Concerning Good Breeding

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In the course of an average day out and about in our fair Caledon, I encounter numerous individuals, citizen and gentry alike. Many have their own well-considered opinions on the events of the day, and are encouraged to share them with me. Oft-times I will disagree and debate them on the point, but that is part of having an active interest in Civics.

No matter how strong the words may be or extreme the opinions, I have never taken offense at such well-intentioned, respectful arguments…until now.

The following encounter took place beside the Victoria City telehub, unexpected and unlooked for. I had just finished a pleasant chat with Miss Beaumont and Miss Dreier when I noticed new arrivals at the hub.

Mr. Benelli and Miss Kingsford arrive together in Victoria City

Dominico Benelli: A lovely dress…one I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing before.

Jacqui Kingsford: Thank you, sir

Zealot Benmergui: Well well…good day Mr. Benelli.

Dominico Benelli: Now then…as things come into focus, I encourage you to look around…. Caledon is a wondrous place, and here in Victoria City you’ll find several of it’s more established shops.

Jacqui Kingsford turns to look at the stranger and listens

Zealot Benmergui: *bows gently to the lady….Your servant, ma’am.

Dominico Benelli: Ah, behind you Ms. Kingsford, you’ll also see Baron bardhaven, a disgrace to the national colours, a lout, and a prominent name among the doctors at the asylum I believe.

Jacqui Kingsford stares and places her hand over her chest

Jacqui Kingsford places her hand on Dominico’s arm and whispers “Is he really all that crazy?” and turns to stare at the stranger again

Dominico Benelli: Yes, more’s the pity…fine family, to have decended to such a deluded state.

Zealot Benmergui: *smiles gently…”You must excuse the good Mr. Benelli…he is highly political. But I am sure he has the best interests of Caledon at heart.

Jacqui Kingsford whispers again “I have heard it can run in the best of families” whispers even quieter “Inbreeding you know”

Dominico Benelli: Now then, what would you see first? Some of the nation’s more technologically advanced arenas, or it’s quarters of refinement and the like?

Jacqui Kingsford: Art first, please, Mr Benelli. Technology if we still have enough hands to hold the parcels

Dominico Benelli: Ah, yes… of course.

Dominico Benelli: Please, this way then.

Jacqui Kingsford glances over her shoulder and sneaks another stare.

I encountered Mr. Benelli some time ago when I believed he was in the company of Capt. Chaplin, and shared the extent of our conversation in the entry entitled Victoria City Stories.

At the time, I had found his arguments juvenile and naive, but sadly I have a soft spot for children who find their voice amongst their elders, and as he was apparently in the company of Capt. Chaplin, whom I have no small respect for, I let his comments pass.

I did not even take umbrage at his absurd physical threats at that time, as they could hardly be taken seriously. Again, children are known for their tantrums and their bootless oaths. When curs growl, it is more usually from fear or confusion than from true aggression.

Now however, he has decided to no longer shelter in the calm harbor of my indulgence, and makes absurd, insulting comments concerning my house and apparently, my sanity in the presence of a lady. He then had the temerity to ignore my willingness to graciously enter into converse with him. This I fear I can no longer overlook, as the child undisciplined will never learn proper behavior.

I also understand that he was attempting to impress the young lady he was with by insulting me, using such actions as a way to falsely imply he was a force to be reckoned with, or mattered in some small way. However, the biological imperative does not excuse his actions. Surely he could have found enough blood to fill both heads at once, at least for a few moments. I even allowed him a way to swerve aside from the cliff he seemed intent on sailing over, my comment on his political passion intended to allow him to save face with the lady while retracting his unwise slanders. Instead he pushed onward, hell bent for leather.

Perhaps he was trying to impress me as well in some fashion, or to make this matter “personal” for me. The very thought is ludicrous. As if I would view any personal quarrel with such as he worthy of my time. In a casual debate on questions of the moment, I had no reluctance in bandying words with him in the hope that he would learn something. Education in the best Socratic tradition if you will, forcing him to find answers for questions he could not fully understand. Any other exchange would now be clearly beneath my dignity.

I will simply mute him (the first such action I have had to take in Caledon), so I will not have to debase myself with his fantastical and bizarre commentary nor indulge his fantasies of some sort of confrontation with me. However, I felt his behavior was so deplorable as to be worthy of at least the censure of public comment.

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11 Comments

  1. I am saddened and dissapointed when I see something like this occurring in Caledon. I am very sorry that you had to experience such rude, pointless ire from someone who clearly is *not* used to interacting in our fair State. One of things I love so much about Caledon is the polite and fair treatment that all citizens here share with each other.

