Tenant vs. supporter

 
Michael Swanson
 
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Michael Swanson
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01 July 2008 23:45
 

Fred White;60080 wrote:

And I should emphasize that I think this is a perfectly valid analysis, though I do think the matter is susceptible of a very different, equally valid analysis and I know I’m far from alone in that in the AHS,...


The alternative analysis you speak of, recently defended by yourself and David P., seems to depend on changing the meaning of supporters by mis-using them.

 

David P.‘s version:  Everyone should use them, so the masses in American will stop thinking they refer to noble status.

 

Your version: Everyone should use them, since their lack of use is tacit unAmerican approval of (or deference to) nobility.

 

Both David’s and your arguments presuppose the same suppressed premise: Supporters denote noble status.  Thus, both involve mis-using supporters to obtain some end—a social context in which they are properly used by everyone.

 

This is a completely different analysis than what Joe is offering.  He is not talking about some strategy of mis-use; he is concerned with their continued proper use.  That is why his analysis is valid, and the alternative analysis is not.

 
Wilfred Leblanc
 
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Wilfred Leblanc
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01 July 2008 23:54
 

Michael Swanson;60086 wrote:

Both arguments presuppose the same suppressed premise: Supporters denote noble status.  Thus, both involve misusing supporters to obtain some future end—an environment in which they are properly used by everyone.

This is a completely different analysis than what Joe is offering, which is about not mis-using supporters, but using them correctly.


I respect your effort to fit this into propositional calculus, but I don’t think you have it right. One could just as in/accurately say that Joe’s argument depends on the flawed (if not suppressed) premise that the only correct use of supporters is by nobles; this has not been proven by either the preponderance of evidence standard or the reasonable doubt standard.

 
Wilfred Leblanc
 
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Wilfred Leblanc
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01 July 2008 23:57
 

Michael Swanson;60086 wrote:

The alternative analysis you speak of, recently defended by yourself and David P., seems to depend on changing the meaning of supporters by mis-using them.


That’s no more fair or defensible an assertion than the one implied in my suppressed riposte to Joseph a few posts back.

 
David Pritchard
 
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David Pritchard
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02 July 2008 01:15
 

Michael Swanson;60086 wrote:

Both David’s and your arguments presuppose the same suppressed premise: Supporters denote noble status.  Thus, both involve mis-using supporters to obtain some end—a social context in which they are properly used by everyone.


If your re-read Joseph’s posts on this topic you would know that he believes that in most countries but not all countries that supporters are indicative of knightly and noble status. I agree with him on this point. Where our opinions diverge are how supporters are to be treated in a modern American heraldic context. As for my self, I do not actively use the supporters that were certified for my use by the late Cronicler of Arms of Spain. Despite being an American, I belong to a Spanish noble company in which ones very membership serves as a proof of nobility and belong to a chivalric order which nobilitates the recipient according to the authoritative reference book World Orders of Knighthood & Merit by Guy Stair Sainty. Thus my own use of supporters proves Joseph correct.

 

Your use of an avatar depicting a toy monkey on a tricycle seems all the more appropriate after your last few posts. Nobility and related fields are simply out of your scope of knowledge.

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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02 July 2008 07:07
 

Fred White;60085 wrote:

And not if one fits quite a few other Continental descriptions besides, from the looks of your evidence, much less a North American one.


Which of my evidence?  I think my evidence, such as it is, is that (wherever supporters are part of the heraldic tradition), princes, dukes, and counts are more likely to use supporters than barons, barons more likely than untitled nobles, and non-nobles not likely at all.

 

I won’t pretend that the data is anywhere near complete, but hypothetically, at least, if use of supporters in each country were plotted on a graph, with the X axis being social rank and the Y axis being percentage of arms with which supporters are used, I believe in each case there would be a clearly rising curve, probably exponentially rising.  In some countries the line would be lower, in others it would be higher.  Only where supporters are not used at all would it be flat.  Even in the Netherlands, which is the main case always cited for universal assumability of supporters, the data would show them used by nobles more frequently than by commoners.  Where there are or were regulations governing the use of supporters, they were reserved to the nobility or some subset thereof.

 

Which of my evidence supports (no pun intended) an opposite interpretation?

 
Andrew J Vidal
 
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Andrew J Vidal
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02 July 2008 07:31
 

Anyone else take notice to how this dicussion (and all other before it) start off with supporters and end up with "what is a noble, who makes the rules and am I one of them?"

