ethics, healthcare, law, modern problems, poor judgment

Medical freedom… or medical freedumb?

Today I reposted a 2017 era article from my original Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife blog. That post was written in a time of blissful ignorance of what awaited the world just three years later. In 2017, I was inspired by reading about young people who were critically ill and forced to accept medical care decisions thrust upon them by older people. Most of the cases of the youngsters in that post suffered from cancers of some kind, but a couple of them had other medical problems.

In several cases, the young patients’ parents were religious or wanted to try a more “natural” approach to healthcare. The parents were taken to task by medical professionals who wanted to override their decisions. In one case, the patient was a 17 year old young man who was deemed mature. He didn’t like the chemotherapy that was prescribed to treat his Hodgkin’s Disease, so he tried to refuse it. Doctors sought to force submission by legal means. In the end, the young man’s case was the inspiration for “Abraham’s Law” in Virginia, which allows older teenagers and their parents to refuse medical care or choose alternative therapies.

It amazes me now to read about these controversial cases involving young people, especially given that COVID-19 wasn’t on the radar at the time. Nowadays, the term “medical freedom” is a hot topic, as people fight over whether or not vaccinations against the coronavirus should be mandatory for all who can safely take it. On one hand, there’s a group of people who want to be able to make all medical and healthcare choices for themselves, although a lot of the people in the anti-vaccine group curiously draw the line at abortions for other people. On the other hand, there’s a large group of people who fear the rapidly spreading COVID virus that has, so far, killed over 650,000 Americans and well over four million people worldwide. That group believes that people should be required to get vaccinated.

Although I am all for vaccination and I do believe that the vaccines are saving lives, there is a part of me that empathizes with those who don’t want to be forced to take it. I don’t think it’s smart to skip the vaccines. Many of the arguments I’ve heard against the vaccines seem to be mostly based on misinformation and conspiracy theories. A lot of people worry that there will be terrible side effects to the vaccines. Or they know a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy whose balls shriveled up and fell off after the first shot. Personally, I think those arguments are pretty lame. But I also genuinely don’t like the idea of forcing people to do things. I wish those kinds of rules weren’t necessary, and more people would cooperate simply because it’s the right thing to do.

I’ve read many stories of people who took a “wait and see” approach to COVID-19 and are now dead. Some of the saddest stories involve people who had young children or newborn babies. I’ve read at least three tragic stories about parents who have left large broods orphaned because of COVID. I’ve also read a lot of sad stories about people who are sorry they didn’t get vaccinated.

And I’ve also read about many conservative radio talk show hosts who have either gotten very sick from COVID or have actually died. There was a news story just this morning about a conservative talk show host named Bob Enyart, who had spread false information about COVID-19. He got sick and died. Enyart was vehemently against vaccine and mask mandates, and last year, he successfully sued the state of Colorado over mask mandates and capacity limits in churches. Enyart was all about making choices for his own health, but as a very vocal opponent of abortion, he apparently didn’t mind making healthcare choices for other people.

Curiously enough, Enyart was a Christian pastor, and he once gleefully read the names and obituaries of people who had died of AIDS while he played “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen. What a charming man… huh? As Mr. Enyart was the 5th conservative radio talk show host to die of COVID in the past six weeks, perhaps the Queen song is appropriate theme for him and his ilk.

This morning, I ran across an interesting thread in the Duggar Family News Group. Someone, yet again, compared the COVID vaccine and mask mandates to seatbelt laws.

I disagree with this comparison. I also am old enough to remember when the seatbelt laws went into effect. At the time, I was pissed off about them. Don’t be too hard on me, though. I was a teenager.

I have mentioned before that I don’t think the COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates are the same as seatbelt laws. I mean, yes, I can see how people would make the comparison, but I don’t think it’s a very accurate one. When I was a child, I hated seatbelts and would only wear them if I was forced to… and generally that only happened when my dad was feeling controlling. In those days, a lot of people didn’t wear seatbelts. They weren’t as comfortable as they are today. Thankfully, as time has passed, the technology behind them has improved. I doubt we will ever be rid of the damned things. In any case, seatbelts are kind of different from masks and vaccines, as they don’t involve being injected into someone’s body, nor do they impact normal living and communicating as much as face masks do. You only wear them in the car. They don’t interfere with speaking, hearing, seeing, eating, or breathing.

