This month's stupid is unusually epic: the Board has "clarified" that the NMS applies to *all SCA activities that collect a site fee*. Including practices -- if you collect $3 from people to pay for your fencing site, you are now required to add a $5 NMS fee for all non-members.
I'm ripshit angry about the sheer cowardice of calling this a "clarification". I'm sure that, when the NMS happened, we asked whether it applied to practices and were told no -- that was one of the things that calmed us down from the rage that swept the Barony at the time. But it's been pointed out that, in the modern bureaucratic SCA, where "if it's not written down, it doesn't exist" is essentially a religion, the Board will probably just ignore the point unless I can find written documentation. (If anybody *has* a clear statement about this, I'd love to have it. I suspect something exists, and there's a good chance it's somewhere in my files, but finding it in time to be relevant isn't terribly likely. However many files you think I have, double it, and probably double it again.)
ETA: Tibor found a clear and at least moderately official statement on the subject from the time -- see his first link, below.
That entirely aside, though, I'm just jaw-dropped at the sheer idiocy of the move. I can think of few ways to more grossly harm retention in the club. Yes, we might get a tiny number of people who will buy memberships as a result, and yes, Corporate might get a tiny inflow of revenue from it. But both effects will be dwarfed by the number of people who will simply be driven away from the SCA because it's too expensive to even come to practices any more. Even more, by the number of practices that will shut down because this effectively makes their sites unaffordable.
(No, this doesn't currently affect Carolingia, thank heavens -- we have no current practices that require a site fee. But we certainly have done so in the past, for several different activities, and being unable to do so is going to limit our options.)
If this was a rare occurrence, that would be one thing -- but at this point, almost every time I come into contact with the Society officialdom, it's because *some* level of the bureaucracy has done something so remarkably stupid and destructive that it sends me into a rage. I think it's at least quarterly; sometimes, it feels like it's monthly.
That kind of anger isn't healthy; indeed, it isn't even productive. It's not as if I'm going to win all those arguments; at this point, winning *any* of them is pretty rare. (The Order of Valiance is one of the few cases where I think there's a chance that sanity might prevail -- but even there, it's merely the third-best option we had for dealing with the situation.)
All of which means I've got to disconnect -- the only question is how much. At this point, I feel like I'm in an abusive relationship: I care so deeply about the SCA, and I am constantly feeling *hurt* by it. I don't especially want a "divorce": too many of my friends are in the club, and I still enjoy many of the activities, so I don't want to drop out entirely.
But I need to figure out how to stop caring about its long-term survival. Because at this point, I really think the club is doomed in the long run, unless something major changes at the top. When you have a Board of Directors sneaking in idiotically destructive moves, so quietly under the cover of night that even those of us who *read* the notes of the Board meetings didn't realize it was happening (indeed, the only reason it came out was that it was announced to the *exchequers* list in the EK), you're pretty much screwed.
So I need to learn how to just play, as a participant, as one of a number of activities, rather than having it occupy the central role in my life it's had for the past 30+ years. Have the SCA just be another fun game, like LARP or fandom, that I do but I'm not utterly invested in. That's surprisingly hard.
Really, I think I'm in the middle of the stages of grief here (definitely feels goddamn familiar), and trying to figure out how to move on to acceptance. I sometimes say that the only mercy in Jane's death was that neither she nor I suffered terribly long -- she was only actively dying for about two (unbelievably horrible) months. With the Society, it's more like watching a loved one with a terribly lingering and protracted terminal illness, with no closure...
ETA2: Corporate has now issued a secondary "clarification" that goes back to more or less the status quo ante, fixing the stupid. So the immediate crisis is resolved, pretty much as I suspected it would be -- in the wake of a great deal of noise, they've quietly backed off. Which just leaves us with the general problem that we shouldn't have these firestorm-inducing idiocies that *require* an outcry to fix. And me with the specific problem, as stated above, of how to stop associating the SCA with these high-blood-pressure-inducing incidents...