Pet Peeves

I’d like to take a few minutes of your time to rant about a few pet peeves I have about reenactors.
Firstly the one that annoys me the most is a phrase I’ve heard thrown around by several people over the years and that phrase is,
“If they’d a’ had it, they’d a’ used it”
Screw that.
I’ve heard it said about something as small as buttons. A man once wore a modern shirt with plastic buttons at an event and an argument was started about authenticity.
A heated argument that included much swearing and even more ignorance.
Ok, to some people buttons may be a small and trivial part of your clothing. Most of the time they are barely if at all visible, but believe me they are important.
Now, I confess. I am not the most authentic reenactor out there but I do try my hardest to make the clothing and equipment I wear and carry as authentic as possible.
“If they’d a had it, they’d a used it”
Really? Does that mean I can carry an AR-15 on an eighteenth century battlefield?
It doesn’t.
And I know, I know, there’s a big difference between an AR-15 and a couple of plastic buttons but that is despite the point. The point is if you’re going to use a phrase like that you are missing the point of reenacting all together.
I hate the phrase and if you want to look at it like that you might as well try Steampunk.
Moving on.
Secondly, what gets on my nerves are people who are unwilling to learn, to adapt, to change. These reenactors who are so stuck in their ways that they refuse to believe anything anyone else tells them.
Now, I’m not saying take everything anyone tells you as gospel. Far from it. I’m just saying that more people need to be open to the idea of listening to what others have to say.
Other reenactors might very well know something you don’t. Look it up. Research it. Find out if you or them are right then move on accordingly.
If you want to participate in living history or reenacting you have to drop your ego and accept the horrible truth that you are wrong once in a while.
Thirdly, (and finally), what annoys me is those that are a part of this scene that do nothing to help out those who are not as progressed as themselves. They look down on those that aren’t as authentic and laugh and mock and generally take the piss.
Sure, there are FARBS out there who don’t really care, but there are those that are trying their best with the resources they have. These people who take the piss need to get off their high horse. They need to realise that some people may just be starting out and don’t yet know enough.
So, next time you see someone like this, maybe you could give them some helpful advice instead of mocking. Maybe you could help out someone with familiar interests instead of laughing.
Reenacting and living history is a community no matter what time period you are portraying.
If we can’t help out others what’s the point in doing this?
Doing this isn’t about one person or a group of people being the best, this is about all of us trying to look and dress and be the best. This is about portraying our own particular time periods to the best of our abilities as a whole. If that means giving someone a handy tip once in a while, a nudge in the right direction, is that really all that hard?

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5 thoughts on “Pet Peeves

  1. Le Loup says:

    A good rant. But I guess this is the main reason you & I & others like us write these blogs, we want to share our knowledge, or in some cases the lack of it. There is always more to learn. A Woodsrunner’s Diary.
    Regards, Keith.

    • Thanks for sharing it Keith.
      And yes I tried not to be too preachy but these are just a few things that bug me. Like I said in my last post this is all on big trial and error and we should really help each other out more. Thanks for sharing it again.

  2. Dave Taylor says:

    Another good ’un Jason!
    The spectrum of re-enactors seems to stretch from the stitch-perfect, to those who are only in because they like firing guns, and don’t care much about concepts like period correctness. I guess I’m in the middle somewhere — an enthusiastic but sometimes careless seamster; and not (yet!) a flippant gun fanatic.
    With regards to passing on the lore, I’ve found that there are some very kind and helpful people out there, who enjoy sharing their knowledge, and (fortunately for me!), don’t flinch, even at the daftest newbie questions. They are folks who “get in amongst” the re-enacting community. On the other hand the perfectionists, who often look like museum pieces, seem to enjoy “standing round the edge” of the community, being critical, but not in a helpful way
    Probably the best advice I’ve had so far in my first nine months, has been: “It’s not enough to be ‘period correct’ for the eighteenth century; you need to look like you ‘just stepped out of’ the eighteenth century.” That’s why, for example, I made sure that my blinding white linen shirt is building up a good patina of honest dirt, just by wearing it — kettle soot, cooking grease and (shhh!) the odd baked bean stain. I resisted the temptation to “distress” it by soaking it in tea — and that is in some of the books!
    But there has to be compromise, especially with the modern mind-set. For example: some spectators at US re-enactments feel that wearing just leggings and ’clout is being unacceptably “underdressed”, not realising that, quite late on, even less was sometimes worn in battle! (I am Not advocating “paint-only” appearances!)
    Please continue speaking out with your well-reasoned rants; but I also look forward to seeing some postings about your projects.
    Dave Taylor

  3. Hello there Jason,
    Just caught the link from Keith’s blog and although not a reenactor myself I do enjoy reading and learning about things gone by and how people like yourself and Keith keep them alive.
    Regards, John

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