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Utterly, 100% Unofficial Curia Report
jdulac asked what came out of curia, and that's a fair question. So here are my impressions from the peanut gallery. Insert all the standard disclaimers that I Am Not an Officer of State (I was there as Deputy Seneschal of Carolingia, so I am a *very* junior member of Curia), none of this is official, blah blah blah.

Item 1: Clerical corrections. Passed largely without comment.

Item 2: E-Signature for Performance Review Comments. Some slight discussion, but by and large everyone present seemed to think it was a good idea.

Item 3: Polling Deadlines. His Majesty felt (correctly) that he needed to explain his reasoning on this one. But in general, after the confusion over pollings the past couple of months, everyone thought that this was a pretty good response. (Basically, past a certain reasonable date, TRM can't issue additional pollings without getting TRH's permission first.) In passing, there was some discussion of tweaking the wording about pollings to imply that electronic distribution is the norm, and physical mail is a supported option; previously, the wording had implied the other way around. Since this matches reality, everyone felt it was an appropriate change.

Item 4: Tygers on Baronial Coronets. This was the first big controversy -- basically, adding the option for former landed Barons to put a gold tyger on their coronets, as a special cookie that Court Barons don't get. Pretty much all the arguments against the idea that you would expect got raised. (Mostly *not* by me, which made me happy: I was afraid that I'd spend the entire meeting raising vast numbers of objections, and didn't want to be That Guy.) Some interesting counter-proposals were raised -- I'm particularly intrigued by the notion of allowing former landed Barons to add their group's arms as an augmentation, which I think is a rather more appropriate cookie for the purpose. But TRM agreed to remand the question to TRH's curia for further discussion and study.

Item 5: Performing and Entertainment Arts. Basically, TRM want to be able to recognize a broader array of performance arts, similar to the Troubadour and Terpsichore. They provided two possibilities: a new catch-all Order of the Muses, or expand the definition of the Troubadour. There was a lot of discussion about this one on both sides of the argument, but I'd say that most people (including TRM) preferred not to create a new award if they could avoid it. The point came up that the Troubadour may actually have narrowed in its usage over the years, and that what they want may actually be closer to the original intent than the current interpretation, so TRM are going to consult with herooftheage before moving forward on this.

Item 6: New Honor from the King. Basically, His Majesty has been a little irked that *Her* Majesty can give out little, non-precedential-but-official goodies, but he can't. So the new award is precisely the King's version of the Queen's Honor of Distinction. Most discussion felt that the concept itself was okay -- at worst, that particular horse was long since out of the barn, and there wasn't much wrong with making the concept more even. There *was* some discussion about the name: I and several others felt that it would be better to call it the KHD, just to reduce confusion among the populace. But there wasn't much passionate objection, so it passed more or less as written, as the King's Esteem of Merit.

Item 7: Limit on the Number of Court Baron/Baroness Titles Per Reign. This was the really big controversy, and the one I'd been most worked up over -- putting a hard limit in law that the Royalty can give no more than 5 Court Baronies. His Majesty felt *very* strongly about this one: he is quite passionate that giving a dozen or more Baronies per reign cheapens the award, and doesn't want the East to become known as the Kingdom that gives out Court Baronies like candy. (Which, he pointed out, is very different from most of the Society, where they are relatively rare and high-prestige.) Again, lots of objections raised, by myself and others. My main point (which other folks echoed and refined) was that the problem is cultural, not legal, and that this solution simply isn't going to *work*. (The history of things like the Cyphers makes this painfully clear.) Most folks agreed that things are sometimes getting out of hand, but most of the audience felt that this wasn't the right way to address it. In the end, TRM rather reluctantly agreed to not act this time around (His Majesty was very explicit that he would rather give it time instead of risking making things worse), but I suspect this topic will recur, so folks should be thinking about the best way for the Kingdom to come to grips with it.
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Thank you for posting this. I had heard about the CB thing but forgotten.

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As someone who puts a great deal of time and effort into the Royal Travel Fund, I don't find that funny, even with a parenthetical comment .


Justin: I don't think the subject will come back up unless/until Konrad is back on the throne.

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Justin: I don't think the subject will come back up unless/until Konrad is back on the throne.

Honestly, I suspect you're incorrect. While Konrad may have been the one to actually *say* something, I've been hearing a good deal of grumbling on the topic for years: he's simply acknowledging publicly what others have groused about privately. It's not by any means consistent -- I'm sure that there are lots of people who think things aren't broken at all -- but the disagreement is quite real.

(Konrad described a variety of things that pushed him to this point, and some were rather interesting. I was particularly struck by the substantial number of recommendations he's getting for CBs, some of which are apparently for stuff barely above AoA level, indicating to him that some of the populace of the East is losing the sense that the CB is a big deal.)