If you want to use supporters, use them.  Hell, if you want to use a golden helm topped with a crown, be my guest.  Nothing in our laws says you can’t.  Just don’t be expected to be taken all the seriously.  Some images convey very specific meanings to a great deal of people.  If you don’t want to be misleading, don’t convey the image.:banghead:

 
Michael Swanson
 
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02 July 2008 08:30
 

David Pritchard;60089 wrote:

Where our opinions diverge are how supporters are to be treated in a modern American heraldic context.


I was responding to your goofy and oft repeated theory that all Americans should use supporters.  You are encouraging their mis-use for some future state of affairs in America.

 

As for what the Queen of England does or you do, these are one-off situations.

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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02 July 2008 08:55
 

Fred White;60083 wrote:

(The temptation is to reply, "And those who are not knights but want people to think they are may, of course, bear arms if they please" :p, but I think I’ll take the high road here.)


I don’t see how this retort would be taking the low road; it would merely be anachronistic.

 

Once upon a time supporters meant nothing and were merely decorative, but over the centuries, in most places where heraldry is used, they acquired a connotation of noble/knightly status.

 

Once upon a time the bearing of arms connoted noble/knightly status, but over the centuries, in most places where heraldry is used, they became available to anyone who wanted to bear them.  Even where they were most highly regulated (England and Scotland), they have not been confined to the knightly/noble class.

 

Now, as I see it, we can either live in the past or we can live in the present.  If we live in the past, then anyone who is entitled to bear arms is free to assume decorative supporters, but those of us who aren’t knights or nobles still couldn’t have supporters because we couldn’t have arms in the first place.

 

If we live in the present, then all of us are free to bear arms, but those of us who aren’t knights or nobles still shouldn’t use supporters because, over the same centuries in which we acquired the right to bear arms, supporters acquired noble/knightly connotations.

 
Wilfred Leblanc
 
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Wilfred Leblanc
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02 July 2008 09:10
 

Joseph McMillan;60091 wrote:

I won’t pretend that the data is anywhere near complete, but hypothetically, at least, if use of supporters in each country were plotted on a graph, with the X axis being social rank and the Y axis being percentage of arms with which supporters are used, I believe in each case there would be a clearly rising curve. . . .

Which of my evidence supports (no pun intended) an opposite interpretation?


I don’t object to your hypothesis as delimited above. Where I differ with you is on its implications for the contemporary American context. I don’t see an airtight basis for the proposition, "No American armiger should use supporters, and none can without appearing to masquerade as a titled nobleman." That is the essence of your proposition, right?

 

In terms of the evidence, such as it is, I hear you interpreting it to mean not only that it shows a general trend towards associating supporters with high social status (not an interpretation I oppose), but that it shows a general trend towards definite restriction on the use of supporters to X category of people (something quite different which I don’t think the evidence supports owing to the multiple discrepancies I pointed out).

 
Wilfred Leblanc
 
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Wilfred Leblanc
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02 July 2008 09:36
 

Joseph McMillan;60096 wrote:

Once upon a time supporters meant nothing and were merely decorative, but over the centuries, in most places where heraldry is used, they acquired a connotation of noble/knightly status.

Once upon a time the bearing of arms connoted noble/knightly status, but over the centuries, in most places where heraldry is used, they became available to anyone who wanted to bear them.  Even where they were most highly regulated (England and Scotland), they have not been confined to the knightly/noble class.


I believe you’re equivocating a bit here. To say that supporters acquired knightly—and not just noble—status over the ages is to resituate the discourse and inadvertantly to concede that the meaning of supporters is more nebulous than you have yet admitted it to be.

 

It goes without saying that arms sans supporters lost their knightly denotation over the ages, but it’s hardly clear that they ever truly lost that connotation, and it’s quite arguable (not to say fairly obvious) that the principal reason members of the emergent bourgeoisie began to bear arms was to claim, or state an aspiration to, the status associated with knights.

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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02 July 2008 10:11
 

Fred White;60098 wrote:

it’s quite arguable (not to say fairly obvious) that the principal reason members of the emergent bourgeoisie began to bear arms was to claim, or state an aspiration to, the status associated with knights.


It may be arguable.  It certainly is not obvious.  In an era (13th-14th century) when people were perfectly clear about the difference between a fishmonger and a knight, fishmongers were publicly using arms.  It seems much more reasonable to me that the fishmongers (tanners, pepperers, butchers, drapers, etc.) simply found the heraldic style of personal representation appealing, attractive, and fashionable.  Perhaps, given the hereditary nature of arms, there was also an assertion of a sense of entitlement to family identity and respectability.  Both of these seem to me more likely explanations than that someone actually engaged in the trade of a skinner or weaver could expect to make anyone think, through the use of arms, that he was other than a skinner or weaver.

