Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld is widely known for his oracular speaking style, unique vocal cadence and undeniable charisma. Indeed, in the early days of the Iraq War, he managed to charm many in the press corps and the public with his witty pronouncements on the status of the conflict, notwithstanding the grim subject matter. So it is perhaps not a surprise to learn that Mr. Rumsfeld is a widely respected Laurel (a title of achievement in the Arts & Sciences) in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), Middle Kingdom (comprising Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and parts of several other states). The SCA is familiar to many for its presence on American college campuses, and is best described as a Medieval and Renaissance-themed arts revival organization. Members of the SCA gather for festivals and demonstrations in full costume, and participate in combat tournaments, arts exhibits, classes, workshops, dancing and feasts. Mr. Rumsfeld, whose SCA persona is Wilhelm von Steublen, is renowned in the Bardic Arts, specifically poetry and storytelling. He excels in creating ribald, historically appropriate ballads, set to Gregorian Chant tunes and performed during regional and national festivals. He is also noted for his “fyrewalking” at nighttime events, in which a performer moves from campsite to campsite offering entertainment, in exchange for food, drink and other, bawdier refreshments. The secretary is unusual within the SCA for joining as a full-fledged, dues paying member at the late age of 44, in 1976, during his first tenure as Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford. But it wasn’t long before he was fully invested in the organization: Honored with the title of Laurel in 1980, he quickly became the Middle Kindom’s principal authority on the Bardic Arts (including poetry, storytelling and early music), and has received numerous awards and honorary titles since then. In 1992, he was selected to sit on the SCA’s Board of Directors, and continues to serve in that position to this day.
A little googling found lots of Rumsfeld/SCA mentions, but they all seemed to be quoting each other word for word. Anyone heard this from an independent source?
2 thoughts on “Don Rumsfeld, SCAdian?”
I have no idea, but it’s REALLY hard for me to imagine that.
One of my wife’s friends is highly involved in SCA. She sent the person a copy of your blog entry. Apparently this rumor has been known and debunked in SCA circles for a while now. Among other things, she noted as a government official he’d be way too busy to put that amount of time into SCA.
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