Vol. 4, Issue 2, March 21, 2006
Society for Creative Anachronism Deems Chapter Insufficently Creative
A disbanded chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the organization's leaders for "mental hardship and emotional damages." The SCA banned the chapter because it was deemed "insufficiently creative."
"The reigning monarchs are truly abjuring their royal responsibilities of fair governance," said plaintiff Robert Prescott of the "Duchy of West Cornwall," a former chapter of the SCA in western Pennsylvania. "It's time for a modern-day Magna Carta to put things in perspective."
"They're just upset because they're unimaginative wimps," said Ronald McDougal, a member of the SCA and defense attorney.
The SCA is a not-for-profit organization whose members re-create life in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Participants gather on a regular basis to dress in period garb, engage in hand-to-hand combat with swords and shields, and otherwise indulge in a reasonably accurate facsimile of life in the middle ages. Chapters are organized regionally into "kingdoms" and smaller divisions consistent with the theme.
"The whole point, though, is to be creative about it," said McDougal. "Have you seen Prescott's armor? It is, like, so 1154."
Prescott's "duchy" was stricken from the rolls of the "Known Kingdom" for being, among other things, "excessively Westminsterian" and "too Plantagenet".
"Our motto is "The Middle Ages - not as they were, but as they should have been," said McDougal. "Prescott's crowd has a nearly religious devotion to recreating impractical and, frankly, unsavory aspects of the period."
According to Prescott, the main "unsavory aspect" of the period includes the institution of the "common law" system under Henry II, which replaced arbitrary local remedies with case-based reasoning and a jury system. Prescott has famously refused to abide by the standard SCA practice of using hand-to-hand combat to select its leaders.
"Governance in the SCA, for all its High-Middle Age and Renaissance trappings, is essentially based on the pre-Plantagenet trial by ordeal," said Prescott. "They decide who's king by banging each other with sticks until someone gives up. I mean, they're not being historically accurate to begin with, and this is the best idealized alternative they could come up with?"
The judge in the case, Gerald Fresno, has struggled mightily to care. However, he has expressed some interest in the SCA method of selecting leaders.
"That whole trial by combat thing sounds better than a year of defamatory ads and electoral college scandals," said Fresno. "At least it would be over quicker. Like pulling a band-aid off."