To casual visitors today, Colonial Williamsburg may seem like a charmingly idyllic version of the past, but the actual colonial city in 1776 was a hot-bed of revolutionary tumult and outright insurrection. It's not surprising to find politics creeping into every facet of CW's interpretation, including the holiday decorations. Yes, this house is decked with greenery and polished red apples, but hanging from the tradesman's sign is a pint-sized effigy of King George III, his neck so stretched that only the top of his fearsome crown shows.
But there's more commentary on the door:
Inside the wreath, the coiled rattlesnake from one of the most famous flags of the Continental forces – the so-called Gadsden flag used first by the Marines – is recreated in rope and golden flowers. Colonial eagles bravely trim the greenery, and across the top of the door is a taunting parade of English tea-labels, a reminder of that little affairinvolving the tea ships in Boston Harbor that made colonists quite forget about Christmas in December, 1773. Finally, in place of traditional Christmas sentiments, there's the motto of the Gadsden flag, spelled out in cinnamon sticks: Don't Tread on Me.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.