minstrel: Vocabulary and Terminology

mary k cummings mkcummin at unm.edu
Tue Apr 18 14:06:59 PDT 2000

Good Gentles,

I too have found the term 'Nazi' repugnant when discussing anything at all
to do with the SCA.  I do not feel it is appropriate on a fairly gut
level.  And yet...

Back in the days when I first began playing, I tried to find a way to live
the dream to the best of my ability.  I did not know /anything/ about what
was truely period and what was not.  Most of my 'knowledge' (<- note the
quotes) came from such films as Robin Hood, Camelot, etc.  The contacts I
had at the time were children actors with the Albuquerque Children's
Theater.  At that time it was run by Bill Hayden and it was a wonderful
thing.  But the kids there were very young.  We were impressionable and
enthusiastic.  I put together what I thought was a fairly good attempt at
period garb and went to an event.  I was... 15 or 16 at the time so my
mother helped with the sewing.  The fabric was a cotton/poly blend and had
a wash of something shimmery and horrid. :)  It was pink.  I think it had
netting over the skirt, and a mock lace up the front.  I'm sure it was
fairly horrible. :)

My mother dropped me off about a block from the park and I walked to the
event.  Excitement bubbled up within me as I approached.  I could see
things over the tops of the cars parked around...  people in garb all
a-glitter with color and softly flowing fabric... warriors in the cordoned
off field...  A pavillion...  I thought briefly about how wonderful it
was.  Plunging into the crowd...  People paused around me to look at
me...  Most went on about their business but two women giggled.  Then,
they laughed...  I looked to see what was so funny and it was me.  They
were laughing at my clothing...  Then, seeing my confusion they took me
aside and told me in excrusiating detail how very inappropriate I
was... how stupid I had been for not coming in something 
more...  well...  'How can we put this...?' (giggled smirk one to the
other...)  More /period/.

Within, all the joy in the dream that I had built died a slow and painful

No offer of assistance was ever forthcoming.  No offer of garb so I could
'fit in'...  No.  To them, I just would never be part of the dream and,
really, didn't I think it was ever so much better to go on home where I
belonged rather than sully things for the rest?

I stopped playing for a very long time though I kept up with the local
gossip.  More or less. :)

No, I don't like the term 'Nazi'.  Then again... 

In the deep, darkness of my memory, I think of that particular incident as
emotional murder and 'rude people', while appropriate
seems...  inadequate.  

For the most part, I am over it.  Or, I like to believe I am.  Yet, I
still get sort of queezy when people suggest I research something.  And I
/know/ that is a foolish reaction. :)  So, out of respect for others, I
try not to use the term 'period nazi' or 'authenticity nazi'...  I even
try not to think it when I remember those women.  But that one experience
kept me fringe and out of things Scadian for years and years.  If you wish
to claim 'authenticity' as your flag and hold it above enjoyment, that is
your perogative.  If you have the time and desire to devote to research,
have at it and more power to you.  If you can and do and are willing to
/teach/, then all the gods bless you.  If you do not and come across me,
and note that my garb is inaccurate and my music smaks of non-period
balladering... evaluate, please.  If you can enjoy the time spent in my
company than you are welcome and doubly so.  If not...  Please keep your
'authenticity' to yourself and go away.  I have no desire to ruin the
dream for /anyone/.  By the same token, I don't want my enjoyment
mitigated either.

If my lack of knowledge offends you then at least have the decency to
contact me /after/ the event and we'll talk.  I am more than willing to
learn.  But, if you want to cram 'authenticity' down my throat, please
don't bother.  I'll just politely spit it out all over your nicely
embroidered shoes. :)  Unless embroidered shoes are not period of
course. :)

If you recognize yourself in the above story, I hope and pray that you
will evaluate your own behavior.  If you know someone who behaves that
way, maybe they should read the mail.  I don't know what could make
someone like that sit up and shut up.  I kind of doubt knowing about the
pain caused will do it.  I am tempted to say that they just don't care
about human emotion in the face of their self-agrandizing
'knowledge'.  For myself...  that just does not matter as much as the
enjoyment. :)  

I hope I have not offended anyone, for that has never been my intent.


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