A quiet, unassuming, lady like Aoife may seem an unlikely target for sanctions originally intended for serious miscreants, but it appears that Dame Aoife may have offended the wrong people with her recent columns. A multi-kingdom council was formed whose existence was supposed to have been kept secret until after they concluded their business, but SCAtoday.net staff reporters learned of the group through an anonymous source.
Before beginning this tale, this reporter should issue a disclaimer: I consider Aoife a friend as well as a valued partner, and a tremendous resource to the SCA. So if this sounds like an editorial more than a news report, so be it. The gauntlet is thrown down!
The Inquisition — and I will focus deliberately on that notorious portion of the group's name, for that best characterizes their behavior — was convened by the Board and the officers of several kingdoms to address what they euphemistically refer to as "irregularities and inappropriate content" in Aoife's popular Aoife's Links column. Specifically, the Inquisitors were offended by the following Links installments:
- 101 things you can do with duct tape but can't tell the kids about later
- Pennsic Classic Swimming Hole photo albums cataloged and indexed (membership required to view)
- Celts and Cannibalism: The Real Untold Story
- Great games to play to keep awake during Pennsic Great Court
- Cooking with pelicans: the other white meat
- Heraldic designs they will hate, but the rules will make them pass anyway
Admittedly, the one on Celts and Cannibalism was arguably beyond the pale of decency. After all, one can hardly imagine eating one of those. But the others are, in this reporter's opinion, well within the bounds of legitimate historical research. One is led to wonder how far this could lead, as censorship is a very slippery slope.
In an interview scoop that should make those wannabees over at the Pennsic Independent wet themselves with envy, this reporter sat down one-on-one with a member of this secretive inquisitional council, and asked very pointed questions. The respondent spoke on condition of anonymity, so here let us just refer to this person as "A" for answer. The SCAtoday.net interviewer will be referred to as "Q" for question. The following transcript is presented unedited to let our readers judge for themselves the facts of the situation.
Q: What is it about Aoife's column that you found unacceptable?
A: Isn't it obvious? Those links subvert everything that is good about the SCA into some kind of....parody. It is contemptible, disgusting, to make fun of the hallowed institutions of this organization!
Q: Can you be more specific?
A: Well, take the duct tape one for instance. That feeds two totally false stereotypes about SCA people: one, that they use an inordinate amount of duct tape, and two, that they have sex.
Q: What has duct tape got to do with....oh, never mind.
A: Yeah. Took you long enough. So I suppose you figured out the swimming hole thing, then?
Q: I tried, but I put both my credit card numbers into the site but never saw anything all that great. It would show me five seconds of MPEG video, then tell me it wanted another twenty dollars. Are you telling me Aoife is getting rich off that site?
A: Well, somebody is, and it's not the Board. And that, sir, is the basic problem. She can do what she wants with her damned links, but she's cutting into the action here, and the Board doesn't like that.
Q: If it's all about money, why that bit about heraldry registration? Why do you care?
A: You reporters are stoooopid! The SCA makes 68.3% of its revenue off heraldry registrations. If we have to start letting things pass, well, then people won't have to pay five or six times.
Q: And the Great Court column? That bothered you....why?
A: Simple. The Board doesn't get to wear shiny things on their heads, right? Well, Great Court is the closest we have to a great Imperial Royalty, and let's just say the Board would like very much to keep things moving in that direction. Once Pennsic is moved to Milpitas, we can....uh, don't print that.
Q: Of course not. The poultry thing, then, the one about pelican meat? What about that?
A: Yuck. The Legal Committee freaked when they even heard the first hint of a rumor that someone was advocating eating that grey, oily stuff. No self-respecting cat would touch a pelican. What if someone totally untalented, say, someone so utterly unversed in A&S that they have only been a Laurel for a few years -- or, perhaps, are not yet even a Laurel at all -- thinks that cooking advice is worth trying? It could lead to dozens dead at an SCA feast, or worse yet, one of our lawyers missing his Monday golf date.
Q: So, once Aoife is censured, and the Links are censored, is it over?
A: Not on your life! We may recommend ultra-super-duper-secret Level 5 Banishment for this troublemaker!
Q: Don't you think official sanctions are a bit extreme just because you don't like these articles?
A: We are in a war against the Axis of Aoife here! Desperate times call for desperate measures. SCAdians understand that they need to give up a certain amount of personal liberty to be safe from people like Aoife who want to destroy the SCA. Why do you hate authenticity?!
SCAtoday.net has been unable to contact Aoife since we learned of this situation. Rumor has it she is being held at an undisclosed location in Outlands. According to our sources, Aoife is currently held under the "Society for Creative Anachronism -- Furthering Every Administrative Legalist's Totalitarian Yearnings" (SCA-FEALTY) Act, a law created to quell dissent among uppity members.
This article is a work of parody, published for the amusement of SCAtoday.net readers on April 1, 2006.