Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Television Tuesday--The Duggars

Who are the Duggars?
As I lack common sense and enjoy channels that are named ironically, I've discussed a weird fondness for "The Learning Channel", whose slogan I now believe is, "We gave up trying to be educational around when 'Honey Boo Boo' Became a Thing." One show I've caught occasional episodes of but never really watched closely would be the Duggars with their 17 18 19 kids and counting. I have been watching some older episodes more recently and the Duggars just strike me as...odd.

I've written about the Browns AKA "Sister Wives" family before. They interestingly don't bother me at all. Perhaps because they have been persecuted by their own religion for being a "wrong" version of it, they seem a bit more progressive and understanding of people. Plus, while they might be a big family at least things are somewhat spread out--it isn't like one mother has 20 kids or something. If I don't have a problem with the Browns and their lifestyle why do the Duggars seem to rub me the wrong way then?

It's Not the Size of the Family That Bugs Me, It's their Views
I don't know why they're eating pickles in this promo-image either.
My mother comes from a big family. She is the eldest of Eight, count'em, Eight children. Her mother and father gave each of their kids plenty of love, attention, and generally did a stellar job raising them. I don't have a problem with the "big family" aspect of the Duggars that much for that reason as much as other people do. It is more their views and how they try to force them on us that bothers me.

I've never seen the Browns trying to force their views on anyone. When I see the Duggars out there campaigning for politicians whose views are at best ignorant, I get annoyed. When I hear one of their sons, Josh, has a job with the extremely anti-gay borderline-hate-group, "The Family Research Council" I get really upset. When I see them go to the Creation Musem and spout off about how Evolution isn't science and the world is just 6,000 years old, I feel sorry for their kids being told this nonsense more than anything. To paraphrase Bill Nye, its fine if you're an adult and want to believe this, but the children are our future and we need them to actually have a grasp of actual Science. I mean seriously, if evolution isn't real I guess the Duggars don't believe that viruses can evolve and that the flu shot is a massive conspiracy (for all I know they do).

While the Browns are protective of their kids, they don't keep them in a bubble like the Duggars--who are against their kids even kissing before they are married. You read that right, they don't let their kids kiss before marriage. Hell, their kids don't even date. They basically propose to someone, do a "courting" process and then get married. You have one person you kinda-sorta get to know and then marry, how...wonderful?
To answer the question, I don't know.
As long as you have the resources and spread them out you could probably have plenty.
I would never tell someone they can't have a child, just as I would be against forcing someone to have a child, and with my mother coming from such a big family and that working out fine I really don't have too much of a problem with the Duggars having a huge family--even if sometimes it seems the older ones spend more time raising the younger ones than enjoying life. It all just bugs me more than I should let it, but like a really bad mosquito bite you can't ignore how irritating it is.

The Voice of Reason
My favorite person on the show
I really like Cousin/Aunt Amy on the show because she is the voice of reason. She sees it is absurd to not kiss until you are married. She states how people should dress how they want to dress and wears pants. Amy is the kind of person who may have more conservative views, but I still like them because they are more open-minded than not. I love seeing Amy because she at least seems to have not be all assured how Rock and Roll music is bad for you, or that any date "courting" (even between the Duggars legally-adult children) must be chaperoned. She is eager to learn and even be proved wrong if it turns out she believes something that might be incorrect.

Yet, the Duggars love and accept her, so I can't be that mad at them, even if so much of their behavior really makes me agitated. I would never say I hate the Duggars because like all of us they are human beings, but they do upset me a lot.

Yet, I Can't Stop Watching
I don't think the Duggars are an evil cult, but they are way too into their little bubble of thinking God controls everything, overpopulation is a myth, and that abortion can be compared to the Holocaust. I don't agree with the Duggars at all and they often irritate me with their attempts to force their views on others (They can have their views, but please don't lecture me on "purity"), and yet like a horrendous car crash I can't stop watching them.
At least the Duggars and I agree music education is important.
It is wrong to say I want to stop the Duggars from living life the way they want. I just wonder how the kids will end up turning out. I truly worry what life will be like for the child if one of their children turns out to be gay. They probably will have to hide it, "pray the gay away", or be true to themselves and face quite a hard time. All the homeschooling makes me wonder if they are getting a well-rounded education like proper homeschooling can provide, or if they are just being taught about Creationism and that God controls everything.

