I've got lots of modernisms and then some. First, I play a Planescape campaign and the setting doesn't look much medieval anyway. Second, I'm absolutely not interested in middle-age verosimilitude.
A specific concept is that of magical items certification. You can get an item identified and certified (with a magical mark to ensure authenticity) if you want; the certificate warrants that the item does what it is declared to do. It is only done for really costly items, but it's worth it ("yeah, it's a +5 vorpal sure sirrah... fork the jink and it's yours" said the scammer after casting magic aura).
Well, besides the material component problem, what deity would allow their priests to sell this life-changing power?
Not to mention the idea that the material components may not be components at all... Think about it. The priest know that their gods don't take ressurecting someone lightly. But a god is going to be a lot more open to it if the person gives the church serious financial wealth. Dimonds are the best for this, they are worth a lot, and easy to transport...
"Umm yeah, the spell won't work without diamonds, we need dimonds, lots of diamonds..."
Yeah, technically, Planescape was supposed to be vaguely medieval, at least according to the campaign guide book in the boxed set, but Sigil always came off with a strong griity Victorian-era London feel to me.
The reason the renaisannce writers wrote about a middle ages where the peasants and pretty much everyone else stank was because the previous century was dominated by the results of the Black Death. The plague raged for 25 years. Huge numbers of people died. 1350 - 1450 was the middle ages everyones grandparents in 1492 talked about. And that was a very different time than the 1000-1350 middle ages. Essentially Europe after 1375 was a post apocalyptic society that thought bathing had caused the problem. After 1375 the population stopped bathing. This can be seen by the change in fasion.
Aaron, while I find your line of logic admirable, I also find it a tad flawed. The primary motivator in the gradual decline in personal hygeine was not that brief and intense spike in plague deaths (which was only one of a series of spikes from the mid-1300s to the mid-1700s), but instead it was the increasing belief (spread by the church) that public baths were immoral, and that the water was causing illness. If you, or anyone else, would like me to post a list of books on that period which discuss the effects of the plague on society, commerce, government, and religion, I would be more than happy to do it.
Socio-economic changes, which are brought on by the rapidly decreasing labor force, plus a change in manufacturing techniques and materials, are some of the motivating factors in the changes in fashion. I could go on and on about both these subjects, but I will refrain. I wrote enough on the topic when I was majoring in medieval studies in college.