'll go back to the SCA now.
Ranghild

Tina said...

≤ 

Nathan Lundholm (Fabian von Sandhausen) said...

The lawsuit did not end the SCA. The SCA will not end because so many of us members will fight tooth and nail to keep it alive and will step forward and pay every penny required to keep it alive. Seriously... $1.3 million lawsuit kill the SCA? Didn't even come close... it hurt for a while, but that is all.

The SCA is a wonderful organization and I am glad it survived because without it I'd have no choice but to live in reality and reality is far worse than anything the SCA has gone through.

Think about it. If you sued the modern age for pedos, there's so many outside the SCA that every man, woman, child, company, and government in the entire world would go broke.

We will not end just because someone decided to go after us instead of the bad guy. ALL it did was forced us to adopt better policies.

stag said...

I agree with Nathan. The "New" SCA will be more thoughtful, careful, cautious, and dare I say, possibly a little more respectful than the "old" SCA.
Thank you Nathan for stepping up and keeping the "dream" alive. The SCA does not deserve to die.

Anonymous said...

I have been in the SCA for close to 2 decades now. Yes, the SCA has changed--gone are the days when the parties were nigh on to orgies and stretched long into the night. Gone are the days when in my encampment we carded and made sure no one under the age of 18 was allowed in and no one under 21 was allowed to drink. Those days are gone because we in my clan grew up and don't party like rock stars anymore. I am somewhat sad to see them go but I have children now and that puts a completely different perspective on the issues for me. Is the SCA dying? Not at all. I am sorry for the experiences you have had in the SCA as a whole. I have had none of these experiences--I am raising my 4 children in the game and they love it too. I do my work not for the awards it gives as some of you put out nor do I expect to be rewarded--I do it to make someone else's Dream better. I came into the game at a young age and learned the rules--yes spurs have to be earned...yes the titles have to be earned...these are part of the rules of the game. I know how to play American Football and played rugby in college---I didnt wear my pads onto the pitch to play...I did considerable research on the forward pass but I wasnt allowed to use it in rugby...Why? Because it is not in the rules. You know what the lawsuit did---it made us stronger actually. In the kingdom I am in, the shires were asked to contribute a bit of their funds to offset the cost of the lawsuit. Our shire gave twice the amount requested...because we believe in the Dream and dont want it to die. Shires all over-groups all over did the same thing to keep this "hippy dippy sixties" ideal from dying. We gave the money to the corporation--the nameless faceless BOD and when they paid for the lawsuit, they GAVE US BACK the excess!!! Name me one other corporation that would do that?!? If no Honor and chivalry are being shown on the field of battle, get on the field and change it or find other people to look at. I am a squire to the most chivalrous men I have ever known. I will "one day" be recognized as the knight I am--BTW I am no kid with stars in my eyes--and if I am not...I am proud to call myself his squire. I sing, write poetry, have won numerous kingdom level and multi-kingdom level awards for both...do I do it better than everyone else? No of course not...to say that i cannot learn from someone else is pompous and ridiculous. Those of you who have left the SCA I dont know your story and I dont know what happened...but what I do know is that the SCA is sorry to have lost you and the POTENTIALLY good things you could have brought to the table and you, even if you dont know it, are sorry to have lost the SCA because of the good times you have missed out on.
-Haukr

Anonymous said...

I played the SCA from 1995 to 2005 when, while working an event in KC came to realize afterwards that I was completely exhausted both mentally and physically. It had become an unpaid second job. I never cared about awards but did care about it's ideals. Sadly, I rarely saw those 'ideals' in those I would have expected. Most of the time I saw members asking me to set their tents up, fetch items for them, quickly realizing how overweight some members were. They drained the 'dream' from me and after that event, never went back. I have more fun now at the KC Renn Faire and don't have to worry about any drama or endless demands from lazy persons of sloth.

Bill the sword guy said...

