Carving runes on the inner sky of an empyeran, trying to make meaning and hoping that those from without understand as well.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Episode 38 - Simulated Worlds

In episode 38 of This American Life, Ira Glass introduces his show with a short segment about Civil War re-enactors. The show is about Americans' obsessions with recreating worlds with ultimate accuracy - perfect fakeries. This short part screams to me as having something profound to relate to games and gaming but I'll be damned if I can articulate it. I've spent a week or so trying to. Please help by listening to it, I've included the highlights below. All comments are paraphrased re-enactors:

I prefer to walk in, not drive in.
I don't wear underwear.
I don't bring bananas. Where would they get bananas in the Civil War?
I eat raw meat.
Some believe that their impression is more authentic due to having fleas.
I had a Chinese man apply to be in my group. There weren't any Chinese men in 100th, I want to keep to Caucasians to stay properly authentic.
Vocabulary has developed. Re-enactors are hardcores or farbs.
Farbs are "far be it from me", who is anyone less authentic than yourself.
People who wear tennis shoes, eye glasses, or cotton instead of wool.
This 'takes away from my event'.
I'm in this for fun, not in the army. If I want to have an ice chest hidden in a wooden box, that's fine. I draw the line at what the public sees and perceives.


Anonymous James Jeffers said...

I used to re-enact. A lot. And I had the same weird vibe from the re-enacting community as I do game communities when it came down to people realizing that not everyone had the same expectations and experiences from re-enacting. What you are hearing are these difficulties bubbling up from unspoken to articulated. There are still lots of people who are arguing about which population of re-enactors is growing (the hardcore or the relaxed) and which experience is the "best."

Of course, that's a crap conclusion. Everyone's experience is there own. It's a subjective evaluation.

3:23 PM, May 11, 2007

Blogger Mark Causey said...

What did you re-enact? Why did you get out? Does roleplaying fill a similar desire for you?

3:26 PM, May 11, 2007


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