Advice · Audience Participation · DEI · From the Newsroom · Rapier Combat

Goody Advice: Feasts, Fencing, and more

Do you have a burning question about a situation that happened in the SCA and want to ask Goody? You can write to Goody at this form. Questions may be truncated for publication, and submitted questions may not be answered.

Dear Goody,
I pride myself on being a feast cook who makes sure no one goes home hungry from anything I cook, and I make sure that the posted menu always says “the cook begs that you tell them about food sensitivities so that they can accommodate at [email].” A couple of weeks ago, someone complained after feast that they couldn’t eat anything but dessert. I posted the menu over a month in advance, I asked people to email me about food issues. This person didn’t talk to me beforehand or even at the event – they complained to my servers. And with their stated food issues, they should have been able to eat everything but the dessert. It hurts me that I had someone go home hungry, is there anything else I could have done? 
-Compulsive Cook

Dear Cook,

You are an incredibly careful and considerate cook who goes above and beyond to feed your diners, even if they have difficulties with various ingredients. What you are not is a mind reader or omniscient deity of food who can rain down precise nectar and ambrosia. You are doing all that you should and then some, but it is not your problem if an attendee cannot take responsibility for themselves. 

Our volunteer culture often lavishes the most remarkable foods and best service upon our SCA diners. However, there are those who repeatedly forget that they are getting an incredible meal for less than $20 a person, and that no one making or serving the meal is being paid for their work. As a cook, you do not work for these people. Rather, you create an experience of flavor and time and culture with your body, mind and soul and at the end most will be thankful, but there’s always ‘those people’ who will bitch.

If anyone complains to your servers about food, remind them that they are not in a resturaunt. If they still have complaints, give them their allotment of food on a tray and ask them to excuse themselves so everyone else can continue enjoying the meal. They aren’t paying you. They aren’t tipping your servers. They are not going to blast your business on Yelp. Just boot them.

Personal responsibility, care, consideration and manners are for everyone, not just event staff.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I’m an Olympic level fencer. Been playing about 8 months or so, mainly while serving as Queen’s Champion. I got authorized during the week before that event. My question: I should be expecting to be made a MoD at step down, right?
-Mighty Sword

Dear Mighty,

Mighty may be the sword, but mightier is the pen so please, read closely. Your prowess is delightful. It really  is. Everyone is quite impressed by it. However, prowess and fighting does not (or should not) a Peer make. If this were just about sword prowess, you would still be standing in an echoing gymnasium full of white jacketed fencers or an empty field of sweaty and dusty fighters with sticks of rattan. However, you chose this medieval club and want to become a member of its highest awarded ranks.

A Peer must possess prowess in their primary form (fighting, art or service) but also be an adept leader who understands the SCA on a deeper level. Peers should know how to negotiate the Society’s requirements and needs to make local groups, events and Kingdoms happen. Otherwise, there is no SCA. Peers are often called up to hold offices and run events when others are unable or unwilling. So are the people who should be Peers, but that is for other advice.

Peers should teach. Without moving their primary form to the next generation of the Society, a person has merely been a bright flash. What we need is small fires that are kindled and added to, expanding into communities with teaching and inclusion. Peers start things that grow and take root, changing the SCA. This is often the path to peerage, not just the role of a Peer.

Peers must also be known. Your renown in prowess, leadership and training others in these fields should take your name far beyond you local group. This does not require a constant spotlight, but it does mean a bit of time and not being a dick. Consider that as you move forward in the Society and meet new people. You are constantly creating an impression and that memory will follow you for many years to come. 

So no, you will likely not be a MOD at the upcoming event. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what the populace, peerages and Crown will be looking for in you and can move forward with a deeper understanding.

Hope this helps,

-Goody Advice

Dear Goody,
I came out to my SCA friends as being trans and with that came a change in pronouns.  That was several years ago, but I keep getting people insisting that my pronouns are the ones they think I should use.  I’m tearing my hair out and about to sell off my gear and start raising goats in my backyard. How do I deal with people who don’t respect who I am?

Dear They,

Individuals can legally change their last names when they get married and SCAdians sometimes change names and personas like the seasons. If your ‘friends’ cannot try, and try hard, to address you correctly, then are ‘they’ the sort of friends who ‘you’ should put your trust, care, effort and time into? Of course, people will make mistakes and slip up. I bet you understand that and are kind to them, even if you have to clench your jaw a bit.

Moving to they/them pronouns seems to be especially hard for many people to grasp because they have little experience with not gendering a person or, it can be linguistically awkward at first. Still, these are small barriers to break through. The issue of properly addressing a friend, no matter the name or pronoun comes down to being a good, kind and thoughtful friend. If someone wants to change, they can but may need help. If they ask for help, try to be lenient and teach. If someone does not want to change, well, it does become a bit glaringly obvious, no?

