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107 responses to “Brethren On A Plane!”

  1. Jason Soon

    Haha! What a cute picture! That’s a nice cat …

  2. Laura

    Jason, have your needs catered to at Cat Town.

  3. Mark

    Interesting – so there’s distinction and status even among religious subcultural styles…

  4. The Devil Drink

    That is a cute cat, but look at its eyes. It wants to kill you and present your corpse, trussed, to a new owner. Night time is the right time, kitty.
    Laura, you want to google the ‘snood’. As a quasi-Jewish bit of headgear that provides both modesty and a glimpse of hair, they absolutely whip Brethren bonnets for coolness, and provide worksafe hair covering into the bargain.

  5. mal

    Oh dear Laura. If I tried that with one of my cats they’d seek revenge by removing my kidneys while I splept. And deservedly so.

    There’s quite a large Brethren community in Lithgow (where my parents live). Not sure if they’re Brethren or Exclusive Brethren or some other related sect. Shall have to investigate. They certainly seem to have money – they’ve bought up a lot of houses in the fairly new subdivision around my parent’s house, including one beautiful old farmhouse that I’m told is now the Brethren community centre. Can’t say I’ve noticed the fashions, but I’m not sure that I’ve actually seen many of them, I’ve just had Dad pointing out which are Brethren houses as we drive around.

    The 4 corners report was certainly very spooky.

  6. Nabakov
  7. Laura

    Devil Drink, don’t Orthodox women wear wigs? Over their own hair? They aren’t meant to expose their hair outside the home. I used to belong to a women-only gym in East St Kilda and about half the clientele were Orthodox Jewish.

    Mal, you have to train the cats from birth, like it’s a cult or something.

  8. steve munn

    Yep. I watched the 4 Corners program. There are many good reasons for abolishing private schools and one of these is the welfare of kids whose parents are caught up in abhorrent sects, such as the Exclusive Bretheren.

    As for cats, they are a major cause of extinction and rarity of Australian fauna. A little bit of anti-freeze mixed with canned fish is a relatively quick and painless way of disposing of these vermin.

    Call me old fashioned if you will, but I want red-browed finches and new holland honey eaters in my garden and local bush, not the bloody neighbourhood cat.

  9. mal

    Nah. You’ve got it the wrong way round.

    Cats train YOU from birth.

    Hmm cat power. That’s the true cult. I demand a 4 corners expose.

  10. Bernice Balconey

    Oh its a CAT – thought it was an accessory. Well we have Primitive Methodists down my way, which begs the question – where are the Postmodern Methodists? They too do an interesting line in accessoring the whole notion of womanhood (the Primitive Methodists, not the Postmodern ones – no one can understand them). But can’t say I’ve encountered white boots. That would sort of stick in your mind. So do they wear their hair up when they go wild? & i thought they didn’t have tellie or engage with the wicked wide world – where do they get their fashion sense from?
    Let me guess – the great poobah leader chappie – mmmmm. Bit of a Brady Bunch fetish then? But without the engagement with social norms, reality and tolerance of that happy happy family.

  11. The Devil Drink

    True, Laura, true, but I hear they’re not allowed to wear wigs produced in India anymore, because so many of the wig producers are attached to Hindu temples.
    Whatever. I give both the Brethren and the ultra-Orthodox Jews points, at least, for banning most fun, sex and human rights, but nevertheless allowing alcohol.
    Priorities, people, priorities.

  12. anthony

    When not wearing that which pertaineth unto a man, I shop at Modest World.

  13. Laura

    Bernice, one of the women interviewed on Four Corners mentioned something about a woman “tending” a man, which encompassed washing his feet and drying them with her hair. The context was this was the official explanation given out for why a woman spent the night in a male leader’s bedroom, which seems to mean it is supposed to be respectable.

    I don’t really want to know more details of what the women do with all their hair when they “go wild” if it’s stuff like the foot-wiping. Ew.

  14. Bernice Balconey

    Can you imagine anything more pointless than trying to dry anything with hair? & the feet are washed, not straight from the shoe – what a relief – sure there’s a WHOLE world out there on the web where this idea is very very appealing. Not to mention a whole church.

  15. Laura

    Anthony, into what category doth wearing that which pertaineth to Peter Frampton fall?

  16. anthony

    That which Rocketh.

  17. Darryl Rosin

    “As for cats, they are a major cause of extinction and rarity of Australian fauna.”

    Any evidence for that? Kangaroo island has cats, but I don’t believe there’s been any observed extinctions there except for the pygmy emu (which was not due to cats).

  18. Mark

    Cats are divine.

    End of story.

  19. C.L.

    I knew there must be a frustrated feminist ambition at LP to critique the attire of brainwashed female cult-members. All it took was a non-Islamic angle and voila! I look forward to the next installment: why Aboriginal leaders wear funny hats! (On p.c. hold until Noel Pearson’s milliner makes something mockable).

  20. Anna Winter

    Oh, and the Labor Party has bad dress sense too..

  21. Nabakov

    “A little bit of anti-freeze mixed with canned fish is a relatively quick and painless way of disposing of these vermin.”

    That’s a bit extreme. Why not just put a bell around their necks and lash an old tyre to their tails? Mind you, if anyone thinks they’re a bit noisy at 3 in the morning, wait till you hear ’em dragging a steel belted retread around.

    “Cats are divine.”

    Yes, so graceful and naturally instinctive.

  22. Mark

    Hey! Paul Keating!

  23. anthony

    Straw hats for spring ladies!

  24. Pavlov's Cat

    Ironed hair?

    It sounds a lot like school. I can remember the many small changes that were individually rung on our supposedly uniform uniform, again with a spectrum from (daggy) daggy to (daggy) cool.

    Steve Munn, developers are responsible for far more wildlife casualties than cats, and so are polluters. Polluters and developers are also much uglier than cats and usually worse company.

    Haven’t I seen El Guapo on Cats That Look Like Hitler?

  25. Lefty E

    Well, Opp leaser Don Brash has hung the EB out to dry in NZ. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200609/s1748499.htm

    ‘Exclusive brethren’! Pfft. The mere concept should be outlawed on the grounds of preposterousness & general wankitude.

  26. wbb

    Very nicely observed, Laura.

  27. steve munn

    Pavlov’s Cat, Australia is full of undeveloped and near pristine environments: we have several million hectares in National and State Parks for God’s sake. We are the least developed and populated continent after Antarctica.

