minstrel: Vocabulary and Terminology

mary k cummings mkcummin at unm.edu
Thu Apr 20 08:41:45 PDT 2000

> I was hoping that I could convince people that talking about Nazis
> here was a moot point. Sure, some people have run into some very rude
> people. Does that mean we have to talk about it on every SCA-related
> list?

In some ways, I agree with you.  In some ways, it is moot.  Or it could be
seen as such.  Afterall, what is it we discuss but people who are
comfortable with killing another individual's joy in our shared
dream.  People who, through lack of consideration or malice or simple
inattention, extend their limitations onto others.  Like any prejudice it
is distasteful.  Like other prejudices, this too has the potential for
great harm.  What harm?  A fair question.  The prejudice is multi-faceted
and is not limited to 'abuser'/'victom' but tinges the the way the 'Mundane'
world views the SCA.  Statisticly, when something good happens, we tell
three friends.  Statisticly, when something bad happens, we tell
eleven.  This is a marketing truism and is why 'word of mouth alone does
not cut it'.  Look at this from within the Mundane/SCA dicotomy.  This one
could very well damage the SCA.  Consider the woman who left the dream
because of mundane pressures.  Within the SCA can we really afford to
dismiss the thoughtless... the insensitive... the... callous mistreatment
of newcomers simply because it is easier to do that then seek a solution?

Within the SCA, as in many pre-1600's cultures, the Bard holds a kind of
trust.  It is the Bard who /should/ teach.  The Bard who /should/ be
conscious of language.  The Bard who /should/ be responsible for
promoting social change.  We sing of honor and respect.  We sing of
prowess in battle or in bed.  We sing of the good and
noble.  Why?  Because it is fun. :)  But going a bit deeper, we sing about
the values we wish our people to emulate.

Now.  Consider the period ballad about the woman who left her husband to
go off with her gypsy love.  In period versions of the song, is it not
true that the woman ended up alone, destitute, cursing her own folly?  Or
dead.  There are examples of stories, though off the top of my head I
can't remember the /references/, of people who maltreat others ending up
broken, beaten and dead.  Isn't this the same thing?  Couldn't it be that 
the minstral or bard of old weave that song, or that story to demonstrate
in a verbal culture the stupidity of cruelty?  Perhaps.  I chose to
believe so.  As I chose to believe that, for the most part, people do not
/intend/ cruelty.

As a Bard in the SCA, I believe it is my duty to sing not only of the
glorious, but also of the darkness.  In this way, I hope to expose the
darkness to light.  I try to do so with humor, though I am not as gifted
as m'lord Corwyn is.  I try to balance the dark with the light.  I /try/
to teach by example how people should be treated.

I am sorry to bring this all up again when the discussion has turned again
to something more engaging than this.  On the other hand, I /firmly/
believe that the way human beings are treated is critical.  It is part of 
why I am here.  

I will be out of town for the next few days so please send to me directly
rather than to the list.  Just expect delays in replying since I won't
have net access at all until next week. :)

Enjoy the dream.


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