Saturday, 10 August 2013

On the Diversity of the SCA's Period

A natural outgrowth of the millenium-spanning continentally-spread focus of the SCA is that there will be some things which people will be interested in, which others will find incompatible with their own period of focus. There are a number of ways it can manifest itself, some more harmful than others.

One of the more famous incidents of this narrow focus are those times where the Crown of various Kingdoms has decided that the late-period game of fencing "isn't part of their SCA", and so have banned it, either from their presence, or from their Kingdom entirely. While most of these are fading to an unpleasant memory, I must say that for a Crown to ban a particular aspect of the SCA enjoyed by members of the populace, for no greater reason than its being incompatible with their own idea of what the SCA should be, is, in short, a breach of the fealty to the Kingdom which they swore at their coronation.

On a less intensively horrible scale, there are those not in a position of banning parts of the SCA, who nonetheless make statements on such things, when discussions of various activities in the SCA come up. The latest one, which inspired this post, was on the subject of black powder weapons at demos and events. The comment was made, that as a consistent pre-black powder persona, they don't think anyone else should be allowed to do it either.

I too have a consistent period of my persona, of a 16th century Englishman. If I were to stick to this quite firmly, I should insist that there not be Vikings and Byzantines and Saxons wandering about. In fact, for the latter 16th century, we should remove heavy combat as such a central thing, as Gloriana's reign marked the end of such things. But, I don't think any of those changes should be made.

Why? How do I reconcile being a 16th century Englishman surrounded by people from centuries from the 4th to the 15th? How do I bow my head to a 12th century Crusader Crown? Quite simply. This isn't London, and it isn't the 16th century. This is Politarchopolis in the great Kingdom of Lochac, and it's anno societatis 48. People come from many strange lands, separated by miles and years, and have a variety of bizarre names and manners of dress. What do you expect? Foreign cultures are always weird. That doesn't mean they can't exist together.

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