I'm not naming names here, and if you know who these people are, please keep quiet. The good guys don't need harassment and the jerk doesn't need publicity.

The class in question was: (Numbered notes are mine)

Historical Symbols and Modern Controversies 


With so much medieval imagery being co-opted by the alt-right(1), SCA members need to think very carefully about what symbols they use. What is the larger perspective in medievalism in general?(2) What are the different sides in the controversy?(3) What do academics and activists think?(4) How can one avoid mis-signaling?(5) This class, taught by a modern history professor(6), will provide some needed perspective(7), not only for us as individuals living simultaneously in the Modern Middle Ages and modern society (8 ), but for having the SCA as a whole avoid bad publicity.(9) After a brief talk, we will break into discussion for a frank and open sharing of views.(10)

(1) As soon as that was in the description, the people running the classrooms should have nixed it. It's obviously intended to be inciteful.

(2) As I will demonstrate, this clown has zero clue about "medievalism in general."

(3) This is like the Creationist "Controversy" that only exists in their minds, not in that of anyone rational.

(4) Who cares? If we worried what people thought of us, none of us would engage in activity that causes people to look at us and wonder why we're dressed funny.

(5) A better question is "How can we avoid some asshole from deliberately misinterpreting?"

(6) Ah, a social studies teacher.

(7) In your opinion. None of us asked.

(8 ) We live in one, we play in the other.

(9) see my response below.

(10) Right.  An open sharing of any view that agrees with you, as our exchange shows.

 

Okay, so this dudebro (assuming his gender) has a PhD in "Modern History," and does some jousting and just recently discovered the SCA (per other sources).  He even claims on his website to be a "consultant" to the SCA, which is not something any credible historian would list as a bona-fide.  Consulting with what is effectively a fantasy LARP is not something that will get you hired anywhere. 

He showed up, held this little condescension session about what we've been doing wrong since 1968, and then NAMED A MERCHANT BY NAME and claimed the individual was a "Secret white supremacist" selling "Secret Nazi symbols" in his tent.

And he's got a Buddhist sunwheel he bought to prove it. The same Buddhist sunwheel used on maps to mark temples, that both Wikipedia and the Anti-Defamation League agree is in no way a Nazi symbol.

(9) Oh, hi, N00b.  I see you're new here. (apparently he plays on-again, off-again, but anyone this ignorant of how we play is a N00b)  Let me give YOU some perspective, as someone who's been playing this game since 1990, and is friends with people who've been doing so since 1967 or so:

We only recently got (mostly) past the point where we aren't accused every week of being Satanists holding orgies. There were even lawsuits and criminal charges to this effect.  So as far as public perception, we've got a pretty good handle on dealing with ridiculous charges--Satanism, orgies, "Alt-right"ism, etc.  In fact, due to the Satanic claims, we had to prohibit any pentacle as an heraldic device, including those that are documented for various Christian groups.

We've had a number of people try to go after Crusader personae as "racist," even when the people with those personae are black or Arabic.

There have been literally thousands of classes on things like, "Cross-dressing in Renaissance Italy," and "Gender roles in the Viking Era" and even "Transgender people in history and historical context."  We've got this covered. Thanks for your concern.  If you'd like to learn about any of this, please look at the class schedule.

If you're actually concerned about historical symbolism vs Nazi appropriation, one Auntie Arwen on site is mundanely Jane Sibley, PhD, with her doctorate in Norse Runes, who has a very detailed presentation on the Norse, Aryan, Persian, Indian and Mongolian symbology the Nazis stole, and corrupted into a horrifyingly creepy occult religion hidden behind their politics.  You should ask her. You'd learn a lot. Possibly even enough to have a relevant, if minimally informed, opinion.

You might look all this up and get educated as to things you clearly know nothing about.  You might even gain some perspective.

In the real world, one of the founders of this society was a pedophile, though not active about it IN the society, and a few years back we had a couple of others hurting kids, that required a complete re-write of our guidelines to keep children safe.

And you're worried about a Buddhist symbol.

~~~ 

Thus follows the email exchange where I tried to give him every benefit of the doubt on not being a massive douche:

 

Mike Williamson 

Tue, Aug 6, 8:56 PM

   

to [redacted]

 

What is your evidence for [vendor] being a white supremacist? 

 

Thanks

 

Mike

 

~~~

 

[redacted]

Tue, Aug 6, 9:01 PM

   

to me

 

I’ll come talk to you tomorrow 

 

 

~~~

 

 

 

Mike Williamson 

Wed, Aug 7, 12:26 AM

   

to [redacted]

 

I prefer to keep mundane politics out of my SCA experience.  Do you have evidence or not? A link, a report, something?

 

