Thursday, September 30, 2010

Concerning the Amish

Dear Secret Blogiary,

I don’t know much about the Amish except what I’ve gleaned from watching that episode* of Arthur when Mr. Ratburn takes the class on a fieldtrip to Lancaster and Buster decides he wants to be Amish. At least I think it was Lancaster because I’m pretty sure that even though they never say where Elwood City is, it is smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania. But based on watching that episode not once but several times, I’m thinking that Buster was on to something.

At some point in their history, the Amish** decided that technology had advanced enough and anything else was simply frivolous. They shun the electricity, the cars, the phones, the car phones, I’m pretty sure they frown on Mp3 players as well. Hell, they even hate buttons and Velcro! All they require to live the good life is The Book, a buggy, some land and neighbors to help with the barn raisings.

As I am not Amish, I tend to watch late night T.V. while I crochet, weave or scrapbook. I can’t stand reality T.V. so I typically end up watching the History Channel or something similar.

Currently, I am both hypnotically fascinated and mortally terrified by the entire line up of apocalypse, end of the world, asteroid shows currently being run ad nauseam on the History, Discovery and Learning Channels. Yet as much as I am tired of watching them, I can’t seem to turn away.

My favorite is “10 Ways the World Will End.” It’s like they were reading my mind and figured that I wasn’t worrying enough about Zombie Plagues, Super Volcanoes and Rogue Waves so now I also have to worry about Doomsday Asteroids, Blackholes, and Gamma Radiation Bursts. Geesh.

Now that I am duly panicked about imminent destruction, 2012, or Apophis, with all this advanced technology, I can’t help but think, “Is anyone going to tell the Amish?”

Probably not. They, the Amish, are probably going about their days plowing fields, quilting, making preserves and awesome wooden furniture that doesn’t even use nails or glue yet lasts forever! And not a single one of them worries about asteroids, blackholes or zombies. They live their lives simply and peacefully. Have you ever heard of a mob of angry Amish looting because their quilt didn’t win at the quilt show? Any Amish double murder suicides in the news lately? What about that Amish politician who was sleeping with his intern? Of course not! No one has, because they don’t concern themselves with the outside world.

Subsistence agricultural in a country that forever looks down upon the agrarian lifestyle, and yet consumers flock to purchase their quilts, furniture and produce.

What snobs we are.

Somebody drops an EMP along the Eastern Seaboard everyone is screwed except the Amish. A comet impacts anywhere, The Amish have it covered, they’ve got root cellars with stores galore. Zombies lurch into their midsts; well those Amish have all manner of reach weaponry right at hand: scythes, shovels, axes. They know how to survive in ways that we with our superior technology have forgotten.

In this age of superior technology, sometimes I can’t help but wonder about how much we gave up. Sure, we live to a hundred, but are we satisfied with that? Did we trade, somewhere along the way, a bit of our humanity for a few gadgets? Is instant communication with millions worth never sitting down to break bread as a family?

So, back to the old farmstead in Lancaster. Here, I am making a stand. No more technology JUST for the sake of technology. Isn’t a DVD player good enough? Does HD really enhance our life? Is it really necessary to be able to contact someone 24/7? If I am going to curl up with a book, it will have physically, turnable pages, Damnit!

Don’t get me wrong, I like AC. I enjoy central heat in the winter. But no more gadgets. No more digital or HD or for God’s Sake 3-D. Enough has got to be enough.

*Buster’s Amish Mismatch Part 1
  Buster’s Amish Mismatch Part 2

**I would like to point at that I really have not done any actually research into the Amish, their beliefs or their lifestyle. All the “factual” information here has been vaguely recalled from Arthur, The Shunning by Beverly Lewis, that Harrison Ford movie, and Amish Paradise by Weird Al Yankovic. Any real facts that I might actually mention regarding the Amish are purely coincidental.

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