Duggars, narcissists, politicians, Trump

What the Trumps and the Duggars seem to have in common…

I’ve been reading Mary Trump’s new tell all book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, all about growing up Donald Trump’s niece. I’m probably about halfway through it at this point. I also fell down a couple of YouTube rabbit holes yesterday. I found this lady’s Duggar centered channel…

Okay… it’s not actually Duggar centered. But she does have a lot of Duggar content.

Without a Crystal Ball is run by a dark-eyed, light-haired woman named Katie Joy. She has videos about a lot of shows, but I found her because she does a lot of Duggar videos. Somehow, YouTube knows I’m a sucker for Duggar videos.

As I was reading more of Mary Trump’s book this morning, it dawned on me. JimBob Duggar is probably a narcissist. So was Fred Trump, Donald Trump’s father. So is Donald Trump. You can see by the way these men handle(d) their business that they are extraordinarily controlling, and they think they know more than they actually do. They don’t take counsel from other people, and those who are in their sphere know better than to cross them.

About an hour ago, over breakfast, I read a passage in Mary Trump’s book about how she had wanted to go to boarding school. Mary’s parents, Linda and Freddy Trump, had divorced, but even before their divorce, they were pretty much governed by Fred Trump, right down to Freddy’s being pretty much ostracized and disowned for deciding to be an airline pilot instead of going into the family’s real estate business.

The decision to allow Mary Trump to go to boarding school was to be decided by Fred Trump Sr., not Freddy Trump and his ex wife, who were Mary’s parents. Freddy served as a living warning to Fred and Mary Trump’s other children, not to cross Daddy. Freddy managed to get his father to consent to allowing Mary to go to boarding school (which was paid for with Freddy’s trust fund). The day before she was to go off to school, Mary went to her grandparents’ house to say goodbye to her dad. He was staying with his parents because, since the failure of his career as a pilot and disastrous stint in the real estate biz, Freddy had become an alcoholic. The alcoholism was so bad that it had destroyed his health. He got very sick and, with nowhere else to go, was forced to live in his old childhood bedroom.

When Mary reached the familiar back door to her grandparents’ house, she was greeted by her grandmother, who said her father wasn’t there. She was acting awkward and weird. Mary noticed, but didn’t press. Grandma Trump said she’d have him call her. Freddy never did call. Two weeks later, Mary was told she needed to call home. Her grandfather basically told her nothing was wrong and that she should call in the morning. Not believing her grandfather, Mary called her mom, who told her the sad news that Freddy had died of a heart attack at age 42.

When it came time to bury Freddy, Mary tried to let her elders know of her father’s final wishes. He had not wanted to be buried, and was very adamant about that. She had also wanted to see her dad before he was cremated. Not only was Mary denied the right to see her dad one last time, but after he was cremated, Fred Trump buried the ashes, despite Freddy’s wishes not to be buried. And when it came time to distribute his personal effects, Mary got nothing. Her brother, Fritz, got Freddy’s Timex watch.

So what does this story by Mary Trump have to do with the Duggars? Well… I have heard and read from many sources that Duggar kids go against their father’s wishes at great risk. Derick Dillard has gone against JimBob quite publicly and he and Jill quit Counting On, and Jeremy Vuolo has whisked Jinger away to Los Angeles. Sources reveal that both couples are a bit on the outs with Boob. Jill and Derick, for instance, are not allowed to go to the Tinker Toy Mansion without JimBob’s permission or presence. Jill had once been Daddy’s “favorite”. Now, she’s an outcast, but it looks like she’s embracing a more mainstream lifestyle. Same thing with Jinger. However, it appears that freedom comes with great cost.

I think Derick Dillard may contribute to Boob’s inevitable downfall.

If you’ve been reading my blogs over the years, you know that my husband was kept from seeing his daughters for many years, due to their narcissistic mother’s insistence that they disown him. In March of this year, Bill finally saw his younger daughter. It had been fifteen years, and younger daughter, now 26 years old, is finally able to make her own decisions. She seems to have come to terms with the idea that if she wants to live her own life, she may have to do so without contact with her siblings who are still on their mother’s side.

This is a common tactic narcissists use to stay in control of their relatives and others who are close to them. They handle the money, the major decisions, and set things up so that if you go against their wishes, disaster will strike. Or, even if disaster doesn’t have to strike, they train their relatives so that it seems like there will be a disaster that will befall anyone who leaves the fold. It’s not unlike being in a cult. That perception of impending doom can be very powerful. It takes a lot of courage and will to leave a narcissistic family system. It basically means you have to strike out on your own. And if you come from a really powerful family and have limited access to money or transportation, that can be an extremely daunting task.

