Criticizing a Reenactor for His/Her Impression

October 13, 2010 - 4 Comments

by Jim Barnes

Over the past week, there has been a lot of press over the membership of Republican congressional candidate, Rich Iott’s membership in a midwestern German reenacting group, SS Wiking. Articles in the online version of the Atlantic and numerous other websites usually refer to Iott taking part in ‘Nazi’ reenactments. Apparently the Allies weren’t there (sarcasm).

I am quite aware that the general public is usually in the dark about the ins and outs of reenacting. I also realize that it is difficult for outsiders to recognize that a reenactor is not the historical person that they are portraying. With the more recent time periods, it becomes more of an emotional issue. But Roman reenactors really don’t worship the emperor, Pirate reenactors don’t really rape and plunder  and SS reenactors really don’t revere the fuhrer.

I don’t know anything about Rich Iott and I couldn’t care less about Ohio politics, but I do think it’s a cheap shot to drag someone’s reenacting impression in and claim that they are that person. I realize that cheap shots are par for the course in politics for both parties these days. That is why I despise politics and, as a rule,  keep it off this blog, but this has to do with an injustice being done to a reenactor and that is a different story.

While the Reenactorpost does not endorse candidates or political organizations, I want to go on record as saying that we are disturbed and angered by this type of an unfair attack on any reenactor of any political affiliation.

Comments (4)


October 14th, 2010 at 1:34 pm    

I have heard some absurd things, such as why can’t he portray an American? There were plenty of battles America fought in! Well my thought is, how the heck do you play Cowboys and Indians without the Indians, or Cops and Robbers without the robbers? We portray the opposition America faced, to remind everyone that the allies still won against these “Uber Soldats”. To claim an SS reenactor, such as my self, is a nazi is ridiculous and shows that people don’t really understand and have a hard time thinking for themselves. A Soviet reenactor doesn’t necessarily support Communism, and British reenactors don’t praise the King and Queen and wish to conquer “Darkest Africa”. A point closer to home would be Confederate reenactors, I really don’t think that all the ones I have talked to support slavery and the likes. People should be informed before making harsh judgments over something they know nothing about. Remember, anyone who reads about the USSR is a Commie, and anyone who studies WWII Germany is a Nazi, and lastly, if you disagree with the president, then you are racist. I have heard all of these things. Its sad, it really is.


October 14th, 2010 at 3:23 pm    

It truly is a sad state. Everyone seems so quick to attach labels and catagorize people just because they are not open minded enough or can’t take the time to really look into something and see a shade of “Gray” in a world that is more convieniently B&W. I am on board with Jacob’s comment above and in fact wrote something similar in word to my “tovarisch” John.

This world we live in becomes smaller by the day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all get along and accept people for who they are and not what they look like or where they come from. Guess I’m dreaming, but I try.

So much for the politics. Let’s all get out there and reenact our collective butts off and present history as best and as accurately as we can.

Matthew Gillespie

November 1st, 2010 at 9:35 am    

Jim, I couldn’t agree more. I recall, not long ago, a judge was labeled sexist since he once belonged to an all male duck hunting club. It’s rediculous. Does anyone think Sean Connery is a communist since he once portrayed USSR submarine commander. I’ve portrayed Civil War Union for years, but always find myself having to go to bat for my Confederate friends. All I can say is; Lets keep reenacting and keep educating as much as we can!

Jim Barnes

November 1st, 2010 at 9:59 am    

Exactly. We as reenactors know the difference, and as you guys have pointed out, all we can do is continue to do as good a job as we can.

Leave a reply

Name *

Mail *