    As Tim Flannery has noted, many of our parks are “marsupial ghost towns” because they are effectively All You Can Eat restaurants for cats and foxes. The recent extinction of the brush tailed wallaby from the Grampians National Park is a case in point.

    Australia now has a number of fox and cat proof private wildlife enclosures like Heirisson Prong in WA, the Arid Zone Recovery Project in SA and Mt Rothwell in Victoria where land dwelling birds and Critical Weight Range marsupials thrive.

    The idea that “pollution” is a major cause of fauna species rarity and extinction in Australia is something I have never encountered in my 15 years reading the ecological literature other than in relation to seabird ingestion of plastics and a few localised extinctions. Platypus are still to be found in the Yarra for Christ’s sake.

    As for anecdotal evidence about cats, friends of mine near Castlemaine use aspirin to poison cats in line with Dr John Walmsely’s recommendations. Within 2 years they increased the number of small honeyeater and seed eating birds frequenting their property to over 40 from a base of about 10.

  28. Paulus

    One Brethren woman on her own looks reasonable enough – two or three are an interesting sight – two hundred or so massed together look most peculiar indeed.

    Most women I saw this morning had neatly trimmed, ironed hair reaching down to nipple level or thereabouts.

    So let me get this straight. They wear skirts, “kerchiefs or other coverings on their heads”, and they’re TOPLESS!

    I guess the hair covering the nipples saves them from being arrested for public indecency. Nonetheless, that would be indeed an interesting sight.

    Where do I join?

  29. Paulus

    Steve, I adore cats, and cherish their sweet, endearing habits. I love the way they rid my neighbourhood of unwanted native birds and lizards, and I’m more than happy for them to use my garden as a toilet.

    Nevertheless, just for information purposes you understand, how exactly does one use aspirin to kill cats?

  30. Yobbo

    Growing your hair down to your nipples can sometimes come in handy, especially when it’s cold.

  31. VOC

    how exactly does one use aspirin to kill cats?

    Dissolve the aspirin in some milk.

  32. Laura

    Cat-hata rhetoric reproduces the same paranoid discourses about race used by the rioters at Cronulla. “We grew here, you flew here” etc. Aboriginal people say that pussycats, ie feral cats, have a Dreaming and are entitled to be on the land, and have incorporated them into the traditional diet over the past three centuries (yes cats have been here that long) as other sources of protein become extinct. For further information see Animal Nation by Adrian Franklin (UNSW Press 2006).

  33. Zhasper

    Obviously I’ve not thrown off my childhood quite as well as I thought I had..

    I grew up in an (Open) Brethren church (the “Open” is only ever added when we need to distinguish ourselves from the whackjobs- normally we’re just The Brethren), and every time I see someone talking about the Exclusives as just “the Brethren” I still cringe inside and want to scream that they’re not Brethren, they’re Exlusive Brethren, the real Brethren are sane…

    I just proved my point, again, by referring to “we”. I’ve not gone to a Brethren church in nearly 7 years, and I stopped believing in their theology (insofar as Open Brethos can be said to have any theology) before that.. but I still say “we” :(

  34. Laura

    Fair enough Zhasper, and thanks for the correction, I will now edit the original post so it says Exclusive Brethren throughout.

  35. Zoe

    Laura, I wish you’d been with me when mum and the two adult daughters in head kerchiefs and bad floral frocks were shopping next to me* at the outlet undies store.

    On last night’s show there was some film from outside a church service where one very shapely woman in head kerchief with beautiful long hair, a fitted pencil skirt, stockings and heels was walking away from the camera. Weird – but then I have my own religious headgear.

    * OK, I may have been following them around a little bit.

  36. Pavlov's Cat

    Thanks for the feline info, Laura. I wasn’t going to engage, but I was glad to see this, which I didn’t know. (Knew about the cat-hata rhetoric, but not the dreaming or the protein.)

    For the record, Steve, I said ‘casualties’ not ‘extinctions’ and it’s always wise, if you’re going to attack, to attack something that was actually said. I was thinking of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), widely regarded as the ur-text of the modern environmental movement so I am sure it must have been part of your 15 years of reading, and I can only conclude that you don’t regard pesticides as pollutants. Meh.

    Also for the record, my two cats — for the sake even just of the suburban wildlife — live exclusively inside, from where they can watch the many honey-eaters, rainbow lorikeets and sleepy lizards in my garden. In my family we call this ‘cat television’.

  37. Laura

    Yobbo has a point (pun intended) re the hair / nipple / headlights avoidance issue, that Modest Clothes website Anthony linked to last night quotes some Biblical rantings on the front page to the effect that women ought to grow their hair long becasue God gave it to them “for a covering”. By that logic men ought to grow their hair down to fingertip level but apparently long hair os a “dishonour” to men.

  38. wpd

    steve munn raised the issue of EBs and the type of education provided to their children. For me at least, he identifies a serious issue.

    Education should allow children the opportunity to escape the limitations of their background. Children who have no access to radio, TV, computers, higher education etc. are being deprived (abused).

    Surely parents can’t do what they like with these children?

    Are these children being taught Australian values?

    Is this a ‘fair go’?

  39. Bernice Balconey

    Why stop at the fingertips? & in orthodox judaism, big hair for all is the only way to fly. But frankly hair as a modesty device seems about as useful as using it to dry something.
    & good onya PC for keeping the cats in – problem is the dopey buggers who don’t or have dumped kitty when she mysteriously had five kittens….& cats have been part of the northern & western Aust biotas for possibly as long as there’s been Malaccan contact but they hadn’t made it to the Southeast corner before Philip. They’re also quite different – ferals in the West seem to derive from a cross of Japanese/Dutch/Malaccan while in the East they’re Western European in origin. Bigger buggers. With a higher number of live births. Killer Kitty. Keep ’em in or lose ’em I say.

  40. Darryl Rosin


    can you supply a reference for Tim Flannery’s claim about cats? In his Quarterly essay from a couple years ago he expressed skepticism that cats were a major impact. I don’t have my copy with me, but I’ll quote it tonight.

    And while Australia is full of “pristine environments” they won’t have anything to do with the number of birds in your backyard (unless you’re living in one). Habitat destruction is *unquestionably* the biggest threat to birdlife.

  41. Rebekka

    As for cats, they are a major cause of extinction and rarity of Australian fauna. A little bit of anti-freeze mixed with canned fish is a relatively quick and painless way of disposing of these vermin.

