From the Newsroom · Knowne World · History · Community Standards

The First Knowne World SCAllion Symposium had Layers

RIDING OF HOLLEKE TOR, KINGDOM OF AETHER – Over the weekend, Pseudonymous Bosch and No-Spoons-Only-Knives Hutchinson presided over the First Annual Knowne World SCAllion Symposium, a two day virtual event with a two dozen classes and presentations scheduled for ease of access to as many time zones as possible. 

The keynote address, Satire from Plutarch to Rabelais, was on Saturday evening in North America. This lecture, given by Pseudonymous Bosch themselves, covered the history of satire in the period covered by the SCA and how it ties into the mission and goals of The SCAllion as an institution. Bosch’s overview covered period European and non-European satirists, including Juvenal’s place as a satirist of Empire, Al-Jhahiz, Chaucer, the hua-chi stories of early China, the first booklet of the Heege Manuscript, and the jesting tradition of 16th century Netherlands. It ended by invoking Eric Idle, of the British comedy troupe Monty Python, who wrote: 

“At least one way of measuring the freedom of any society is the amount of comedy that is permitted, and clearly a healthy society permits more satirical comment than a repressive, so that if comedy is to function in some way as a safety release then it must obviously deal with these taboo areas. …If anything can survive the probe of humour it is clearly of value, and conversely all groups who claim immunity from laughter are claiming special privileges which should not be granted.” 

Other classes and roundtables of note included “SCA Law and Policy: effective strategies for finding where they buried the relevant language this time”, “Running an underground newspaper for fun and (no) profit”, and “Community Standards: how the jokes write themselves.”

You-Don’t-Know-Who-I-Am Smythe taught a well attended class called “SCAllion Shenanigans and How Not to Get Caught”. The class examined several case studies of well executed SCAllion calling cards left anonymously for supporters of the online newspaper, as well as several near misses of SCAllion writers who were almost exposed in the act of leaving presents. There were also medical guidelines offered on how to deal with indigestion after eating the evidence.

Jaws, The SCAllion’s Legal Council, lectured on free speech and the modern threat to online satirical works, specifically calling out  Gonzalez v. Google and a possible re-interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Jaws concluded their presentation by handing out packages of shark gummies, which tasted suspiciously like conservative tears.

Although only writers, editors and researchers for The SCAllion were invited to the Symposium, the Editor-in-Chief announced that next year’s conference invitation will be extended to select Top Fans of the SCAllion FB page, and then provided a link where readers could learn how to apply to attend.

Aethelmearc · Board of Directors · Pennsic War · West

BREAKING: Lifeguards file class action lawsuit over alligator incident

BARONY OF DARKWOOD, THE WEST – For the last three months, the Knowne World has been on pins and needles as the effects of the “Alligator Incident” of Pennsic 49 rippled outwards.  The SCAllion has reported on this incident extensively.  Now, in this latest chapter of the ongoing saga, a class action libel lawsuit has been filed in the Superior Court of California, Santa Carla County, against the SCA, Inc. and several individuals involved in the issuing of sanctions against the lifeguards and watch personnel involved in the Alligator Incident.

The lead plaintiff has now been identified as Robin of Sundered Oak, resident of Æthelmearc, the lifeguard who tried to stop a Duke from bringing alligators to swim in the lake at Pennsic and was sanctioned by the Board of Directors for his enforcement of the rules.  According to court filings, Robin and the other lifeguards and safety personnel similarly situated are seeking damages for published statements on the part of Reginbold Strubel, the Society Earl Marshal at the time of the incident and the initial issuer of sanctions, Merione Ferquair of Melby as the spokesperson for the Board of Directors, Board member Leon de Paris, Society Seneschal Gepheffray de la Bourdonnaye, and the Society for Creative Anachronism itself. The suit alleges that these defendants recklessly published false statements about the incident, about Robin, and about the lifeguards and watch personnel at Pennsic, including the claim that Robin had violated the community standards of the Society, as well as negative statements about the effectiveness and integrity of the safety staff at Pennsic.  

