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Spare_Man
01-04-2007, 04:17 PM
Got this from a pard who's a majoring in political science. An interesting but ultimately bleak look at where reenacting has been and where it may be going:

The Seven Eras of Civil War Reenacting
The Past, the Present and One Possible Future

1. Centenial Era (1960-1965)
The beginning of reenacting as we know it. Everyone is a farb even
thought they don't know it. Gotta start someplace.

2. Post-Centennial Vietnam Era (1964-1975)
Reenacting the American Civil War while the Vietnam war was
raging wasn't much fun. Then came the energy crisis and
shortages at the pump. The hobby almost dissapeared except for
the stalwarts who wouldn't let it die. Everyone was a farb but strived
to be more "authentic."

3. Post-Vietnam Era (1975-1982) These are the comeback years. The
Vietnam War is over and military things are still unpopular, but the tide
begins to turn. The war between Authentics and Farbs heats up.

4. The Reagan Era (1982-1989) The years leading up to the 125th
Anniversary were the growth years when the hobby trully became an
American institution. The war betwen the Authentics and the Farbs
ends. The Farbs lose because everyone is wearing wool for the 125th
Anniversery. Enter stage right: A movie called "Glory" and a
documentary filmmaker named Ken Burns. The Civil War enters the
mainstream of American recreational activities. Battlefield
preservation becomes a cause célèbre. The NPS
wakes up to the fact that Living History events attract the public. The
Centennial Era founders begin to retire and/or die.

5. The Roaring '90s Era. (1990-2001) Spurred on by a TV show
called Civil War Journal and movies like "Gettysburg" the hobby grows big.
Maybe too big. Differences in the quality of events and each
reenactor's committment to authenticity becomes more distinct. Farbs
are now called "mainstreamers" and "authentics" now define
themselves as "hardcores," "campaigners," or "progressives." Period
civilian impression become more commonplace. The internet
becomes the primary source of reenactor communication and
research.

6. The Identity Crisis Era (2001-2006) The word "Farb" is put in the
dictionary. Many Reagan Era inductees burn out on the politics and
bickering in the hobby and leave for the real world.
Progressives and Mainstreamers maintain an uneasy
alliance but the gloves come off as Hardcore posers, soon to
becalled "Hardkewls," ridicule the Mainstreamers and the
Mainstreamers retaliate by riduculing the Hardcores. The war on
terror, rising gas prices, and constant sniping at
overwieight reenactors drain the hobby of younger blood. Nerdy
overweight kids who would make fine reenactors buy combat video games
instead. Important Reagan Era giants like Brian Pohanka and
Chuck Hillsman pass away.

7. The Conjectural Era (2007 to ... ?) The hobby limps along.
Speilberg's Lincoln movie and Harrison Ford's "Manhunt"
movie somewhat revive an interest in the Civil War, but neither film
uses reenactors so the incentive to join the hobby to mug for the
camera isn't there. Hillary Clinton is elected President and our
troops leave Iraq in disgrace. The illegal
immigration door remains wide open and 9/11-style terror attacks
become commonplace on U.S shores. A catosrophic event eclipses
Antietam as our Bloodiest Day. Battle reenactments become
illegal because the sound of gunfire frightens an already jumpy
public. For the 150th Annivesary, immigrants, nativists, liberals and
conservatives fight Civil War II and the desire to reenact Civil
War I ends forever.

Robert A Mosher
01-04-2007, 04:33 PM
John -
Interesting attempt - you need to somehow shoehorn in how "Cold Mountain" presented the most convincing physical portrayal of Civil War soldiers (especially late war Confederates) by hiring unemployed Romanians.

Perhaps there should also be some commentary along the way about how the suppliers of equipment shifted from the Sears working mens clothing department and Italian gunmakers, to India and Pakistan and some dedicated US one person enterprises?

Robert A. Mosher

MStuart
01-04-2007, 04:44 PM
The sky is falling!!!! The sky is falling!!!!!!

FWIW Dept: Anyone, on any given day, can see crap in a pile of money. And there are those that can see great things in a pile of crap.

The bottom line questions is: Are you and your comrades having fun in the hobby?

And my bottom line statement is: Don't worry about the other guy or guys. There's waaaay too many "real life" things out there that make this hobby shrink in significance and importance. Do YOUR best, and enjoy.

Mark

Trooper Graham
01-04-2007, 04:58 PM
The sky is falling!!!! The sky is falling!!!!!!

FWIW Dept: Anyone, on any given day, can see crap in a pile of money. And there are those that can see great things in a pile of crap.

The bottom line questions is: Are you and your comrades having fun in the hobby?

And my bottom line statement is: Don't worry about the other guy or guys. There's waaaay too many "real life" things out there that make this hobby shrink in significance and importance. Do YOUR best, and enjoy.

Mark


BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sbl
01-04-2007, 06:36 PM
Exactly! That's why I now call my "military miniatures" toy soldiers!

sbl
01-04-2007, 06:39 PM
Never mind...

Justin Runyon
01-05-2007, 12:20 AM
Man I thought that was pretty good till we had to go and add some nonsense political rant. The rest pretty much rang true though.

sbl
01-05-2007, 06:23 AM
Justin,

That's why I edited my reply. I've lived and reenacted through most of the 7 ages. I'm not sure the writer has.

Spare_Man
01-05-2007, 08:26 AM
My comrade author is a young fella, in the hobby since '99. But he's researched the history of reenacting. The "political rant" in #7 is just the musings of someone who's actually been to Iraq (Army) and is now a political science major. It's only one possible future, so don't take it personal.

sbl
01-05-2007, 10:03 AM
Spare_Man,

Actually I was refering to your original post. Justin had it right. I like the possible future that has the 30 day paid vacation, Social Security, fuel efficiant transport, and national healthcare so that I can really enjoy going to reenactments. Also the personal jetpack I was promised back in the 50s.

Trooper Graham
01-05-2007, 10:10 AM
My comrade author is a young fella, in the hobby since '99. But he's researched the history of reenacting. The "political rant" in #7 is just the musings of someone who's actually been to Iraq (Army) and is now a political science major. It's only one possible future, so don't take it personal.

That explains why he made no reference that years back being AC only meant that you were not DC. :D

Micah Trent
01-05-2007, 10:46 AM
Excellent post minus the politcs.