    Now, I know that it is possible that this man (I refuse to use the term gentleman) was overcome with the spirit of “Role Playing” in regards to the ongoing “story” of our war with Neualtenburg. You and I have had heated public discussions in the VictoriaCity center, all in the spirit of the event.

    But this to me was more than that. The very personal and venemous delivery was quite uncalled for…and I almost have to ask what is it in this person’s SL/RL that makes them want to behave in such a manner. But I suppose that is an issue for him and his psychotherapist…

    *Sighs* Caledon is growing…there are more “new” residents out there that have probably not had the opportunity to observe how more established residents treat each other. I do hope that behavior such as this continues to the the exception rather than the rule. Mute away, Lord Bardheven, mute away! And this man might end up discovering that many Caledonians will mute him in the future.

  2. An entirely appropriate and dignified response, my dear Baron. The man in question has been noted for perhaps “exceeding the boundries” of consensual RP on a few occassions. I would have attempted to run him through, myself… but I’m Irish, a hothead, and an even far greater lout than yourself. :-D

  3. I’m less concerned with Mr. Benelli’s behavior–as you have noted, you have had conflicting discussions with him previously–than Miss Kingsford’s. From the first she seemed predisposed against you, and more than willing to play out her personal ‘shock’ at what she ‘knew’ about you.

    Hmm.

    *contemplates dropping current plans against Miss Pennyfeather, to learn more about Miss Kingsford*

  4. To question your politics in Caledon is one thing, but to question your parentage and defame your household is quite another! This was taunting of a sort that requests satisfaction, I would think, at the point of sword or the flash of smoke on the field of honor.

    However, if this person was but egging you to action by pointlessly abusing you with absurd statements, then the more shame to him. For to defame so without reason is uncouth, and not the path to honor. To challenge these comments would but encourage such actions in the future, should he emerge breathing from a test of honor.

    Ignoring him will send a message, and if he shall make such statements in my earshot, he shall be “sent to Coventry” by me as well.

  5. I too had an unfortunate encounter with the verbose Mr Benelli. Since I believe I was one of the first people to greet him when he first entered Caledon several weeks ago, I was most particularly surprised when he accosted me one evening at my residence! He was accompanied by a gentleman who shall remain nameless for now. Mr Benelli began a personal attack on my character, so much so that I finally turned myself into a frog and crouched on my newly purchased lilypad (a lovely creation from the amazing Miss Hathor) in the hopes he would go away. No such luck. How that young man can go on … and on and on — a desirable trait at times *cough, but not necessarily conversationally. (You might remember that frog, Bardhaven, as the lingering disguise that nearly wrecked my photo shoot.) I regret I ever welcomed him to Our Fair City and offer profuse and sympathetic apologies for your mistreatment. Unfortunately, spoilers abound these days and some of us only wish for peace. *polite nod to Miss Orr

  6. Ah now this is tricky.

    I know both yourself, Lord Bardhaven, and Mr Benelli, and have found both of you to be nothing but polite, well mannered and good company. It is interesting looking through the replies here that the only people that seem to have had problems with Mr B are the “villains” of the war plot – which to me says a lot about what’s going on. It’s the same (this is probably becoming like a broken record now) reoccurrence of people role-playing in the context of the war plot. In the context of the war plot everything that Mr Benelli has said and done makes perfect sense, he’s playing out the role of indignant Caledonian – and in the context of the war plot and this blog’s part in that plot, questioning your sanity makes sense, too.

    Now I can’t really say what Mr Benelli was thinking, but from what I know of him, I’m pretty certain he intended no “real” offence to yourself (or Mr O’Toole or Miss Pennyfeather), but of course he intended “in-character” offence. I don’t really see the difference in what he was doing here and what himself and Mr Chaplin were up to in your “Victoria City Stories” blog entry, yet that one led to much “in-character” banter on both side, and as far as I was aware no ill-feeling. Given that little meeting, he probably thought you would be quite happy to role-play along at this one.

    I know it is not your style, Lord Bardhaven (or I think Mr Benelli’s), but I’m sure a quick IM or chat message of “Out-of-character – can we just have a nice chat” or “OOC – can you tone it down a bit” could have resolved this situation without the bad feeling it has generated.

