Praise, and you praise alone…
I’ve just been directed by a friend to read a little internet write-up of a medieval festival. It’s held here in the southwest of Western Australia in an area that had almost no European medieval history…until 20 years ago saw the inauguration of a two-day festival. Overseas readers will know them as Renaissance Fayres or other commercial names. For the club of enthusiasts I belong to it has always been a high-point of enjoyment.
The writer of the piece is likely to be a young man – but old enough to feel himself superior to the people at the fair enjoying themselves. He freely confesses to committing 3 hours on the road for the chance to drink too much mead, and is equally candid about planning to mock the whole affair. He has succeeded.
Oh, there are aspects that deserve ribaldry – any public event that mixes enthusiasm with costume and freedom is going to produce humour. The very silly and the very serious are always going to be the butts, and a writer has as many arrows as he has pens. He scores without having to be a good shot – but it is an incautious wit that dances around afterwards and brays about it. It is a particularly incautious wit that takes photographs of identifiable people, makes mocking cations, and then posts these on the internet in a widely – read forum. Wit and writ are words separated by one letter and in some societies this is a very slim barrier. He’s exposed them to ridicule, and exposed himself to retribution.
I am a little heartened to read that he is impressed by the stamina and toughness of the metal-clad fighters. At least he has realised that there are some things that are real. If he opens his eyes a little further he will see that fantasy and commerce do not rule all costumed societies – there is a level of scholarship and achievement that a young person might well emulate.
In short, there is no room for a wastrel in a fighting company. It’s a mans…and woman’s…life in the Grey Company, and I’m happy to say that the young people who are members do grow up to that status. It is also a group that encourages and invigorates the older people – I’m one of them – and is a blessing for that.
I wonder if the young person has the courage to identify himself with either scholarship, art, or healthy vigour. Or identify himself at all. Or if he is just a mocking bird…