Thursday, May 10, 2007

Period Authenticity Rant

The other day I was link hopping from the fabulous website of Drea Leed (who has inspired my efforts to dress like a Flemish fishwife), and I found a nifty article on cassocks. Of course I shot it right over to the Rittmaster, for whom I made a cassock last year, to see what he thought of the essay. Next thing I know he's going on about this person's web site and how he's been there before and how great it is. The thing I had already noted was that this woman did her hair up right. No Farrah Fawcet or Betty Page bangs, no rock-n-roll shag hanging out all over the place: just fab Elizabethan hair.

This morning he's sitting at his computer chuckling away, still navigating this stranger's site. "Read this one!" he says. OK, it's a rant on the increase in "farbiness" (innapropriate beyond mere anachronism) of the SCA. This woman is a goddess. That she remains in the SCA confuses me a bit, because there are better organizations out there for people of her calibre, but then maybe she's one of those sainted ones who attempts to lead by example. Anyway, her essay pretty much sums up why I let my membership in the SCA lapse many years ago, and why we only go to the occasional event as non-member participants IF it has horse activities. If the SCA were less beauracracy and drama and more re-enacting, it might hold an attraction. At its present level of "all-inclusive, non-judgemental, history-be-damned" mediocrity: forget it. It's not that I want to attend activities where people rush up to me to compliment my hand-sewn clothing or ultra-period camp furniture, I do those things to my own (and my husband's) standards. I just couldn't bear to be lamer than I was last year, it's all about constant improvement. No, it's that I don't want to go to the effort of putting together a pretty decent kit...and then have to pay money to go to hang out with people who, as the Extreme Costumer puts it, can't even make the minimum effort.

June Faire, the local SCA's stab at a "Medieval Fair", is coming up quickly. We (Warhorse Guild) will be doing the horse thing there again. It's a nice event for us, because, although it's held on a historic site with buildings that only date back to mid-19th century (the disadvantage of being West Coast USA...sigh), it's a whopping ten minute commute from Tilbury Camp. Last year the local SCA poobahs decided to make a kind of "gypsy caravan camp" about 100' from the horse field. I thought, "Hey, no problem! Pavilions for a backdrop." Imagine my chagrin (but really not surprise) when I drove over to check things out on Friday night and saw a giant cluster of glowing R-flipping-Vs!!! Light's ablazing, awnings deployed, nasty aluminum chairs dotted about the landscape, sparkling in the light of the Coleman lanterns. The cherry on the cake was the humans in this diorama of modernity, proudly wearing their cotton-poly T-tunics, capes, and fake fur hats, sipping sodas and and talking on their cell-phones. Aaaaaagh! This is not a hardship camping site. We're talking manicured lawns, running water, portapotties every 100 feet or so. Come...on...people! This is Western Washington, for crying out loud. There are no scorpions, chiggers, fire ants, deer flies, or anything else. You can throw down a bed roll and be cozy, ok?

Hey, now I'm ranting. I guess it's contagious.

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