Another Night to Remember
One hundred years ago April tenth, the most famous of cruise liners left port for her only voyage, which lasted four days and one interminable night. I need not discuss the details of the RMS Titanic, or its tragic fate — her story, and the stories of her passengers and crew are familiar to us all.
Our collective fascination with the night to remember seems boundless. And as the anniversary of that terrible night has approached, I have noted and been curious by the many affairs organized to commemorate the souls who sadly perished, or lived on with the disaster marked indelibly on their consciousness—a 3D re-release of a Hollywood film, countless historical books, benefit dinners, and a play on the legitimate stage. By the way, I do not recommend seeing the play “Titanic,” unless you have thoroughly reviewed the playbill and prepared yourself.
I was, however, surprised by the tone of a recent article written about one of these commemorative events. The author commonly critiques food and restaurants, but in this case has taken to criticizing a pastime. She seems irritated by people who participate in living history reenactments. Take a moment to read it for yourself:: click here.
As I read the article for myself, I wondered–would she share the same criticism of people who go to a play and enjoy watching characters play out such roles on stage? And would the actors on stage be similarly considered ghoulish? Likely no. However, if everyday people (not actors I mean) decide instead to be part of the scene, and share in the spectacle, we are to view this as somehow inappropriate. For the author of this article, there is a line between the drama of the stage and the drama of living history that invites snark towards the latter. I wonder why, as the line is not very clear to me. I sometimes wonder if people handle living history buffs a little roughly because participants tend towards the harmlessly nerdy.
I am not a living historian or history reenactor, though I have met many people who are. I have found them to be personable and compassionate people who do what they do not to revel in the tragedies of history, but instead to preserve and respect the memory of those who lived that history.
This article has caused me to reflect on a weekend that I spent with a fascinating bunch of historical reenactors who portrayed the era of World War II. I look forward to sharing with you those unique experiences next Friday.