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Beginner's Corner
Section 2.....Keepin' Goin'


Oh Yuck - A Turon!

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No, it's not skinning bucks............ Developed and maintained by JP Finn


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Oh Yuck! A Touron!

By

Phil Jose



What I intend to do in this article is dispel a rather general and often obnoxious misconception. Itís one that Iíd like to see stemmed in you, the up and coming ďgenerationĒ of reenactors. It leads into bad habits, ill feelings, a poor presentation of our way of life, and an over-inflated sense of superiority at anotherís expense. So pilgrims, listen up.

I think that anyone would agree that any disparaging nickname given to any group based on how we perceive that group is a bad thing. I know that thereís a few of Ďem out there that sure rile me, and Iíll bet the same holds true with you. Yet time and again, Iíve seen reenactors casually dismiss the flatlander/visitor/tourist wandering through camp as a ďtouron.Ē For those of you who havenít heard this term before, let me define it: A touron is a gene-splice between a tourist and a moron. Just the principle of the Golden Rule should keep words like that forever banished from your everyday vocabulary.

Thereís a few unfortunate exceptions-the know-it-alls who will pompously assert that youíre wrong by citing what he saw in a movie, the wiseguys who donít know and donít care, yet insist on poking fun at you, or the folks of such delicate feeling that they just canít bear to see an animal skin thatís not keeping a live animal wrapped together- that give tourists a bad name. Part of what we do is to educate, and the folks Iíve just described just donít care to be educated.

But letís get back to that vast majority of folks in the shorts and tee shirts: Treat Ďem gently. I know there are going to be times when itís an incredible annoyance to answer the same olí questions time and again, but remember that those questions are asked in ignorance. A lot of the heritage that weíre trying to maintain through our way of life just isnít being taught in school anymore. Remember: Itís no disgrace to be ignorant. Itís staying that way thatís disgraceful. So when you show a little forbearance and once more answer those basic questions civilly and patiently, youíre helping someone just a might.

And while youíre still at that Just Barely Past a Flatlander Stage yourself, I want you to consider something else. When youíre talking to a flatlander, you might just be talking to a potential reenactor. First he showed enough interest to show up, then he showed a little extra interest by walking up to a total stranger and starting a conversation. So that means that conditions are right, and thereís a one in a zillion chance that youíre possibly talking to a future camp buddy. Now quickly! Think: Would you have pursued this way of life if you had run into a bunch of folks who were smug and patronizing? If youíre really honest with yourself, Iíll bet you said ďno.Ē Being around such people is a mighty poor way to spend your free time.

That sort of attitude has an annoying way of spilling over onto fellow reenactors as well. Itís a sad fact of camp life that youíll run into a few over-the-top types. Theyíll be willing to argue with you that the stripe on your shirt should be a half inch wider, because they can document the fact beyond dispute, or tell you that you shouldnít use the sort of knot youíre using to tie down your dining fly because ďtheyĒ wouldnít. (Of course, if you ask them if they can document beyond dispute the fact that ďtheirĒ dining flies stayed up in strong wind gusts, youíre gonna get a rather disgusted look.)

Iíve been coming to camp dressed right for about five years. In that time, Iíve seen very few people with ďGodís Gift to Truth and EnlightenmentĒ tattooed across their forehead. Those who I have seen with it, I kinda suspect that they scratched it there themselves. I leave Ďem alone.

Keep in mind a few things:
1. We all start out ignorant.
2. We all remain ignorant until we gather some facts.
3. We're all ignorant about something.

If you want to test out the first two points, just think back over the last year or so on some of the questions youíve had to ask the more seasoned folks in camp. (Did someone have to tell you that yes, they really lived in their tent for the whole weekend, or did you figure it out for yourself?)

If you want to test the final point, take some time, say three or four years. In that time, study everything you can about your era, from the clothing youíd wear, to the food youíd eat, to the overall political situation of the world. Read every book you can get your hands on, attend every seminar. Become a walking reenacting encyclopaedia. Then attend a discussion on quantum mechanics. See what I mean?

Iíll close by doing something that I normally try to avoid. Iím going to repeat myself on the proper care and handling of flatlanders: Treat Ďem gently. When John Q. Public asks a basic question, itís not an ignorant question. Itís a question asked in ignorance, and thatís a big difference. Itís also the easiest form of ignorance to cure. A little information does the trick. The reenactor who looks down upon the flatlander from some self-styled lofty peak displays a much greater form of ignorance, one thatís way harder to cure. Thatís the ignorance displayed in the feeling of oneís own superiority.

Copyright 2000, Philip Jose.

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Hey, Phil!

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