After reading the articles on reenactors and wiki’s, one question kept hanging in the back of my head saying, “do both the reenactors and wiki’s try to present a fraction of truth about how history is shown and defined and are they important?” The possibility of this question can possibly be laid out by looking at how the articles present themselves.
Reenactors can be compared the cos-players (costume players) of today that a person can see at a sci-fi or comic book convention. Both the reenactor and the cos-player take into account that paying attention to detail is paramount in either the event that they reenacting or the character that the cos-player is portraying. You have to have a great deal of dedication to be a reenactor. Trying to make everything ship shape and Bristol fashion always comes with a cost, but types of cloth can be exchanged, such as cotton for wool. Polyester can be used for the breeches of old, unless you are the “hardcore” enthusiast. Dedication is the creed for a person who is a reenactor. They represent history as it was, even though some variances are given, such as water bottles, MRE’s and other possible luxuries.
Kowalczyk’s article implies that the reenactor is just play acting or how the mother saw the events as “men as conquerors”. It is not playing and it is a great way for men and women to show how people in America’s past lived and worked and fought.
Ann Little in her blog clearly does not like reenactors or reenacting of historical events that were violent. One has to wonder if she has ever been to the reenactment of a non-violent historic event. There are many, and yes there is the excitement of being a reenactor, but events like the crossing of the Snake River in Glens Ferry comes to mind. I feel that she was right in saying that reenactment of certain things like the woman saying that she wished she had lived during the time of Gone with the Wind, was very profound. Yes, she might think it would be fun as a privileged, white plantation owner, but her African American friend pointed out the blunt truth that she would have been her slave.
Timothy Messer-Kruse showed in his article on how he tried to fight the good fight and lost. As a published author on the Chicago Haymarket riots, it seems totally absurd that the editors of Wikipedia would not acknowledge his works and belittled him in the process of editing the Wiki on this subject. As an expert, did he over step his bounds in trying to edit the article to present the information as accurate? I do not think he did and with two books being published on the matter the editors should think so too. Someone had a title (editor), and used that title as a use of power to show the expert that he could not make the change unless “he” (editor) said so.
Wiki’s and reenators do portray history as truthfully as possible and with good intent. Accuracy is vital and the importance for both is essential. Historians base their work on primary sources, not secondary ones.