In Freddy Trump’s case, being Fred Trump’s son meant that he couldn’t get loans, because his father was buddies with all of the powers that be at the local banks. That meant that instead of buying himself a nice house in Long Island, he was forced to live in a shitty, slummy apartment building owned by his father, that his father refused to fix. It meant that instead of doing the work he wanted to do, Freddy Trump was forced to work for his father, doing work that didn’t interest him. The hopelessness of it, along with those Scottish genetics from his mother, probably contributed to his severe alcoholism and eventual early death.

Jim Bob Duggar is probably not as powerful as Fred or Donald Trump, but he does have a lot of power. He owns many properties in Arkansas, has plenty of lawyers and money to pay them, and has trained an army of children, over half of whom are now young, healthy, strong adults. He also has their spouses, many of whom were kind of brokered into the Duggar family by their parents. It takes a certain type of person to marry a Duggar child… someone who will toe the line.

However, it’s plain that Boob failed to notice that Derick and Jeremy, and probably Austin Forsyth (Joy Anna’s husband), aren’t going to take his shit forever. But JimBob clearly sees as people in his family as slaves. He tries to “own” them. I can see that getting out of his clutches isn’t an easy endeavor, especially as the adult children have children of their own. Those children and their total dependence on their parents make it much harder for the Duggar adults to escape Boob’s narcissistic clutches and strike out on their own. There are a few exceptions, though. I think John David pretty much tells his dad to buzz off when he feels like it.

I’m mostly enjoying Mary Trump’s book… some of it is very sad, though. I get the sense that the malevolent streak in the Trump family doesn’t even so much come from Friedrich Trump, who ironically died in the last major world pandemic, back in 1918. He got Spanish Flu. It seems to me that the real culprit of the Trump nastiness came from Fred Trump’s mother, Elizabeth Christ Trump. She was the one who really got the business going, and, according to Mary Trump, she treated Fred’s Scottish wife, Mary, like dirt.

I’m sure it was tough for Mary Trump to decide to write this book. She basically reveals her family’s dysfunction for all that it is. Her Uncle Donald is, for now, one of the most powerful men on the planet, and he is royally fucking things up. It’s probably very embarrassing for her. She seems like a good and decent person with empathy and, in fact, it appears that most of the Trumps aren’t terrible people… just a few of them who have that malevolent, narcissistic streak that compels them to enslave and exploit people. I’m sure that Mary Trump might even fear for her safety after having written her book. I think she was brave to do it.

Likewise, I hope Derick Dillard or Jill, or someone else in the Duggar family spills the tea about JimBob. But then, I have seen his type enough times to recognize the behavior. I know he’s a narcissist and that his family members are mostly neatly under his thumb. I even remember someone on their reality show– can’t remember which one– saying that you don’t say no to JimBob. If you do, you might live to regret it. He’s a bully.

As for Without A Crystal Ball… I don’t know if I’ll keep watching her videos. I just happened to stumble across them a couple of days ago and they fit with today’s post. Hopefully, I’ll be able to review Mary Trump’s book soon.

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book reviews

Repost: A review of Do Tampons Take Your Virginity?, by Marie Simas

I originally wrote this review of Do Tampons Take Your Virginity? A Catholic Girl’s Memoir, by Marie Simas, back when I was posting on Epinions.com. I don’t know exactly when this was posted, because the date of the original review has been deleted. I had reposted it on my original blog in 2017, and now I’m reposting it again here. Enjoy!

I love a good memoir.  I also like profanity.  And I was probably attracted to Marie Simas’ 2010 book Do Tampons Take Your Virginity? A Catholic Girl’s Memoir because of the provocative title, which told me that the author was probably going to be very irreverent.  The price was right, too.  Amazon.com was selling this e-book for 99 cents, though a paperback version is also available for $9.75.  I decided to take the plunge when I saw that the book was supposed to be funny.

Who is Marie Simas and what is her book about?

Born in 1973 and raised in California, Marie Simas grew up Catholic with a super strict father and kindly mother.  She has a younger brother, Johnny, who is apparently the favored child.  Her parents are from The Azores, so she takes family trips to Portugal, both to the mainland and The Azores.  Do Tampons Take Your Virginity is a collection of memories from Simas’ upbringing.  Each story is prefaced with a title, a year, and the age Simas was when the incident happened.  She covers her life from childhood until young adulthood.

Not that funny, but very interesting…

I mentioned earlier that this book is supposed to be funny.  It’s listed as a “humor” book.  I want to caution prospective readers that this book is mostly not at all funny. Marie Simas grew up with a very abusive father who was overly strict and behaved like a tyrant toward her and her mother.  She describes several heartbreaking incidents that no sane reader would ever find laugh-worthy, scenes that involve physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.  However, Simas does have a very irreverent writing style and uses a lot of profanity.  I like profanity, but even I was getting tired of Simas’ constant use of the “f-word”. 