    I am shocked beyond belief that anyone would think it was okay to kill someone’s pet. Imagine explaining to your children that their beloved pussy cat was killed because one of your neighbours doesn’t like them, and so they poisoned them. This is a reprehensible attitude.

    My cat lives exclusively indoors, and is not killing any native wildlife. The cause of native wildlife being killed is clearly cat OWNERS, not cats. I fully support passing laws that mean cats have to be kept enclosed – particularly in areas that are ecologically sensitive. Lobby your local council, your local MP, talk to the owners of the cats and explain why it’s important that they’re not let loose to kill the native wildlife. Ask them to put a collar with three bells on it on their cat if they insist on letting it out – cats can learn to walk silently with two bells, but not three.

    Taking matters into your own hands and killing someone’s adored pet is just not ok. No-one died and made you god of protecting wildlife and killing kitties.

    And the Exclusive Brethren are nutjobs. I felt particularly sorry for the men who had been excommunicated and denied access to their kids. The government ought to step in and do something about that.

  42. Liam

    The government ought to step in and do something about that.

    I don’t think there’s much that the Government can do more than they’re already allowed to. If Brethren families ignore court orders—as some of the men on last night’s show alleged—then there are already penalties, and serious ones too.
    Otherwise, State interference in the working of a Church, regardless of its nutjobbery, would be a gross infringement of religious freedom.

  43. Rebekka

    Oh, I meant about the people who aren’t able to get access to their kids, not about the Church as a whole.

    While there are already penalties, they are clearly not being uniformly enforced. Maybe the penalties need to be different – refuse to comply with a court order for joint custody and you lose your custody, perhaps? I haven’t considered it enough to work out a firm position.

  44. Chairman Mao the Burmese Cat



  45. weathergirl

    Laura, how did you determine the people boarding the plane were Exclusive Brethren? (There are other sects that dress similarly.)

  46. jo

    I wonder if EB fathers or mothers who leave the sect/cult will now have a better chance at securing custody, with their illegal practices having been exposed nationally. One would hope that family court judges won’t continue to grant custody in the face of all this evidence.

    As to daggy fashions, I must admit that I’ve had some discussions with old Grace Brothers sales ladies about children’s fashions for girls.

    There are cute little alternatives available if you look, but far easier to dress a five-year-old as a ‘mini slapper/hooker’ with sparkly boob tube, tiny mini-skirt and high heeled thongs at k/mart/target in some seasons.

    Finding a t-shirt with pussycat motif rather than with a playboy bunny motif for a ten year old, is proving more difficult, surf wear being the least path of resistance.

  47. Laura

    Weathergirl, I asked the young woman sitting next to me in the airport lounge “Are you and your friends Exclusive Brethren?” to which she replied “Yes.”

    Jo, on Sunday I saw a t-shirt with a cat printed on it in a shop in Prahran, it was $229!

  48. weathergirl

    I actually hadn’t heard of their existence in Australia until the recent exposés. Were they flying to New Zealand?

  49. jo

    wot a bargain!

    we’re all in the wrong game, there are so many wannabe’s with money these days, it must be like clubbing baby fur seals getting them to pay outrageous sums of money, for vaguely retro-graphic reproductions thrown onto asian labour output…..all to look cool, while paying $28 for a beer, in a similarly retro-fitted bar.

    style doesn’t come cheap, when you don’t have any.

  50. Captain Midnite's Ferocious Siamese Confederate

    Boil them all in oil and send their bones to the museum!

  51. steve munn

    Sorry to derail this thread with “cat-hata” sentiments. This is the last time, I promise!

    Laura- do you feel the same way about feral rabbits, rats and cane toads? Or has an emotional attachment to cats made a clear eyed view of their effects impossible? I’m aware that cats have been adopted as a totemic animal in a couple of indigenous arid zone communities. However the relevance of this to native species conservation is lost on me.

    Darryl Rosin- I’ve scrambled about in dusty boxes trying to find Flannery’s Quarterly Essay 9 without success. I did however find QE10 which contains feedback as well as further comments from Flannery. Flannery pins the blame on cats for the extinction of the white footed rabbit rat. However his point about cats was widely criticised for being simplistic; extinction processes are nearly always multi-factorial. Dickman’s literature review entitled Overview of the Impacts of Feral Cats on Australian Native Fauna identified cats as the major causal factor in the extinction of 4 species of marsupial mice and the rarity of an additional 17 species of native fauna.

    Archer and Beale point out in Going Native that a study found cats “eat more than 186 species of native birds, 64 species of mammals, 87 species of reptiles and 10 species of frogs, and the average feral cat probably kills at least 1000 native animals a year.” (p265)

    For the record, I have no problem with people having cats provided they are desexed and kept in a suitable cat run when not inside the owner’s house.

  52. Laura

    Steve, as you will be well aware, there is quite a gap between conservationist ideologies and the Indigenous concept of Country, and I very much prefer the latter, and would certainly do so even if I did not like cats. I am too conscious of how bad paranoid nationalism has been for Australia in other ways to be very impressed with its application to ecology.

  53. Laura

    And, Khat (what a charming feline you are) thank you for reminding me of a book I loved very much as a kid & haven’t thought of for far too long.

  54. TimT

    Steve, as you will be well aware, there is quite a gap between conservationist ideologies and the Indigenous concept of Country … I am too conscious of how bad paranoid nationalism has been for Australia in other ways to be very impressed with its application to ecology.

    Interesting comment, Laura. If I read it correctly, you’re saying that the modern environmental conservative movement equates in some ways with a restrictive, inward-focused approach to nationalism (if it were the case, I’d probably agree with it)?

    But I don’t quite see how the obvious alternative to this approach is necessarily ‘indigenous’.

  55. Laura

    Nothing in my comment about any obvious alternatives to anything TimT, I was speaking very specifically about the concept of land management espoused by Aboriginal people, as disscussed for eg here, http://www.clc.org.au/media/publications/rose_reports/landman2.asp , and as I said it’s the one I think is preferable. Seeing as how it has worked for the traditional owners and all.

  56. You'd be a fool if you thought this was my real name

    I had an acquaintance who went to teh Northern Territory to shoot cats so she could study what they’d been eating, and expected to prove that the ferals decimated the native animals.

    To her disappointment she found that the vast majority of what they ate was feral European rabbits, rats, mice and birds, proving that cats prefer to eat what they know.

  57. Rebekka

    That’s very interesting, as it suggests that if we got rid of all the feral cats, we’d be left with a big feral rat/mouse/rabbit/bird plague.