 

Francois Velde provides extensive quotations from Galbreath and J√©quier’s Manuel du Blason giving the evidence of artisan and peasant use of arms at an early date at http://heraldica.org/topics/right.htm.  See also http://heraldica.org/topics/britain/eng-comm.htm for English examples.

 
Wilfred Leblanc
 
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Wilfred Leblanc
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02 July 2008 11:26
 

Joseph McMillan;60100 wrote:

It seems much more reasonable to me that the fishmongers (tanners, pepperers, butchers, drapers, etc.) simply found the heraldic style of personal representation appealing, attractive, and fashionable.


If your sympathy extends to the fishmongers who "simply found the heraldic style of personal representation appealing, attractive, and fashionable," and arrogated to themselves the privilege of using what was indisputably a device associated with knights and nobles to begin with, I can’t fathom why you would quibble about the prospect of an American adding supporters to his arms. There seems to be a double standard at play here.


Joseph McMillan;60100 wrote:

Perhaps, given the hereditary nature of arms, there was also an assertion of a sense of entitlement to family identity and respectability.


Precisely—an assertion of entitlement to family identity and respectability previously made by knights and noblemen only (as the Velde links note). This is a revolution you manifestly approve of because you deny having the status of a knight or a noble but do unabashedly bear arms.


Joseph McMillan;60100 wrote:

Both of these seem to me more likely explanations than that someone actually engaged in the trade of a skinner or weaver could expect to make anyone think, through the use of arms, that he was other than a skinner or weaver.


Again, you’re clearly willing to give the fishmongers the benefit of the doubt, and not jump to the conclusion that they were masquerading as their social "betters" (as am I), so why would you not show the same magnanimity and forebearance in your attitude towards an American who chooses to assume supporters? After all, he might simply find supporters appealing, attractive, and fashionable.

 
Joseph McMillan
 
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Joseph McMillan
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02 July 2008 12:36
 

Fred White;60102 wrote:

Again, you’re clearly willing to give the fishmongers the benefit of the doubt, and not jump to the conclusion that they were masquerading as their social "betters" (as am I), so why would you not show the same magnanimity and forebearance in your attitude towards an American who chooses to assume supporters?


Because I don’t accept that the use of arms by an artisan in 1310 was subject to misinterpretation, while the use of supporters by a non-noble today is.

 

And because, while I haven’t personally encountered any 14th century fishmongers, I have seen some of the silly posturing and fraudulent claims put forth by Americans who add supporters to their arms today.

 

I see all the difference in the world between the fishmonger who assumed a coat of arms knowing that no one would therefore take him for anything but a fishmonger and the modern American who assumes supporters knowing full well the connotation they have acquired.

 
Wilfred Leblanc
 
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Wilfred Leblanc
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02 July 2008 14:42
 

Joseph McMillan;60104 wrote:

Because I don’t accept that the use of arms by an artisan in 1310 was subject to misinterpretation, while the use of supporters by a non-noble today is.


The former judgment is tendentious and speculative, while the latter is highly subjective. Subject to misinterpretation by whom?


Joseph McMillan;60104 wrote:

And because, while I haven’t personally encountered any 14th century fishmongers, I have seen some of the silly posturing and fraudulent claims put forth by Americans who add supporters to their arms today.


I laud your rejection of silly posturing and fraudulent claims, but I think you’re conflating separate issues.


Joseph McMillan;60104 wrote:

I see all the difference in the world between the fishmonger who assumed a coat of arms knowing that no one would therefore take him for anything but a fishmonger and the modern American who assumes supporters knowing full well the connotation they have acquired.


I think you’re affecting to hold an omniscient perspective. It’s entirely possible that a fishmonger might have hoped to be seen as having an illustrious pedigree, if not to be taken as something other than a fishmonger, and it’s entirely possible for a modern American to use supporters with the expectation that they be seen as nothing more than a decorative flourish, or at worst, a reasonable analogy between himself and members of traditional elites.

 
David Pritchard
 
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David Pritchard
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02 July 2008 15:18
 

Since the important issue of fishmongers and supporters has now been thoroughly addressed, I suggest that you move the discussion onto the ever controversial use of supporters by haberdashers, pewterers, coopers and thatchers.