Monthly Archives: December 2014

Peer-Like Qualities, enumerated

Where this is coming from:  A Peer, in the SCA, is someone who:

  • Excels at either service, or A&S, or heavy combat (or other bar, such as having served as Queen)

AND

  • Possesses and demonstrates Peer Like Qualities (PLQs)

I am of the opinion that everyone in the Society is expected to act with PLQs. Then, those who also meet the first requirement are thusly elevated.  It should be exceedingly rare to have someone who would be deserving based on requirement 1, but doesn’t rise due to the second point.  Should be.  Should be.

I digress….

I have been working on this post, summarizing what “Peer-Like Qualities” are for about 2 months.  I set out one basic rule for myself: be positive.  As in, “Don’t gossip”, being a rule set in the negative (“don’t…”) eventually found its way to “peddle in truth”.  I was surprised by how difficult the task I laid out for myself was.  I talked to a lot of people and came up with a lot of wishy washy opinions.  The best I got (because it was one I came back to over and over again) was “It’s like pornography: I know it when I see it.”

I honestly thought I’d get a list that was about 10 items long.  But, here is what I have come up with.  Comments, suggestions for more, etc, are most welcome.  Feel free to disagree with me and provide discourse to that end.

  1. Speak in the light and always truthfully.  (This is what became of “peddle in the truth”).  Think of it this way: No matter what you say, just assume that someone you didn’t think would hear it, will hear it.  And, well, it’s much easier to remember what you’ve said and to stand behind your words if you always speak the truth.
  2. Treat everyone with respect.  Not “the respect that you feel they are due” or “respect that you think they have earned” but RESPECT. Period.  If you are unable to be respectful towards someone, then acknowledge this as the negative that it is, and remove yourself from the situation.
  3. Speak up for what is right.  Immediate addendum to this: not for yourself.  There is a lot wrapped up into this, including an assumed humility.  But the most important corollary to this PLQ is this:

There will be times, because we are all human, where we will lose our cool.  The best way to ensure that you have lost your cool in a justified way is when you have gotten that angry in standing up for someone else, or for a greater good.  If you are getting that angry in a harm done to you alone, then before you lose your cool publicly, find a trusted level headed person and discuss the situation with them.  You may be wrong, or even if you’re right, there might be a better way to handle the situation.  Not that these may not be true if you stand up for someone else (or a greater good) but it is human nature that this is less likely to be the case in these situations.  I’m not saying to never speak up for yourself, of course. But if we all focus on standing up for others, then that will become a moot point, so I am simply not including it as a PLQ.

 

And…. That’s it.  That’s all I have.  Just three.  I surprised myself.

 

Addendum:

Recently I saw someone tell a Lady of the Rose to “shut up”.  There was, as there should be (see PLQ #3), a lot of ruckus raised over this.  But invariably the protestors said things like “don’t be mean to a woman” or “don’t tell a Lady of the Rose to shut up.”  This doesn’t sit right with me.  I fail to see why it’s worse to tell a woman to shut up just because of her gender. Or a Lady of the Rose due to her status.  If anything, LOWER status should be treated more carefully….. you gotta figure that a Lady of the Rose has developed a skin thicker than the average new person and because of PLQ #4, she isn’t going to listen to that rude advice anyways.

The lost six months (Or: let’s NOT let this happen)

The events of November 1, 2014 in the SCA Kingdom of the East served as a rock dropped in the middle of a lake, whose surface appeared smooth until the rock pierced it.  If you are blissfully unaware of what I refer to, you can read my account here.  In the immediate aftermath, there was a stunned silence, followed by days of private whispers, and finally some discourse.  The public discourse died down although discussions among groups of people (such as the East’s knights) continued and grew, to a crescendo that most of us aren’t fully aware.  Then, most recently, an interesting phenomenon: sporadic carefully worded posts by individuals stating their personal stance.  And what I am seeing and hearing is largely along this ilk:

 There is something I don’t like, but I’m not going to walk away from this game completely. I am going to limit myself to my safe circle of friends and activities I am comfortable with.

This last part has me speechless.  Or it did, for a few days.  I finally put together the following words on someone’s FB post:

The group is called a Society, and rightly so. We are all part of this. If there is a problem, we are all linked to the problem as well as being keys to the solution. My biggest fear at the moment is that those who will step back from their regular level of activity will help create a lost 6 months, an important period of time when we can instead all be working towards changing the underlying fabric that caused the events of that day. I firmly believe that we are setting ourselves up for a repeat if we do not all actively engage in creating the change we want to see.

I have written in a previous post (here) about what I think are some move-forward actions.  I fully believe that we need to do these things and to do so now.  In that post I focused on the martial side of the activities, but there is more about the underlying fabric of the Society that needs to change.  Key to this is: we need to learn when we should forgo politeness for speaking up for what is right. I will elaborate further in another post.

Now, you might completely disagree with me and insist that what happened on Nov 1 was an isolated incident the likes of which has never happened before and cannot possibly happen again.  I don’t quite know what to say to you if this is your belief.  In general I am a pretty naïve and trusting person, and I’m not used to finding people who are more naïve and trusting than I am.  (For the record, I will concede that it was a “perfect storm” of the specific personalities involved, but even that alone wouldn’t have been enough without the culture we had all participated in growing, which enabled the events to unfold as they did).

Now, let me be blunt: you don’t like the person in charge in this game? You don’t respect them?  Tough patooties.  This isn’t a Democracy.  But the person in charge can only affect so much.  (And let’s not forget the dual nature of this game, with the senechale in a parallel role as the K&Q, so there really are other leaders who you might feel differently about).  The vast majority of what we do does not directly involve, or is affected by, the K&Q.

We *can* do our part to improve ourselves and our game, today, tomorrow, for the 6 months starting in April, and after that as well.  But we aren’t going to do this by sitting idly by and letting the time march on.  If we do, then we are giving those who espouse actions we do not like a head start to further entrench the fabric we have learned that we dislike.