Surprising new advocates in the fight against cyberbullying have emerged in recent weeks: the Amish. Candle shops and haberdasheries alike have been abuzz with the news of the phenomenon that has been plaguing the nation for more than a decade, previously unknown to the Amish. Realization of this problem has been fostered through exposure to modern people, or “the English” as the Amish refer to them, at farmers’ markets and the sets of reality television shows.
Jedidiah Ezekiel Buttenputscher, leader of a Lancaster Amish community, decided to take action after hearing discussion among concerned parents during a butter transaction at a Pennsylvania general store.
“I learned of this through word of mouth, which is how God intended plagues to be spread,” said Buttenputscher. “I heard one woman’s son was harassed ‘online,’ and I told her that lines are for fishing and dancing, not harassment. After listening further, it appears to be an issue from one of those technological innovations, like traffic jams or ‘left swipes’, whatever that means.”
Buttenputscher and others inspired by him have begun the “Agriculture Against Hate Culture” movement, a campaign to “curb the English from their spiteful online habits in favor of useful ones.” Slogans include “Get off the Web, Churn Butter Instead” and “Don’t Tweet, Harvest Wheat.” This will also result in a limit on ‘rumspringas,’ a rite of passage in Amish communities in which adolescents are allowed to venture out into the modern world.
“We’re telling all the little Amlettes to shut off their pagers and stay out of AOL chat rooms,” said Buttenputscher. “It’s for their own safety.” However, Buttenputscher and his followers are adamant about deterring the cyber aspect of the issue, not bullying itself.
“Bullying builds character,” said Buttenputcher, “like how a lashing makes a horse more docile. When I was a kid, if you wanted to tell somebody their sister couldn’t milk a cow to save her bonnet, you said it to their face. And when their larger, burlier brother came to pummel you into the soil, you still came out having learned a lesson.
“What I don’t understand about the English,” Buttenputscher continued, “is how they take their spite into the virtual realm. They should be bullying in person, like we do with the Mennonites. Their quilts are itchy. Their jams are far too thick. And it takes them a whole fortnight to raise a barn. Those Women-onites do not know a scythe from an auger!” screamed Buttenputscher in the direction of a nearby Mennonite community.
This movement will take effect in the Lancaster area during the upcoming sowing season. “We’re going to boycott the Internet … I mean, we’re going to continue boycotting the Internet!” said Buttenputscher. “And we’ll show the English that staying in your own small communities and narrowly avoiding inbreeding is the way God intended.”
Written by: Paola Diaz and Brandon Moguel, staff writers