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A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: September 02, 2017 12:22PM

Will this be cancelled as well?


There have been any number of Civil War re-enactments cancelled recently and there are probably more on the way.

The problem is that folks who come to see them and others think the Confederate reenactors are actually sympathizers with the traitors who rebels against the United States. This is not the truth, of course. They are almost exclusively people with an interest in illustrating historical battles. The usual case is that after having been Union portrayers for a while, they want to shoot cannons and rifles the other way. The 'Confederates' frequently also have their Union gear with them and switch sides if there are multiple skirmishes being staged. Each side has its own varieties of artifacts, weaponry and battlefield fates. It's living history.

There is apparently no way to convince segments of the public about this and the cancellations are mounting. This will kill the value of seeing military history reenacted.

Basic proposition is that without people who elect to show the Southern forces, all you will see in important historical battles such as Gettysburg is middle-aged guys in Union uniforms charging across empty fields, firing canons against nobody. Some history, eh?

Oh, and if you think that's a problem, what about guys who portray Germans in the (much smaller and less numerous) WW2 reenactments? They have enough problems already. Do you really think they are Nazis? Or history buffs.

War reenactments are not political statements, they are the living equivalent of the museums that all the Confederate monuments should be moved to.
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: Pam
Date: September 02, 2017 12:27PM
I think most people think it's grown men playing war.

This will pass. And they will go back to reenactments. Right now they do not need the influx of potential violence or disruption. Unfortunate, but temporary.
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: September 02, 2017 12:33PM
For example=> [www.28thga.org]


Welcome to the home page of The 28th Georgia / 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry! We are a group of American Civil War reenactors who portray both Company G of the 28th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, C.S.A., and Company D of the 123rd New York Volunteer Infantry, U.S.A. Our website is always under construction, so check back often, as we will be adding more things as we progress.

Founded in 1983, the 28th Georgia / 123rd New York is a non-profit organization devoted to keeping history alive through living histories, memorial services, parades, and battle reenactments of the War Between the States. We try to portray as accurately as possible the common, everyday soldier and civilian of the 1860s. We are a family-oriented group and feel that there is a place for everyone. We are not a hardcore unit, but we can adapt to whatever the situation calls for. We practice very strict blackpowder safety rules and are well-disciplined both on and off the field of battle.
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: Onamuji
Date: September 02, 2017 01:18PM
I wouldn't ban reenactments outright, but I can see how some of them might be "triggers" when the timing coincides with nasty events and postponing or skipping one when that occurs would probably be the right/moral thing to do.

Even at their best, the reenactments that I've been to still romanticize the Confederacy, skipping some of the controversial elements of a character's bio, for example, in a way that's a little creepy when you think about how most people take that stuff at face value and don't follow up using Google or the Wikipedia.



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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: September 02, 2017 01:28PM
I went to one at a local 19th Century cemetery a few months ago. There was a guy doing an excellent Frederick Douglass and black Union troops. Lots of detail.
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: gabester
Date: September 02, 2017 05:08PM
Quote
Steve G.
I went to one at a local 19th Century cemetery a few months ago. There was a guy doing an excellent Frederick Douglass and black Union troops. Lots of detail.

Hey I hear that Fred Douglass guy is really doing great things, a real up and comer. Maybe we can get his help on Hurricane Harvey?

Seriously, though, this is an interesting thread that has several elements I had not considered.
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 02, 2017 05:33PM
Quote
Steve G.\
War reenactments are not political statements, they are the living equivalent of the museums that all the Confederate monuments should be moved to.

The better reenactments aren't, but there have been a number of groups who have created political statements through the process they have gone through. From what I have seen it is a minority of groups, but not totally absent from re-enactors.

Onamuji has mentioned the romanticization of the Confederacy, that is another problematic aspect of many of the reenactments. I have also seen some aspects of that related to the portrayals of the North.

Your second post is nice at pointing out a group that does reenactments of both a southern unit and a northern unit. But right there in the description you copied is that clinging to calling it a "War Between the States". The event was a civil war, using the euphemism just continues the rationalization of the event.
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: September 02, 2017 07:46PM
With reenactments, it's hard to romanticize. They live as soldiers live (fairly bad), eat the same food (slightly better, no poisoning fatalities) and participate in accurate versions of battles. They also get to play dead for a few hours in the sun if they are unlucky. In the battle where one or the other side won, it's still the same with the same tactics.
Real soldiers don't experience glory, they just march, sweat and die. (Even though, firing the cannons are fun to watch.)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2017 07:46PM by Steve G..
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: $tevie
Date: September 03, 2017 09:34AM
Quote
Pam
I think most people think it's grown men playing war.

This will pass. And they will go back to reenactments. Right now they do not need the influx of potential violence or disruption. Unfortunate, but temporary.
I agree.



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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: September 07, 2017 04:39PM
You don't know a lot of reenactors, do you Steve G.? There are plenty of folks who do the weekend warrior (19th Cent. Ed.) thing who believe quite strongly that "things were better and simpler back then," and things like, "modern historians have distorted how bad things were for slaves; sure, there were bad masters, but most of them lived productive, happy lives on farms together with the plantation owners," etc.

In other words, they are lunatics.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: September 07, 2017 06:05PM
Quote
rjmacs
You don't know a lot of reenactors, do you Steve G.?

I do know them. Some would like to temporarily leave modern civilization. However, usually a couple of days is more than enough. (My standing joke for this is, "Have a good time at the Civil War, if anyone invents the telephone, give me call on how you're doing.")

No reenactors I have met subscribe to the 'slaves had it okay' topic you put out. They are more prone to know the actual history. Such primitive ignorance may be part of the bigoted Trumper/GOP crowd, but that has little to do with historically faithful battle reenactments. You are confusing the two.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/07/2017 06:06PM by Steve G..
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: max
Date: September 08, 2017 07:58AM
Quote
JoeH
But right there in the description you copied is that clinging to calling it a "War Between the States". The event was a civil war, using the euphemism just continues the rationalization of the event.
Quite incorrect.
It is not an euphemism. It was both.
In fact the Civil War the real point where we transitioned from an union of quite separate states into a much more homogenized country....
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Re: A problem for reenactors. Can you show the past?
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: September 18, 2017 12:05PM
Quote
Steve G.
Quote
rjmacs
You don't know a lot of reenactors, do you Steve G.?

I do know them. Some would like to temporarily leave modern civilization. However, usually a couple of days is more than enough. (My standing joke for this is, "Have a good time at the Civil War, if anyone invents the telephone, give me call on how you're doing.")

No reenactors I have met subscribe to the 'slaves had it okay' topic you put out. They are more prone to know the actual history. Such primitive ignorance may be part of the bigoted Trumper/GOP crowd, but that has little to do with historically faithful battle reenactments. You are confusing the two.

Have you been to any reenactments south of the Mason-Dixon?



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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