Aren't We All in This Together? - A Personal Opinion by Midair
MacCormaic

"All Laurels think they are above everyone." "Stick-jocks only care
about fighting and could care less about the arts." "The Crown
doesn't care about dancing, that is why court always runs overtime."
"Let's go out to dinner in our garb and freak the mundanes!"

Sometimes I worry about the attitudes we SCA members have about
ourselves and others. I distinctly remember worrying about this years
ago. It was at an event away from Cynnabar. My friends and I decided
to eat at a local Chinese restaurant instead of at the feast. This is
our usual practice, lots of fun, and keeps us fed when feast is sold
out. And, of course, someone else looks at our odd clothing and asks,
"Are you in a play?" And we answer "Yes, we are doing 'West Side
Story', and he is Maria." I smiled and laughed along with the others.
After all, it is fun to "freak the mundanes", right? And we did
explain ourselves eventually. who cares if we have a little fun before
hand. But later, after the laughs were done, I thought about it.

We SCAdians like to believe that we are uniquely open-minded and
creative. This was something my high school and college friends and I
were proud. We were different from everyone else, and went out of our
way to be unique and, well, special. And I see this continuing in the
SCA. Unlike the "mundanes", we actually get out off of the sofa and
do things, like research, dance, sing, and recreate tournaments.

From the comments I hear, it seems that we like to feel superior. We
are intelligent and creative. Mundanes are stupid and dull. We are
accepting of other ideas and friendly, mundanes are narrow-minded.
Even the word "mundane" has derogatory connotations. When I hear the
word, "dull" immediately pops to mind.

This makes me wonder because there was a time when I wasn't in the
SCA, yet I would have never have considered myself mundane. My
parents will never be in the SCA, yet I'm sure they would be offended
if people thought of them as mundane, considering all the unique and
creative interests they have.

Sometimes I worry that the "freaking the mundanes" attitude will come
back to haunt us. If we enjoy being different from everyone else,
then where are we supposed to find new members? Would not that
attitude seep into our interactions with the mundanes during demos and
the like?

It seems to me that a better attitude is to view others as being just
like us: unique in their own way. I for one am glad everyone isn't in
the SCA - who would we perform for at demos? There are those who out
there who know more about the middle ages than any of us, yet are not
interested in the recreation aspect. These people would be more open
to helping us if we were more open to everyone. There are even other
medieval groups out there that do as good a job as us in recreating
the middle ages, yet in a different manner (the Markland group). Even
the Renaissance Festival is "good thing": that was my first taste of a
medieval recreation group, and I (like others) went around looking for
a group to join where I could continue the experience. That lead me
to the SCA. One more mundane into the ranks of chivalry and pageantry!

Actually, we didn't even come up with the word "mundane." We stole that
from another group that likes to think it is unique, intelligent, and
different: the people in science fiction fandom (of which many in the
SCA overlap). And worse yet, when there are no mundanes around to
gang up on we decide to put each other down. It looks as if we feel
the need to be better than someone, even if it's only someone else who
likes to swing a sword or only recreate the Elizabethan age.

Few of us are really as bad as I make it sound above. But some of us,
myself included, have looked down our noses occasionally at those who
only go to events to fight, hate court, or would rather just party at
an event instead of persona play. Maybe it is because we are
constantly defending our pastime to others, the "mundanes", that we
need to feel a bit superior about our own form of fun to feel good
about ourselves. Maybe we are just tired of being picked on that we
need to do that to someone else. I know I've done it, and I'll
probably do it again too, if I'm having a bad day.

But, if I'm having a good day, I just might instead try to find out
why others like fighting so much. I might even ask if I can armor up
and join in a bout or too. I might sit with someone in court who
knows what is going on, and learn what is actually going on. I might
even make a new friend or two in the process.

When I first started in the SCA, all I was interested in was
juggling. I wanted to learn more tricks, and maybe even perform a bit.
Then something happened. I started noticing all the other activities
going on. I decided that I wanted to be a part of it, to understand
what made the middle ages special and exciting. What did jesters do in
period, and how I can act more like one? How I could make my routine
more, well, medieval in style? I also discovered other aspects of the
SCA that interested me, like archery and singing. From just starting
out as a 'one trick pony' I've discovered that there is much to learn
and to do in the SCA. And all this because I was given the chance. So
now I try to give that same chance to others, to encourage them to
excel at the one or two things they enjoy doing, knowing that one day
knowledge bug will bite them also.

And instead of freaking the mundanes, I enjoy going out in public with
my friends while in SCA garb, in hopes that they will ask questions.
"Are you in a play?" "Why yes, I am, but one that we perform for
ourselves. Would you like to hear about it?" And who knows, maybe a
few more mund...er...modern people will join our group, and make us
that much richer.

Last Updated: 4 July 98
Return to Midair's SCA Page.
Return to Chuck Cohen's Home Page.