Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Columnists

December 8, 2012

Dwain Walden: No end to the ‘reality’ absurdity

Moultrie — I had taken some medicine for a sinus infection, and I was a bit groggy. I was  flipping through channels seeking some form of entertainment. And because I was slightly medicated, I thought for a moment I was hallucinating. But that wasn’t the case. Nosiree.

You see I thought maybe cable TV had run the gamut on reality shows. I didn’t know that the underbelly of our society had as many chapters as it does, but apparently there is no end to such absurdity. So coming soon, we will have on cable TV, “The Amish Mafia.”

Now lately I’ve read about some of the young people in some of these extreme fundamentalist groups breaking away from their traditions. But an Amish Mafia? I can’t even picture Amish mud wrestling or Amish bingo, much less a group of men in black overalls carrying sawed-off shotguns.

I can just see it now: “My brother, I would not hurt thee for the world, but thou standest where I’m aboust to shoot!”

And what could be their issues that would require some form of enforcer group? Did brother Eli hold out on the sweet potato count? Maybe one of the elders has secretly invested in diesel futures? Or maybe an elder’s son slips out at night and plays guitar with a rock band. And they catch Brother Shem, cutting loose on a little “Get Down Moses!”

I’m sure this series will have to be as hokey as bobbing for pickled pigs feet. But I’ll have to watch just one episode to see how widespread is this “Amish Mafia” thing.

There’s another reality show  about moonshiners so I was just wondering if the Amish had learned about corn squeezings and are just protecting their turf. But as hokey goes, you can’t get much worse than the moonshiners. In one scene there’s a deputy sheriff trying to find where they’re making their hooch. In another scene the moonshiners are digging a pit to hide their wares. And guess what, there’s a camera crew at both places.

Now I’m sure there’s some poetic license in all of this ... a whole lot of staged drama. For instance, on the animal channel the Dade County, Fla., rescue squad is summoned, along with a camera crew, to a neighborhood where a 10-foot snake was reported to be on the loose.

Well, when they get there, the boa constrictor was only five feet in length. And it was already in a big plastic trash can. So the rescuers dump it out on the lawn and pretend to have some difficulty in securing it. Don’t forget now ... it already was confined to a trash can when they got there. I was not a Phi Beta Kappa but I would have suggested to my associates in that instance that we borrow the trash can and just bring it back once we had secured the snake.

But, that would not have added any drama to the episode. It would be like watching “Axe Men” and a log chain not breaking or some guy not cutting his leg with a chainsaw. We must have pathos and intrigue. Obviously, OSHA has never watched “Axe Men.”

Again, I’m just having trouble wrapping my mind around the very concept of “Amish Mafia.” What I mean is, these are people who would not serve in the U.S. military because they are so gentle in their religion.

A promo for this series says, “This is a side of Amish society that exists under the radar, and the Amish church denies the group's existence. It’s a rare look at Lebanon Levi and his team members who work together to maintain harmony. To protect participants and their family members, some identifying information and property has been changed. Some scenes have been reenacted.” Ya think!

I’m just guessing here, but I suppose Lebanon Levi is the Vito Corleone of the hayseed enforcers. But as ridiculous as it seems, this attitude kind of fits right in with some of what I read in the Old Testament.

Email: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com

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