    I read somewhere a while ago about how a successful plan to eradicate bunnies somewhere had resulted in an endangered bird of prey becoming even more endangered – because they’d been eating the bunnies, and the native animals they used to eat were long since gone.

    Of course these animals never should have been introducted in the first place, but unless anyone’s got a time machine that’s not a problem with a solution. Ecosystems change and adapt, and once they have, we can’t easily just remove one bit and think it will all go back to how it was. Small changes in complex systems can have very unexpected effects, as the chaos scientist in Jurassic Park may have pointed out.

  58. steve munn

    “To her disappointment she found that the vast majority of what they ate was feral European rabbits, rats, mice and birds, proving that cats prefer to eat what they know.”

    Sorry, but this is an awfully naive comment. Cats “know” what they see. Dozens of studies of feral feline fecal matter clearly show that a feral cat will typically consume over 1,000 native anaimals during the course of its life. Plenty of reintroduction projects have ran into trouble because cats have decimated the reintroduced populations.

    Rebeka is correct however in pointing out that a complex relationship exists between predator and prey species. Everyone who works or is seriously intersted in this field is well aware that if you want to get rid of cats from a certain ecological system then you must first consider what affect this will have on foxes, dingos, rabbits and such like.

    Interestingly, the same complexity exists with plants. Studies have shown that brush turkeys are more common in localities that are heavily infested with blackberry thickets compared to native bush since the blackbery thickets protect the chicks from feral cats.

    Laura’s link pertains solely to arid zone communities. It also contained the following comment:

    “As previously mentioned, the conservation interest in the Tanami Desert has been an influence on many Warlpiri people who have either worked personally with the CCNT programs or been exposed to the issues involved. Some respondents were keen to point out the need to grow up more mala, and talked of the “pussy cat” that eat the mala. “ Nonetheless indigenous arid zone communities are clearly for the most part blase about environmental matters.

    Most indigenous communities no longer have the deep connection they once had to land. In Kakadu, for example, there is a problem with indigenous youth torturing and shooting native animals as entertainment.

    It is depressing to see that many of the lefties on this cite have attitudes towards ecological diversity that reflect some of Andrew Bolt’s Herald-Sun articles.

    (Sorry, I broke my promise- find it hard hold my tongue on this issue!)

  59. Nefer Menem-Hapshut, High Priestess of Anubis and Osiris

    Mark: “Cats are divine.”

    Yes. Quite literally.

    Finally, someone who understands.

  60. TimT

    Okay, cheers for that clarification Laura … it’s an interesting concept either way!

  61. Amanda, Hemet Amenwah

    Mark: “Cats are divine.â€?

    Yes. Quite literally.

    Finally, someone who understands.

    Meh. I’ll throw my lot in with the baboons. So cute!

  62. Liam

    Or, to throw another control problem into the fray, anonymous of the long handle, perhaps the cats your acquaintance shot were the stupider of the species?
    Perhaps the feral cats that ate native species were more successful at both dodging bullets and catching the non-introduced prey.

  63. Kim

    You can now by genetically modified FrankenCats over the interwebs for $3950.

    Just sayin… what this does to the steve munn argument I have no idea.


  64. Yobbo

    Even if cats ate nothing except rogue CO2 molecules, they would still be evil.

  65. Darryl Rosin

    Steve Munn,

    You’ve selectively quoted the single respondent in QE10 who disagrees with Flannery on cats (and misquotes him – Flannery does *not* attribute the extinction of the white-footed rabbit-rat to cats, but to the disruption of fire-stick farming practices.) The only other correspndant who even mentions the cat issue is Prof George Sneddon, who writes “Flannery’s assertion that cats are not especially distructive… is probably right.” (QE10 pg 99) He expand on this over a couple of paragraphs and finishes with the observation that where he lives in Perth there has been a “spectacular revival” of ground feeding birds whose disappearance was caused by inappropriate pesticide use. Who’da thought?

    Flannery’s comments on cats can be found in QE9 pp 17-19:

    “…beyond their hunting finesse, there is little evidence that cats have exterminated any species in the Australian environment. The role of cats takes pride of place in this discussion of environmental lies…

    “It seems reasonable to believe that cats had spread throughout the continent by the 1840s… Almost all… well-documented now-extinct species overlapped with cats for at least 50 years and in many cases over a century. As extinctions, or at least drastic declines in animal populations, usually occur soon after the causative factor is introduced, this suggests that cats were not, by themselves, the primary agents of extermination.

    “There is one further, very important proof in the argument that cats have not caused  widespread elimination of species in Australia. Tasmania and Kangaroo Island are two of Australia’s largest offshore islands. They are varied and large landmasses, comprising a diversity of environments that support rich marsupial, bird and reptile faunas. Both have feral cats, yet with the exception of the thylacine and various dwarf varieties of emu (which were hunted into extinction by humans) neither has suffered a single extinction. Instead, cats cohabitate with the full faunal diversity of both islands.”

    What’s Flannery’s pick for the biggest animal player in the early waves of extinctions? Sheep and the habitat distruction that accompanied them.

    BTW, the “Marsupial ghost towns” line is on p39 and its got nothing to do with cats.



    “For the record, I have no problem with people having cats provided they are desexed and kept in a suitable cat run when not inside the owner’s house.”

    But if they do get out you’ll do your best to kill them? Or am I misunderstanding – which cats do you advocate disposing of with poison mixed into canned fish?

  66. steve munn

    From the Department of Environment and Heritage: “There is clear evidence that feral cats have had a heavy impact on island fauna. On Macquarie Island, for example, feral cats caused the extinction of a subspecies of the red-fronted parakeet. On the mainland, they have probably contributed to the extinction of many small to medium sized mammals and ground-nesting birds in the arid zone, and seriously affected bilby, mala and numbat populations. In some instances, feral cats have directly threatened the success of recovery programs for endangered species.” http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/publications/cat/index.html

    From NSW National Parks: ” In New South Wales, predation by Feral Cats has been linked to the disappearance by 1857, of 13 species of mammals and 4 species of birds from the Western Division. Current impacts on native species are most likely in modified, fragmented environments and where alternative prey such as Rabbits or House Mice fluctuate in abundance.

