Pages

Does Everybody Have A Price?

The Hutterites want an apology from the National Geographic Society for the reality-tv series "Meet the Hutterites", saying that the show "misrepresented their way of life and damaged their reputation".   They didn't mention anything about returning the $100,000 the King Ranch Colony was paid to participate in the production. That money's already been spent.  

There was a Hutterite colony near the small town where I lived when I was young.  My father was a John Deere salesman and often went to the colony to sell them new farm equipment.   Dad loved to go there near lunchtime, as he was always invited to  stay and share their meal. The ladies were good cooks just as portrayed in the show, food was hearty and plentiful.  He was always treated well.  The Hutterites there were first and foremost a religious colony, they took their beliefs and traditions seriously.

John and I enjoyed watching "Meet the Hutterites", but we had doubts about the "reality" of some of the episodes early on.  He thought the "near heart-attack" was faked (and indeed it turns out that it was).  I quickly noted that there was almost no reference to religion or faith, with the exception of the ongoing storyline of some of the young adults preparing for baptism, which would enable them to become full members of the community.  In fact, the frequency of conversational "cuss words" took me by surprise.

The Amish, the Mennonites and Hutterites all provide a good deal of latitude when it comes to their young  people "testing the waters" a bit before deciding whether to commit themselves to the group or to abandon it in favor of mainstream society.  However, "Meet the Hutterites" took it to new levels, often portraying the young people as lazy, somewhat dull-witted, and alcohol-fueled. 

Certainly there are young people (and old) in any defined group that are going to rebel against group mores. Some will try to change things, others will opt to leave. All will face strong opposition from group leadership intent on preserving group identity.  Was it overdone on this series for the sake of viewer ratings?  Were the main participants in the show encouraged and even directed in what to say and do to create scenarios that would capture audience attention?  Sadly, it appears so.  We know this occurs behind the scenes in most, if not all, so called "reality-tv" programming.  Anyone who believes none of this stuff is scripted or at least prompted is naive. 

That isn't so much the issue with me.  What bothers me is that The King Ranch Colony had an unequalled opportunity to teach the world a little bit about who they are and what they stand for, and maybe to garner a bit of respect along the way.  One of the final episodes even portrayed them doing a presentation at a local college to share their way of life with the students there.  They wanted to be better understood, they wanted to dispel the misconceptions... or so they said. Then why, in the name of God, would you sell your collective souls, and sham the American public into believing this was a fair example of real life and typical interaction within a Hutterite Colony?  Why would you participate in scripted stories while claiming to share your reality with us? 

The answer I'm sure... is sadly... $100,000.  Maybe when they signed the contract they didn't realize what they were getting into; maybe they should have read the fine print closer. But the bottom line, at least for me, is... how much money does it take to get you to abandon your beliefs and principles to participate in fabricated story lines? What is the price of a lie? 

Now the Hutterite leadership is crying fowl, they were misled, they are embarrassed.  They should be!  Why didn't anyone stand up half way thru the filming and oppose the fakery?  Was there no one with enough courage and conviction to speak out?  Sad, really sad.

This leads to a really deep question... does everybody have a price?  If the dollar amount is attractive enough, is there a limit to what you would do, or I would do?  What if they made a lucrative offer to do a "reality-tv show" of your family, would you sign on the line? 

14 comments:

  1. My life should be a reality show, I promise you the real world of the Monkey is far more entertaining than anything on now.

    But to your overall question, could I be bought...

    Probably. But in my case, I'd be on the constant lookout for the loophole I could exploit. Just who I am.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good answer, Monkey, that does indeed ring true for you. You'd find some way to best them at the game, I'm sure!

      Delete
  2. My girlfriends and I often pondered the question, would we sleep with a guy for the princely sum of one million, for one night?
    In my younger days, the answer would have been a resounding "hell yea" but as I grow older, it is now a firm "no," even with poverty knocking on my door.

    I'm sure that I do have have a price, as I think many of us do. I'm just not sure what it is yet. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmmm, one million is a pretty attractive sum! ;-) I would love to believe that my convictions are strong enough to always say no. When it comes to lying or deceiving others, I'm fairly certain I can't be bought, because I find that so loathsome and others get hurt because of it. If it was something that would only affect me (if there is anything that only affects one person), then it might require more determination.

      Delete
  3. Sometimes yes.. many time yes.. esp in reality shows it is big yes.
    Follow each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that it is most often true, Izdiher, people can be bought, loyalties can be bought, even lies are for sale. WHen it comes to reality shows there is not very much reality we have learned. I still watch them, but I bear this in mind! Thank you for visiting my blog, I'm headed over to check out yours! :-)

      Delete
  4. No. I can most definitely & honestly say, "No." I could not sell myself out in any way and live with myself. Because inevitably there does come a time when you are left alone with yourself. You cannot buy respect, especially self respect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said Annie, and in your case I fully believe that this is true. Would that more people understood the importance of living a life of integrity!

      Delete
  5. For a million dollars... I just might (it's hard to say, because I've never been in that situation) be willing to watch a reality show...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great answer, Shimon! You made me laugh! :-) And you are probably wise to avoid them. They should be more accurately called fantasy shows instead. It is sad that we live in a world where little is to be believed.

      Delete
  6. I really can't watch the so-called reality TV. My standard response is "I like my television to be scripted, and admittedly so." But, having said that, I'm certainly exposed to them enough through others, commercials, etc that I form opinions. And, sadly, the opinion I've formed has been a similar thought, that there's not much people wouldn't do for money. (And, really, in the grand scheme of things, not even a *lot* of money.)

    But does that go for me, too? Honestly, I don't know. I can imagine circumstances so dire that I might be willing to give up some of my own self-respect, though I can't come up with any scenario that would cause me to do intentional harm to others. My family typically calls me the most honest person they know, and often our conversation has turned to determining the circumstances under which we would A) loot, or B) keep an unidentified bag of found money. We're strange, aren't we? But they haven't posed the right set of circumstances for me yet. ;-)

    And, sorry to go on so. This is two really lengthy comments in a row; you really must be hitting my triggers tonight!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are always welcome to comment at length on my blog Cheri, there are no space constraints here, and I've been know to go on "a time or two" also! ;-) I am often disappointed with people who sell out for such small rewards, not that greater rewards make it more excusable. I think most of us would say "no, I can't be bought" or "I would't do that", but one really can't be certain until it comes right down to it, there are circumstances that might make us change our minds. So perhaps situation ethics is not a far-fetched idea.

      Delete
  7. It's hard to know, isn't it? I'd like to think I can't be bought but I guess I'll never truly know unless I'm placed in that situation. It is disappointing when people who paint themselves as being morally upstanding do things for a price... it seems so hypocritical. But I guess the lure of the dollar is hard to resist....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to think I would only even consider compromising what I stand for if I was in a desperate situation, like trying to feed children or elders. Just for the love of money? No, that's not the way I want to aquire it, and I know you'd never feel good about it either, Selma. It all comes down to whether you love people or things more.

      Delete

Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)