Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

The Five Questions Meme comes around again...

Once more, with feeling. The Rules:

1. Leave me a casual comment of no particular significance, like a lyric to your current favorite song, your favorite kind of sandwich,or maybe your favorite game. Any remark, meaningless or not. Or, you know -- indicate you want the 5 questions. In fact any comment you leave to this will get questions. Even if that comment is "No."
2.I will respond by asking you five personal questions so I can get to know you better. Or piss you off. Or see how creative you can be. If I'm lucky all 3 in 1 go. (I have a historically bad track record at asking these questions, but let's see if I can think of them all this time.)
3. Update your LJ with the answers to the questions.
4. Include this explanation and offer to ask someone else questions in your own post.
5. When others respond with a comment, you will ask them five questions.
6. It spawns. Again.

ETA: I'm not going to try to ask the questions in the order requested. One thing I've learned from the last time around is that, if I try to be too organized about it, I never ask anything. So I'm going to accumulate questions as I think of them, and I'll reply to each message when I get to five. So don't be surprised if it takes a while to get to you: it just means I haven't finished all five questions yet.

1. What is *your* all time favorite game (modern or period)?

Poker -- really, nothing else even comes close. In particular, Dealer's Choice has everything I look for in a game: a combination of a fundamental core that I understand, chaotically shifting details, and a deep social dynamic. In general, I'm a crappy strategist but a decent tactician, so Poker suits my skills decently well.

We've got a monthly table that's been running for something north of ten years now. It remains one of my highlights of the month.

2. What SCA accomplishment (not award) are you most proud of?

Tricky, given the breadth of my interests. Two seem to be about tied, so I'll give both of them. On the one hand, there is "getting a lot of people started in the SCA" -- between the online question-answering and college demos, it's turned out to be one of my real passions. On the other, there is "teaching a lot of people how to enjoy period dancing", which has always been my real focus: not just focusing on authenticity and not just having fun, but showing how the two go hand-in-hand.

3. If given the opportunity, would you serve on the SCA BOD? Why or why not?

Well, the evidence says no -- I've been nominated (some years back), and declined the nomination. There are a variety of reasons why, but it's mostly style and inclination: I always prefer to be in jobs where the lines of responsibility are very clear, and the Board is really very messy in that regard. And I'm one of the more infamous anti-bureaucrats in the Society: my sense of honor would probably lead me to try to clean up and slim the Society's bureaucracy, which in all likelihood wouldn't make *anybody* particularly happy. So in a sense, I'm the Loyal Opposition to the Board; joining it would be a tad unnatural.

That said, I don't rule anything out. Certainly I wouldn't do so *now* -- I have too many personal irons in the fire to be able to give the job the appropriate amount of attention. Someday -- well, who knows. It's possible, but I'd have to convince myself that the job wouldn't make me crazy.

4. Do you feel there is still a place for Masonic orders in the 21st century? Or have they grown outdated?

Very interesting, and fraught question, with a bunch of aspects to it.

On the one hand, I suspect that Masonry As We Know It is basically toast. It is structurally designed to be a very large organization, with a lot of fat that grew up in its heyday, and none of that is easy to shed. This causes structural difficulties that are causing something of a death spiral: there are *far* too many individual Lodges, and they are far too reluctant to merge until it's too late, with the result that most are perpetually teetering. So my guess is that the vast majority of today's Lodges aren't going to survive, and the Grand Lodge system will at best need major rejiggering.

And it can't be denied that some aspects of the organization look old at this point. In particular, the male-only thing just looks kind of odd in the modern world, and I don't think it actually adds anything useful. When you're talking about a club that's nearly 300 years old in its current form, it's not surprising that bits of it look archaic -- society as a whole has moved on.

That said, I think the underlying needs are still there. Masonry as a spiritual outlet is really quite neat -- the use of symbolic ritual to teach moral lessons works well if you take it seriously, hitting a lot of basic buttons in the human psyche. So I think that *something* is likely to survive. It may well mutate considerably; it might not even be Masonry per se in a century. (My "Mysteries" project could yet happen one of these years: that takes many of the core ideas of Masonry, and recasts them in a new form.) But I suspect something will continue on.

5. What SCA History question would you like to see answered?

How has the Society changed demographically over the years, and how does that correlate with the changes in the Corporation? I have a lot of theories in that regard, but it's fairly difficult to tease the answers out...
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