This is a fine example of what The Onion does best. The premise is simple and potentially very unfunny: historical re-enactors at a carefully reconstructed “video store” of the future. But the writing and the delivery is just perfect.
Historic “Blockbuster” Store Offers Glimpse Of How Movies Were Rented In The Past
I grew up in a town with a carefully re-created historical village (Old Salem), and Massachusetts, where I live now, is positively lousy with them (Plimoth Plantation, Old Sturbridge Village, and so on). I can never make up my mind if these things are living treasures or pretentious exemplars of a past that never existed, much in the same way that Monsanto’s House of the Future never will exist. I can just picture old Ben Franklin laughing himself silly, his face wet with tears, as he takes a tour of modern day Colonial Williamsburg.
Watching a bad re-enactor perform is painful in the extreme, but even the good ones make me want to knock them off balance with impossibly hard questions. Who is the Crown Governor of the Virginia Colony? How much did you pay for that pewter salt cellar? Who are you kidding with that ridiculous accent? And if I ever visited the Historical Blockbuster Shoppe, I would ask to rent videos that wouldn’t have been released yet. That would show them! Ha ha!
(Thanks for the Onion link Matthew!)
5 thoughts on “Historic “Blockbuster” Store”
Thank you for demonstrating the truth: Yes, idiots do take tours in Colonial Williamsburg.
Ye Ole Video Shoppe
Fun fact: Historians actually debate such things every day. On the one hand, we don’t want to assume that people in history were some kind of completely alien species, but at the same time we don’t want to assume they’re just like us.
Plus, I think Williamsburg hurts history, since it reinforces the idea that it’s all facts and minutiae, instead of larger interpretational ideas.
Who’s got two thumbs and a useless M.A.? This guy! I guess that works better when you can see my thumbs.
I went to Plimoth Plantation several years ago, and the English part was filled with re-enactors with silly accents, whereas the Indian part had a Native American guy (a Wampanoag in fact) who was dressed historically but talked as a normal modern person about how we think things were back then. I much prefer the second approach. Acting turns the whole thing into a game and I find I stop thinking about the history. It’s like seeing the microphone at the top of the screen in a TV show.
Without paying jobs for historical reenactors, we’d have no RenFest.
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