Motorist Wearing Spaghetti Strainer Bounced In N.J.
"Pastafarian" sought to wear colander for license pic
FEBRUARY 20--Police were summoned this month to a Motor Vehicle Commission office when a New Jersey man refused to remove a spaghetti strainer from his head before posing for a new driver’s license photo.
Aaron Williams claimed to be a “Pastafarian” and told state workers that “his pasta strainer was a religious head covering and it was his right to wear it for his license photo,” according to a South Brunswick Police Department “suspicious incident” report detailing the February 2 incident.
Williams went to the motor vehicles office to renew his license, which was scheduled to expire on February 10, his 25th birthday.
“Pastafarianism” is less a religion than a satiric movement that opposes the teaching of creationism and intelligent design. The Internet-fueled group--members of which opt for colanders, not tin foil hats--calls its deity the “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
Williams, who videotaped some of his interaction with a motor vehicles employee, eventually agreed to be photographed sans strainer after Officer Eric Buraszeski explained that the metal cookware was not approved religious garb.
In an interview, Buraszeski said that he explained to a “cooperative” Williams that there were proper channels to be followed if he was serious about seeking to have state officials deem strainers as approved head coverings.
While Williams, pictured above, has done media interviews claiming that, when it comes to “Pastafarian” pursuits, “I take it as seriously as anybody else when it comes to religious beliefs,” his devotion appeared to wane as he left the motor vehicles office. As he returned to his vehicle, Buraszeski recalled, Williams’s spaghetti strainer was in his hand, not atop his head.
According to his Facebook and Google+ pages, Williams attended Rutgers University and works for S&P Dow Jones Indices. Additionally, while it seems that Williams’s colander gambit was not part of some prank or undercover stunt, it should be noted that James O’Keefe is among his 799 Facebook friends. O’Keefe, a fellow Rutgers product, is a purported investigative journalist with a checkered history of filmed encounters with government employees. (2 pages)