The Perfect Formula
The Duggars bother me, not because of their views or lifestyle, but how they presume to state their way is the best and that they can lecture us about it. They make me so mad, but in the process of making me mad I keep watching just so that I can get even more pissed off. It is a perfect formula that TLC has with the show. Those who agree with the Duggars love watching the show, and those who don't agree with the Duggars at all become regular viewers because they tune in to see what else can make them mad.

As with their other programs that draw in viewers, TLC seems to have basically patented the "So-bad-it's-good" kind of television. Like junk food we know its probably bad for us, yet we keep ingesting it all the same.


  1. I disagree with the Browns and Duggars. What woman would be so desperate to marry a man with other 'wives'? Cody seems to have a smirk. Men in polygamy benefit from the welfare and food stamps the additional wives get. Carolyn Jessup wrote a book about escpaing polygamy.

    Jim bob has a creepy smile.What man would let his wife almost die except for ratings or control? He says the number of kids is up to Michelle, but I doubt that. If the Duggars were not religious, I could imagine the criticism from conservatives. The sad thing is parents like the Duggars love their kids and want whats best for them. For some reason, they think you need a gazillion rules. I can understnad wanting to raise kids right, but this is over-control. As you say, at least the Browns let their children express disagreement. I like Amy, too.

  2. There definitely are aspects of both families I don't agree with, and have some of the concerns you do too, roddma. In the end I would just say the Browns make me worry less than the Duggars, as they do seem to allow their children more freedom. Also, as the husband is only officially married to one wife in polygamy, can he still benefit from the wife economicaly those ways you mention? Would she recieve benefits from the government as she is officially single even if they are "spiritually married"? If so that is interesting, as one common statement against polygamy is that it would let people get more tax benefits, and this other way seems to bring benefits too. I'll look into the author you mentioned to learn more as I'm always eager to learn about stuff.

  3. I feel exactly the same way about this show - it disturbs me for reasons I can't put my finger on and yet, I feel compelled to watch more! The thing bothers me the most is how Michelle Duggar is so gung-ho on this lifestyle that offers very little to women except for servitude. I was more impressed by them until I read her book and learned that homeschooling consists of 1) Chores 2) Memorizing Bible Versus 3) Teaching basic phonics and math when they are young, then the A.C.E. Curriculum - twisting facts to make them fit a Biblical interpretion. The kids are truly raised in a bubble with minimal outside influences - restricted computer access and no TV. The whole courting process is designed to marry them young and get them started raising families as soon as possible. Although the parents are protrayed as loving and respectful, I can't help but believe there is an underlying emphasis on obedience over independence. Conformity outranks free will.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Theresa!

    You hit the nail on the head when it comes to what makes me worry a lot, namely the education the children are getting. How can a single mother teach all those children at the same time? Well, she admits she can't and has the older ones teach the younger ones--and with "facts" that as you said twist things to fit their religious views. Were they truly trying to educate their children they would teach them all kinds of things they may not agree with, but which schools are required to teach because it is important for people to have a full education and understand science. The bible may say the world is 6,000 years old, that evolution isn't real, and etc. but extensively studied and peer-reviewed science shows otherwise.

    I'm also with you on how they seem loving, but determined to have conformity. No child "dates" they all "court", and having an independent thought seems to be squashed instead of encouraged. What if one of their kids decided they thought the bible was a lie? How would the family respond one of their kids deciding to be an atheist? I imagine it wouldn't be pretty.
    Overall, we seem to agree that the most questionable aspects of the Duggars are how they educate their children, and simultaneously marry them off quickly whilst discouraging actual romance.