Re: What has become of this list?
Bruce Harper (bharper@VT.EDU)
Mon, 29 Jun 1998 11:18:11 -0400
On 6/29/1998, Carl Westfall wrote:
>I never bothered to sign up with any Newslists before this one because of
>how they evolved. Most of them do not openly allow anyone to express their
>opinion without getting flamed.
I am sorry that you feel you have been flamed for expressing an opinion.
You may see it that way, but the discussion here compared to other lists
has been pretty tame and even-tempered. There are folks here who could
have turned you to well-done toast with the speed and intensity of
a WhisperLite stove gone out of control. :-) Actually, the give-and-take
on your and the related issues is pretty much how things go here on
>However my recent post about camp songs has
>proved that this list is no better than the others. I posted a message
>questioning "some" of the songs that were posted here.
Let me plug in some pieces of your post, so we can analyze just what
buttons you pushed with people.
"In my researching the matter, I received a document from the National
office saying the parent [complaining about the singing of "God Bless
My Underwear" at camp] was right that the song was inappropriate for
any Scout function. I was informed that no song that satires a
Military or Religious song is to be used."
This part is OK, but to really make it right, please reference the
"document from National" that lays out this policy. There are probably
some folks who slipped over that phrase and only saw the ban on satirizing
military and relious songs.
"We have since made this not only our Pack policy but our
District's as well."
OK, if there is a "document from National" that backs this up, all should
be well and there are lots of Councils out there who aren't following
the rules. Otherwise, you have a group of people who are making up their
own way of doing things -- a big no-no among the Scouters here on the
list. Read the threads on merit badges, Boards of Review, Eagle
requirements, or any othere topic where the BSA has rules and regulations
that state how something will work. Note the comments here about how
adding to, "enhancing," or just plain ignoring them is A Bad Thing.
>This has gotten kind of ridiculous don't you think. Nobody said
>ban all goofy songs...no one says absolutely no touching. You guys have
>gotten so anti-policy that anything that the National office says has to be
No, it isn't anti-policy, because no one has provided the reference to
a National policy on inappropriate songs, "no touching," which adults
can spend the night in camp, or a range of other things that have come
up here. We have seen lots of broad interpretations (and poor
mis-interpretations) of letters, comments, or word-of-mouth communications.
We have also read posts of instances of "you will do it my way because
I said so" (the "There is no reason for it, it is just my policy" way
A positive aspect of this, and other, discussions on SCOUTS-L is the
broad communication. If something _IS_ passed on from the National
office, the word gets out that there is a letter, memo, directive that
is important. Those who actually _see_ such an item can ask for other
interpretations, explanations, or a clarification. Others who wouldn't
know otherwise that an item was released can gather the necessary info
to either ask the professionals they deal with or to make sure they are
in compliance, even though their professionals don't share the info with
One sentence out of your initial post about Garrison Keillor's camp
songs really sums up the malfunction folks had with the rest of your
"I'm sure most of you would agree and recognize which ones
not to use with boys."
What flies over in Chesapeake might not work here at the other end of
the Commonwealth in Blacksburg. Some things that happen here might get
raised eyebrows in your neck of Virginia. The key, though, is the
"recognize which ones not to use with boys." Unless there is a total
ban in a "document from National," then it really isn't appropriate
for a Pack/Troop, District, or Council to make a blanket statement
(and expect it to apply broadly) that something is banned (be it a
song, be it touching, be it standing on your left foot on alternate
The big picture is that there a lot of pressures on BSA, both external
and internal, for the organization and the way it does things to
change to fit the narrow needs/perceptions/agendas of some very
specific and specialized groups. There are many folks in Scouting who
are dedicated to the ideals, goals, and methods of the BSA and who
see no need to make major changes or accomdations just to suit some
special-interest group with an ax to grind. Today, it is a ban on
singing silly songs, tomorrow it is a ban on camping in the woods
because it is personally and ecologically unsafe, eventually the
whole program is scapped because it isn't politically correct.
You weren't flamed for your statements, you started a small discussion
that covers just a small portion of the fight to protect Scouting. Yes,
there are things that need to be changed or altered, but those need to
be taken care of at levels far above SCOUTS-L. But we can do a little
part here to watch over the program and ensure that it remains within
the current bounds and rules and that it remains FOR THE BOYS!
Bruce in Blacksburg
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 56, Blacksburg, Virginia
New River District -- Blue Ridge Mountains Council
Bruce B. Harper (540)231-4360 firstname.lastname@example.org
Distributed Information Systems -- The Virginia Tech Web Group
840 Pointe West Commons, Suite 6 Blacksburg, Virginia 26060
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