Frankly, I do think this is something the East eventually needs to deal with at a cultural level, because there *is* friction and misunderstanding there, and it seems to be getting slowly worse. I'm not sure what the correct resolution is -- whether it's a matter of convincing some Royalty to tone it down, or convincing others that the larger numbers are appropriate, or something in-between. But it looks to me that the long-standing disagreements about how to *think* about the CB are bubbling to the surface, and my gut reaction is that they're going to keep bubbling (sometimes unpleasantly) until our culture comes to at least a rough consensus...

I think part of the reason I get that from Konrad is that he is clear he will not give any, except for landed barons stepping down.

That's the other end of the spectrum.

I see this one as a reign-to-reign thing. There are some kings and queens who give a lot. We know who they are. I have seen a number that have been given as personal thank-yous in a way inconsistent with what I have seen in the past.

I have not really seen people bothered that much by the numbers. Most of the discussion I saw on this proposal was that it was something that should not be restricted by law.

I understand Konrad's points about recommendations for court baroncies. I saw a small number of them when I was royal secretary, and they were not, as far as I remember, for people when the royals evetually gave them to.

I see a couple of groups of people getting recommended. Usually it's someone who is not peerage track but has done a lot of good work in one area or another. Sometimes it's a long-time peer who someone things has done a lot since.

Full disclosure" I got my baroncy in a reign that gave a fair few, from a king whose previous reigns have included even more. (And my wife was queen.)

I think part of the reason I get that from Konrad is that he is clear he will not give any, except for landed barons stepping down.

... That doesn't really hold water, since he *did* give one in Court on Saturday. It was a very big deal -- which was the point.

Konrad is actually pretty clear about his feelings, if you actually talk to him about it. Reading between the lines, he *wants* Court Baron to mean as much as much as Landed Baron does, with a similar level of rarity and special-ness. It's not that he doesn't want any to be made, it's that he wants it to be a bigger deal.

I have not really seen people bothered that much by the numbers. Most of the discussion I saw on this proposal was that it was something that should not be restricted by law.

Seriously: that's a non-sequiteur. Almost everyone in the room in Curia thought it shouldn't be restricted by law, but quite a number seemed to accept that the numbers currently seem out of whack. I'm personally pretty dead-set against a number being written into law, but that does *not* mean that I entirely agree with the status quo -- it just means that I think changing law is a bad way of having this conversation.

(Just so we're clear: I'm on the fence here. Mostly, I'm bothered by the degree of inconsistency -- the fact that it's so screamingly clear that, as a Kingdom, we wildly disagree about the meaning of this award, despite it being the most *conspicuous* award in the Royalty's gift to give. That bugs me in principle, although in practice I'm not nearly so hard-over about it as some...)

I have talked to Konrad at length about it.

I did not see the court baroncy Satutday, so I find that interesting.

He has said in the past that he would not do one unless it was a landed baron stepping down.

He's changed his mind, and you have a good point on it being special for that reason.

I didn't see many people saying they thought too many were being given. I saw people -- regardless of their opinion -- saying it should not be in law.

Me? I am willing to leave it up to my king.

I also have to agree with your parenthetical statement.

According to what was said at court, he gave it to someone who, in his opinion, served in the role of Landed Baron for their shire, which is very nicely internally consistant for his reasonings. It was a very nice moment, and it seemed that those present understood that it wasn't something he was doing lightly.

Ooh, thanks. It's like a box score: Curia without the boring bits.

(I am really not that interested in the sausage-factory parts of the SCA...)

The Court Baroncy: it's been talked about as a lollipop award since, hmmm, Pennsic 9 at least. Some worked hard for theirs; some slept with the right person - and who knows, maybe that was just as much work.

Special medallions for former landed B's: I founded a Barony but was never actually landed. I did NOT assist royalty. It doesn't feel very nice that people want to make sure I am lumped into the Less Valuable category. I bet it doesn't feel very nice to other CB's either.

There might be a reason I seldom wear the thing. It's really too bad it matters so much to people that this particular merit badge be so carefully granularized

I have been in the SCA for 15 years, and I have seen the court baroncy given a lot more respect than that.

Sometimes we disagree with who our royals choose, but sometimes we don't.

so TRM are going to consult with herooftheage before moving forward on this

Oh, thank heavens.

Tygers on Baronial Coronets.
Yeah, it was (correctly) pointed out that this would become, de facto, mandatory, and given the 40 years of "grandfather clause", it would be very clumsy. I can't erase the image of SCA merchants selling clip-on tin-hat tygers. There are more period ways, if we do want to buck the Eastern aversion to sumptuary laws at all.

Entertainment Arts
There was, as noted, discussion of the original intent, and recognition that the original intent can be easily determined by asking herooftheage, so that's what they're going to do. At that point, it's a decision tree, i.e., do we want to follow that intent, or expand it, etc.

It may have been here that the Prince uttered what I considered a beautiful statement: that he was concerned with "calibrating himself to history", which I took as an intent not to just do things because he could, but to deeply consider the context of what had come before. This attitude was echoed by the Princess.

