Monday, February 19, 2007
Hook & Eye Dutch
Legacy CPW members are well aware of my fascination with religious freaks. Ever since I declared CPW an autonomous dictatorship, there is no First Amendment here which means we are able to place undue burdens on the freedom of religion as often as we'd like. This also means that if you are religious, especially in a Celestial Underwear-wearing or dead-relative-marrying kind of way, we have no qualms about ripping you limb from limb at CPW, the Internets' most friendly, tolerant and inclusive webspace!
Today's lesson in freaky religions is on the Amish. I don't have anything against the Amish, really. As far as I know, they keep to themselves and try hard not to get involved in things like book burning or voting to incinerate homosexuals. Therefore, I pretty much leave them to their barn raisings and other early 19th-century-loving oddities.
But naturally, that won't stop me from making fun of them. What would be the point of that?
One of my favorite things is when whacked out religious groups sub-categorize themselves into even stranger subsets. Like the Mormons with their cute little intragroup arguments on the propriety of marrying off one's 11-year-old daughter to some old geezer who already has three other wives. "You won't let me sell my little girl the minute she starts to menstruate? Fine! I'm starting my own denomination!" I bet the Grand Schism of Mormondom (as I like to call it) involved a conversation exactly like that.
If you're familiar with the Amish, also known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, you may know that they also have several subcategories. My personal favorite is a subset of Amish who consider it too vain and worldly to use buttons. Yes, I said buttons, Gentle Readers. Those round things you use to fasten your sweaters and coats and such. Buttons are strictly verboten in the world of this little Amish sect, and so adherents are instructed to use other means to fasten their clothing, such as hooks & eyes - you know, those things women use to fasten their bras with.
Now don't get me wrong here; hooks & eyes are all well and good. But what really makes me laugh is how the non-Amish refer to these people. When you spend time in places like Wisconsin and Iowa, you get to talk about this stuff a lot, which to me is one of the main benefits of visiting those states.
Like one time when I was visiting Mindy's parents in rural Iowa. We were sitting around discussing corn de-tasseling or some other Iowan thing like that when Mindy's mom started talking about their "Hook & Eye Dutch" neighbors.
"Hook & Eye Dutch?" I replied. "What is that?!"
"The Hook & Eye Dutch! You've never heard of them? It's those Amish people who aren't allowed to use buttons!" Mindy's mom replied. She almost sounded incredulous, as if having a non-button-believing religious sect for your neighbors was the most normal thing in the world.
I suppose it might be when you live in rural Iowa. Which is why every time I go there I come home understanding Mindy just a little bit better than before.
*Props to Pink Fluffy Slippers for putting the whole "Hook & Eye" idea in my head when she blogged about her new hook & eye skirt. She could almost be Amish although she would have to give up her cello.