What's all this brouhaha over a show that I've never watched? Oh, I was aware of it. I'd seen clips on the internet. You'd have to live under a rock to not know who the Duggars are. But, watch it? Not my cup of tea. I'm not a fan of reality programming anyhow. I prefer real actors. Real writers. These shows serve the lowest common denominator and are cheap to produce. Gimme The Walking Dead. Gimme Scandal. Gimme N.C.I.S. I'm not a high-brow PBS snob, not by a long shot, but I do have some standards.
Now, it seems, the word is out about what many of us have suspected all along. There was something twisted and kinky going on in that ginormous paid-for-by-the-network house/dormitory out in Arkansas. Something just plain WRONG. It turns out that oldest brother Josh molested his little sisters when he was a young teenager. Eeeewwwww. Some people say that you can tell by just looking at him, what a perv he is/was. I say you really can't tell by looking. (What 14-year-old boy doesn't look kinda pervy?) I do think it's rather telling that his wife, Anna, could easily pass for one of his sisters. Who knows? Maybe all those Quiverfull types look related. Maybe they are related. Again, eeeewwww. Not something I care to research any further.
The family claims to have told Anna all about Josh's past "mistakes" prior to their wedding. Undoubtedly, it was a very sugar-coated and sanitized version of events, much like they're trying to push on the public now. She went through with it anyways. Maybe the idea of being a big tee-vee star was too hard to resist. Since these things are decided by the patriarchs of the families, maybe her daddy said, "Yeah, so what?" and Anna didn't get a say in the matter. This cult does not give women much of a say in anything about their lives. It's all about the menfolk and what they want. Because bible.
After about a week of the internet erupting with Duggar-related news... TLC pulls all scheduled airings of the show 19 Kids And Counting from their schedule - no comment on the long-term future of the show. Josh resigns in shame from his position as a lobbyist for the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council amidst all the stories, though you'd think that this would be right up their alley and Tony Perkins would have offered him a promotion.
Twitter and Facebook went nuts, and there was no shortage of opinion pieces. The left indulged in some schadenfreude, poking fun at what they viewed as hypocrisy:
Remember, one reason the Family Research Council fights anything gay is because they believe gay people are child molesters! Child molesters, I tells ya! For her part, Mama Michelle voiced a robocall last year to citizens in Fayetteville, AR, where the Duggars don't happen to live. There was an anti-discrimination ordinance going before the city council that she was asking people to protest. Michelle feared that it would allow transgendered individuals into public restrooms where they could molest little girls. Molest. Little. Girls. Clutch the pearls! So yeah. Hypocrisy.
Meanwhile the christian right circled their wagons, defending their heroes in many charmingly misspelled posts. Prayer warriors were out in force, spewing hatred at anyone who dared to criticize their precious Duggars. I guess we're all gonna go to hell. Because Jesus.
Right-wing politicians who had once proudly posed with Josh, are quietly backing away from him. One of the most vocal supporters, Mike Huckabee, took the Duggar endorsement down from his website, no doubt fearing it could hurt his presidential bid. As if.
FOX "News" aired a two-part special in which the Duggars got to tell their side of the story. Megyn Kelly, in her defense, did a pretty good job of asking most all of the questions you or I might have asked. The Duggars response was to tap-dance around the questions, change the subject or lie outright. Really, what did we expect? If what I see on Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the internet is any indication, I don't think the Duggars accomplished what they'd hoped to with these interviews. The public just ain't buying it. They couldn't even make themselves look good for a FOX "News" interview! No links here. If you can't find this on your own you might have been homeschooled.
NOTICE MEGYN WEARS PANTS FOR THIS INTERVIEW. WHEN DOES SHE EVER WEAR PANTS ON CAMERA? WAS THIS A NOT-SO-SUBTLE DIG AT THE DUGGARS' FRUMPY SISTER WIFE CLOTHES? I THINK MAYBE MEGYN DOESN'T LIKE THE DUGGARS SO MUCH. SHE DID ASK THEM SOME HARD QUESTIONS!
One thing they brought up was what I call the "Roofie Defense". "Most of it was while the girls were sleeping." said sister, and self-proclaimed victim Jessa Duggar Seewald. I suppose that makes it OK in their view? That logic makes a roofie-wielding date rapist blameless, as long as his victim is unconscious. "Over the clothes" is apparently OK, too. Uh, no, it's not. Ask any woman or girl who's been groped while fully dressed. No, it's not.
The family claims that this is a closed book now. Everyone has forgiven everyone else. Jesus says it's all OK. Punishments have been meted out. There are "safeguards" in place now, to prevent any further "mistakes" from happening. Whether or not the victims received any counseling is rather murky. Most likely, they were sent to some christian counselor who placed the bulk of the blame on them since it's always the female's fault. You know, Eve and the apple.
Jim-Can't-Keep-His-Pecker-In-His-Pants-Bob, or whatever his name is, said that "people on the outside" think christians are perfect. Wrong, Jimbo. We may think you are misguided, wrong-headed, under-educated, delusional, judgemental, holier-than-thou... you get the idea... but we don't think you're perfect. That you refer to us non-christians as "people on the outside" speaks volumes. Me, I'm proud to be on the outside of the Duggars circled wagons.
The Duggars would like all of us outsiders to just go away and leave them alone. Sorry, there's no such thing as privacy after you let those reality-show cameras into your home. Of course, I'm sure they are hoping for the show to continue, in spite of all the bad press, because Money. None of them wants to have to go out and find real jobs. Not with their homeschool GEDs and all this scandal baggage. Their religion forbids women to work outside the home. This would teach them why women need to get educations and jobs. Just one normal paycheck doesn't cut it anymore. TLC pays yokels really well for just being yokels. I bet they want that back.
I think TLC is hoping that all the excitement will die down and they can slip their little moneymaker of a show back on the fall schedule. If they do, I hope they give Honey Boo Boo another shot, too. Those people never tried to pretend that they were anything different than what they were. I might not be a fan, but I will give them that.
So ends my Duggar rant, for what it's worth. I used to just dismiss them as harmless kooks. If she wanted to birth 19 babies, well, that was just the other side of the reproductive freedom coin. Now that I've learned a little more about Quiverfull religious cult that they belong to, they just totally creep me out. I feel sorry for the kids, especially the girls. They don't stand a chance. It's been said that sunshine is the best disinfectant. There are many other Quiverfull families out there. Families that don't have the benefit of a nice fat TLC paycheck. Maybe all of this publicity will push the authorities to examine some of these families a little more closely. Maybe there is a chance for the kids to live a normal life.