Make the choices that are best for ‘you’, not for ‘them’ even if it may mean a few less ‘friends’. To be very honest, in the end you will still have precisely the same number of friends. It will just be more obvious.

Hope this helps,

Goody Advice

Board of Directors · DEI

BoD to translate all Corporate documents into Latin

BARONY OF BODLINGTONE, BODLANDIA – Citing concerns about accessibility, The Society for Creative Anachronism Board of Directors has announced a new initiative to translate Corpora and all other corporate documents into Latin. Board spokesperson Baronne Esdeline de Claravalle explained, “As it is right now, the documents are far too accessible. People can read the guidelines, for example, the Marshal’s Handbook, and realize when they are being violated. By translating them into Latin we will be able to exercise greater control over our governing documents.”

Baronne Esdeline added, “There were some challenges at first, but once we realised that ‘kydex’ declines the same way that ‘rex’ does, we felt they were not insuperable. The biggest problem was trying to find a Latin translation for ‘Corpora.”

When The SCAllion asked why that particular example was so important, the spokesperson explained that two of the current Board had won their duchies while wearing kydex armor and wanted to be sure that it would be legal in the new, Latin standards.

DEI · Midrealm

Confidential documents found in Shire Seneschal’s Freezer 

SHIRE OF DRAGONSMARK, THE MIDDLE – Earlier this week at shire business meeting at Lord Sven mjǫksiglandi’s home, shire members were shocked to discover documents marked “confidential” and “do not copy” in Sven’s freezer, pertaining to the Society for Creative Anachronism Board of Directors’ recent plans and action items on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

“I opened the freezer to get some ice for my water,” said Greta aus Freiburg, the shire herald, “and there were all these papers in with the leftovers from our Yule feast. One of them was stuck to the bottom of the ice cube tray, and it looked really important!” 

What Greta had found was the detailed plans by a subsection of the board for scuttling any movement for a more diverse and inclusive corporate level. 

Sven has long been seen to be a purely local player, mostly in his shire and occasionally in neighboring groups. It is entirely unknown from whom he would have acquired the paperwork, much less why it was in the freezer.

Chivalry · DEI · Editorial · From the Newsroom · Letter to Editor · Rapier Combat

Letters to the Editor – March 2023

[Letters contained herein are completely made up and unreflective of the actual letters we have received.  We don’t want your letters.  Our newsroom is already busy enough.  Seriously.  Shoo.  Go away.  Put down that quill now.]

I’m writing in response to your recent article “Knight returning to SCA after 30-year absence can’t understand how fencers are now considered people.” I was an active Knight during that time period, and I demand a retraction. We would never have referred to fencers as “wire weenies,” because even that validated their ridiculous excuse for historical combat.  We ignored them completely. I demand an apology and correction.

Dear Sir,

With absolutely no due respect, no.

The SCAllion

I’m absolutely loving your publication so far: no notes. Just one question, though. When will Goaty get his own spin-off series?

Dear Goatfan,

Goaty’s agent refuses to respond to any further communication, despite many peers pointing out Goaty’s need for exposure.  We regret that we will not be able to continue with a further series on Goaty.

The SCAllion

As a relatively high-ranking member of the SCA, on behalf of many of us, we’d love to show the depths of our support. Please provide an address where we can send flowers, ideally Wolfsbane, Larkspur, Foxglove, or Oleander.

Dear Florist,

Thank you. You may send this bouquet to the Board of Directors. They will love it.

The SCAllion

You published an article entitled “First SCA DEI symposium held in person; location only accessible via car, stairs“. I do not appreciate the tone of this piece. Autocrats already have a hard time hosting events.  There are 1,000 passive aggressive comments from the local grant level service members who want to get all the credit for running the event, without actually running the event. There are inevitably frustrated marshals of the heavy-list community who don’t understand why they can’t have a field for a tournament at a cooking schola. And Heaven help you if the Baron wants to make it a royal progress without consulting you. The list of things to consider while hosting an event is exhausting.

Furthermore, to add to this pedantic list of pedantry, I would like to point out that although in Section XVIII of Cupora “disability” is listed as one of the things we don’t discriminate against, nowhere in Section II. EVENTS does it require Autocrats to consider accessibility a factor when planning events. The autocrat is given the option to make a site accessible, not required to make a site accessible, therefore the autocrat of a theoretical DEI event does not need to make sure their people in wheelchairs and crutches can get to panels.

Really, I do appreciate your satire, but if you don’t get the details right, it’s just not funny. 

Sincerely, Autocrat #9

Dear Event Steward #9,

Please consult literary sources on satire.  In many cases, satire may be presented in a manner to point out egregious human error or folly in a way that embraces hyperbole, understatement, sarcasm, and irony. This article used all of these items to demonstrate a theoretical DEI event that did not actually embrace the ideals of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. But really, we’re just being pedantic.

