Well Met!

Heather Rose Jones hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Tue Sep 5 09:48:48 PDT 1995


On Tue, 5 Sep 1995, Tim Jennings wrote:

> 	I had thought at one point that a series of criteria (like those
> for other awarded positions) might be created, with an award of the title
> of bard available to those who had met the requirements. Perhaps this is
> a possible area of discussion. If the term is to be used within the society,
> (and it will be) should we create a guideline around the term to distinguish
> it from minstrels, jongleurs and the like? It seems that the title deserves
> to be more than just a common usage for good/bad singers.

Please, my lord, do not take the following pesonally.

AAAARRRRRGHHHH! No, no, please, no. (whimper)

I, for one, am a bit tired of SCA activities and interests being turned 
into a merit-badge checklist. All too often, the governing documents of 
new SCA guilds and similar organizations seem to be slanted more towards 
garnering internal danglies and alphabet soup for their members than 
towards fostering and encouraging the activity in question. Do you know 
what you're going to get if you try to set up a structure to decide who 
can use the "title" bard and who can't? You're going to get people pissed 
off who otherwise might have been delighted to support some sort of 
"bardic guild". I know that's how _I_ felt some years ago when a group of 
people founded a "bardic guild" in the neighboring principality of 
Cynagua and came up with a governing document that went on for about 
eight pages of ten-point type, half of which dealt in excruciating detail 
with what hoops one had to jump through in order to be "given" the rank 
of "bard" by their guild. I don't recall whether it said so explicitly, 
but there was a strong suggestion that anyone using the "title" in their 
principality who had not been "awarded" it by the guild would be Talked 
To. Well, you know, I would have been perfectly happy to give any and all 
support I could to a group that wanted to explore and support period 
performing arts -- but I had no interest in playing along with the 
delusions of self-aggrandizing tin-plated dictators. Now, maybe they 
really weren't so bad. Maybe they'd just gone a little overboard in 
setting up their charter. But I saw the charter first.

So any time someone suggests setting up "standards" and "rankings" for 
SCA performers, _that's_ the sort of thing I think of. And it turns my 
stomach. For what it's worth, SCA performers aren't the only ones who 
make this sort of mistake. I recall a rather ill-fated campaign a number 
of years ago in the filk community to set up some sort of rankings 
loosely parallel to what the costumers do. The idea was that someone's 
ranking would tell you how good a performer they were. Hey -- I can tell 
how good a performer someone is by listening. And maybe they're really 
great, but just not my style -- rankings won't tell me that.

So, anyway, I don't mean to squash discussion on the subject -- this is 
just one person's experience and opinion -- but I'm not overfond of the idea.

Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn



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