That being said, I have to admit I was very fascinated by many of Simas’ stories about her youth.  Because she presents her life in chronological order, I could see her progress from being a frightened child who was bullied into obeying her father at all times to a defiant young woman who had developed the courage to stand up to her abuser.  I didn’t always agree with the way she handled her problems or the way she treated other people, but I will admit that her methods were mostly effective on some level. 

Overall, Simas comes across as an understandably angry person who could probably use some intensive therapy.  Sometimes, I empathized with Simas, even as I occasionally thought she came across as obnoxious.  I am myself an obnoxious person who grew up in an abusive environment.  I think I partially understand the anger behind Simas’ words and the reasons why she’s obnoxious and irreverent.  Every once in awhile, I also saw a softer side of Simas, a side that revealed humility and sadness rather than over-the-top anger and excessive profanity.

Not really that much about being Catholic…

Another thing I want to address is this book’s premise of being a “Catholic memoir”.  While Simas does mention some things about Catholicism and her father’s strictness, I didn’t get the sense that this book really had that much to do with religion.  There was one section in which Simas writes about one of her cousins not wanting to divorce her abusive husband because she’s Catholic, but overall, this book seemed to be more about a girl growing up with a very abusive father than anything else.  I didn’t feel the Catholic religion always had that much to do with her father’s propensity toward violence.  In fact, I felt like the family’s Old World Portuguese heritage could have had more to do with Simas’ father’s old school attitudes than anything else. 

Simas describes her father’s homeland, The Azores, as a very rustic place where people didn’t have running water or other modern conveniences and everyone’s provincial and backwards and lives in a rural village.  In my mind, even the fact that Simas’ dad is from The Azores and had a provincial upbringing shouldn’t really have that much to do with the fact that he was an abusive man who repeatedly raped his dying, bedridden wife and beat on his daughter.  I think the man was probably just a criminal.  But, he did seem to have a lot of hang ups about sex and women being attractive or independent.  Maybe that has to do with Catholicism or being Portuguese, but I don’t think Simas made that abundantly clear.

Simas is rebellious 

One thing I took from this memoir is that it doesn’t pay to be overly strict with children. It only teaches them to be deceptive and manipulative. It gives them a reason to be rebellious. Marie Simas writes that her father used to refer to her as a whore, especially when she wore makeup. He didn’t want her to use tampons because he felt they would take her virginity. He demanded that she follow his every order to the letter or risk being beaten, and he had to approve of all of her friends.

And so, when Simas became a teenager, she started wearing makeup when her father wasn’t around.  She used tampons.  She stayed up after midnight to create art and she used her friends to get her out of the house.  Simas writes that at least one of her friends “cleaned up nice”, but was actually a pretty nasty person who was not a good role model.  Simas’ father was all about his daughter not being a whore, but Simas admits to being very promiscuous and actually being really mean to some of her boyfriends.  She writes about these incidents as if the reader should be cheering her on, but to me, it just seemed like she projected her father onto a lot of the men in her life.  I felt sorry for the guys instead of identifying with Simas.

Simas apparently has issues with fat women

Several times in this book, Simas describes women as chubby or fat.  Her tone regarding these women is generally somewhat derisive and dismissive.  The only heavyset woman Simas doesn’t seem to have a significant issue with is her doctor, who helps her decide what to do when she unexpectedly becomes pregnant.  I did think it was telling, though, that Simas referred to so many women she didn’t seem to like as “fat”, “chubby”, and “ugly”.  I don’t happen to think that fat people are necessarily ugly or unlikeable, nor do I think that thin people are always attractive or appealing, but Simas seems to think the conditions are not mutually exclusive. 

Anyway, to wrap this up…

I’m of kind of a mixed mind about Do Tampons Take Your Virginity?.  I think this book is reasonably well-written, occasionally poignant, and overall, interesting reading.  Parts of this book are also surprisingly funny.  I wish Simas had written more about The Azores, which is a place that a lot of Americans never get to see.  And I wish she had written more about her life as an adult.  She describes how her son was born and mentions she has two kids, but she never writes about her second child.

I don’t think this book is really that much about Catholicism, nor do I think this book should be considered “humor”.  I don’t think abuse is particularly funny and a good portion of this book is about child abuse.  While I wasn’t offended by the stories about abuse, I want to caution prospective readers that they may be disturbed by some of Simas’ childhood memories.  No one should pick this book up and expect to laugh all the way through it.

Overall 

I give this book three stars and my recommendation.  I think it’s worth reading, if you can stomach the language and stories of abuse.  Just don’t expect a million laughs.  Amazon.com really ought to reclassify this book as just a memoir so that people looking for humor won’t be disappointed. 