We used to call them Laural Class Cruisers. Now we have Pelican class cruisers. Am I one of them? Well, I can still set up my own tent! Well, for now anyway. My problems have nothing to do with my weight. Others have demons which their peer groups have no idea how to fight. Or even want to. The SCA will not supply you a cheap analyst's couch. Why should they?
I know, sounds cruel, but hey, it does show a defect in the obsessive compulsive area somewhere which can be fixed. But thats a personal thing, not a corporate thing.
That being said, there are some truisms which we can use to help our kids. "Play the cards which are dealt...there are no bad cards, only bad betting, there is no need to cheat." "You can't adjust the wind, but you CAN adjust your sails". They sound trite don't they? Well, the old songs always do. How does this apply? Well, how would one deal with the "corporate wind"? This entire post was a feverent hope that the wind would blow a little different direction. That the cards, even if they fell badly, had good betting potential (which is what I believe). I will continue to drop in from time to time to hear some of your VERY interesting comments.
Thank you all, even anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I say the SCA needs to "demote" every single knight/count/duke they have and start over. Most of these "knights" hide behind such words as honor and chivalry and yet have no clue what they really mean. Ive seen knights give orders to their squires and men at arms to specifically target people both on and off the field and to have they "understand" (a certain duke in the EK with an affinity for cobras). At Pennsic, ive seen dukes and other knights just refuse to accept hits and if one so much as graze you with a hit, they freak out for you to take the death because they are chiv. The general thuggery that is going on is getting out of hand. Fighters are being taught how to hit harder and meaner to hurt their opponent, and this is going to start to give rise to serious injuries which may not lead to a lawsuit, but its going to push people away and leave only a small amount of "fighters" left. Hell even our kings arent even fairly put on the throne. Several years back one Duke purposely struck the other knights shins so many times the poor guy couldnt even stand. The only reason Sir Gabriel of Maxiswell wouldnt say anything is he still played fairly (yes i know i shouldnt drop names but the truth needs to come out)

The rapes at the Pennsic of 2007 (i think it was) made Pittsburgh news so that too is going to create lawsuits and may just have the Coopers tell the SCA to just go away. I know that was years ago, but there were a couple the happened down near the bog last year because one poor girl was taken to troll and had to have security get them up there. Helping out up there because it was before a couple days before war week, i heard a white belt and a large lady tell her to let go of the pain, and "let them handle it.", she was also told to not make a scene either, they would take care of it. No cops or anything. The small group of us there were all told to leave because this didnt concern us either. The first question asked was if she was found by the Tuchuxs encampment. The bottom line is this little utopia has become ever so dangerous that even my wife was almost assaulted coming back from the parking lots. The new people needed just arent going to return because of stuff like this.

"The dream" has become a nightmare, the society has become a cesspool. We need to just go Scorched Earth and just start over. Less phony titles, less fake positions, and go back to having it being fun. The only thing historically accurate we do anymore is bicker. Sorry for saying so much, but ive been quiet way too long

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this--quite the eye opener and scary. The comments are very telling as well. I put it on my FB and I hope that many of the SCA folk in my friends list will read it. I have several friends who don't play any more and quit about 15 years ago due to shabby/appallingly rude behavior by others and a rather reckless disregard of the rules by the local rapier people in An Tir. I myself don't play that much anymore. I did have a chance to unload on that survey the BOD put out a few years ago. I recently asked a high mucky muck of another organization I'm a member of why did the local chapter at my university lose their charter. She informed me that "we just could not attract quality people". I personally know more than a few quality people in the SCA--but . . . Certainly a background check for any officer seems reasonable to me and this includes the Crowns.

Anonymous said...

The SCA handled the Ben Schragger case awfully. Many in the Society were quick to condemn and remove Ben Schragger, a man who gave years of service to it, instead of innocent until proven guilty. The facts of the case that never made the papers or the courtroom put seriously doubt into the allegations. The entire case began as a blackmail scheme by his greedy neighbors. When the Schragger family refused to pay up their demands they went to the police and gave them their story of abuse. Many of the Pages that were interviewed denied any abuse, and were threatened by the investigating officers that if they did not "admit" to being abused they would be charged with obstruction of justice. Many of the Page's had to hire lawyers out of fear of the police and the DA. There was even video evidence that put serious doubt into the allegations that was never admitted into evidence. Yet the SCA turned their back on him. They just wanted to sweep the whole thing under the rug as soon as possible. Much like how they cover up criminal activities at Pennsic. There are several cases of sexual assault each year, yet the Society and the Coopers have pressured the police to not officially report them in crime statistics. This was backed up by medical staff at the closest hospital. They said that at least once a year, and usually more, a woman is admitted into the hospital after an assault. They said that they had been pressured to keep all of that on the down low as Pennsic was too big a boost for the local economies. Not to mention the Coopers donate a lot of money to local politicians.

Anonymous said...

The OP and a lotmof these sca fatass commentors are fucking nimrod dipshit poeces of fuck niggers

Anonymous said...

