Saturday, April 02, 2005

Of Mice And Mennonites

As mentioned below, I am recently returned from a part of the country which was, amongst other things, a veritable hotbed of Mennonism. Set against a pastoral backdrop of gnarled oaks, splayed and frozen woodland creatures, and suicidal yokels jousting on snowmobiles, many Mennonite men and women were to be seen, in their Mennonite hats and bonnets, driving little horse-and-buggy arrangements around the countryside. It's adorable. But who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Mennonites?

I had to have it explained to me that Mennonites are distinct from the Amish, and the subtleties of the distinction may have eluded me. (I was going to actually research this, but really, who gives a fuck?) However, it seems that unlike the more strictly ascetic Amish, the Mennonites will permit the use of things like motor vehicles and modern farming technology provided that they themselves do not operate the fell appliances. So they hire people to ride power mowers and drive them to market, etc. It seems to me that this is blatant cheating. I shouldn't take them to task for it, because it's exactly what I'd do - but it raises the question: why continue to ponce around in the black robes and the buggies? The village I stayed in was full of dark rumblings to the effect that even the Mennonites' vaunted furniture-manufacturing industry was a sham, and that the painstakingly-crafted chairs and whatnot that they sold were actually shipped in by some gigantic out-of-state Mennonite wholesaler. Some qualms of conscience may be afflicting them, as well: I heard of one family who would consent to be driven around in a motor vehicle, but only once its rubber tires had been replaced with steel wheels - presumably to replicate the buggy experience, and also to jounce everybody's teeth out of their heads, as a bonus.

Any Amish people reading this blog are invited to furnish their perspectives on this matter, as soon as they are finished ritually scourging themselves with brambles. I imagine the resentment must be almost too much to bear. Although since the Amish just have pitchforks, and the Mennonites can hire mercenaries with automatic weapons, I don't see that going anywhere good.