I don't talk a lot about "Amish reality" TV on this website because I prefer to deal with non-fiction topics as opposed to fiction. But I had to guffaw this morning when I saw this headline on MSN.com. Fake? Really, you don't say!? The other part of the headline that made me chuckle was the "rumor" part...wait a minute, this might only be a rumor. So, I'll set the record straight: it's not just a RUMOR that "Amish Mafia" is fake, it's FACT that it's fake. I've been visiting Amish settlements for over two decades,have been into hundreds of Amish homes, have had scores of conversations with Plain people all over the country. Is it plausible that I missed something, that somewhere under my nose all along was an "Amish mafia?" Unlikely, but I suppose it could happen...I don't know EVERYTHING that occurs in the Amish church. But when people like Don Kraybill, one of the nation's premiere researchers of Amish culture also has never run into something like Amish Mafia I take notice.
Kraybill told the Harrisburg, PA Patriot-Ledger in December: After researching the Amish for more than 20 years, Kraybill said he had never heard of anything like a group that the show depicts.
“When I’ve spoken about this program with Amish friends they’ve just kind of laughed and said they never heard of this kind of thing,”
David Weaver-Kercher, an esteemed researcher on everything Amish, weighed in in the same article with this gem of a quote:
"My sense is this Amish mafia is about as real as the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in ‘The Office.’”
The whole idea that the Amish would use some fringe-of-the-church figure as an "enforcer" is just ludicrous. The reality is much more mundane. The Amish generally live their lives quietly and gladly follow church rules, someone who doesn't is dealt with in various ways by the clergy and congregation, usually in loving, forgiving ways, not with guns and goons. So, let's change the headline to: "FACT: IT'S FAKE."