Last night I watched episode 4 of Breaking Amish. I should just stop writing now. At first it was exciting to point out the lies and fakery spewing forth from TLC’s latest farce but as the onslaught continues, writing about it just starts getting depressing.
Some people find it hard to understand why I want to defend the Amish against exploitative shows like Breaking Amish. Am I not an atheist after all? Do I not hate the Amish? Well yes I am an atheist but no I do not hate the Amish. The first eighteen years of my life were spent (sometimes, depending on my mood, I might say “wasted”) as an Amish kid. However, my entire family and almost all of my friends are Amish, and I love them. The Amish culture was a large part of my life and while I do not want that life for myself any longer, I will defend it with all the power of my pen from people wishing to make money by lying or otherwise exploiting them. The Amish, in my opinion, are philosophically misguided (as any religious group is) but as a group, they are the nicest people you will likely encounter.
This episode brings us more pretending. Jeremiah pretends to learn driving again. We know that’s not true. They pretend to have cellphones for the first time. “What is texting?” asks Kate. Yeah, right! The girls pretend to get makeovers for the first time. We have plenty of pictures that proves that just plain false. Oh, look! Here’s Sabrina with her hair down at her non-Mennonite wedding years ago: (source)
“We just had our first date last night,” Rebecca proudly tells us after a night out with Abe. Apparently when they started hanging out years ago and conceived a child, they called it something other than “dates”.
A lot of people probably have questions about Rebecca’s teeth, or lack thereof. I don’t know why she had all her teeth pulled, so don’t ask me. I can tell you that the barbaric dentistry that she spoke of could be true. I know that in some of the very conservative Amish communities they really have Amish dentists armed with nothing more than a pair of pliers. Many of the Amish are not too great when it comes to their teeth. I for one, never went to the dentist in all the 18 years that I was Amish. My baby teeth either fell out on their own or I wiggled them out with my fingers (and who says Amish boys don’t cry). We brushed our teeth regularly and that was pretty much it. There were exceptions when things got really bad. I remember my sister going to a dentist for a root canal several times but other than that, I don’t remember any of my family ever visiting a dentist.
My biggest beef with the latest episode is the lack of the promised and long-awaited explanations from TLC. When are they going to explain to us why they claimed that the cast members are leaving the Amish for the first time when in reality they haven’t been Amish for up to fourteen years? When will they explain to us that these kids have encountered plenty of showers, and microwaves before? When will they tell us how photos of Kate appeared on a modelling website years ago? When will they tell us about Abe and Rebecca’s baby? When will they tell us about Sabrina’s non-Mennonite wedding that happened years ago? When will they tell us about Jeremiah’s ex-wife and three kids from years ago? Do they think we’ve forgotten? Why do they keep insulting their viewers’ intelligence?