    Based on a rank-scoring system that predicts the susceptibility of native vertebrate species to predation from Feral Cats (Dickman 1996), several Endangered and Vulnerable species in New South Wales are currently threatened, including the Hastings River Mouse Pseudomys oralis, Sandy Inland Mouse Pseudomys hermannsburgensis, Pilliga Mouse Pseudomys pilligaensis, Bolam’s Mouse Pseudomys bolami, Forrest’s Mouse Leggadina forresti, Mountain Pygmy-possum Burramys parvus, Little Tern Sterna albifrons, Grey Grasswren Amytornis barbatus, Striated Grasswren Amytornis striatus and the lizard Aprasia aurita. Larger species such as Southern Brown Bandicoots Isoodon obesulus and Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies Petrogale penicillata may also be at risk locally or when other prey is scarce.

    Many other native species are potentially at risk of becoming threatened as a result of Cat predation. Small mammals such as rodents, dasyurids, burramyids and ground-nesting birds are at particular risk. ” http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Predation by feral cats – key threatening process declaration

  67. Pollytickedoff

    “There’s quite a large Brethren community in Lithgow (where my parents live). Not sure if they’re Brethren”

    They are most likely ‘open’ Brethren, there is a large church in Orange. Many practices similiar to EB ie TV, computers, dress etc.

    The first time I saw their new church in Orange I thought it was a supermarket as it is a big brick building surrounded by carpark. A couple of time I have seen the carpark packed with buses.

    They did not however isolate themselves from the rest of the community and their kids went to the local school.

  68. Chapelli

    There is also a large-ish Brethren (EB?) community in Brisbane in Bulimba/Balmoral. According to a real estate friend of mine, over the last 10-15 years they have bought a large number of homes in the surrounding area. Very infrequently you see the shopping women down on Oxford street.

    They too have a church that looks kinda like a supermarket, except the barbed-wire fence surrounding it makes it look more like the old army Barracks down the road.

  69. Cat despiser

    While cats are undeniably cute, they are killers to the cores of their icy little hearts and do not belong on this continent. If you keep them indoors, well good for you, but responsible cat ownership seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    We live on a rural property in SE NSW, and have watched the bird population increase enormously since our two cats died of old age. Their endearing ways got me in and I could never bring myself to do away with them, but it was a very deliberate decision not to replace them. No more, not under any circumstances, the change after they went was just too dramatic. People just don’t comprehend the harm they do.

    Thanks for the antifreeze and aspirin tips – I have a feeling they will come in handy, as my new utterly clueless neighbour has just brought in three of the pests. No doubt these will wreak havoc if permitted, and quickly undo a decade of recovery.

  70. adrian

    polley, I used to teach in Orange, in the days when I was a teacher, funnily enough.
    The Plymouth Bretheren (as they were known then) did indeed attend school, but had to leave the classroom if the class were watching a video or listening to a tape or something. I heard from a friend that they started their own school, which meant quite a drop in enrolments.
    I remember the church cum supermarket which had just been built when we left, and I remember the stories of the treatment of those who dared to leave, and the sad faces of the female students. They all seemed as isolated as you can hope to be in a country town.

  71. wpd

    Chapelli, there is a large numberof EB in that area. And they have been there for at least a decade.

    Today on Radio Courier-Mail, Kevin Rudd expressed concern as to the provision of government funding to EB schools.

    What these EB schools provide is not ‘education’, however defined, but indoctrination.

  72. Zhasper

    @pollytickedoff: I doubt they were ‘open’ if they had issues with TV – historically it’s only been the EBs that had issues with TV/Radio/Mobiles. On the other hand, I hadn’t been aware at all of the prohibitions on videos or computers at all[1] until reading this thread and doing a bit of other research, despite growing up as an OB in a town with a significant[2] EB presence, so maybe it’s just not something I’d heard of

    @adrian: gee, thanks :) Polley is my surname – I’m used to having it mis-spelt as polly, but I’ve never seen anyone misspell polly as polley before :)

    @everyone: There’s a decent FAQ about brethos, which touches on the flavours they come in and who bans what, at http://www.brethrenonline.org/faqs/Brethren.htm. It’s only an overview, but it’s considerably more than most people seem to know, and it’s got pointers to better information if you want it.

    [1] According to the FAQ it’s only certain sub-sects of the EB – obviously not the ones I grew up near
    [2] Well – I doubt most of the town would have noticed. I did occasionally see some of them out shopping though… but when you’re part of a small OB assembly in a small town, even a small EB presence is significant…

  73. steve munn

    Good to hear from you Cat Despiser.

    In addition to aspirin and/or antifreeze mixed with tinned fish, you should plant dense prickly native shrubs, for example various species of prickly hakea, prickly acacia and prickly grevillea. Such shrubbery should allow small native birds to nest and rest safe from the local cats and foxes.

    Keep up the good work. :)

  74. Darryl Rosin

    Steve, I can’t be bothered chasing down any more of your claims. You said Flannery blaimed cats for extinctions, when he explictly said the opposite. You said he was ‘widely criticised’ in QE10 when only one of four writers disagreed with him. And in your ’15 years’ of environmental reading you’ve never heard that pesticides have an impact on birdlife. Or you’ve never heard that pesticides are pollution, I’m not sure which is the more charitable interpretation.

    What’s clear though, is that you like killing animals, particlarly people’s pets. That’s sad and creepy and you should talk to someone about it because it’s really not a healthy sign.

    You also might be just winding me up in which case, touché, well done, you win, I’m a n00b. It’s still sad and a bit creepy, but I wouldn’t talk to anyone about it ’cause you’ll just come off sounding like some lonely internet loser.


  75. steve munn

    Darryl Rosin,

    You are being dishonest. For example, I never said that Flannery was widely criticised in QE10. I merely said he had been widely criticised and cited an example from QE10. Flannery’s opinion is out of touch with that of most ecologists. Irrespective, Flannery doesn’t say cats are of no significance in native species rarity and extinction. For instance he says in the Future Eaters “Of those (native animals) that can be reintroduced from elsewhere, there is no guarantee of survival, for foxes and cats have been introduced. ”

    The primary advocate of taking the law into one’s own hands to eradicate free- roaming cats is Dr John Walmsely, who set up Earth Sanctuaries Limited (now called FAME), which has a demonstrated track record of reintroducing native animals to their natural environments in areas where cats and foxes have been destroyed. See http://www.littleriverearthsanctuary.com.au/other.htm

    If the value you place on feral and unrestrained cats exceeds the value you place on ecological diversity, then that is your business. Frankly, however, I find that rather creepy and sad.

