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Detail, The Letter. Pietro Longhi, 1746. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 14.32.1

Detail, The Letter. Pietro Longhi, 1746. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 14.32.1

My time-travel was cut short this weekend after a trip to eight-nine-teen-something in Salem, as I had a trip to the Central Fly Over* for work instead. Still, through the magic of telephony and the interwebs, I heard about the Sunday OSV Experience and the Great Drawn Sabre of Saturday. (Caution: Strong language) One presumes and hopes that aside from whatever disciplinary action OSV will take– and they will–the CL commanders will address this clear safety violation.

The news photos show the usual collection of baggy menswear (are those painters’ pants? is this 1812?) and the Bodice of Myth and Legend (St. Pauli, anyone?) along with obligatory musket firing and “gotcha” shots of fallen soldiers sneaking peeks at the action. I don’t even have to say what we all think when we see those images.

But the Sunday report that struck me the most was this: The tactical went on for 45 minutes, very few soldiers fell, and the public began to leave before it was over. Got that? They got bored. As the teller of this tale said, The magic is gone. You can consider that a public endorsement of either more civilian events or a re-imagined tactical. I prefer the former, you may prefer the latter. But either way, if you’re going to use The Public as your justification for playing armed dress up on a hot day, you’d better engage that public. What that could mean will have to wait for another time, but when people head for the exits, the show won’t last.

* More on that later