Twelfth Night

I don’t often preen, but I am going to now because there’s quite I bit of things worthy of preening from Twelfth Night.

At the risk of sounding immodest, I was an A&S god at Twelfth Night (as if there’s a way that sentence could be anything but immodest).

I judged the bardic contest, and did some teaching related to that.

I entered and won the Requiem for a Huscarl-inspired A&S contest. I entered my attempt to re-write the song as if I had lived in 1067 and wanted to remember the battle. My version was in Old English, in the Anglo-Saxon alliterative poetic style, and I’m pretty pleased with it. I learned a ton about actually writing in Old English, and had a great deal of fun playing with words and word choices. It was a fun exercise in re-creation archaeology.

I wrote a pretty spiffy scroll text for Damien’s knighting. I thought it was pretty good, but the number of people that came up and said it was great has made me revise my opinion upwards. Damien said it was the best scroll text evah, though I still lean towards Maerwynn’s county scroll on that 🙂

I also performed a portion of Beowulf at feast for Maerwynn. This was the portion where Wealhtheow comes into the mead-hall and offers the cup in proper order to Hrothgar, Beowulf, and the lords in the hall. I did it in both Old and Modern English. I did not have time to properly memorize it, but I had gone over it enough that I was told it did not sound like I was simply reciting it. Several people told me they thought it was a great touch to feast, and that makes me preen a wee bit more. Maerwynn, however, chastised me, because she says she’s not perfect, as I said in the performance. In this one thing, Your Majesty, I am forced to disagree 🙂

For an Anglo-Saxon word-smith type, there’s not much more I could have done in one weekend. I worked in Old English, taking me one step closer to understanding what it is to be a scop, and I really think I made the event better for not just me, but for a number of others as well. For all of that, I think that this one time, I get some justifiable preening.


While I have a lot of things I want to preen about from Twelfth Night, I have to comment on the shooting in Tucson. More specifically on the response to the shooting in Tucson.

I have to say I am incredibly, and I mean incredibly, pissed about the response. I am angered by how quickly the left side of the political spectrum jumped so immediately on the bandwagon that this is all Sarah Palin’s fault and this was a right-wing conservative nutjob.

There are three points to this, and all of them piss me off.

First, I don’t know if his actions were politically motivated or not, but the idea that the issue of possible political motivation would be brought up by the investigating sheriff before any real investigation had occurred is ridiculous. And yet, it happened. I hope Sheriff Dupnik loses his job because of this. The political blame firestorm that has occurred would probably have happened if he hadn’t said anything, but he made sure that the conditions were perfect for a massive conflagration.

Also, if you are going to claim that his actions were politically motivated, at least have the decency to truly understand his politics before automatically blaming your political opponents. The evidence that I have seen suggests that if he was politically motivated, he was at least as likely to be a left-wing liberal nutjob as right-wing. Certainly, there is one person who has publicly claimed to know him and that person says that when she did in 2007, he was very left-wing liberal. In the end, I am disgusted, absolutely disgusted, by the political partisanship resulting from the shooting, especially from the left side of the aisle.

I reserve a special disgust for Linda Lopez, the Arizona politician who Saturday said she believed the shooter to be an Afghan vet. The truth, as was easily discovered when they looked at the records is that the Army turned him down. They can’t reveal why, but I’m guessing it was either because of drug use or instability. For Lopez to virtually immediately say on TV that she thought he was an Afghan vet, thereby hinting that this was something like PTSD and thereby leading to a bunch of other politically motivated assumptions is dishonorable, dishonest, and just total bullshit. As yet, I have not heard of any sort of retraction or apology from her, and so there will be people who heard her who will forever believe this shooting to be the fault of the US Army. You’re welcome, by the way, Ms. Lopez, for all the sacrifices the American military has made to allow you the opportunity to legally and safely throw them under the bus.

Second, the contrast between the response to this shooting and the Fort Hood shooting is disgraceful. There was a great deal of credible evidence that the killer in the Fort Hood shooting was likely motivated by Islamic extremism in his actions. He visited extremist sites, he wrote publicly justifying Islamic bombings, and so on. The media response to this was constantly: “Let’s not rush to judgment and say he was an Islamic extremist,” or “Let’s not jump to conclusions and say he was an Islamic terrorist.” I have no problem with that. I am always in favor of gathering the facts.

But this time, the mainstream media jumped on the idea that Loughner was a conservative extremist/terrorist without any shred of evidence that I have seen. None. There was a website you may not like put up a year ago. Yep, sure was. Is there a connection? Um, not that anyone knows of. Not only do we not have much credible evidence that this was politically motivated, we have no real clue of his political motivations in part because what evidence we have found is incoherent, inconsistent, and often nonsensical. So, until and unless someone provides evidence that this is a politically motivated shooting, and until and unless we have actual evidence to really understand his politics, we should “not rush to judgment” and we should “not jump to conclusions.” In the Fort Hood case, we had both credible evidence that it was politically motivated and that he was motivated by Islamic extremism. This time there’s no credible evidence either way. Mainstream media, and all those who followed your lead on both instances, you don’t get to ignore evidence when you want and blame your opponents without evidence when it’s convenient.

Third, he was definitely a nutjob. We know this. Heck, people have known this for a while and he got kicked out of college because of that fact. I am disgusted that we then *have* to specify a reason behind his actions besides, “he’s a nutjob.” It’s entirely possible that his politics drove him to shoot people. However, I know a bunch of people who have strong political convictions. Not one of them that I know has shot another because they disagreed politically, whether Democrat or Republican.

There’s not always a preventable cause. There’s not always a cure. There’s not always a law or a political choice that could help. In a country of 310 million people, there are going to be some that are crazy, or poor, or whatever, or any combination of bad things. Not all of them can be helped. There’s not always a politically correct solution to every problem. We should always care enough search for one, but we have to sometimes accept the one real truth of the universe: “Shit Happens.”

And in the end, worrying that there is a political cause, and all of this crappy blame game and hypocrisy obscures the sad truth. A mentally disturbed individual shot a bunch of people for a reason we’ll likely never be able to understand and we’ve spent more time trying to make political points instead of doing what we should.

So let’s give the victims our condolences. Let’s send them prayers, or karmic energy, or whatever you want to send. Let’s also join with our political opponents, shake hands, and wish the victims and each other well.