New Honor from the King
I believe auntie_elspeth always intended and expected this, and she was pleased. There was some little discussion of just making it "the Crown's.... but the whole idea is that it's utterly unrestricted and individual.

Limiting Court Baronages
A lot of excellent discussion. I tried to make the point that CB's (like AoA's) actually have no criteria in law at all, and that trying to regulate prestige (as opposed to precedence) by law is a bad idea. I though jducoeur made an excellent point, that setting a limit would cause future royalty to fill that an example, I don't believe any royal has ever given fewer Cyphers than they could have. I was impressed with the King's reaction: despite how obviously passionate he is about this, he recognized the counter-arguments and made no attempt to ram it through, although he certainly could have.

"I was afraid that I'd spend the entire meeting raising vast numbers of objections, and didn't want to be That Guy..."

I was happy to take that burden %^), which had been my intention and expectation, and which I'm sure surprised no one.

I though jducoeur made an excellent point, that setting a limit would cause future royalty to fill that limit

Can't take credit for the idea: someone at breakfast (Ernst?) pointed it out to me, so I figured I should pass it along. (It actually replaced another point I had been thinking of making: I felt it was a stronger counter-argument, and one more likely to be compelling to TRM.)

as an example, I don't believe any royal has ever given fewer Cyphers than they could have.

I think that's incorrect. (Indeed, IIRC Brenwen said that she only gave seven her first reign.) But certainly, the *norm* is to give the full complement.

I was happy to take that burden %^), which had been my intention and expectation, and which I'm sure surprised no one.

Well, it's true that Silverwing collectively accounted for a decent fraction of the commentary. (Not exactly a surprise.) But mostly I was pleased that a lot of people *other* than us spoke up with all sorts of good observations and ideas. Warms the heart to see the populace taking this stuff seriously and being really involved and thoughtful...

She may have _said_ she gave out 7, but the OP shows us she gave out 10, assuming no errors in the OP.

From Gabrielle I, up to and including Anna II, there were 5 given each reign.
Since then, Jana IV gave 7.
Aikaterine gave 10.
Gabriella gave 9.
Brenwen gave 10.
Alethea gave 8.
Gabriella II gave 10.

And I've been discussing the heraldic matters regarding Curia with His Majesty for the last several months. :-)

Hmm. Okay, undoubtedly my misunderstanding, then...

I don't know, Justin. The OP could be wrong. Gonna have to shake down Shepherd's Crook. ;-D

...thank you, since the next comment I was about to type was "I know *I* didn't give out a full ten.

Not that I didn't consider carefully the fact that I was leaving some awards un-awarded, but there were six or eight reasonable candidates for the last two slots, none as clearly "right" to me as the first eight, so...

And Your Excellency, I neither mean not meant and disrespect nor criticism of any of the Queens of the East. Those awards are there for the Crown to award or not as It will. I just wanted to research who had awarded how many, in reference to legislating award numbers. It it possible that Her Majesty misspoke, Master Justin misremembered, or the OP is in error.

No criticism taken!

I really appreciated your contributing some facts into the discussion, and the day I take offense at that you may revoke my membership card for the human race.

Asking Embla would actually be better, as it was her idea. :) But really, one can get a clue by looking at the original set of recipients,

10/06/1979 Algernon Hartesmond
10/06/1979 Cariadoc of the Bow
10/06/1979 Jehan de la Marche
10/06/1979 Morgiane de Provence
01/05/1980 Peregrynne Wyndrider
01/05/1980 Malkin Grey
01/05/1980 Ewan the Mad Wanderer

Regardless of what I say now, I think it is pretty clear from our actions then that we were looking for something much broader than is commonly held today.

Edited at 2010-02-02 06:37 pm (UTC)

Thank you for that. So...a storyteller or two, a period-style poet, and several filkers. But clearly all vocal entertainers. So the question remains as to how to accommodate non-vocal entertainers, and whether the Troubador ought to do so.

And Morgiane also qualifies as a period musician - she sort of did double duty there. But it never would have occurred to me to induct Lieftameon, for example, but I could easily see some monarch making the decision to do so, without violating the spirit of whatever our original intent was.

I also had Lieftameon in mind as an example of what I believe TRM are talking about, and your response is exactly what I was looking for. More to the point, I imagine it's what TRM are looking for.

Thank you again.

Thanks for posting this. It's interesting to hear what's important to people these days in my former kingdom.

When they learn the original intent of the Troubador, will you post about it? I don't know where I got my impressions about what it's for and am curious about how close they are.

Well, assuming I find out myself, sure. Keep in mind, this is Konrad and Brenwen's project -- I'm not nearly as close to them as I am to Their Highnesses, and there's no reason to believe I'll be any more directly in that loop than you are. (That is, it won't surprise me if I find out the resolution via LJ myself...)

Konrad and Brenwen are pretty clued, and Edward and Marguerite impress me mightily as extremely so. It would not surprise me so much if the unthinkable happened and the Order of the Troubador got asked as an Order what their opinion might be. That never happens with non-polling Orders.

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