Plain in the city

A plain Quaker folk singer with a Juris Doctorate in his back pocket, salt in his blood, and a set of currach oars in the closet, Ulleann Pipes under his arm, guitar on his back, Anglo Irish baggage, wandering through New York City ... in constant amaze. Statement of Faithfulness. As a member of the Quaker Bloggers Ad Hoc Committee I affirm that I will be faithful to the Book of Discipline of my Meeting 15th Street Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Ignore the first two comments... they're just me... this is what I was trying to post...

Well... I wrote the following in a recent email... it may be helpful...
Why do I dress plain in light of comments from other Friends along such as, "Hey Larry, WHAT CENTURY IS IT!?"
Well, here are a few quick jottings...

All clothing is speech. The message we send in dressing in other's fashion, is the message they write for us. In my collarless shirt, waistcoat, and jacket, my broad brimmed hat, I speak for myself. My dress is a witness against war, modern slavery, and towards truth.Much of what we wear today is made by children in other lands for wages and conditions which approach slavery. Much of this clothing is made from plastic fibers, which are, quite literally, prize goods, as the oil which makes the rubber for your sneakers or the plastic for your polyester is taken and controlled by the killing of hundreds of thousands of people. I'd rather wear a cow.

Now, I must admit, that as a folk musician and political scientist, that it is not possible to live today, devoid of the prize good of plastic. Oil today is the stuff which life is built around, including the machine on which I write at present. HOWEVER, in dressing plain, it is a witness and attempt towards creating a world where we can free oil from the bondage of war (Utopian hopes just under the surface of every one of us oft burnt and sometimes bitter Quakes...) . But, plain is at best an attempt. Let us say I leave the city and return to the land to grow cotton and wool and raise cows for leather. The land is a prize good, ask any one whose family has been here longer than 550 years or so.

But, as a witness nice things happen. There is often a small island of politeness and trying around me. Fellow musicians tend to watch their language. Now, I should say, that I am not easily offended, but, in the US today, there are a few words which are so over used one gets effing sick of hearing them. My witness causes people to think about issues that mainstream media leads them away from.

When I find myself in court, as good people are tried by a corrupt government (Lynne Stewart for example...) having identifiable Quakers in the gallery ain't a bad thing. By the way, hold my friend Lynne in the light, Friends. She is facing 40 years in jail, if convicted, for doing a lawyers job in the USA of the modern day. Her kids went to Friends School in Brooklyn, and she is the beez knees entirely.

How to dress plain when much of the Amish clothing bought in Lancaster today is made of Polyester or imported from China? Hats! Kore Stultzfuss (sorry for the spelling Kore if I got the last name wrong...) has a family company Flying Cloud Hats, Lancaster, PA. His hats are made in house and are just wonderful. Plain broad cloth can be bought from stores which cater to orthodox Jewish people. Indian and Bangladeshi tailors are used to making our traditional styles, so I go to the Jackson Tailors in Jackson Heights. They are very nice people and ask Mr. Lal to make your clothes, he is the one who all there say is the master at making plain jackets.


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