« Church politics | Gene Expression Front Page | The expanding SAT test prep industry »
July 28, 2004

Amish in the city

Here's a new series premiering tonight on UPN, about five teenagers (three boys and two girls) undergoing the Amish tradition of rumspringa. While this is just another drop in the reality show fad that won't seem to die, some republican lawmakers are very upset about the whole thing, calling it 'exploitation'. These lawmakers also attacked an idea to bring an Appalachian family to Beverly Hills for a year thought up by CBS.

At the heart of both these shows is a difference in vision between the Blue-state professional and the Red-state resident. The Blue-stater sees mocking a 'non-ethinic' (e.g. white), rural minority as OK and even desirable, while the Red-stater see it as just another example of the sneering contempt that the Blue-staters hold for 'fly-over country'.

At any rate, it should be an interesting show to watch.


Update from Scott
I wanted to show with those two pictures (the one on the left is of Randy and the one on the right is of Mose) the intra-difference evident even in Amish culture. Randy looks like someone you would meet on a college campus, while Mose looks like someone you could only meet on the farm. I just thought it was and interesting note. Also, all of the men list occupations of 'Construction' worker while the two women list 'maid/waitress' and 'factory worker'.

Related note from Razib: Here's an earlier post on the Amish from me. By the way, I lived in Western Pennsylvania in "Amish country" for a year when I was a kid, and I can attest that conservative church-going Republicans mocked the "Dutchies" too (the area I lived in was mostly Republican). I do think there's a Blue-state and Red-state difference as Scott has noted. On a side-anecdote, I have a friend who is married to a guy from a Quaker background. Her family is Jewish & New York in origin, and I remember laughing once when her sister mentioned something about her boyfriend being "Amish." I think it's rather funny how "ignorance" about the ways of other cultures can be a human universal, though reminding progressive cosmopolitans that the Amish grow organic food & are pacifists might reorient sympathies....

Posted by scottm at 01:13 PM