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 Posted: Sat Mar 11th, 2006 12:52 pm
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javal1
Grumpy Geezer


Joined: Thu Sep 1st, 2005
Location: Tennessee USA
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arooper -

When you posted this, I remembered a silly little editorial I wrote on just that subject almost 7 years ago. Searched everywhere and finally found it:

What Do We Call Ourselves?

In the almost four years that Civil War Interactive has been a viable entity, there’s been one question that I ponder almost every day. It obsesses me in a way, like a riddle wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by ...well, you get the idea. It’s a simple question on the surface, and to some, not a very important one. Stated bluntly - what do we call ourselves? By "we" I mean those of us to whom the Civil War is more than a black and white glimpse of a distant past. "We" who actually take pleasure in doing whatever we can to keep the memory of the men and the deeds alive. "We" whose idea of a vacation is hiking steep hills in 100 degree weather as long as the hills are on a battlefield. And yes, "we" who look at the men not as one dimensional symbols of a past forever gone, but instead as three dimensional icons of the freedom that we now enjoy. Are we Civil War Buffs? Civil War Fanatics? Civil War Aficionado’s? Civil War Lovers? You see where I’m going here? We need a damn name. So what should we be called......

Civil War Fan
- I can’t imagine calling myself a Civil War fan. When I think of "fan" I think of sports....football fan, baseball fan, etc. I get strange images of lines of mini-vans slowly parading through Gettysburg waving their banners that read " We Get A Charge Out Of Pickett" or "Meade Will Take Us To The Playoffs!" It denotes cheerleaders on top of Little Round Top reciting "Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate......Joshua!!!"

No, Civil War Fan won’t work. Sunday would no longer be the Fan’s sacred day. It would be whatever day Civil War Journal was on. Can you imagine as we sit there like couch potatoes, a huge bowl of chips and a quart of beer in hand, screaming "Sickle’s you bum! Does the word FLANK mean anything to you, you moron!!!" Meanwhile, our spouses desperately parade in front of the TV in various stages of undress, pleading for a moment of attention....."Not now dear, there’s two minutes left in the third day.." Of course, now that I think about it, that’s precisely what I do when Civil War Journal is on.

Civil War Lover
- Another one that just doesn’t sound quite right. Even though we know better, it implies that we love war. "Yea man, and then that whole regiment was decimated...I just love that!" It really labels us as rather demented, lost souls who take pleasure in the carnage that occurred. I imagine that people that don’t understand form a rather disturbing mental picture of us. It probably involves us retiring at night with a good book that we ordered from the back of a Soldier of Fortune magazine. No, I don’t think "Love" and "War" should ever be used together unless "Make" precedes the former, and "Not" precedes the latter..

Civil War Aficionado
- Way too snobbish. Let’s face it, words that sound as if they may even be remotely foreign turn people off. It gives one the image of a stately, erect (in stature we mean, you pig), gentleman escorting a portly woman in an evening gown to a quaint table set up on the banks of Bloody Pond at Shiloh...."The special today will be Carp...". Nope, Aficionado just won’t do it. Picture if you will an Aficionado re-enactor as he gently runs the cork of his canteen under his nose, commenting on the fragrance and the age of the pond water. He would insist that he be allowed to place himself gently on the ground when shot, so as not to disturb the crease in his pantaloons. No, Aficionado is way too presumptuous.

Civil War Fanatic - Well, I’m sure we can all see the problem with this one right off the bat. In this day and age, there’s just too many collateral images that pop into our mind when we hear "Fanatic". Instead of mini-vans, we’d have lines of sandal-clad Ayatollah Khomeni look-alikes in a slow procession through Gettysburg, chanting mantras to the spirits of the lost. The visitors center would look like O’Hare airport during a Hari Krishna convention. I can picture Civil War Fanatic terrorists holding hostages in the State Department...."We demand that the Imperialist Union Government admit to the cover-up of the lost Pickett Report or we will blockade the building until you comply!...". No, there’s enough people out there that think we’re fanatics. Let’s not encourage them.

Civil War Buff
- This one might be the most acceptable, but I still have some problems with it.  It just sounds so superficial. Nowadays (is that a word?) anyone who knows who was fighting, or in what century the war was fought, can be considered a buff (i.e. possessing a higher than average knowledge of the event). A Buff sounds like he or she would be better at minutiae, rather than a thorough understanding of the war. A Buff might know the size of the boot that Stonewall was wearing when he was shot, but probably has no idea who won the Battle of Chancellorsville. You can be a car buff, or a gun buff, but can you really be a Civil War Buff? I don’t know.....

     So I hope that now you can at least understand my dilemma. There’s a large part of my life that has no name. I’m the bastard child of a nameless Civil War affliction. But I guess we’ll just clog along, secure in the knowledge that we know who we are. Truth be told, I shouldn’t worry so much about what people should call me. I know what they do call me, and that’s bad enough. Till next time........

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