Monday, May 25, 2015

Rejoicing in the downfall of the Duggars...

Hey, Ralphie, wanna watch tv?
This is tv, Sox.
Photo by Katie Baxter-Kauf via flickr

I wrote a post some time ago, on another blog, about the Duggars and how I liked them. What sparked that post was the hatred I saw toward them from liberals and atheists. This hatred wasn't new. It seems that a lot of liberal-minded people disliked the Duggars from the beginning simply because they were very religious, had a lot of children, and were on television. But I liked them.

It was much the same with Duck Dynasty. Certain people got riled up about it and had to let everyone know how much they hated that show even though most admitted they never watched it. They said they couldn't understand the appeal of it.

Well, I've watched both shows and I'll tell you what they're about: families. The shows aren't about religion. They're about wholesome, well-adjusted, kind, decent families living their lives. Duck Dynasty was more set up than the Duggars. But certainly many parts of the Duggars' lives were set up for the show.

The Duggars were not on television because of their religion or their extreme, conservative political views. They were on television because they had a lot of children. They were put on television because TLC knew we'd all like to gawk at them.

I found them to be very nice people. Wholesome, soft-spoken, well-adjusted, kind, etc. Of course we only got to see what TLC wanted us to see. I'm not stupid. That was all I had to go by. But I still believe that, for the most part, the Duggars are who they appeared to be. I've yet to see any footage, Tweets, or posts in which Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, nor any of their children, act any differently than they did on the show.

Before they started speaking and acting publicly about their conservative politics, I'd heard them called "freaks of nature" and I'd heard Michelle Duggar called a "clown car." After they started going public with their views, the vitriol increased.

My view was always that it is every woman's decision how many children she has. It's not my business. It's not yours either. The hypocrisy was staggering in women who called themselves pro-choice snidely suggesting Michelle Duggar be sterilized or celebrating the woman's loss of a baby as proof that she was too old to have children and ought to be stopped.

Aside from both genders foaming at the mouth over how many kids the Duggars had, once their views went public, they were attacked for being vocal. This is also the rankest hypocrisy. We all have the right to voice our views and to support those politicians and bills we believe in. To say that the Duggars should shut up, or to attack them personally over their views is base.

Fight against their views all you want, but when you start to get personal, you've shown yourself to be vile and irrational. I think people ought to examine what gets their hearts racing, what spurs them to call someone disgusting names. They might learn something about themselves.

Why do you hate them so much?

Why do you see them as awful and I see them as a loving family?

In my original blog post, I wrote about my pervert sense. I wrote about a test that went around online a long, long time ago in which we were asked to guess, by picture, who was a serial killer and who was a normal person. I got all the serial killers right. But I labeled way too many normal guys as guilty. I'm not a naturally trusting person. I tend to think most people are nefarious.

But when I look at the Duggars, I just see nerds. I'm not saying I'm right (and clearly, in one instance I'm not), I'm just saying that, if someone like me, who normally sees creepiness where it isn't, just saw this family as nerdy...why do all of these liberals and atheists in my social media circle see them as creepy?

Religion? Is it just that? Is it that these people can't let themselves see anyone who is radically religious, radically conservative, as nice?

That's almost certainly it.

Well, that's their problem I guess.

Here is what I know to be true:

1. Michelle Duggar is not a hypocrite. Stupidly believing (and saying) that transgender people molest children does not preclude her from handling her son's behavior in the way she did. Hypocrisy is when you say one thing and do the opposite. Her behaviors are not opposite.

2. The Duggars as a family are not hypocrites, exactly.
The Duggars never said they were perfect people. The Duggars didn't push their religious or political views through their show. The show is about a couple with a lot of children, not about a couple who have perfect children. That being said, it had to be understood by them that their portrayal on the show was one of a happy, well adjusted family with no serious problems. And they knew that, while they may have dealt with the problems their children have, the show was presenting a false view.

This is hard to fault them for, however. Many families struggle through terrible, heart-breaking issues: drugs, criminal behavior, depression, failed relationships, etc. And yet, they keep on supporting one another and working through those problems and no doubt, that is how the Duggar parents viewed their roles in this. They believed they handled the situation and worked through it.

3. People who are celebrating this turn of events regarding Josh Duggar are vile.

4. Josh Duggar didn't do whatever he did because of his religion. And he didn't do it because of any kind of repression of sexuality in the Duggar family due to their religion or conservative "values."

Many, many men and women struggle with this tendency and they come from all types of homes, all types of backgrounds from poor to rich, extremely religious to religion free, loving homes and abusive ones.

5. While the Duggar's religion is bizarre and repressive, it is their right to believe in it and to raise their children in it. It's not your job or mine to decide how other people's children are raised, so long as there is no criminal abuse. And I'm sorry to disappoint you, but teaching young men and women that being molested or raped can result in strengthening them and their relationship with their god is not criminal. It's sad, and it has quite a bit of "blaming the victim" going on with it. But it's not criminal.

We live in a society that blames women for being assaulted and raped and here we are ranting because this particular religious teaching does the same thing. What are you so surprised about?

6. Society is made up of unruly mobs that form and disperse and reform. Doesn't matter if people are liberal or conservative, religious or not, some of them (most?) love nothing more than attacking those who are different from them, who don't live in the "approved" manner, who are on television, who are wealthy or beautiful or talented. And they rejoice in the downfall of those they perceive to be idols. Holy hell, do they rejoice.

As a mother, my reaction to this latest news about the Duggars is far from a triumphant "I told you so!" My reaction is sadness and concern. Yes, concern for the victims--the girls who were molested. But also concern for the Duggars. All of them. I hope they are all doing well and getting through this very tough time.

As someone who fully supports freedom--freedom of speech, freedom of religion--I stand by the Duggars' rights to speak up and lobby for their worldview. I believe they are very wrong about a lot of things. But one thing they are not is vile.

If there is one thing I've learned from this and other crazy viral news stories, it's that liberals and atheists who claim to be tolerant and supportive of individual rights and freedoms can be just as vicious, repressive, and hypocritical as the conservatives they abhor.

I'm finding that tolerant people, reasonable people, loving and kind people can be found all along the political and religious spectrum. And I'm so glad for that wonderful diversity among my acquaintances. Not only does it make my world richer, it makes my view broader, my understanding much larger.


7. I don't ever want to be on television.


  1. Dianna -- I would say one thing regarding the above: Much as with the Duck Dynasty folks, the Duggars were able (and willing) to use their TV image and fame as a springboard to speaking engagements and positions of influence beyond just a cute program about a family who couldn't read the instructions on whatever form of birth control they might be using. So Josh, for example, ended up on the Board of what is essentially a hate group, working to deny equal rights to a significant portion of our population. It is largely such outside activities which has earned them the ire of their detractors, not so much the size of their family. (Although, even though I agree with you it is a woman's choice as to how many children to have, there is a point where her choice becomes irresponsible in light of living on a planet of limited resources.) And finally, when I see a sucrose-coated example of extreme behavior of any kind, I reserve the right to poke fun at them whenever I wish. (Freedom of expression, etc.)

  2. I can't disagree, John. Certainly, organizations like that want celebrities and the attention they bring. And I'm not opposed to poking fun...a lot of fun. I guess I'm just feeling so much animosity from some people and it really bugs me. I feel sorry for the Duggars. I see nothing in this situation to celebrate.

    I guess some people would look at the Duggars and see a family that's just too sweet. But I didn't. I thought they were just a bunch of nice people. For the most part, I still think that. Of course, I don't agree with their worldview or politics. But that doesn't make them any less nice for me...somehow.