Wow.. I had to read, re-read and then go through the comments. I didn't know whether to be angry, lament or laugh. Over 20 years of play (some very active and some not so much), I've seen much of what you mentioned and I think I understand what your point is.
We all play in the SCA. We play at costumes. We play at fighting styles. We play at creating objects. We play at creating a society (small "s" intended) that makes "The Dream" as we think it should be. Notice how many times I used "play" in this? I say play because we can't and don't want to recreate period accurately. "The Dream" is different for everyone.
We create a measure of fantasy in everything we do because the reality of some aspects of period would be horrifying. The Python's were right when they said "no-one expects the Inquisition.." Our Kingdoms, Barony's and Shires mirror our world now; our attitudes now and our circumstances now. The SCA has always been a haven for those of us either seeking to escape the mundane, or the excesses & the limitations of where and how we live. Yeah, sadly some people bring those attitudes or mindsets of the mundane world into the Society. Some kingdoms are known for the hedonism, some for the plastic personalities, some for the warmth. We try to recreate and enjoy in a measure that's not always equal.
The division between the fun mavens and the authenticity police was there 20 years ago when I first got my membership and will probably still be there in whatever incarnation the SCA becomes in 20 years hence. In a sense, that Yin and Yang has always fueled the Society and the creative tension that kept it growing. It fueled my participation in many respects. I've taught historical styles and techniques of fighting and tempered every lesson with the knowledge that if I taught it as the period fencing or weapons masters did, I would have permanently disabled or killed people even with tipped points and dulled blades. Sometimes we have to give ground from the authentic to have the fun.
We used to police our own but as we grew bigger and faster, we seem to have lost ourselves in the process. We forgot how to teach people we brought into the SCA. The comment made that the Society changed ten years ago is fairly accurate. That was when the BoD became very corporate. I petitioned and pleaded for greater transparency in the BoD member selection process then. It didn't happen. I was one of the folks heavily involved in the 4th peerage petition. It's slowly being killed by committee. On a personal sense, over 20 years, I've watched many undeserving but well connected people get rewards and recognitions, while I've seen just as many deserving individuals be ignored. I've seen personal vendettas and personal triumphs. That's just like life.. Just like the very real and very mundane world.
So why keep doing it?... If we mirror the mundane world in many of our behaviors, attitudes and faults, why do I personally keep putting on funny clothes and drag my ass out onto the field to fight? It's not the recognitions (after 20 years you'd think I'd have more)... It's not the clothes or position... It's the people, the friendships I've made and the sheer joy I get for playing. I can if only briefly, become another person, pit skill versus skill and believe that things can be better or different.