Thursday, 3 June 2010

Doing It Wrong Is SRS BSNS (x-post)

(Note: I had this lovely rant over at my other blog this morning, and I thought it applicable here as well.)

I am withdrawing from dealing, on any level, with what one might call "hardcore" or "fundamentalist" types, depending on the circumstance and/or the subculture at issue. I've finally fully separated myself from the spiritual versions of such, and I've had it with the historical versions as well. Just reading posts on message boards makes me want to punch people in the face, which I suspect would only aggravate my incipient carpal tunnel syndrome (and earn me an assault charge). I used to read certain mailing lists and message boards for the occasional nugget of useful research information, but the ratio of signal-to-noise is such these days that it's just no longer worth it. If I need to know something, I'll Google it, thanks, or go to the library. The clamor of self-styled "experts" just annoys me beyond endurance.

Honestly? I don't care. I don't care if someone, somewhere, is doing something wrong. I don't care if they're casting their circle in a different manner or interpreting some arcane bit of folklore in a new way. I don't care if some other historical reenactor is wearing a machine-stitched garment or moccasins that have cushioned soles or modern eyeglass frames. I don't have time or energy to be bothered with the tempests that people brew daily in teapots for their own twisted entertainment. I'm sick unto death of clench-butts who, waving the flag of "conservatism" or "preserving a tradition", do nothing but drive people away and ruin their experience of something that should have brought joy and pleasure to their lives. If people aren't doing something in the way that you feel it MUST be done, then do everyone a favor and take yourself off to whatever rarified place you can find with others of your level of perfection. Then the rest of the world can get on with enjoying their chosen activities and not feel compelled to punch you in the face for being a complete, utter, unbearable asshead.

I'm a Costumed Interpreter at a museum; that is one of the things that I do. Our costumes are far from perfectly documented historically accurate garments--and that's fine. Take for example the dress I'll be wearing for summer open house. It's beautiful, and it was made for me; it's apple-green heavy satin with a soft, non-shiny finish, with a squared neckline and a bustled train trimmed with cream rosettes. It also has a zipper up the back! In all the times I've worn that dress, or any of our other costumes, I have never had a patron complain of its lack of authenticity; what I usually hear is, "That's such a pretty dress!" If anyone has questions about period garb, I have encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and will happily prattle for hours until you fall asleep or drop dead of boredom--but if you don't, then I say thank you for the compliment and move right along. And yes, I do have a point, and I think I may even be coming near it.

I am not advocating the dispensing of incorrect information; but I am stating quite plainly that there are levels of authenticity, of accuracy, and of perceived "correctness," and not everyone will or can or should be expected to attain to the same level. If you are the hardest of hardcore historical reenactor who despises the presence of "the public" as detrimental to your experience of faux time travel, then don't go to an event where the public can come to watch. If you are the hardest of hardcore trad wiccan or whatever whose experience of the sacred is hopelessly sullied by the presence of those who don't take it as seriously or don't have the same perceptions of what is required, then go do what you feel needs doing in the presence of those who feel the same way. Live and let live, why is that impossible so difficult for some people? If someone is doing something that is not up to my standards (yes, I have them, and yes, they are often quite high), I simply leave them to it, and carry on on my own or with others who are at my chosen level; I don't call them idiots or try to guilt and humiliate them on the internet. And I am frankly mystified by those who do. Why? What on earth does it serve?

Oh my, look at that soapbox; wherever did that come from? ::kicks it back under the table:: If you're wondering, this rant was sparked by reading through a SEVEN-PAGE (at last count) thread on a reenactor board concerning the armageddon-inducing wrongness of a particular maker's moccasin. There are altogether far too many people in the world with far too much time on their hands, which they occupy with internet assery and focusing on inconsequentials. Couldn't you go volunteer at a soup kitchen or an animal shelter or something if you're that bored? Why not make the world a better place, instead of spreading strife and annoyance?


  1. Brava! Life is too grand to allow people to shove it into their own narrow boxes. I wish to live not just the length of my life, but the width of it as well!

  2. Yes! And I hope that, by those peoples' standards, that I will always be "doing it wrong"!