I will probably read Simas’ next book, Douchebag Roulette, because I have a morbid curiosity about it, despite the three star rating I’m giving to Do Tampons Take Your Virginity?. I think there’s a lot to like about Simas as an author, even if I didn’t always find her as likable as a person– at least not as she comes across in her writing. As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon when purchases are made through my site.

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book reviews

“I love me some firecrotch”…

According to my Facebook memories, on this day back in 2012, when we were living in North Carolina, I was reading a book called Worst Laid Plans: When Bad Sex Happens to Good People, a book about sexual encounters that somehow went awry. The book’s authors are Alexandra Lydon and Laura Kindred. Today’s blog post title is a direct quote from one of the stories in the book. It was probably the funniest quote… and certainly the only one I can remember offhand, although before this morning, I had long ago forgotten about this book.

Before it was a book, Worst Laid Plans was a storytelling event originally staged at Upright Citizen Brigade, founded by Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, and Casey Wilson. The event was a big hit. Incidentally, back in 2004, when I used to hang out on a messageboard run by former Pensacola Christian College students (PCC is a “fundie” Baptist school in Florida), another poster said I reminded him of Janeane Garofalo because I’m so “liberal”. That’s pretty funny to me, since I am a hell of a lot more liberal now than I was 15 years ago! I guess a person’s degree of liberalism or conservatism is potentially in the eye of the beholder. I’m sure to most of those PCC folks, I was liberal to the point of being an alien.

Anyway, in 2012, when I mentioned “firecrotch” on my Facebook page, a friend who is my age and as equally quirky as I am, wrote that the synopsis of the story I related sounded familiar. Another friend wondered if I was reading Lindsay Lohan’s autobiography. I see from Google that Paris Hilton once called Lohan a “firecrotch”, although I don’t remember that incident. I see it referenced a lot on YouTube, though, as far back as 2006. I guess that means she’s a natural redhead and the “rug matches the curtains”.

The story referenced in Worst Laid Plans went like this. This guy was sitting at home, bored, horny, and lonely, and decided to search Craig’s List to find some company. Another guy answered up and, after a chat online, invited the bored guy to come over to his house. Just as he was about to log off of the computer and visit his new “friend”, the guy the bored, horny man was going to see said he was a “little person”. Not wanting to be a prejudicial asshole, the bored, horny guy decided to go over to his new friend’s house, anyway, to see if they could help each other.

As they were about to relieve each other’s boredom and loneliness, the author of the story, who happened to be a natural redhead, said that his new friend, the “little person” took note of his new friend’s pubes and exclaimed, “I love me some firecrotch!” The author of this story added that his new “friend” had a job working in drag as a “mini” Minnie Pearl. I kind of wonder where this story took place. Maybe Vegas?

Then, just as things were about to get exciting, the phone rang. It was the little person’s wife. She was about to come home with their kids. The “mini” Minnie Pearl panicked and told his Craig’s List buddy that he had to leave immediately. So the bored, horny guy left unfulfilled and, I assume, kind of let down. I would imagine his new friend was disappointed that he’d missed out on the firecrotch, too.

Normally, this kind of book would be very entertaining to me. I’m sure there were other stories in this collection that I thought were funny. I just remember that, by the end of the book, I was more annoyed than entertained. Maybe it’s because these stories were meant to be told verbally rather than read in a book. I have the same reaction to reading a lot of plays. I see that the two people who gave this book two stars on Amazon had the same reaction to it that I did. One person was mildly amused by a few of the tales, but overall just felt sorry for the people relating the stories. The other person felt that the written incarnations “fell flat”.

Even though I usually enjoy raunchy stories, sometimes even raunchy stories that entertain other people don’t entertain me. For instance, I’ve tried really hard to like The Big Lebowski. Bill loves that movie. He quotes from it all the time. The quotes he finds funny, I find funny. I’ve watched the movie twice, and I didn’t like it either time. I think it was the excessive profanity that turned me off. I’ve mentioned before that I am not generally offended by swearing, as long as it’s done judiciously. For some reason, it seemed like the word “fuck” was used way too much in The Big Lebowski, to the point at which it just got on my nerves. It wasn’t even that I was offended. I just found it tiresome to listen to over and over again, and it annoyed me.

On the other hand, for years I resisted watching Pulp Fiction, even though Bill quotes it constantly. I finally watched that film last year and enjoyed it, although I’ve still only seen it once. I will admit that I’ve seen Samuel L. Jackson’s gangster scene a whole bunch of times on YouTube. It comes in handy sometimes.

Anyway… I don’t know how I feel about firecrotch. I would imagine it would be just as exciting as any other crotch is. If I’m honest, I don’t pay a lot of attention to crotches. When I hear “firecrotch”, it makes me think of STDs rather than red hair.

I’d probably be more interested in this Firecrotch than Lindsay Lohan’s. And even though I like alcohol, that’s really not saying much…
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