“Breaking Amish” and the “truth”

We’ve watched a show on TLC a couple of times called “Breaking Amish”.  It’s about these young Amish adults who bust loose from the Amish lifestyle and go to the city to experience the “good life” as some of us know and live it.  What hijinks follow–tattoos, drunken parties, weird food…and even SEX.  Holy Smokes…those Amish kids are GOING OFF!!!

It’s kind of like the dark side of the simple life…they give the impression that burning underneath most of the simple living folk’s psyches is the tremendous need to BUST A MOVE and cause some major havoc in an urban setting…that if it wasn’t for the strict rules they have in their community, we’d have a drunken guy in a dark hat throwing up on our street right now.

Then you read in one of our news magazines like People or Us Weekly that it’s all staged…that somebody was a single mother stripper, or stole cars, sold meth, dated a dolphin, or did any number of sordid things before they temporarily towed the “straight and narrow” so it would look better when they joined the “Amish gone wild” crew. It’s all a setup.

Surely they could have found some photogenic Amish young adults who legitimately wanted to go to the dark side?

I’ve read about a term called rumspringa that they use in the Amish community.  It’s a term that is either used to describe adolescence in general…or a period of “forgivable” disobedience.  These kids aren’t shunned when they experience the world…and most, after baptism, return to the church and the simple ways they’ve grown up with.  It’s not sanctioned crazy…it’s just a period that the adults recognize as maybe a little necessary to produce good adult Amish.  I think the important thing is that most of these kids sow their wild oats…and then come back to the life. What most of us take away from the news reports of rumspringa activities is the feeling that there must be a whole lot of trouble in simple town.

So…what’s our fascination with the fall?  Where did that come from? The “I knew it was too good to be true!! Look at those Amish kids go, Flo!” attitude…the cynical expectation that anything good has to be “too good to be true”…why do I enjoy seeing some of that stuff? Maybe enjoy is the wrong word…maybe “watch with disgusted fascination” would be better.  The moral train wreck…black hats and bonnets amongst the wreckage…and me, sitting back in semi-legit moral superiority, thinking, “oh…isn’t that…horrible. Wait…don’t turn the channel…I’ve got to go to the restroom…I’ll be right back!!! The dark-haired one is getting her first piercing in the next segment!!”

I don’t watch the show often.  I will stop on it with the same “mindfulness” that I’ll display when I see a strange infomercial…”those pills will do what to your what?“…and watch it with the same lack of attention. It’s a strange world we live in, sometimes…stranger than I was aware of if everything I see in the media is true…stranger still if I keep watching the lies.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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