From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Well, everybody needs a hobby, I guess. has this post about military reenactments that asks a lot of questions I have asked myself from time to time.

When I worked at the Paramount Theater here in Austin, I worked with a gentleman there who was a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, or some such group. They did Civil War reenactments out in the hill country, as I recall, amongst other things. I would think that there's some issue with these folks in the same vein as the movement to remove the Confederate stars and bars from state flags and what not. I would have been in that same camp. I know that the argument against this usually has something to do with the idea that it's about history and heritage rather than about clinging to racist ideals. I don't buy that argument much. When this particular person I knew once made an offhand comment about how my supporting the NY Yankees would have had me hanging from a tree in the 1860s, how can support of that kind of "heritage" be something to be proud of? (Side note: while I did find his comment more than a little disturbing, I never heard word one like that before or after from him, so I put it aside. I also gave him a little leeway, as his Atlanta Braves had once again been dumped in the playoffs, and knew he was more than a little ticked off about that).

This piece from Crooked Timber has me wondering about the reenactment hobby on a different level. WWII reenactments? Does that automatically mean that people who reenact the German side are automatically Nazi sympathizers? Doesn't seem to make much sense to think that. It's not that I don't think Nazi sympathizers exists, I know they do. It's just that it wouldn't seem like social hobbies like this would be the venue by which they would choose to show off that "heritage". Maybe I'm missing something.

And I can understand the interest in it from a certain strategic standpoint. As a person who has a lot of friends who are gamers, I know just how far and wide the strategy game market is in providing means by which you can reenact various WWI and WWII campaigns. I am part of a group that has taken to semi regularly playing Diplomacy, a very good strategy game that allows you to battle for Europe during WWI. Though I admit to not being very good at it (been trashed twice, once as the Italians, once as the Germans), I enjoy the game, and the dynamics that are involved in playing it. But that's on a board game, in the comfort of someone's home, with a small circle of people. I just can't wrap my brain around doing it on a full scale basis. Ah well.