By Cassidy Browning
I don’t watch a lot of reality television (at least, not by choice). I don’t tend to like it.
There are a couple notable exceptions. One is Sister Wives, which is NOT a very good show (anymore), but I’m curious now about how fame and fortune, such as it is, will affect the polygamist Brown family. Personally I think they’ve lost the vision they had of themselves as a family and now they’re more or less the cast of a television show. That’s a shame. They were a fairly close-knit family (as close as you can be when you’re close to 20 members strong) who knew who they were and what they stood for. Now they’re just a bunch of people who have no cohesiveness and no purpose in life other than to talk about themselves on tv.
The other reality tv show I’ve gotten hooked on is Amish Mafia. This show fascinates me for several reasons. One is that these people supposedly believe in the tenents of the Amish church. So why do they (1) ride around in cars, encourage gambling and drinking, and allow themselves to be taped for television, when all of those things are sinful according to their beliefs; (2) admit on television that they’re planning to overthrow the leader of their gang of thugs (religious thugs, maybe, but that’s certainly not an anomaly, is it?); and (3) not get baptized into the church (surely a requirement to get into heaven!?!) when they’re going to spend at least a portion of their lives living its extremely limiting lifestyle?
But the most fascinating thing to me is watching the power exchange of this group. Esther, who is supposedly a submissive Amish woman, has no hesitation at all in manipulating the mafia boss (who has a very cute crush on her) into doing whatever she wants. (I guess sex is sex, no matter how much your church denies it.) John, her brother, talks unabashedly to the television cameras about how, even though he has no experience and is obviously as smart as a tree stump, he is going to overthrow his boss and take his rightful place as the heir to the Amish Mafia.
My Sir made an interesting comment last night while we were watching it. He said, “If you don’t know how to follow, you’ll never be able to lead.” That was an excellent prediction, I thought, of how likely John is to achieve Amish Mafia Leaderdom. Even if he manages to take over, he’d make a terrible leader because (1) he’s not very smart and (2) he has no concept of what leadership is about.
So even though reality tv is usually a horrible waste of time (in my opinion), I have to admit that sometimes it does have some lessons to teach.