Please participate in the first discussion of the Reality Show Book Club: Growing Up Duggar.(FOR GREAT JUSTICE!)
We’ve heard that some discussion boards or chat rooms might be better named bitter rooms because those drawn to them often seem rather bitter.. And since bitter people seem to gravitate towards other bitter people, these sites seem to be the place to hang out. Misery loves company. Unfortunately, some people seem to derive much pleasure from nitpicking other people’s lives. (Chapter 6, loc 2192)
And so, this month, my fellow bitter people, we shall be examining Growing Up Duggar, a guide to life penned by Jana, Jinger, Jessa and Jill, the oldest Duggar girls. In this book, they teach us how to live and love and follow the way of our Lord and Saviour, Rick Santorum. The book is definitely this “how to” manual for the young Evangelical Christian, as it teaches us ways that you can overcome your insecurities and internal conflicts by being obedient to God. And they encourage us to be invested as citizens. Well, scratch that. We need to be invested in a conservative Christian. We need Rick Santorum, as outlined in the video below (though the Duggars would call those women unrepentant whores if swearing wasn’t so sinful. I mean, they wear pants. PANTS. You can see the outline of their thighs).
While the Duggars purport that their books is a series of life lessons, in fact, it seems more like a series of warnings against sinning. Sinning. Sinning. SINNING. But of course, given that their life is dictated through their obedience to God, that should be no surprise.
Now, it’s important to remember that it’s not our fault that Satan “randomly throws an impure thought into our head, but it is a sin to dwell on the temptation”. Satan is like one of those automatic tennis ball launchers and unless you are willing to lob those tennis balls back, you might spend most of your day angrily masturbating while thinking about voting for the Green party. Part of being a good person and especially a proper young lady is not only to manage to avoid sins ourselves but to also prevent people around us from sinning by avoiding gossip, tight clothes and other sinful avocations.
Now, this all stems from the idea that we are all born sinners and the Duggars believe a child’s natural state is to sin—to be angry, to whine, to scream, to listen to DC Talk and all sorts of vagaries and because of our sinful nature, we need to be continually corrected. This is why as women, they dress modestly. And they don’t put the onus on the women solely to hide their goodies. There is a code word for their male companions when they see an immodestly dressed women—they say “Nike” and they look down at their shoes, not reflecting on the fact that Nike is the Goddess of Victory.
Now, Duggars don’t hate the immodest woman, they merely pity her. They understand that they don’t know better—Michelle herself used to apparently mow her lawn in a bikini (yes, seriously) and had no idea why the neighbors hated her. They understand that the immodest woman has no self worth and needs to be corrected. When Michelle was corrected and educated about modesty, she realized that her body was leading men into temptation and quit being cheerleader. And then she started using a lot more gel in her hair, I suspect to help her manage the rage and disappointment. I always wonder then how her best friend feels about all this. The same best friend that still has her pom poms. I wonder if this friend just feels a little bad and is friends with mean old Michelle anyway.
The Duggars extend this to all parts of the media, enjoying things about Jesus and carefully avoiding the evil sins of mainstream media. Sometimes they’ll walk on the wild side and “enjoy many carefully selected episodes of the Andy Griffith Show as long as they are not centered around a lot of romance and deceptiveness.” And who can blame them. I mean, Aunt Bee was a wanton jezebel. Andy was a gadfly. Opie... Poor Opie. And you have to ask yourself before you settle down to that suggestively titled show, Leave it to Beaver- “Is this something that God would be pleased with?”
And finally, we do learn all sorts of things about the Duggarnaut in terms of parenting and sisterly love. One story that they shared (which you might remember from the show) was when Jana was eight and Jessa was six. Jessa, who was on the bottom bunk, would thump Jana’s bunk every night. EVERY NIGHT. Drove her crazy. I know how she felt. My sister would sit on my pillow and fart and chant “Rub my butt” while I cried. And when I brought this up to her recently, my sister still thought it was funny. But anyway, Jana began to hate and resent her sister and shun her but her parents, through their bible study taught her forgiveness and kindness. Jana, being one of the nicest Duggars gave her annoying sister all her nicest possessions to try to forget a better relationship. Jessa, who was a “willful child,” was touched by this show of kindness and and stopped harassing her sister. I thought that sounded lovely. Comparatively, my sister just annexed my shit and then laughed at my pain. She read my diary and told me I was boring. Of course I was boring. I was 10. How many 10 year olds have a really interesting life? But I’m not bitter. I’m not bitter at all.
But they do bless their enemies and preach reconciliation, except when they shoot one of their many guns or think about interacting with Democrats. Why? “Words are like toothpaste.” And because of delicious minty words, they decide to “talk sweet” and “restore offenders to a right relationship with God”. So, when Michelle Duggar is really really angry at her kids, apparently she gets REALLY QUIET. You’ll notice this. She’ll start whispering and asking her children to meet her eyes. There you will realize, she feels a murderous rage. It’s quite enlightening. I’ll never look at the show quite the same way again.
Some of their advice admittedly is well taken. They do have an idea that if someone says “Please don’t”, the children just stop doing what they are doing to each other because everyone has the right to have boundaries. I’d say as well, when they speak about “loving the girl in the mirror”, you know, it’s good advice to girls to be more accepting of what they look like, rather than trying to adhere to an arbitrary ideal. And not make mistakes with Peroxide, like Jana did so many years ago. She used WAY to much and then just basically dyed her hair black by mistake. All without asking for her parents. Her shitty hair was God’s punishment for her insolent nature. And really, just putting a bunch of peroxide in your hair all willy-nilly is a really bad idea. Didn’t we learn anything from the 70s? That whole decade was just a series of hair related errors.
Overall, I give this book 8 stars out of 10 for passive aggressive judginess and awkward photos of Jim Bob. Tell me what you think in the comments below.
PS. Next month we’ll be discussing Becoming Sister Wives!
PS. Pictured here are the Duggar girls and guests with Bill Gothard, Quiverfull cult leader who just resigned 4 days ago amidst allegations of abuse.