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In which Hank creates a video for the wonderful Christine Fellows who's been waiting like two years to hear me talk about the glory of Ren Faires!
Good morning Christine.

Starting in the 14th century, Europe experienced a series of cultural and financial and economic and technological and artistic revolutions that set off an age that one could argue we are still living inside of. A revival of art and ideals and economy which set off an exploration of the world and of the self and of culture. Banking and the printing press and new methods of sailing and science. It was a marvellous time.

Our lives and our society now are deeply affected by that period of history. One could argue that all of the cultural and technological growth since the 13th century has been part of one huge revolution. So of all the things to get dressed up and celebrate, the Renaissance seems like a pretty good one which is why so many people do it.

Renaissance fairs celebrate that period of history, usually periods of history inside of that period of history, by recreating it, usually just for a weekend for thousands or tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of people. A chance to transport yourself back in time to experience that massive cultural shift for yourself.

Renaissance fairs are mostly an American thing and that makes sense because we're a little bit culturally isolated from the things that created us, you know. Like if you live in Europe you can see buildings that are very old and you can say "That was the Renaissance, there it is, there's Renaissance history right here, I can go to it, it's like 20 minutes away." In America you've got to cross an ocean to see a building that was part of the Renaissance.

I like that different Ren-fairs celebrate different periods of history 'cause it's not like the Renaissance was all one big thing, it was hundreds of years long. But you're probably not going to get too much stink eye if you wear 13th century attire to a 15th century Ren-fair so don't worry about it.

The atmosphere is festive, it's a party, but somehow it's a little bit on the opposite side from the cleanliness and perfection of a Disney theme park, for example. There's no lack of consideration for the occult, which you might not find at Disney, and the bodices... Well, there are bodices. Not a lot of Elsa inspired necklines.

On my personal list of pretty sweet subcultures, Ren-fair denizens rank high. An unironic appreciation of a vital period that we, especially here in America, have lost touch with. A chance to nerd out with other nerds. A chance to appreciate life and get a new perspective and enthusiastically suck the flesh off of animal bones if that's what you're in to. And don't forget the mead. Oh no, do not forget the mead.

Thanks to Christine Fellows for the topic and John, I'll see you on Tuesday.