I have been reading and find there is alot of truth here. I have never seen such drama anyplace else than I have the SCA. It bothers me that I know of three people who have been raped in the SCA personally, all by those higher up the food chain, and apparently...not much was done. In one case the girls arm was broken. I used to want to be a peer, but after watching 20 years of such dysfunction, I'm not so sure any longer. I have had so many peers just be flat out rude, it's like they forgot how to behave, and watched the same happen to yet others. Fellow peers of theirs don't see it or don't want to see it, because they're so high up, no one dare treat them so, so bad behavior can't possibly exist to them, because no one is spoiling their fun. I want to see a better SCA but there needs to be serious changes. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of good too, but some of the others stuff just overshadows the good. We're all only human, but I have never seen such prideful nonsense as that that I've seen in the SCA, too many let pride get in the way of doing the right thing, like apologizing? They seem above it. I hate to say it, but some peers need to be UN-peered. Some may beg to differ, and that's fine...but this is my opinion base on too many personal experiences to list. It's hard to deny what one sees.

Master Kaiilla said...

I was a member in Atenveldt in the 80's. We had a "Cupbreaker" due to his propensity to strike the groin with a rising snap shot.
Also I am confused. It was our custom that a fighter had to approach a knight and request to serve and in return be trained by the knight. Has that changed? To be "picked up" by a knight sounds like you hang around until one picks you.

Master Kaiilla said...

Within the SCA spurs are a specific symbol of rank, so your choice of a Templar as a personna, which all TEMPLARS were KNIGHTS or could not be a true member of the Order is saying I want to portray a petsonna that is by definition a knight, but, wink, wink, nudge, nudge, you and I will really know that is not what I'm doing.
Gotta side with the "stick in the mud" guys on that one. We also had a group called the Crucidines. They wore a white surcoat with a large red cross on it. To see it search Duke Deaton of Claymore.

Anonymous said...

My experience with the SCA: I've had a passion for all things Medieval since childhood. Before considering joining this organization, I had researched and created - for my own enjoyment - a very authentic Knight's Templar kit and persona, and wanted to use these things at SCA events. I went to an SCA open meeting, intorduced myself, and the response? I had to create these things WITHIN the SCA. I couldn't POSSIBLY have knowledge and ability that "only comes" from learning from other SCA members.

As a Templar knight, I said that I would be addressed as "brother", not "sir", but one SCA knight got very irate at the thought of me wanting to portray a "knight" without going through the proper "channels" first. He was even adamant that I not be allowed to wear spurs (which many or ALL Medieval horse riding people wore) because they were emblems of SCA knighthood. Some agreed with him, some not, and wrangling ensued for a bit. I was also told by a couple of people that I couldn't portray a Christian priest in the SCA at all; that the SCA was all about the Middle Ages as it "should" have been, not as it was, hence, no Christian, Muslim or Jewish portrayals, thank you very much.

I brought gifts and talents with me as a prospective SCA member, was totally open to learning from others, enjoyed the thought of being part of a group, but resented being funneled into a narrow, pointless, cookie cutter "format" in order to be a member of the "club". In the SCA, having fun and making human connections with like minded people seemed to be subservient to following the rules and kissing the backsides of those who went before, or who part of the "inner clique". I lost interest.

Anonymous said...

I pray everyone involved in this cult will get out immediately! It sounds very much like a satanic freemasonlike cult. People are wasting their lives in this worthless pursuit. I pray they will get saved and follow only Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Jesus is the only Way, the Truth, and the Life! Protect your children, they are precious and a gift from God, don't expose them to dangerous cults and predators!

Suzie said...

hmmm, sounds remarkably like the Church religious system

Anonymous said...

Reading a lot of these comments leaves me scratching my head. I started in the SCA back in 1988 and never encountered any of this type of stuff. Certainly there are a-holes in the SCA, just like in the mundane world, but letting them dictate who you feel and what you do and enjoy strikes me as being more your problem then the SCA's. Crying about recognition for your work? Did you only do it for the recognition? It sounds like it to me. If you are doing what you love and enjoy because you love and enjoy it, you will never worry about recognition. I have never been recognized...do not even have an AoA. I never attend court (it does not interest me) and have been on friendly terms with Barons, Baroness's, knights and various peers who have never been anything but friendly and helpful. The reason I am on friendly terms with them is because the A-holes I have encountered over the years I have simply ignored...just like I would in the real world. Does the SCA have some problems with it's peerage and promotion system...or course. But being a crying cookie chaser will never solve those problems. Honestly, I would suggest that the SCA would be better off without the A-hole's, as it is also better off without the crying "how come no one pays attention to me?" types.