    Just an outside observation from someone who knows both of you and counts you both among his friends…

    Yours,

    Alfonso Avalanche

  7. Oh boo! Does that mean I’m not allowed to call you a bunny obsessed, hairy-kneed nutter anymore, my dear Mr Benmergui?

    sob, sniff…

  8. I must slide briefly out of character to address the quite welcome comments I have received on this issue from my very favorite circus performers:

    Prof. Avalanche: I have tried to explain my position already offline to Capt. Chaplin, and in doing so I think I found the crux of the matter. I suppose the thing which I found objectionable about my second encounter with Mr. Benelli while I quite enjoyed the first was the fact that in the second encounter, he was not so much “role-playing” as “role-posing”. I felt by simply ignoring my input, even in his poses, he was treating me as an NPC, or worse, a prop. He seemed to view me as just something for him to use for his own aggrandizement, without any ability to answer or engage him. At that time I found that not only insulting to my character but insulting to me as a player. I still do. I gave him every courtesy in both encounters to express his views and role play the situation, whereas he gave me no such courtesy in our second encounter. Even if he explains that he would be that insulting to me “in character”, by his actions he denied me my “in character” response to him…does anyone really thinks I would have been struck dumb in awe or fear of this “gentleman”. I certainly respect your views on the matter, Professor, but please understand that in this last encounter Mr. Benelli went past role-playing and entered into a sort of crude, insulting dumbshow with me as Judy to his Punch. If he had allowed me to respond, or even acknowledged the fact I had spoken, my feelings would of course be different.

    My dear Pixie: You may of course continue to call me anything you like…as long as I can refute or agree with your claims.

  9. Of course, Mr B. I thoroughly enjoy our conversations; long may they continue.

    Now, would you like a nice calming cup of tea and some fairy cake?

  10. An eloquent and well composed piece, as ever, Lord Bardhaven, and thanks for taking the time to reply.

    I’ve never heard the term “role-posing” before, but I think it’s an excellent one and I think it does apply to this situation. Although I do think that role-posing is a part of role-playing. It makes far more sense to me that you were offended by his “shut-out” rather than by his actual words.

    Our viewpoints on this are always going to differ because I regard you both as friends and that really is the key.

    I first met yourself and Mr Bennelli in pleasant and friendly circumstances. If my first words to you were “Ah Lord Bardhaven, I hear that you would sell out Caledon at the drop of a hat” or yours to me were “Hah, you smell of elephants and I hear your circus is rubbish” , who knows how we would view each other.

    I’ve always found that good, friendly role-playing hinges on trust. If everything is polite and nice, no problem, but if insults are being thrown around you have to know that the person throwing them is doing it purely “in-character” and is not just using it as an excuse to be unpleasant and insulting.

    And that’s SL for you. Unless we’ve spent any time chatting to someone (or in rare cases we know them in RL) how do we know what someone is like? If your first impression of someone is of an angry, insulting or unpleasant character (if they’re role-playing or not) – you’re not going to want to spend time with them.

    Ah I can feel my ability to form this into a cohesvie comment or argument failing – this is such a huge topic I could ramble on about it for ages, so I should probably draw things to a close.

    The upshot is that you (and by the sounds of it, several other people) were genuinely insulted by Mr Benelli, and that’s not good. I don’t think it was intentional, but that doesn’t really excuse it.

    The problem is that I’m just a big strongman softy at heart and I want all my friends to get along…ah the impossible dream of the circus strongman…

    If you or anyone else wishes to IM me about this (or anything else) inworld please feel free – and I’ll chat about things there rather than blocking up your blog comments,

    Yours,

    Alfonso Avalanche

  11. Professor,

    First of all, feel free to continue commenting, and inviting others to do so on the nature or role play and it’s limitations (if any exist). I am honored you have seen fit to share your thoughts on the matter here and hope you shall continue to do so.

    You are certainly quite correct that OOC IMs or previous knowledge can help to ease “combative” RP and keep things all in fun. Certainly the two most insulting people to me in Caledon were the Duchess Carntaigh (who spent several weeks referring to me only as “Dog” to my face, and occasionally calling for someone to strike me) and Oolon Sputnik (who can be almost as witheringly sarcastic as I, and nearly had me on the verbal ropes on several occasions). I am quite honored and pleased to call the Duchess my good friend, and have spent several hours of pleasant chat with Dr. Sputnik (though we have decided to remain cautious rival masterminds in public…though we disagree as to which of us is Holmes and which is Moriarty).

    Even without that OOC connection, I was quite happy to spar with Mr. Benelli as long as it was indeed “sparing”. There is no place for “Guerrilla warfare” in RP, in my opinion. in which one attacks then fades into the mists. That may simply be a difference in style between myself and Mr. Benelli, but it is a radical enough difference to have left me quite raw…all the most so due to his lack of commentary and explanation on his own behalf.

    I have said on many occasions that the loveliest element of Caledon is the gentle camaraderie and fellowship felt by it’s now long list of inhabitants. Some feel that the current role play may have strained those bonds, but like any family, such conflicts are easily resolved and forgotten in time. I do hope that both Mr. Benelli and I may learn from our current disagreement as well.

    Your servant,
    BardHaven


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