  76. GregM

    Since this thread started off as a discussion on the sartorial aesthetic of the Exclusive Brethren but has now wandered off into a spat on the merits or otherwise of felinicide (with some handy how-to hints thrown in) I was wondering whether anyone can shed some light on what the EB position on cats, the keeping of/elimination of, might be. I’m afraid that the otherwise excellent FAQ link provided by Zhasper didn’t cover the issue.

  77. Laura

    Steve, I only tolerated your how to kill pets comments because you say things like “last time, I promise.” And then you go back on that and continue to argue. Unless you are honestly open for debate on the issues and not just out to shout opponents down, or grind them down, please don’t post any more comments about ways to kill domestic animals. And please, nobody else ask Steve to expand on his views0, I think he’s had a good go. At least, don’t ask him to do it in this thread, which as GregM rightly observes, was really intended to be about the semiotics of Exclusive Brethren fashions for women.

    I illustrated the post with a link to a picture of a cat wearing a headscarf in the way EB women wear them, with ringlets poking out from underneath, partly because I can never resist that kind of thing, but mostly because that image really does sum up, for me, the perversity, infantilism, and artificiality of the headscarf / hair combination as a signifier of look-at-me modesty. I little suspected that one little link would be enough of a distraction to completely derail the thread, but them’s the breaks. I really do recommend people interested in the feral / introduced species question to read the book Animal Nation, though, or if you prefer keep an eye on Sarsaparilla where I’ll be reviewing it next week.

    Meanwhile consider this thread re-railed onto the Exclusive Brethren topic.

  78. cat depiser

    OK, semiotics of EB female clothing.

    that image really does sum up, for me, the perversity, infantilism, and artificiality of the headscarf / hair combination as a signifier of look-at-me modesty

    Well, if they got around in halter tops and g-strings, and purported to be modest if they covered their hair, then I might agree, but they don’t. And is “look at me modesty” worse than “don’t look at me immodesty”? Outward signs, particularly amongst those who profess belief, can be hypocritical if that’s the extent of their committment, but with respect, you don’t know that at all. How could you? Why shouldn’t they tizz themselves up a bit if they want to? Perhaps they should all be made to wear burquas. Black, mind you. None of this frivolous colour nonsense. No, wait! Black is chic. Make it battleship grey!

  79. steve m

    Laura sez:

    “Aboriginal people say that pussycats, ie feral cats, have a Dreaming and are entitled to be on the land, and have incorporated them into the traditional diet over the past three centuries…”

    Is there a chance you could arrange a guest post from one of these feline-eating Aboriginals? I’d appreciate the opportunity to exchange recipes.

    But back on topic. “that image really does sum up, for me, the perversity, infantilism, and artificiality of the headscarf / hair combination as a signifier of look-at-me modesty.”

    Isn’t this a little judgemental? You’ll find headscarves/hair combinations in many cultures, including some Vietnamese hill tribes. What do you mean by “infantile”?

  80. tigtog

    I won’t answer for Laura, but for me there’s a big difference between headscarves for utility (keep the hair out of the eyes and keep hair tidy during activity), headscarves that signify status, and headscarves at all times for modesty taboos.

    The EB headscarves are clearly arranged around carefully coiffed hair that is on abundant sexual display surrounded by modesty signals, and that is what I find perverse.

  81. A Gnome Named Grimble Grumble

    tigtog: “The EB headscarves are clearly arranged around carefully coiffed hair that is on abundant sexual display surrounded by modesty signals, and that is what I find perverse.”

    But I don’t see that as necessarily ‘perverse.’ Trying to view it value-neutral, simply as a system of signs, what it says (I think) is merely complex. To my eye, it sends out a system of signals that say something like:

    1. “I’m a girl.”
    2. “I also subscribe to a particular value system (that includes a certain definition of modesty, not necessarily *your* definition).”
    3. “The value system in (2) does not require me to deny all aspects of being a girl. In fact, the value system may even ask me to visually acknowledge that I’m a girl.”

    Complex, maybe, but not perverse.

  82. Another Kim

    Come on.

    It’s known that hair (style, length, grooming style, color) and dress signify what cultural subgroup we belong to. Along with other very obvious forms of garb.

    So fucking what?

    Unless one is prepared to mock Orthobox Jews and Muslims…so fucking what?

    Oh. I like cats and don’t kill them.

  83. Another Kim

    I type and don’t spellcheck. As you may have noticed.

  84. Another Kim

    I always spell fuck correctly.

    The nuns would be proud. My mom, too.

  85. tigtog

    Grimble Grumble: but you can’t view it as value neutral when you know what scriptures they’re basing it on.

    The Pauline scriptures concerned speak of women covering their head, and ensuring that they don’t wear complicated braided hairstyles to church (the very time-consuming fashion of the ancient day, which required a maid). They are also relying on older scriptures about women’s unbound hair as their glory in the context of a display for their husbands in private. The various verses are essentially incompatible (if hair is so glorious, why cover it at all? If hair needs to be covered, why only part of it?), so that’s perverse from the start.

    They don’t need the hair to define their femininity – EB women are forbidden from wearing trousers (and men from wearing skirts/kilts) so the skirt does that for them. The only reason the kitschy headscarves are worn over the unbound hair is as a community signifier, and what it signifies is a confused theology.

  86. A Gnome Named Grimble Grumble

    tigtog — interesting, but not yet quite convincing.

    “…ensuring that they don’t wear complicated braided hairstyles to church (the very time-consuming fashion of the ancient day, which required a maid)…”

    Now I’m not an adept scholar of Pauline scripture or early Christianity, but I seem to recall that a large portion of early Christians were drawn from among the poor, slaves, and persons of generally lower status; so that discouraging flashy, maid-driven hairstyles might be seen as a sort of egalitarianism in public; which would be in sympathy with bedrock Christian values, at least arguably. I seem to recall (though I can’t place the text) that St. Paul also encouraged women to wear their hair long as a sort of ‘sign of submission to their husbands’ — I can’t make out why long hair would necessarily be viewed so (I think the Celts woulda disagreed), but that is what they seem to have thought. They were I think also trying to work out a somewhat complex social negotiation about where and how they stood in relation to Mosaic Judaism and Hellenic paganism, so there were all sorts of debates about circumcision etc. Maybe hair was a part of that whole scene, too. Certainly standards of modesty would have been at issue, given Greco-Roman, uh, lack of restraint at times.