While pedantry is on the table, we should also point out that it is “Corpora,” and even though autocrat has been the traditional title, modern events are using “Event Steward” as the more appropriate medieval alternative.

Thank you for your commentary; please believe we are giving it the value it deserves.

The SCAllion

DEI · Drachenwald

Vampire personas lodge DEI complaint, claim they’re unable to attend events held on consecrated ground

CROWN LANDS, DRACHENWALD –  Recent publication of the event information for Drachenwald’s upcoming Crown tournament has caused a notable subset of the population to lodge a formal DEI complaint, alleging that the site is inaccessible to vampires and other persons with reduced vitality.

“At a start, there are accessibility concerns,” said Contesâ Narkissa, lead author of the complaint. “The only entry to the site is over a rapid brook. We vampires can’t access the site that way, so it’s a real issue.”

“The site itself is also an active church,” she continued, teeth lengthening in frustration. “So a lot of it is consecrated ground that’s just unsafe for us. We’ll be able to watch the fighting if shade is provided and there are covered walkways to the field, but both Royal Court and feast are scheduled for the indoors, and we simply cannot get into those spaces. We’re physically unable to cross the threshold.”

Feast is another consideration, as the proposed menu is heavy on garlic and Narkissa’s requests for alternatives have reportedly not been responded to. “This really is an inclusion issue,” Narkissa told us. “I can almost always find someone to snack on at events, but feast is such an integral part of the Dream it’s a shame people are being excluded due to their dietary restrictions. It’s a really bad idea for me to be in a room with garlic.”

Domn Alexandrel Calugarul, the Event Steward, told us that he believes the complaint is without merit. “The reality is that our vampire population doesn’t attend events like this,” he said while working on the silver site tokens for the event, “and for the vast majority of attendees, it’s going to work just fine. Why would I go to even minimal effort to make event sites accessible for people who haven’t gone the extra mile to attend events at sites that don’t meet their criteria or are physically dangerous for them?” 

Contesâ Narkissa hissed in response to this statement. “It’s a frustrating but common viewpoint among those with full vitality,” she said. “I’m more than willing to help educate him on the difficulties, though. Perhaps he could invite me into his home and I can acquaint him personally with the challenges we face.”

An Tir · DEI · Knowne World · Service

First SCA DEI symposium held in person; location only accessible via car, stairs

PRINCIPALITY OF THE SUMMITS, AN TIR – The Principality of the Summits has announced it will be hosting the first-in-the-SCA “Known World Symposium on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” All are welcome.

KWSDEI will be held Tuesday through Thursday, June 20-22, at a former private home converted into a conference center, just a 90-minute drive or Uber from the Portland International Airport. The conference facilities are located on the second and third floors of the medieval-inspired Victorian building just outside Detroit, OR. Unfortunately, there is no public transportation access to the site.

“We chose this location because it really represents the best of both worlds for us,” said Stefan Weaver, the Event Steward for KWSDEI. “Because the building hasn’t had any significant updates in the past 60 years, it gives every SCAdian who can afford it a place to talk about our DEI successes in a medieval-ish environment. Once you arrive from the airport, there is space for up to a dozen people to stay on-site in charming, originally-furnished bedrooms, sharing the original bathing facilities, including a beautiful clawfoot tub for cleaning up.”

The reception desk is at the top of a stone staircase leading up from the small gravel parking area at the top of the drive. Check-in for KWSDEI will be located at the top of the spiral staircase that is the access point to the third floor. The site has no elevator.

The available rooms are on the second and third floors in the former servants quarters, with charming period-appropriate double and single beds. Rooms start at $170/night as their mid-week conference rate.

“We’re really excited,” Stefan told The SCAllion. “Known World officer symposia are often targeted specifically at the officers named, but DEI is such an important topic that we wanted to create an event that everyone could attend in person, in this beautiful, remote location.”

Registration will be open beginning on May 1 and will be online only. All SCAdians with reliable internet capabilities can register for in-person activities at that time. Priority for the on-site rooms will be given to sitting Royalty and members of the BoD. Once the rooms are filled, other attendees are welcome to utilize the site’s primitive camping areas for $30 a night, or drive in from the closest hotel, just 25 minutes away. Campsites are located across the creek in the surrounding woodlands and can be accessed from the grounds by several footpaths. The site does not permit any cars on the grounds except on the drive and in the parking area. There are no plans for virtual attendance, and the site has a strict no-animals policy, including service animals.

Professional DEI advocates, including several kingdom DEI officers, have expressed serious concerns over the choice of inaccessible location and facilities, the lack of ADA-mandated accommodations planned, and the discriminatory history of the town, but have been told that this was the preferred site for reasons that have not been explained.