Sunday, June 26, 2011

Linen-skinners vs. Librarians or "Death to Old Tymey"

Hello all. I realize it’s been a while. Life happens and really gets in the way of important stuff, like research and blogs…

An interesting battle line has been drawn in the sand of cyber-space. On one side, people who research their portrayals diligently, spend hours poring over period images, journals and such, make sure that every article they carry can be documented and is made with period materials and techniques.

On the other side, those who believe that going out and hunting, trapping, etc (even in modern clothes) is more important than researching their portrayal and doing things exactly the way the 18th century person would have done them.

The former have been christened “Librarians” by the latter because they believe the Librarians do nothing but read. The former has christened the latter as “Linen-skinners”, a throwback to the Buck-skinners of 1970s rondezvous who use all sorts of non-period gear, using the justification of “if they had it, they would have used it”.

The Linen-skinners accuse the Librarians of never going into the field (other than the re-enacting field) or shooting their firelocks with live ammunition, or hunting or any of the things that “real” people do if they want to experience the 18th century. Odd folks, they are. Some of them speak of having 18th century experiences while hunting with a late 19th century Sharps rifle. That hunting in period clothes means nothing. They can hunt with a Traditions Kentucksylvania Rifle in modern Gore-Tex and figure out how it was for the 1760s frontiersman, they say.

The funny part is, many (if not most) of the so-called Librarians, hunt fish, trap, shoot, etc. and in period clothing with period gear But the Linen-skinners refuse to acknowledge this. Not possible. Librarians don’t “do” stuff. They just re-enact battles and count how many stitches per inch the new guy has on his coat while sitting in front of the altar to Kochan-Phillips wool broadcloth.

I read, so apparently, I am a Librarian. I also shoot (much to the amazement of the folks who attend the June event at Fort De Chartres I might add), although not as much as I used to.

I don’t know why the Linen-skinners have such an issue. At first I thought it was a North/South thing. Couldn’t be it, one of the most prominent Librarians is from the South. Then perhaps I though, it’s “city vs. country.” Nope. Many Librarians either live in the country, were born out in the country, or are descended from country folks. Could it be an educational thing? Bingo.

Most of the Linen-skinner set seems to be folks who never went to college, or went much later in life. The opposite is true with the Librarians. The grand majority have gotten some kind of post-HS degree of some kind by age 25. I also think this ties into a class thing. The Librarians, being more educated, are seen as snooty by the less educated ‘skinners.

Kinda sad and really annoying. 2 sets of people trying to enjoy the same hobby, and one just doesn’t understand why people bother to read instead of “do”.

Well, I think I’m going off to the range (should I take the Type G or the fusil de chasse?) and when I come back, I shall read some more of Kalm’s Journals.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, this is all news to me here in Australia. Here we are all living historians, some more hard line on authenticity than others. Those that are more hard line tend to stick together & get together on weekends for historical trekking. Our group is pretty strict on authenticity, lots of reading & research. Lots of experimental archaeology on historical treks.