The reality of today’s entertainment

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The flickering black-and-white film that filled the screen in the huge sociology lecture hall was older than most of the college students in the audience.

This was the best they could find, I wondered?

I watched the pseudo-documentary with interest because it was about the Amish.

It was so riddled with outdated information and inaccuracies, that I confronted the professor about it after class.

It probably didn’t make a bit of difference to her, but it did to me.

Neighbors and friends. I grew up in Holmes County, Ohio, home to the largest Amish settlement in the world. I’m fortunate to count members of the Amish faith as my neighbors, my childhood playmates, my friends.

We shared school desks, played softball at recess and worked side by side in a restaurant as teens.

People of this faith are no mystery to me; they’re just people.

This is entertainment? When I first read of a cable network’s plan to air a “reality TV show” on a group of Amish teens, my reaction was – pardon the cliche – what is this world coming to?

The show wants to spotlight five Amish boys in their late teens before they join the church.

The fact that 11 of the top 20 television shows right now are reality shows points to a real void in our country.

Entertain me. Make me laugh. Don’t make me think.

We parrot the phrases spoken on TV, copy the stars’ hairstyles and get our opinions from Oprah.

Un-real world. The sad thing is that these so-called reality shows are far from reality. Back-stabbing job seekers vie for Donald Trump’s attention. Two pampered L.A. teens transplanted to an Arkansas farm have to survive without their cell phones. The next supermodel. Joe Millionaire. The survivor.

The proposed TV show was back in the news last weekend, as U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts of Pennsylvania staged a news conference to ask UPN to cancel the show.

UPN is linked to CBS and both are owned by Viacom.

More than 50 Congressmen sent a letter recently to the network executives, objecting to the Amish reality TV show plan.

“For almost three centuries, the Amish have lived the way they do out of Christian piety and conviction, not out of ignorance,” the legislators wrote.

Pitts called the series “a deliberate attempt to exploit the beliefs and practices of the Amish.”

I agree.

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