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Posted By: Chuck Lee on: 10/18/2004 16:20:28 EDT
Subject: RE: Cedar Creek

Message Detail:
Unfortunately, photos of a reenactor with a cell phone glued to his ear makes us all look sillier than we have to look.

We had a fellow who's a heritage group member fall in with our group very recently. He's an older fellow - probably mid-to late 50s or early 60s - and he was dressed in his friend's old cast off uniform pieces from another unit. He also wore an earring. He was assigned to my cannon crew (I'm bi-, I should mention; I do Artillery and Signal Corps; and I confess that I cross-dress, as I go Confederate or Federal). As soon as he was given over to my charge, the first thing he was told - privately and quietly - was to lose the earring or leave the field, and I told him why. He lost the earring.

That afternoon, he hopped on his cell phone and called one of his heritage group buddies to tell him about his cool experience. Spectators abounded, and he stood in our camp with a cell phone glued to his ear. When I saw him, I told him to end his call and report to the sutlers area where he was free to make and take all of the calls he wanted to - but not in our camp, and I told him why. He ended the calla and left, returning some time later without the cell phone (or at least without it being on or used so long as I could see or hear him).

On what authority did I do that? Well, I confess that it was self-appointed and self-derived. I have eleven years with that group and umpteen thousand dollars tied up in the impression, and I suppose that suggests to me that I might have a right to tell the uninvested to go fish if they want to make us look really, really ridiculous. It's unfortunate that others obviously don't see it that way, as in the case of the fellow who is depicted in the photograph.

That means that we all need to be more diligent in making a more authentic appearance and performance clearly and evidently important; important enough to ban this sort of nonsense. Can we eliminate all modern things? Probably not. But we can certainly do a better job of de-farbing those things on which we have to compromise, and concealing if not eliminating anachronisms.

Perfection is not possible; but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be a standard by which we judge our efforts. Compromise is a necessary evil - but though it may an evil, let's make sure we entertain it only when it truly is a NECESSARY evil.

End of rambling sermonette.

Chuck Lee
Signal Corps, Department of the Gulf

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