Posted by: wrmcnutt | August 25, 2009

Quality Hate

Okay – I’m not normally one to pass on cheap shots, but, wow . . .

Ok, for the newcomers, I’m in the SCA, a medieval re-creation organization similar to the Civil War re-enactors you may have heard of.  We get together, put on armor, bash each other with simulated swords, wear funny clothes, and otherwise try and re-create the interesting/romantic parts of the middle ages.  There’s a lot of us, mostly in the United States, although that’s changing.  We’re divided into geographic kingdoms, and call our large gatherings “wars.”  The largest and oldest of these is called Pennsic, and is last week of July and the first week of August.  This year there were about 10,000 of us attending and 2500 of us fighting.

Now, I’m fromMeridies, which is a small kingdom in the southeast United States.  Pennsic is a martial event between the Kingdom of the Middle (mostly the Midwest) and the Kingdom of the East (mostly the northeastern seaboard).  So I’m not deeply involved in the War or the politics of either group.  I just go up there to bask in the ambiance of a huge gathering of like minded folk, and see and participate in the huge battle formations that are not possible at smaller gatherings.

Now, there’s a saying about academic politics – the politics are vicious, because the stakes are so small.  The same applies to church congregations.  But let me tell you, the Academy and small churches have nothing on the SCA when it comes to vicious politics.  99.99999% of the world will never care what happens in the SCA, and even the biggest, most sweeping change to the organization doesn’t seem to impact how most of us play our game.  But people act and react like we make life and death decisions all the time.

Which brings me to the Quality Hate I encountered this Pennsic.  It was an expression of disapproval and dislike that was pithy, powerful, and utterly diabolic in its expression.

The last full day of the War, Saturday of what used to be called “War Weekend,” I went into the marketplace to do some last-minute shopping.  Now the marketplace is like “downtown Pennsic.”  There are about 300 or so merchants over a city block, and several thousand people wandering about.  Like any large gathering, there are porta-johns about every fifty yards or so.  Now, it’s August in Pennsylvania.  Not exactly the Gobi desert, but quite warm, and I’m drinking a lot of water in an effort to stay hydrated.  After a little while, I hear the call to nature.    I step into the nearest porta-john, and look down to check my aim.  What do I see, there in the urinal, but the smiling visiage of Duke Sir <excised>, smiling up at me, just over his name.  Someone has had <excised>’s face stamped on a urinal cake.  I finish my business, and check the other four porta-johns in the cluster.  Each one had a <excised> urinal cake in it.  I didn’t check every single porta-john in the market place, but I spot-checked a dozen. Each was adorned w.  ,<excised>’s smiling face.

Wow.  I never would have thought of custom urinal cakes as a consumer item, but as soon as I could get to the internet, I looked them up.  You can find them at .  They run about $10.00 each.  So with my own eyes I saw a good $100.00+ of Quality Hate.  It was in poor taste, juvenile, and kinda cowardly, since it was anonymous.  But still, I gotta admit, it was kinda funny.  And expensive.

So, can any of my friends up in the Midrealm enlighten me as to what <excised> might have done to be so honored?

Update:  The name of the target of the Quality Hate has been excised so that I do not contribute to his embarrassment.

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  1. thats…um….nope. no words.

  2. Wow….just wow.

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