Remember that old childhood admonishment your parents used on you, the one that goes something like “you wouldn’t jump off a bridge just because everyone else is doing it, right?” Well, now we know what happened to all the easily-swayed kids that said “yes” to that question: they grew up and become reality TV fans.

From this story on
Louisiana wildlife officials say alligator hunting violations are rising, and one reason appears to be the popularity of outdoor reality television shows. The number of alligator violations has risen steadily since 2009, and some people arrested in recent years told wildlife agents they were copying what they saw on reality TV, said Col. Winton Vidrine, head of the enforcement division for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

“While these shows offer a high level of entertainment, they do not offer a lot of information on how to legally harvest an alligator,” he said.

The suspected main culprit? The History Channel show, “Swamp People”, which began airing in 2010. The next year, according to the story, Louisiana’s gator hunting violations jumped from 69 in 2010 to 80 last year, and a whopping 98 so far this year.

Now, I don’t really watch much television so I couldn’t tell you what the hell a Swamp Person is or what, exactly they do (it involves banjos and nervous tourists, right?), but it raises one of those fascinating “chicken or egg” type questions: Does reality television make us stupid, or does reality television merely tap into a deep, deep well of stupidity that was already there? Discuss…