Dr. Curt Fields, who regularly portrays General Ulysses S. Grant, has coined an important NEW reenactor and living history term: presentational arrogance.* I like the term a lot and think it's important enough to warrant its own thread and, perhaps, be applied more broadly.
I can find no prior use of the phrase in this intended context and no official definition. But I think we all know what it means? If you've ever been to a living history presentation or reenactment, you have likely experienced presentational arrogance before. And, now that we know what to call it, I'm guessing we can probably identify it when we see it.
pres·en·ta·tion·al /ˌˌprēˌzenˈtāSH(ə)nəl/adjective relating to the way in which something is presented to an audience.
ar·ro·gance /ˈerəɡəns/ noun the quality of being arrogant.
Dr. Fields, as General Grant, asserts that failure to use a microphone during a living history presentation constitutes presentational arrogance. I agree and provide a few other examples that may constitute presentational arrogance:
Can you think of other examples?
- The presenter assumes that the audience "already knows" certain key facts and fails to provide necessary background.
- The presenter over-uses terminology that is both unfamiliar and undecipherable.
- The presenter over-ornaments their speech with big words, metaphors, and rhetoric.
I think we can all agree that avoiding "presentational arrogance " should be a goal in Living History. But what about applying this concept more broadly? We should all seek to avoid "presentational arrogance" in our interactions with others about the CW, whether it is failing to use a microphone when one is available or presuming that others know the requisite vocabulary or background to fully understand.
Perhaps we can apply these concepts to our own posts and interactions here at CWT? I'm sure I am not the only one who has ever posted a thread or reply without providing sufficient background for those who may be new or unfamiliar with the background? I know that I will be making an effort in future posts to try to avoid it. Certainly worth consideration.
<* See here https://civilwartalk.com/threads/dispatch-from-general-grant-living-historians-should-use-the-microphone.154615>