Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately: I understand.
Believe me, oh how I understand.
First there were the years of seeing him, his innumerable younger siblings, and his parents on their hit television show, produced and aired on a channel that once was known for educational programing*. Train wreck watchers who tuned in for the creepily trashy Toddlers & Tiaras or its sad, exploitative, insulting-to-both-the-audience-and-the-subject spinoff Here Comes Honey Boo Boo could stay tuned and wash off some of the filth with the equally creepy but wholesomely presented Duggar family. Yet as horrifying as the Quiverfull movement is to people not still living in the 1500’s, as outdated as the unquestioned patriarchal family structure seemed in the 21st century, as abusive as forcing your older children to play parent to their younger siblings may be, and as illegal as pretending that Michelle Duggar was providing all her children with a adequate education definitely was, they were still just a minor blip on the pop culture radar screen**. Sometimes people would notice the family and ask an embarrassing question, such as “are the girls all0wed to go to college?”, and the family would have to make some sacrifice such as allowing their older daughters to take classes online from a Christian university, but on the whole they were just a minor little freak show that most people viewed as wholesome and harmless.
And I really believe that most people thought it would stay at this level. If it would have, perhaps we wouldn’t be where we are today. We’ll never know where that untraveled path would lead, because for some reason the Duggar family wanted more of something other than children. Was it fame? Power? Money? Whatever it was, the Duggars were suddenly everywhere, with their faces confronting grocery shoppers all across the nation seemingly every week as arranged marriages of their daughters were hyped as media events similar to the stylings of one Kim K… I forget her last name. Maybe you know who I’m talking about.
And while their daughters arranged marriages were used as publicity for their show, publicity that worked I will point out, with Jessa’s wedding drawing their largest amount of viewers ever, they also pulled a Duck Dynasty, attempting to roll their celebrity/fame/infamy into a politically influential position with the conservative base of the Republican party. (Of course, knowing that Quiverfull families are birthing out endless babies to be warriors for Jesus against the forces of secularism, also known as the “out-breed the atheists” strategy for winning the culture wars, it really isn’t a surprise that they would turn to politics eventually.) First we had Michelle Duggar recording a horrifically trans-phobic robocall in opposition to an anti-discrimination ordinance in Fayetteville, Arkansas that painted trans women as an evil on par with Catholic priests, fighting for the right to use the proper public restrooms and locker rooms only so they could spring out of the toilets and molest little girls. Next, Jessa Duggar apparently looked at the controversy and publicity her mother was enjoying and decided that she too could say something horribly offensive and took to social media to compare the aborting of a potential life in a procedure that is almost always performed well before the point of viability to a collection of cells that not only lack thoughts and feelings, but also the ability to feel pain, to the systematic attempted extermination of an entire religion mistaken as race of people through methods that caused practically infinite suffering. Yes, she compared abortion to the Holocaust.
And then there was Josh. (Information in this paragraph taken from Josh Duggar’s Wikipedia page.) Perhaps inspired by his fathers two terms in the Arkansas House of Representatives, Josh quickly took to politics, first serving as a consultant, then working on Mike “The Huckster” Huckabee’s primary campaign in 2008, and then with Rick “My Sheets are Stained with” Santorum in 2012. This experience earned him the role of the Executive Director of FRC Action in June of 2013, a high profile role with the Family Research Council, a job he used to rub elbows with buckets full of high profile Republicans, including a large percentage of those involved in the 2016 Goat Rodeo.
Yes, from eldest of 19 children, to used car salesman, to cock-gobbling*** with Rick Santorum, to full on roman orgies*** with the whole field of Republican presidential candidates, Josh Duggar seemed to most like a man with a rich future in the conservative movement and possibly national politics before him. After all, he appealed to the base, and he had name recognition and minor celebrity. Who better for the GOP to mold into a future candidate? (Assuming they continue being, in the words of Gov. Bobby “Jesus, compare his speeches from 2012 to his current ones. Is it even the same person?” Jindal, “the stupid party.”)
Oh, how low one can fall so quickly.
And when someone falls, especially someone as smug, smarmy, bigoted, hate-filled, and obnoxious as Josh Duggar, the first impulse is to point and laugh. And mock. And gloat. And rub his whole families little noses in it.
But this is much too serious for that.
Josh Duggar is an admitted serial child abuser. He sexually assaulted 5 female children, including some of his younger siblings. For some reason, the State Trooper who dealt with the case let him off with a warning and the understanding that Josh would receive counseling. Rather than counseling, his family shipped him off with a family friend for a month or three, then lied to the police about it. The victims who were members of the Duggar clan almost certainly never got any form of counseling. In fact, if you read the vomit inducing section on sexual abuse in the home schooling books they use, they probably blamed the victims for dressing like little sluts.
Josh was a teenager molester who should have received a ton of counseling, at the minimum. His victims deserved to receive all the help they could be provided in order to deal with the abuse. Instead, the Duggar’s worldview allowed them to brush this serious incident off, treat it like a joke by sending Josh off with a family friend while claiming he was at a counseling center, and sweep it under the rug until the whole shit show exploded in their faces.
This is not the time to gloat. This is the time to feel bad for the victims of Josh’s abuse, and for that matter, for Josh himself, who never received the treatment a confused teenager who performed his horrific actions obviously needed. It is the time to speak up about Quiverfull and the whole patriarch uber alles culture that provides so much cover for rape culture and sexual abuse of children. And it is time to make sure Discovery Networks does more than just pull 19 Kids…. off the air until the media frenzy dies down. TLC needs to cancel this train wreck immediately.
When a picture of Rick Santorum fisting Bobby Jindal while Mike Huckabee alternates gobbling each of their cocks shows up….. Then we gloat. Got it?
*Yeah, the letters in TLC stand for “The Learning Channel. I may be mistaken, but I believe TLC was the first of the edutainment channel dominoes to fall for the sake of the almighty ratings point, a trend that resulted in travesties such as Finding Bigfoot, Ancient Aliens, Mermaids, and Chasing UFO’s, amongst other “evidence based” programing.
** I started to do a little research into how many people actually watch this trash, but quickly suffered an attack of ADHD. In September 2014, the season premiere drew an audience of 3.29 million, but this was in the midst of a complete media saturation of everything Duggar as the girls get close to their weddings. The summer finale that preceded this episode that aired in June 2014 only drew 3.18 million eyeballs, assuming everyone watching had both eyes and were using them both to watch the show. Stupid humor aside, it drew 1.59 million viewers, or less than half the September premiere. (Numbers taken from this Variety article.) Going from the Wikipedia page, it seems that until the media push really started in earnest around season 8 in the spring of 2014, the show could claim anywhere between one million and one and a half million viewers, with some episodes bottoming out around .86 of a million, and the odd episode approaching 1.6 million. As the wedding craze started, more eyes tuned in, with the show’s ratings ping ponging around with anywhere from 1.5 million viewers to 3 million, peaking at 3.53 million for Jessa’s wedding. So people watch, and it is a huge deal for TLC, but it isn’t exactly a cultural juggernaut.
*** All cock-gobbling and roman orgies are assumed, based on well-known hypothesis’ as to the cause of extreme homophobia. Excepting some very disturbing alt political slash fiction pages, there is no known accounts of any cock-gobbling occurring between Santorum and Duggar.