Posts Tagged 'Reenacting'

Update

Sorry for not writing in so long!  I’ve been very busy during this holiday, surprisingly, and have not had much quality time to sit down and write a quality entry.  I do have one coming soon about me and reenacting, again.  There’s a new foreigner here in Jindo who went to a Quaker school, and she has caused me to think about that query again.  It’s such a complicated issue that I really tend to babble about it, but I will do my best to sound coherent, when I do write it.

Note to Self: Posts to Make

Simplicity & The Great Purge (about when I got rid of 75% of my personal possessions)

Playing War (about being a pacifist while reenacting)

Plainness vs. Conservatism (about how my emphasis on simplicity and function over fashion has gotten me mislabeled as a conservative from time to time)

Reenacting Post #1: Pacifism Amongst Wanna-be Warriors

This ended up being a lot more meandering than I intended it to be, but it should still be interesting. There will be another post later about other aspects.

One thing I have come to terms with over the years is that in reenacting (for those of you who have not read my “who am I?” page, I am a historical reenactor, as is Marc, my significant other), the environment is not exactly conducive to much conversation about anything political, etc. Most reenactors, with some exceptions of course, are pretty far on the conservative/right side of the political spectrum. Not only that, but they are pretty vocal about it, and relatively unopen to discussion. While I tend to shy away from discussing politics anyway given that I grew up as a liberal in Texas and learned to think without speaking, we do discuss history a lot at events, and that unfortunately can sometimes lead to a discussion of politics, as the two are inextricably entwined with eachother.

Marc likes to joke that “If you want to really know what it’s like to be the outsider at an event, try being both a Quaker and French. I’m about as pacifist as you can get, but I’m surrounded by people who love war.”. Now, we both love the *study* of war, and are fascinated by human conflicts, but we both are anti-war and pro-peace, and that is often met with a less than warm welcome. Marc deals with insults to his French-ness (“Who’d you surrender to today? Har har har!”) by mentioning that until WWI, the French were actually pretty badass, militarily, and in fact it is often argued that the colonists would not have won the American Revolution had the French not stepped in to assist. Given that these are reenactors, this usually shuts them up, as it appeals to their historical interests.

As I mentioned above, I tend to avoid topics at reenactments that I suspect will bring argument. Many, many reenactors are either current military or are vets, and they don’t take very kindly to an anti-war stance. I get around this often by stating that I do support the troops (I used to write letters, send packages, etc), but that I just feel that our military could be more efficiently used. This isn’t a lie – I do feel that it could be more efficiently used – I just neglect to say that my idea of efficiency involves removing most of the troops from the Middle East, except in areas that still need stability reinstated., and moving them instead to areas that they are needed, such as the Sudan and various disaster areas. I prefer not to create conflicts, and since I am often somewhat of the “publicity officer” for groups I am in (I often recruit members, I run our websites, etc), I have to maintain a relatively neutral public stance, so as to not offend the wrong people and have us starting to “not be invited” to events.

Some reenactors who are also military personnel have a more interesting stance – for instance, one of the members of Marc and I’s WWII Soviet group, Robbie, is a Marine reservist, and while he loves the Marines, he does not always support what they do, and in fact he’s quite a counter-culture fan. He’s not for the war, but he’s not against it either – he understands the reasons, but disagrees with the methods. He’s a reservist, but is such out of a feeling of duty, rather than a love of the military. His rebellious streak shows up in his reenacting persona, as he can often be found off in the background, complaining about our commander. Our commander is a former member of the reserve branch one of the various military branches (I can’t remember which), and he laments that he never got to “see action” before his enlistment expired. He ends up taking this frustration out on our unit, and he tries to stand at the non-existent top (we try to be a little more horizontally organized than vertically, unlike most groups) and complain that we’re not “military-like” enough. Newsflash: We’re not in the military, buddy. Sure, I agree that we need to learn how to be in formation properly, and commands and such, but I am not about to be ordered around by someone who is trying to relive a past he never had by bossing his friends around. In the field, we adhere to our various ranks, but when we’re just relaxing at the end of the day? Hell. No. While I may enjoy “playing war”, I certainly want the similarity to end there.

I have always felt a degree of discomfort around the majority of reenactors for reasons like this, but really, in the end, reenacting is far too big a part of my life, and I have been doing it far too long (almost 13 years now!) for me to give it up. It’s my main hobby, and a massive stress-reliever, and it would take something really, really major for me to give it up. Hell, I’m even a little deaf because of it, but that hasn’t even slowed me down.

Anyway. Another post coming soon about the conflict surrounding reenacting, which can often glorify war, and my personal feelings of being against war.