Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peeves, not pets

I've seen some disputed over some pretty silly things. Matters of taste, for example: early in my Army career, I saw a fight start over "This damnyankee put sugar on his grits!!!" Other things: Beans in chili, dry versus wet BBQ, PC versus Mac...

Reading Nancy's post reminded me, for some reason, of one that arose several years ago, while we were in Colorado Springs, I believe. At a meeting of the local muzzleloaders club someone objected to the use of the term "costume." "I don't wear a costume, I wear period attire."

Ignoring for the moment the point that it is debatable just how period his attire was--Was there a sewing machine involved? Chemical dyes?--one of the definitions of "costume" is, in fact, "The particular mode or fashion of dress worn in a particular time or place."   So we wear costume all the time...

(Perhaps I should point out here that Mrs. Drang, and her "sister" The Raven, and Stitch Witch, as well as many of their friends, belong to various associations of costumers.  I got into muzzleloading through an interest in history as well as shooting, and potentially an extra hunting season; Mrs. Drang was basically indulging me, until she discovered the costuming potential.)

Anyway.  That attitude is actually common in the world of Historical Reenactment/Living History:  "Costume" is what actors wear, not to mention those people, "those people"  being whatever group the speaker holds in disregard:  Science Fiction fen, SCA , Highland Gamers,  Ren Fairies, etc. And you hear the oddest locutions:  "I was in garb..."

Well, I should hope so, as the alternative would be what our pagan friends call "skyclad", and (probably) arrested.

What?  You thought "garb" meant something special?  Like, perhaps, "The particular mode or fashion of dress worn in a particular time or place"?  Perhaps you should say "period garb"?

Or maybe just "costume..."

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