Friday, July 22, 2011

Reenacting Heat Stroke

     This weekend is the anniversary of the Battle of Manassas, more commonly known (by the winners) as The First Battle of Bull Run.  Every year, people reenact the battle.  They go the full nine, on the actual battle grounds, with the muskets and drummer boys and the uniforms.    
     The news this week has been all about the heat wave.  It's been brutal.  It makes me want to vomit.  The heat takes my breath away. 
     I watch the local news for entertainment and the weather, because I'm turning into an old man.  I hear the anchor say "You think being out in the heat is rough, what if you had to do it in a wool uniform?"  My curiosity was piqued for about a nanosecond until I saw they were talking about Civil War Reenactors.  Then I yelled at the TV "You don't HAVE to do that!"
     It is completely ridiculous.  There is no reason to get dressed up in authentic wool uniforms and reenact a bloody battle from a war that they ended up losing anyway.  They want me to feel sorry for them because they're doing this in the heat?  No.  Fuck that.  Go inside, assholes.  You're making fools of yourselves.  The organizers are trying to promote it saying they have cooling tents and water stations at various spots throughout the battle site.  Presumably just like they had during the Civil War.  That the south lost.  Ugh.  Ridiculous.
     They actually want people to watch.  Why would I do this?  If I really wanted to learn about the Battle of Bull Run, I'll pull out The People's History of the United States and read it inside my house, where I have my own cooling tents and unlimited supply of water.   
     "How are you dealing with this heat?" a reporter asks some jackass dressed like General Beauregard.  "I'm drinking plenty of h-two-o.  Lots of water."  Sage advice.  Or, you could just not do it.  You could sit in a room in the library and reenact it with pieces from Risk.
     The government has declared the last few days to be "Black Flag" days.  The weather reports come in red flashes with words like Extreme Heat Warning.  They caution about going outside at all.  It's dangerous for "all people" according to the local news.
      You're Civil War reenactors!  This is not a crucial element; we don't need this to happen.  Why are you doing it?  Some guy claimed it was the least he could do to honor those who also suffered through the heat but who also suffered through the battle.  No, that is not the least you could do.  The least you could do is sit inside and not die of heat stroke.  Someone else claimed it was nice to see history come alive.  The reporter interviewed a woman with a Bluetooth headpiece in her ear.  "I'm a 4th grade teacher, and I teach the Civil War as part of my ciric-lum."  Ah, yes.  That's nice.  Either you're coming to the reenactment because you don't know enough about the Civil War to teach it without seeing it happen in front of you, or you also brought along 25 - 30 4th graders to stand in the heat with you.  Either way, fantastic teaching. 
     I suppose if you want to stand out in heat stroke inducing heat and pretend to shoot at people, that's your business.  But don't you dare try to make me feel sorry for you.  It's your own damn dumb fault you're out there. 
     Clearly, this heat is making me crazy. 

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