May 24th, 2015


Duggary Do

So it continues to be "catch ups" weekend instead of "sit back with a tea and play Over G Fighter" weekend.  What's next on the list of items I wanted to opine about that I haven't gotten to yet?

Oh, yes.  The Duggars.

The only shock here is the skeleton that was found in the closet.  Incest and sexual assault.  Wow.  (That sound you hear is a million slashficcers hitting their keyboards.  There's slashfic of MST3K and the Mythbusters, so I have every confidence that the professional virgins in the Duggar clan have their own little category as well.)

Like I said, the only shock is what was found.  The media reaction is completely predictable.  They are piling on the Duggars, writing breathless testimonials about how screwed up the family is, how dangerous their religious devotion to God is, and blah blah blah.  And there are people who are going, yeah, what Josh Duggar did was bad, but what these editorial pieces are doing is tantamount to a war on Christianity.

To those among you who believe this, I say to thee, Calm thy tits.  This has nothing to do with Christianity.

It's about hypocrisy.

And I don't mean the media.

For those that came in late:  the Duggar family is the center of a show called 19 Kids And Counting.  It's origins can be traced back to The Osbornes, which showed the family life of a rock star family.  There aren't many rock star families out there, so networks looking for cheap reality programming had to split the show in two -- they could either follow celebrities (the Anna Nicole Show, Hey Paula, etc.) or families.  Which you chose depended on the demographic you were courting.  If you wanted the young, hip kids, you did celebrities.  If you wanted the family audience, the Norman Rockwell crowd, you did families.

There followed a spate of shows showing families with some sort of gimmick dealing with daily life, whether they were midgets or whatever.  Eventually, a magic formula was found in extra large families, like the Brady Bunch on steroids.  Parents always feel harried by keeping up with their lives, careers, and kids.  Kids always feel harried by trying to live up to their parents' expectations, become their own people, and the inherent conflict of maturing.  People with regular size families could look at the problems of these extended broods and think their problems weren't so bad.  It gave them an illusion they could buy into, that what they were seeing was an actual family dynamic instead of a carefully edited view of reality.  Basically, like all fans of reality TV, the audience wanted to be lied to so they could feel better about their own lot.

The Learning Channel caught this particular lightning in a bottle twice.  First, there was John And Kate Plus 8, about the Gosselin family of ten.  Then they decided to supersize, and found the Duggar family for (at the time) 17 Kids And Counting.  When Kate Gosselin and her micromanaging came out, TLC had a fallback in the Duggars.  Unlike the Gosselins, the Duggars were a devoted Christian family that constantly espoused traditional moral values.  In other words, like Duck Dynasty, they could market this show to the conservative values crowd and wouldn't have to worry about them going Miley Cyrus on them when their popularity climbed.  In fact, once the truth about Kate Gosselin got out, most viewers simply migrated over to Michelle Duggar and her clown car vagina.  As the show went on, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar popped out two more kids like a vending machine, making the show 19 Kids And Counting.  And with their celebrity, they decided to put themselves out as examples of true Christians.  Republican candidates buddied up to them, and they leveraged their fame and influence.

Now, that isn't a crime.  Everybody likes to espouse their opinions and try to influence social directions, the only difference is what size of soapbox we have.  Some just do it among their circle of friends.  Some write snarky masturbatory posts on LiveJournal and FaceBook.  And some get TV shows and reporters seeking their opinions.  This was the Duggars.  And if all they did was say what they thought, I would disagree with them and their devotion of patriarchal Christianity and their dangerous obsession with "purity", but I would ultimately shrug and say, Well, that's what works for them, I don't have to do that, so I won't.  Consider if you will people like Gabrielle Reece.  Reece is a former professional beach volleyball player who also parlayed her success into modeling.  She has stated that the reason she has a happy marriage is because she completely submits to her husband.  That sort of marriage wouldn't work for me, I want an equal.  But she was simply saying how she prefered to live and that was that.  At no point was she saying ALL women need to submit to their husbands.

And this is the thing.  Putting yourself out as an example can be dangerous depending on what you are trying to be an example of.  And if you constantly go around telling everyone you are better than they are, they will go out of their way to remind you you are not.  As the Duggars presented themselves as how all people should live, everyone else was a heretic going to Hell, everyone seethed because they wanted to rip them down.  But the family was too squeaky clean.  All they could do was listen to them brag about their superiority.

And then, the revelation that kid Josh Duggar diddled a bunch of girls, including some of his own sisters, when he was 14.

Yes, kids do stupid things.  But I knew this would blow up because, after years of being subjected to the Duggars, there was now a way to shut them up.  The Duggars committed the greatest sin any Christian could commit -- they acted like assholes.  The media and the fans will look the other way on all kinds of things as long as you aren't an asshole.  Kathy Ireland is a devote Christian, an End Times believer, and even was shown in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit videos reading a Bible between shoots.  No one questions a woman who built her financial empire on inspiring the thoughts and behaviors the Bible discourages people from having, she's just a gorgeous woman with business smarts and a true success story!  Angelina Jolie has a weird creepy obsession with her brother that suggests incest.  But people hardly remember that, only that she's hot and has a life full of adventure.  And the reason is because they don't shove those things in people's faces.  They make it easy to ignore the things about them that people would object to if they could be bothered.

Not the Duggars.  What this is isn't some war against Christianity.  It's the media going, "Roll up, roll up, everyone come and see the freak."  It's payback for hubris, an Icarus tale of a family that felt its experiences were absolute and they couldn't be any more wonderful.

I feel sorry for the kids who were molested, especially by their own brother.  Say that what Josh did was a "sin" but he repented is bullshit.  What he did was a crime, and we don't know what kind of psychological damage it did to his sisters because the family isn't looking at it as anything other than a mistake, not a violation.  Maybe the girls are okay.  Maybe they were able to process it and it won't affect them later.  But the odds of that are very long, and no one will know for certain unless Josh's horrible act is treated as such instead of just something you walk off.

I've said that Atheists make the worst Christians.  Things like this make me realize what a horse race that statement is.

Talk About Your Dead End Jobs

In those great heady days of MXC, one of the jokes was that a contestant ran background checks for suicide bombers.  "You don't want just anyone martyring themselves, you know."

Once again, Reality comes along to ruin a perfectly funny joke (this was reported and verified by Vox and the Wall Street Cheat Sheet).  The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently declassified a bunch of documents, and mixed in there were a bunch regarding Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.  There's a list of what books bin Laden on his shelf.  There's seized correspondence between bin Laden and family members.  But the real surprise is a real, legit, honest to God application to become a member of al-Qaeda.

 Yes.  You have to fill out an application with a bunch of questions like if you were getting a job at McDonald's.  I'm not kidding, a lot of the questions sound like something Americans would fill out (I guess we're not so different after all.  It's a small world after aaaaaaaall....).  And it sounds like something out of MAD Magazine.  Here a Cliff's Notes on the application -- applicants are instructed to write clearly and legibly, answer the questions truthfully, and if you have any questions or issues with the application, bring those to “your direct brother supervisor.”  You then tell about your family history, education level, and what languages you are fluent in.

Then we get to the weird shit:

“Date of your arrival in the land of Jihad”
“How much of the holy Qur’an have you memorized? Did you study Shari’a? Who was your instructor?”
“What objectives would you like to accomplish on your jihad path?”
“Are any of your relatives and friends in the jihad theater?”  (There's nepotism in jihad?  We really AREN'T so different after all!)
“What ideas do you, your family, and your other acquaintances have about jiahd for Allah’s sake?”
“Who should we contact in case you became a martyr?”

Stop the world, I want to get off.