minstrel: Something interesting. LONG!

Melvin, Stephen R. MelviSR at aries.76products.com
Fri Aug 22 12:24:11 PDT 1997

>On the topic of covering you a** while criticizing the Powers That Be, I'd
>like to offer my own method.
>Make the _target_ of the song anonymous, not the _author_.

	Good show!  The author may well have tried to do this.  The song only
mentions "a" king of the middle.  The implication is that it is the
current king, but there is no indication of it.  While your suggestions
are excellent especially for one who has over the years learned 'how' to
do it well, they may well be too difficult for a  brand new 'journeyman'
level bard.  (By 'journeyman', I mean a bard who has sufficient
talent/experience/know-how to earn his keep by his trade.  Any SCA guild
implications are inferred by the reader :) )  
	In my own instance, I saw something that was wrong and tried to fix it.
 I was good enough to write a 'kicker' of a song, but not good enough to
put the disclaimers up front, not experienced enough to talk to people
first, and didn't have enough know-how to make it anonymous "enough".  I
also put the burden upon an entire kingdom rather than an individual.
All I knew was that something was wrong and I had a bardic obligation to
satirize it no matter the consequences. Well, I'm still paying some of
the consequences today - 5 years later.  The song was anonymous, but not
anonymous "enough".  
	C'est-ca, n'est-ce pas?  That's how we learn, but it would have been
nicer if there had been people to which I could have gone for specific
help on improving the satire and removing the blame thereby making it
even more of a "teaching" song.  Perhaps we should look at these recent
events as an opportunity to discuss how the satire could have been made
more effective and the author could have attached his/her name without
hurting him/herself.  Tangwystyl has shown us how we can offer advice
rather than critique.  For Tangwystyl, I would ask, "Please elaborate.
Help us 'journeymen' learn how to make a song anonymous 'enough'."  Are
any of your satires old enough that you can describe the political and
social situation behind them and explain _how_ you made them anonymous?
Also, how effective were they?
	For others, I would ask, "What pointers do you have for the brand new
'baby' bards as we sometimes call them?  Those who are past the level
where they need to have a single person guiding their efforts and are
now making mistakes on their own.  Most importantly, what mistakes have
_you_ learned from.  I'll start:
	As I said above, I wrote a satire called the "Manners of Caid".  It was
based on several true circumstances that I had while living in Calafia.
When I had completed it, I wrote a letter to their majesties telling
them what I had done because I wanted them to be able to minimize the
damage as the song was supposed to be a teaching song and not harmful.
My mistakes were as follows:
	1) I put a disclaimer in the last verse:

		I know not all the people of Caid have manners poor,
		But it only takes a single voice to interrupt and more,
		For the many people of Caid with respect who wish to hear,
		Are drowned out by the few who care not for other's cheer.

	Never put the disclaimer last!  By the time you get there, the people
who are going to get upset anyway aren't listening anymore.  Make sure
you disclaim up front.

	2) Never put the burden on everybody unless you're willing to have
everybody mad at you.  Although there were many people of Caid who
appreciated and approved of the song, (One baroness said that it should
be sung at every newcomers meeting so that people would know how not to
behave - and what would happen if you behaved poorly.) there were some
who were hurt because those actions weren't theirs.  And the disclaimer
was at the end, so they never recovered from the hurt after the first

	3) Don't try to be "noble" and tell the person what you're up to unless
you know the person well.  Odds are, if you're writing a satire about
them, it's because they won't listen to your ideas and therefore they
won't listen to your explanations, anyway.

That's my two bits.  Any others?


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