THE TEN FOOT APPROACH TO HISTORICAL ACCURACY
So many LARPists who like to brag about their accuracy while making it as simple and comfortable for the LARPists. We are talking about LARPists who ignore anachronisms such as sneakers or spectacles, who allow the use of synthetics since they think they look like wool, who just say it is no worth it to anal about accuracy since “no one will notice.”
However, the most aggravating LARPist justification for farb is the so-called “ten foot rule.” This assures the hap-hazard and lazy reenactor that anything they keep with ten feet (or another distance) is okay since no one will notice any inaccuracies. Of course, beyond the actual inaccuracy—which some LARPists go to great lengths to minimize or to justify—there are three reasons why the Ten Foot Rule should bee avoided.
It Normalizes Farbishness
The LARPist becomes Erique Claudin! You become satisfied with farb as long as it can disguise your face. Your display is now is just something that you can hide behind, and you become eager to hide all your farb behind scars of your own farb.
The Disguise of Farb Becomes More Important than Accuracy
The focus of the game changes from wanting things to become more accurate. You come to be intrigued by developing something that will fool onlookers at ten feet and not by doing the accurate thing. You are not so nearly interested by research you were earlier found intriguing or by finding an accurate way to accomplish things.
It Makes you Satisfied and not Want to Improve
Living history never ends. At least in theory. Reenactors are always learning new things and should never be satisfied with what they know. At least should. One should want to learn more rather than be satisfied with what you know and to come up with new ways to disguise it. Being able to hide your shortcomings means that you need not be as concerned with accuracy or with learning as you once were.
One might think that I do not think that the ten-foot rule is a good idea. For me, I certainly do. There are plenty of reenactors out there who do see it as a good thing. They proudly state that anal accuracy should be disregarded and that the hobby should just be what is enjoyable for them. And that is the philosophy that they gleefully share with MoPs. It is very difficult though for me to call them reenactors, participating in serious living history. What they are most proud of, I am not, and I can only hope that readers out there agree with me!
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