No wonder Moravians found afterlife so appealing

“Despite digging the Moravians and their utopic ambitions in North Carolina, I have always been undoubtedly creeped out by their 17th century historical recreation theme park, Old Salem.

“It’s a grim scene — disgruntled college students and rednecks dressed up in austere bonnets and buckle shoes stationed in wooden buildings for eight hours a day, re-enacting the strenuous daily regimen of the Protestants of yore — Blacksmithing, Shoemaking, Sheep-shearing, and Wood-Choppery. It’s no surprise the Moravians focused so hard on the afterlife, surely hoping for some kind of posthumous paradise resembling a modern Florida retirement community complete with a tiki bar where they could finally indulge their long-neglected vices….”

— From “Protestant Work Ethic: A Thanksgiving Tale” by at the American Reader


Watch ‘Terminator 2’ — or tour a textile mill?

“I was surprised to find that cinema had not deceived me. An old denim factory really is a funhouse of red exit signs and retractable doors that yank open with the pull of the cord. Terminator 2 really nailed the vats and chains, the smoke, chemicals, and decay. They got the catwalks and metal grates, and most of all the lengthening shadows.”

— From “White Oak Denim, Greensboro” a memoir-cum-social history from Aaron Lake Smith, who spent seven months as a security guard at the country’s oldest continuously-working denim mill (N + 1 magazine, May 27, 2011)

Thanks to the inexplicable vagaries of fashion and a new push to “Buy American,” the Cone plant has made at least a temporary comeback since Smith’s tenure.