    “…The various verses are essentially incompatible (if hair is so glorious, why cover it at all? If hair needs to be covered, why only part of it?)…”

    Well, rather than ‘incompatible,’ you could also see it as a species of compromise: promoting a sort of baseline standard of modesty, while still allowing women to take a bit of tasteful pleasure in the whole hair display game, without overdoing it on the modesty thing, as we might perhaps say of Orthodox Jews and Wahhabists. ‘Incompatibility,’ I would think, would be more like a getup where they wore stuff that radically proclaimed modesty and at the same time mocked it, like wearing a hair kerchief with a bustier and fishnet stockings. Hmm, on second thought, maybe I’ll start up my own religious dress code where I get to dress like the Village People…

    I don’t claim to understand any of this stuff, merely offering an alternative reading. Plus, I’m guessing your use of the judgemental word “kitschy” might give something away; could it be that some of the critics on this thread are predisposed to dislike these sorts of practices, simply because they’ve decided that they do?

  87. laura

    Yep, you sussed me, I am predisposed to dislike things that I don’t like. And I don’t like EB fashion because, above all other considerations, it’s fecking hideous. The headscarves are beyond kitschy, they’re fugly. Don’t worry, I have similar issues about many, many other religious and ethnic and tribal costumes. But EB are on the public agenda for discussion so I posted about them.

    Aesthetics aside, politically, the headscarf over long unbounded hair combination is the very worst of both worlds. Worse than something like a hijab, which I can well understand would be quite liberating to wear in some ways, if it freed you from worrying about how you looked at times when thinking about your appearance is just a distraction. EB long hair, which is supposed to look natural and simple and unstudied (even though long straight hair is quite high-maintenance and impractical for daily life) says that women are natural, simple, unstudied creatures and don’t require cultivation or shaping. The scarf then adds to all that the message that this “natural” femininity is a condition which should be covered up.

  88. A Gnome Named Grimble Grumble

    Laura: “…Yep, you sussed me, I am predisposed to dislike things that I don’t like…”

    Well there is, of course, an appropriate scriptural text for this selfsame classical problem of being predisposed to dislike things in advance…

    “Would you, could you, in a church?
    Would you, could you, on a perch?”

    “I would not, could not, in a church!
    I would not, could not, on a perch!
    I would not, could not, in Venezia!
    I would not, could not, with a pizza!
    I would not, could not, in a forest!
    I could not with a stegosaurus!

    I do not like scarves and long hair!
    I do not like them, Claire-I-Wear!”

    But of course I merely paraphrase; the original koine Greek, so I’m told, is a lot more satisfying. :-)

  89. cat despiser

    Trouble with these group blogs is that threads have an incredibly short half life and drop off the bottom of the page before they are spent. Ah well, this was rather interesting.

    Laura, perhaps I’m just an insensitive male, but I am truly amazed that you and tigtog are able to read such subtleties into EB hair and scarves. I agreee that it’s frumpy and a bit disconcerting, but I find the Burqua far more offensive in the message it sends, and the hijab is just its slightly less severe cousin, so sends much the same message. To me they say women are the second class sex, property and not much more. And that is offensive, is it not.

  90. tigtog

    It should be possible to discuss oppressive practises in one social grouping without someone who can’t be arsed with a bit of introspection necessarily trying to trump it with “oh, but this other group has it so much worse”. But Blob forbid that we should discuss the semiotics of gender segregation, especially amongst Christians, without some fella attempting to shut us up by pointing at the poor oppressed Muslim women.

    Feminists were discussing oppressive Islamic practises long before the War on Terror began, and none of you oh-so-caring lot gave a stuff back then. Instead of just wringing your hands, why not look at what Muslim feminists are actually doing, and how your rhetoric might help or harm their cause.

    The EB headscarf and modest dress sends exactly the same message as the hijab: that women must hide themselves away from the lustful gaze of men, lest men be unable to control themselves in the presence of female pulchritude. And that message, in whatever culture, that women can’t trust the men around them unless the women restrict themselves to approved behaviour, is oppressive bullshit whichever way you slice it. Don’t think our society doesn’t send its share of that message, either.

  91. Cliff

    Cats are very divisive creatures. My flatmate, and my uncle think the world would be better without them.

    I accept that cats are predators… and shouldn’t be allowed in the wild. My parents live in a rainforest and keep their cats in the house, and in an enclosed outdoor area. Of course, thats as much for their own protection as the marsupial’s… Himalayans and paralysis ticks don’t mix very well. Fortunately they aren’t very good hunters anyway… so when marsupial mice enter the house they spend most of their time toying with the thing… giving it ample time to escape. There are feral cats in the forest though… we used to set traps for them (not lethal ones by the way).

  92. Cliff

    Kudos for posting those videos by the way. Cats make the best bloopers reels.

  93. Cliff

    There is also a large-ish Brethren (EB?) community in Brisbane in Bulimba/Balmoral.

    AARRRGGHH!!! They’re just down the road!!!

    Well at least they exclusive and don’t bother you like those Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    In a way I much prefer a sect that thinks they’re too good for me than one that thinks they can convert me. Have any Brisvegans seen that Mormon temple on the river? What a bunch of wankers!

  94. Cliff

    Is this for real?

  95. Angharad

    tigtog, Laura – I’m with your take on EB ‘fashion’. I’ve seen them at Melbourne and Perth airports a few times now, travelling in large groups. DKY I keep running into them, hope it’s not fate and I don’t start dressing like that. But what IS it all about? It’s not just the headscarf/hair combo – it’s the cheap, dowdy high heels and long skirts that accompany it. There has to be some element of social control there!

    I grew up in Katoomba and the Plymouth Brethren were there too. A couple of girls weren’t allowed to attend the Anzac Day service on religious grounds and were made to sit with me when it was on. But I was engaging in my first, solo political activity (and in big trouble). They wouldn’t talk to me tho, so I never found out their motivations.

    Actually, when I lived in Coorparoo in Brisbane, they were there too! spooky.

  96. Zhasper

    angharad: you make me feel like a grammar nazi..

    Plymouth Brethren is an old name for the group that the Exclusive Brethren excluded themselves from. Technically the EBs are PBs, but only because that’s where their group originated…. calling them PBs in this context is… well, misleading at best – the term PBs includes a lot of people much more sane than then EBs

    Keep in mind though that I’m talking as someone who grew up as an Open Brethren – we’re the sane ones who didn’t go along with the EBs when they went mad. I’m probably just touchy because “Plymouth Brethren” applies to my family (and to me, back when I was a believer…) and I don’t want to be associated with the EBs…

  97. j_p_z

    In the hills and canyons of Los Angeles, people keep cats around the house (we used to when house-sitting) just to kill off the vermin — and it’s not all that unusual for the cats themselves to then get carried off by the coyotes (some of ours were).