~~~

 

[redacted]

Wed, Aug 7, 12:31 AM

   

to me

 

Yeah. I bought a swastika from him last year.

 

~~~

 

[NOTE: another source says he stole it. I have no direct knowledge of the exchange, but the source is usually reliable. However, they may be mistaken. This is called furnishing available data]

 

(11)

~~~

 

[redacted]

Wed, Aug 7, 12:32 AM

   

to me

 

And you can’t escape mundane politics. (12)

 

~~~

 

 

Mike Williamson 

Wed, Aug 7, 12:50 AM

   

to [redacted]

 

That wasn't a "Swastika."

He no longer sells it.

It had no relation to the Nazis whatsoever. Even most actual swastikas don't.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika

Selling an historically themed emblem no more makes one a "White supremacist" than selling a 5 pointed star makes one a "Satanist."

 

Oh, yes...and if you bought it as a swastika, that would make YOU the white supremacist, son. Thanks for that admission.

 

I can easily avoid mundane politics here, watch this:

You are never to enter my booth or address me.

See?  Problem solved.

I'm frankly saddened you were allowed to pollute Pennsic with such diatribe. However, I guess we have further proof that a PhD is no measure of accomplishment and no indication of either intellect or reasoning ability.

And since I'm sure you'd love to turn on me next:  I'm an immigrant, married to a native woman, and my family hosted escaped Jews in WWII.

 

Goodbye.

 

~~~

 

 

[redacted]

Wed, Aug 7, 9:44 AM

   

to me

 

Dear Mike,

You are not someone I would care to address or buy from.(13)

I can’t know and don’t care what the man believes. As a Jew, I saw a swastika given the barest fig leaf by being “backwards.” This is a symbol that stands for wishing me personally dead. I purchased the hateful object and destroyed it. (14, 15)

It is not my business to educate either your ignorant ass or [vendor’s], but if I see any such symbols or speech in the SCA, they will be reported, and you can deal with Corporate.

~~~

 

Benjamin Blatt

Thu, Aug 8, 11:36

   

to [redacted], me

 

Dr. [redacted],

As someone involved with SCA, I would expect you to know or be aware of,  or have access to information sources that would shed light on, the many symbolic uses of the swastika as a symbol before the Nazis used it.

I find your comments and threat of action to be distasteful, harassing towards my client, and likely defamatory in nature.

I assure you that while you might hate Nazis as much as I do, you can not possibly hate them more. I want them all dead at least as much as they want me dead. I was raised on Never Forget and Never Again in a community that made sure education included interacting with the survivors still living among us.

Unless Mike is a far, far, far better actor than I know, he is not in the least anti-Semitic.  Moreover, as he is regularly involved in and known for his SCA related activities, your proposed actions would almost certainly result in actionable real financial damages.

I urge you to reconsider your statements, to consider the ill-effects of lumping other cultures in with the Nazis merely because of a symbol they stole, and to cease and desist any harassment of or defamatory acts towards my client.

Sincerely, 

Mike's very Jewish lawyer,

 

-- 


Benjamin M. Blatt

Attorney at Law

P.O. Box 221

South Bend, IN 46624-0221

574.360.4039

https://www.facebook.com/hoosierattorney

 

Armed Citizens' Legal Defense Network

http://armedcitizensnetwork.org/

 

This email is intended only for the person to whom it is addressed.

Any review or other use of this information by persons or entities other

than the intended recipient or any retransmission without the consent of

the sender is prohibited.

~~~ 

(11) Now, there are two proper ways to deal with this issue:

First, contact the merchant coordinator, and say, "I have an issue I'd like addressed, and some clarification please."  Her Excellency, a Court Baroness, MKA Cindy Cooper, has been running this show for more than 30 years.  The merchant office is right across from Troll, and from Security.  I'm not going to guess how she might respond, but I guarantee if you bring a problem with a merchant to her attention, she'll deal with it, and her ruling will be final. She's booted people off site before. She also might tell you it's not a problem.

Or, you can contact the Mayor of Pennsic through Information Point. Same matter.

And since you reference Corporate, you've had a year, why did you not contact the Board? You claim to be a consultant to the SCA. Or is that more bullshit?  Because if you brought this up to the Board, and they thought there was a problem, they'd have addressed it.

Or do you just want lots of attention and to be the an hero nobody wanted or asked for?

Rhetorical question. We know the answer.

What you CAN'T do and expect any respect whatsoever, is rouse your screeching snowflake bullies into a hate mob. We don't NEED your "perspective."  If you have a problem, ask those who deal with problems. If you're not willing to do that, you're admitting your goal is to bully OUR club into abiding by YOUR fetishes, and the answer is "no."

