A new mini series premiered on the CBC last night, entitled Pure. It’s being billed as “Inspired by true events” and is about a Mennonite community who is touched by drug smuggling. I watched 20 minutes last night and can’t decide if the writer doesn’t really know about his topic, or just doesn’t care.
The story opens with the selection of a new pastor at what seems to be an Old Order Mennonite meeting house. The selection process seems about right, only at least two out of the four candidates don’t belong. Funk is not an Ontario Old Order Mennonite name, (at least according to my Dad, when I was talking to him about this over the holidays. Names are important. When two Mennonites meet, we have to play “the Mennonite game” and figure out who is related to who. My Dad comes from an Old Order background, though his parents left when he was two.) However, Funk at least is a Swiss-German Mennonite name. The other person who doesn’t belong is an Epp. Epp is a Russian Mennonite name, and it is exceedingly improbable that an Epp would ever be part of an Old Order Mennonite community. It’s like making a movie about the IRA, and half the cast is speaking Italian, because the writer went “Eh, they are all Catholics, close enough.”
In the show, they have Old Colony (Russian) Mennonites from Mexico mixing freely with Old Order (Swiss-German) Mennonites. The two groups really don’t mix at all. They don’t speak the same language, or have the same culture. Different subgroups of Old Order Mennonites hold themselves separate from each other, let alone from groups who don’t share their lifestyle. Mennonites don’t shun the way the Amish do, but Old Order groups are insular.
I know less about the Old Colony, but from what I have read they are also insular, and don’t have a lot of interaction with other Russian Mennonite groups either.
So a scene were a police detective shows Funk a Russian Mennonite book, and Funk opens it, reads the name of an Old Colony Mennonite Colony and immediately identifies it as such, seems a bit unlikely. An earlier scene with the cop seems to show why Funk is in this at all, as the cop recognizes Funk as someone he went to school with and brings up his school nickname “Funkytown”. Hahaha.
Old Order Mennonites don’t attend public schools, and they certainly don’t go to high school, like we see the Funk teenagers doing.