    The Wheel of Life, I suppose. Who carries off the coyotes is anybody’s guess. The mountain lions, maybe, if they still have them out by the Mount Wilson Observatory. Or maybe feral leftover Manson family members — or Nastassja Kinski, out prowling in the woods…

  98. Cliff

    Wrong. The Coyotes kill themselves off hunting roadrunners.

  99. A Fighting Fawce of Extwaordinawy Magnitude

    I like how this thread switches back and forth between disapproval of religious hairstyles, and venomous animosity towards cats. It deserves some sort of “Mystery of Irma Vep” award for the art of the quick-change. Well, Hodge shall not be shot, I guess…

    –j_p_z, who spent part of the weekend watching “A Fistful of Yen” again, for the first time in decades, and nearly choked to death laughing. The filmmakers “have my gratitude.” They are filmmakers of extraordinary magnitude.

  100. Angharad

    angharad: you make me feel like a grammar nazi..

    Plymouth Brethren is an old name for the group that the Exclusive Brethren excluded themselves from.

    Fair enough – my apologies and no offence intended. Actually when I lived in Coorparoo and Katoomba the people I referred to called themselves PB – but I didn’t give you a timeframe either.

    But maybe you can enlighten us on the whole dress thing?

  101. Zhasper

    Fair enough – my apologies and no offence intended.

    None taken :)

    Actually when I lived in Coorparoo and Katoomba the people I referred to called themselves PB – but I didn’t give you a timeframe either.

    That’s… well, as with all schisms, they think we’re the nutters and they have the One True Understanding Of God

    (I don’t know why I still say “we” – I’m not one of them any more, but I can’t think of a better pronoun)

    So, it’s quite likely they’d call themselves PBs – as far as they’re concerned, it’s the non-exclusives who’ve fallen away.

    But maybe you can enlighten us on the whole dress thing?

    Not a lot. The FAQ I linked to somewhere above can probably tell you more – or some of the links from the FAQ can.

    The headscarf comes from a verse somewhere (don’t recall where offhand; one of the Pauline letters, I think) where the author tells women at a particular place that they should cover their head while in church.

    The interpretation in the church I grew up in was that that particular admonishment was specific to that place; women there were expected to have their head covered at all times. Some in the church had been advocating that following Christ freed them from the neccesity to observe social customs such as headcovering; Paul (or whoever was writing) was essentially saying that it’s important to give a good public image and not make those around you think that you’re a fruitcake because you dress funny.

    Thus, in the church I grew up in, headcoverings weren’t required. Indeed, some in our church would probably argue that dressing in the fashion the EBs dress runs exactly counter to the intention of that passage, as it’s making people think they’re fruitcakes (cf: this thread)

    The EBs interpretation is much more literal: Paul said women must cover their heads -> women must cover their heads. It’s not exclusively EBs who believe this – I know some OB churches do as well. All the OB women I’ve seen covering their heads do it much more stylishly though – a nice hat, for instance, which is carefully accessorised with the rest of their outfit.

    I don’t know where the rest of the EB ‘uniform’ comes from though. I suspect it has more to do with the dictates of their sect leadership than from anything biblical…

  102. zhasper

    I should have checked wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Headcovering it’s 1 Corinthians 11. Wikipedia gives more information on different interpretations as well as its history.

    It does also say that PBs practice headcovering… which is about as true as any generic statement about the PBs. Some congregations do, some don’t. Growing up in a denomination that has n clergy and no organisation above the level of the local assembly means that you get used to this kind of thing – each assembly has slightly different beliefs and slightly different practices, there’s no one blanket statement you can make that covers all PBs.

    Hrmf.. the Wikipedia article on the PBs says that there are “few” doctrinal differences between the OBs and the EBs..

  103. Helen

    Since this thread started off as a discussion on the sartorial aesthetic of the Exclusive Brethren but has now wandered off into a spat on the merits or otherwise of felinicide (with some handy how-to hints thrown in)…

    Coincidence? I think not!

  104. Another Kim


    Those people with funny hair do’s sure know how to forgive.

    Let’s laugh at them now.

  105. Laura

    What are you on about AK. The EB “sure know how to forgive?” By ‘shunning’ and ‘excluding’ members of their own communities who somehow offend their leadership, and by breaking up families, preventing parents who are cast out from seeing their children etc?

    I’m appalled at that kind of social tyranny being practised in Australia in the name of religion. I don’t believe it can be separated from the total range of ways the EB community exert influence on its members and a certain uniformity of dress is clearly one of those ways.

  106. Rupert

    To be fair, I think the EB are responsible for much more dubious practices than imposing naff dress codes. But to interpret something sinister from the dress codes alone is, I feel, a bit like looking through the eye of a needle and seeing… a camel.

    Religion has always appreciated a good symbol, and to me Brethren women’s hair covering is largely symbolic – symbolic of a kind of modesty, true, but like all symbols the power is suggestive not literal. Of course, Brethren women are not rendering themselves invisible, or even necessarily unattractive, by dressing the way they do. But it’s a uniform, and conveys a certain message to the viewer; it’s saying something like: ‘my hair is covered (partially), and my skirt is long, because I have certain core beliefs about modesty and how a woman should appear in public, and be treated by men and other women’. I suppose, as a man, the primary message I am hearing from the appearance of Brethren women is not “don’t look at me”. It’s “I am not sexually available”. And the message comes through loud and clear, no matter how long and lustrous the hair may be.

    Of course, one might feel that their attitude is hypocritical – that Brethren women wish to be lusted after, and shamelessly parade their long beautiful locks to inflame the loins of sinful men. Not my personal suspicion, but it’s arguable. And one might also feel the look is daggy. That is surely a matter of taste, and for the record I find the Plymouth Brethren women in my town (who are not, I assume, Exclusive types) reasonably attractive, but in a not particularly sexy way. My loins remain safely uninflamed.

    But given the frequency of long, super-straight hair does make one wonder about ethnicity. Is curly hair acceptable? Is there, or has there ever been a black female member of the Brethren, would she be tolerated, and if so how would she wear their fashions?

  107. bill g

    each to his own – i might happen to think that fat ladies with no clothes on are un fashionable, but i really don’t care –
    but i think i prefer a non violent religion

    (example- islam!)

    it would seem that they also support themselves financially and a lot of others who work for them- if you want to find out what they are really like, why don’t you ask some of their non member workers?