The SCAllion will follow the news of this lawsuit very closely over the coming months. 

PS:  Jaws tells us we have to say that this is a fictional satire intended to make a point, and that no lawsuit actually has been filed against anyone.  Nor is The SCAllion suggesting that a lawsuit could or should be filed. 

PPS: Jaws also suggests we mention that, if you go to Santa Carla looking for a courthouse, watch out for the vampires.

Editorial · From the Newsroom

The SCAllion Presents: Jaws from Legal

Today, The SCAllion is pleased to offer its readers an exclusive one-on-one interview with Jaws, our beloved Legal Department.

Q: Are you really a lawyer?
A: Yes.

Q: How does a shark go to law school?
A: 3 years and student loans, just like everyone else.

Q: Are there any aspects of being a shark that make you particularly suited to being a lawyer?
A. Cold-bloodedness. An insatiable prey drive. The fact that I may not actually sleep (depending on who you ask).

Q: Your answers are very short.
A: As Shakespeare said, “brevity is the soul of wit.” Hamlet, Act 2, scene ii

Q: It’s not often you find a shark who can quote Shakespeare.
A: I read a lot. Given that I may not sleep, I need to occupy my time with something other than eating, swimming, and terrorizing foolish tourists.

Q: What’s your favorite ocean?
A: The Pacific, although I occasionally visit sections of the Atlantic. New England beaches are so lovely in the summer, particularly around Amity Island. I visited New Jersey once many years ago, but I found the cuisine to be a little bland.

Q: Cuisine? What do lawyer sharks eat?
A: Fish, greens, the occasional opposing counsel, and the livers of people who don’t understand what satire is and why it matters.

Q: Speaking of satire, why work for The SCAllion?
A: I believe in their mission of satirizing the SCA. We’ve all had a hard few years on multiple levels. We need to laugh, especially when those in positions of power insist on behaving absurdly.

Q: Why does The SCAllion insist on keeping the identity of its authors/creators secret? Lots of people love their work and want to buy them adult beverages.
A: Because The SCAllion is satire. Satire improves public discourse by making it safe to talk about touchy issues. Thus, satire is necessary for a healthy society and a healthy Society.

However, by its very nature, satire attacks the foibles of entrenched systems and the behavior of people in positions of power. That makes people very touchy, often angry. Despite our individual efforts to live chivalrously, the SCA as an institution has a track record of treating those who speak truth to power very badly. I wish this weren’t true, but anyone who observes the Society with clear eyes has seen it, and probably more than once. Crowns banish people on whim for personal disagreements, people and their dependents are blackballed from awards or offices, or worse. Given the risks of social harms as well as real world harms like doxxing and personal threats, everyone involved in The SCAllion has wisely opted to protect their privacy. As their lawyer, I will defend their right and choice to do so.

For those making comparisons to The Onion, remember that The Onion staff has the freedom of satirizing the whole world. The Onion has money and resources to protect its people. The SCAllion is a tiny, rag-tag group of creators satirizing a small social group (yes, the SCA is small in comparison to the rest of the world) of which they are members. It’s not the same.

Q: What do you say to someone who feels attacked by certain articles in The SCAllion?
A: Well, I would invite that person over for a gentle chat over some nice Chianti. I think I have some fava beans around here somewhere. Barring that, I would ask that person to examine their feelings and their past interactions with people in the SCA and consider why they believe a general satire that names no real names is attacking them personally.

The SCAllion wouldn’t have so much to write about if there weren’t so much questionable and frequently awful behavior by people the SCA endows with prestige and influence. If an article makes just one person think about how they treat others and change their behavior to be better and kinder, well, then, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.

Q: Given you yourself are a member of the SCA, aren’t you sort of biting the hand that feeds you by working for The SCAllion?
A: Hello? Shark? Biting is my brand.