In fact, I, and about 50 other vets I know of, went over and bought a crapton of handmade Norse-style gear from the fellow veteran vendor. So what you did was give him his best Pennsic sales ever.  Nice going!

Also, why did you engage in commerce with a "white supremacist"? YOU GAVE THE MAN MONEY, or so you claim. 

(12) As far as "can't avoid mundane politics: Wrong, as I demonstrated.

I've been at Pennsic during storms so wet that cars were sliding down hill from parking, and watched people with Socialist Party USA bumper stickers alongside Dole/Kemp stickers dragging each other out of the mud, because those mundane politics actually don't matter here. This time it was Bernie stickers and Trump stickers.  We're not here about politics. We're here about fun in an historical context.

Then, there's this gentleman, a seriously well-respected and near household name in law and economics:

http://daviddfriedman.blogspot.com/2013/08/creeping-mundanity-at-pennsic.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_D._Friedman

His camp is the "Enchanted Ground" where everything is as authentic as possible--candles and lanterns, authentic tents only, no modern devices, no modern conversation.

Please inform him he's been doing this wrong for 50 years.

You see, N00b, what you mean is YOU want to force everyone to think of YOUR mundane fetishes and politics every minute of the day. Well, the answer is no. But do please inform Duke Sir Cariadoc of the Bow that he's been doing this wrong for 50 years.  I'd like to watch.

Then there's a new friend who's an equestrienne in the South, who's not only Jewish, her name is Hebrew. As she notes, "White supremacists are worse than cross-fitting vegans. There's no secrecy. They're incapable of shutting the fuck up." And she thinks you're a tool. She also reports you suddenly showed up in the equestrian arm of our society and started the same crap.

You've heard from my lawyer.

Another friend, Jewish enough to wear a yarmulke and keep two sets of dishes at Pennsic, and two refrigerators, to ensure Kashrut standards, pretty much rolled his eyes at your ignorance.

Advice: Take the hint.

(13) Yeah, you're too busy buying "hate symbols" to buy anything from me.  I mean, if that's your kink, have at it.  But you sound like the chick at the orgy insisting she doesn't really like sex, and who's next?

(14) "I can’t know and don’t care what the man believes."

Wait, you just said you KNEW he was a white supremacist. Now you admit you don't actually know that, but tried to get a mob together anyway.

"Ignorance" is far different from "White supremacism."  So if you're admitting you believe the vendor acted out of ignorance, then claiming he's a white supremacist may very well be legally actionable as both slander and libel, since you made the allegation in both print and voice.

I'm not sure what school awarded your degree, but their standards are certainly sub-par. Also, you are most certainly a troublemaker.  You've refused to educate yourself, refused to use the existing processes and policies to resolve what appears to be a very mild misunderstanding, showed up and lectured us, attacked one of our oldest members, and now admit you have literally nothing to base this on.

(15)  Wait again, not your job to educate me?  Then why did you hold a presentation to EDUCATE PEOPLE?  Or are you admitting your degree in social studies is worthless bullshit? (HINT: your degree is worthless bullshit, because you demonstrate no ability to think, analyze, or even inform yourself before throwing a tantrum.)

~~~

Now, if at any point, any ACTUAL evidence that the guy I've known for 30 years is some sort of secret white supremacist who's never mentioned this to me, any mutual acquaintance, to a Jewish duchess, to several Jewish tradespeople, a half-dozen Jewish merchants who are neighbors to him, while drinking coffee and beer and mead and hanging out with all of us, and in fact has almost never been heard to utter an unkind word about anyone, in our group or in the public world, we'll make sure he's shunned.

But since you've provided zero evidence, then tried your "marginalized" wail, Mister East Coaster With Horses and Fencing and Money for Worthless Degrees Son of Extreme Privilege, you're going to have to throw your tantrum while we treat you like the immature little brat you are.

So, if you're going to come to Pennsic again (most of us would rather you didn't), you might try listening to your betters (which is most of us) and more experienced members (ditto) and learning what we're about before providing your "much needed" perspective that we don't need, didn't ask for, and don't want.

And way to be racist against South Asians, and bigoted against Buddhists and people portraying them, you bigoted sack of shit.

Now kindly go fuck yourself.

 

UPDATE:  Turns out this PhD has written very few actual papers, but lots of fan commentary about GoT and the SCA.  He defends the SCA elsewhere, attacks it within, so he's a classic attention whore.

And apparently fell for the "milk is racist" crap from 4chan a couple of years ago.  He's an idiot. Apparently, he hoped his PhD would make up for a lack of 50 IQ points, and is frustrated that it doesn't.