SIGH, I remember years ago the TLC network used to mean "THE LEARNING CHANNEL" and it aired compelling documentary programming. Now I think it stands for THE LOONEY CHANNEL with their assortment of shows about the Gosselins, pit boss dwarfs, spiritual channelers, and OctoMoms. SIGH, now TLC has decided to pursue the trite, worn-out, meaningless act of taking some "Amish people" (not clear the ages) and plopping them into New York City settings to see how they cope. This is silly on so many levels. First of all, the press release makes it unclear whether they are Amish or Mennonite. Doesn't make a big difference, it's still silly. Secondly, the Amish-Mennonite population is quite sizable...I'm sure you can find some people willing to participate in this exercise, but if a young Anabaptist is truly serious about their faith, I doubt they'd be participate in such a show. If they are baptized adults, then they will likely face sanction from their church. Thirdly, the name of the show "Breaking Amish" just seems disrespectful, like TLC is trying to get them to leave their faith. What would the reaction be if that title were used with any other religion, say, "Breaking Muslim" or "Breaking Baptist?" Fifthly (is that a word?), the Amish are not "cave people." Some Amish are quite comfortable and competent with computers, many use cell phones and text...I was at a McDonald's in Michigan once and saw a young Amish woman working the drive-thru window with its chaotic pace and computer system better than I could.....I just think the show is based on a flawed premise. This isn't to say that Amish culture isn't very special. I think it is. But this show seems to focus on all the wrong reasons. What do you think?
About Kevin Williams
Hi, my name is Kevin Williams and I am owner of Oasis Newsfeatures and editor of The Amish Cook newspaper column.