And before anyone tries to tell me that masks don’t impede breathing, let me just stop you right there. I know they don’t. But some people do find wearing them oppressive, and the anxiety that comes from that might impede breathing. There are some people who can’t wear them for whatever reason… not too many, I will admit, but there are some. Likewise, some people can’t wear seatbelts for whatever reason. A lot of times, the reason has to do with being very obese, but sometimes it’s because of an injury or an occupation.

The point is, I don’t think seatbelts will ever go away. However, many of us hope the masks will go away, if and when the pandemic ends. Personally, I don’t see the pandemic ending happening unless a lot more people get vaccinated. But even though I think vaccines are an excellent idea and I would strongly encourage people to get the shot(s), I also feel uncomfortable with government mandates on things like medical care. Because, there are people who can’t or shouldn’t get vaccinations, for whatever reason. I also understand that some people are genuinely concerned about government overreach. Their concern isn’t entirely unfounded, although some of the arguments I’ve read are pretty ridiculous.

One thing I don’t think is helpful, though, is being rude and insulting to those who disagree. I don’t like the dogpile approach to trying to change minds, either. The above photo was shared in the Duggar Family News group, and it did invite contention. One woman posted this:

I remember when this page was about snarking on fundamentalist Christian families on television rather than promoting the divide of human kind based on personal choices they make for what they put in their own bodies.

That comment led to this response…

Even though I understand the frustration behind this response, I don’t think it was helpful.

The original poster was offended by the image. She expressed her dismay that a total stranger would wish death on her. Then, a big, long thread of comments ensued, with the vast majority of people name-calling, hurling insults, being sarcastic, and typing “all knowing” responses at the original poster. Her response, rather than being convinced, was to dig in her heels and respond in kind. Then, she either got booted from the group, or left on her own accord.

The last comment ends with the person telling the OP not to go to the hospital because she doesn’t believe in science. I disagree with that attitude, too. If someone gets sick with COVID, I don’t want them out on the street, infecting others. I’d rather see them getting treatment.

So… what exactly was accomplished by this contentious exchange? Not much, that I can see. I think a more respectful and friendly dialogue might have done more to foster group harmony. Maybe no one’s mind would have changed, but at least there would be listening and constructive communication going on, rather than flaming and hair flip rage exits. No matter what, I don’t think it’s appropriate to wish death on people simply because they disagree with you. On the other hand, I do understand the sentiment and the frustration behind such responses. I will also admit to occasionally being a hypocrite when I get pushed too far. I’m human, after all. I do try not to start out with abuse and insults, though.

I have never liked “nannyism”, especially in laws. However, I understand why “nanny” laws are often necessary. Many people, when left to their own devices, will not do things that are in their own or the public’s best interests. I have always hated wearing seatbelts myself, but I do understand why they’re necessary. I also have a husband who will turn into Pat Boone if I don’t wear one. So I do comply with that rule.

Even though I fucking hate face masks, I comply with that rule, too. However, I hope someday it will no longer be necessary. And I had no issues whatsoever with getting vaccinated against COVID, because as a student of public health, I know the theories behind vaccines and have seen concrete evidence that most of them work. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to learning new information, nor does it mean I’m not aware of potential risks from certain vaccines.

Below is advice given to people during the Spanish Flu pandemic. I agree with most of it, although I don’t think it matters whether or not someone “obeys cheerfully”, as long as they are compliant.

From 2018, when the Spanish Flu was killing people. They used masks then, and the masks eventually went away. I hope the same for COVID-19.

My late beagle, Zane, was a prime example of a dog who didn’t do well with vaccines. He had mast cell cancer (immune system cancer) that eventually progressed to lymphoma. He was allergic to at least one vaccination, and would get tumors when he had others. I actually think some people over-vaccinate their pets, and some of the encouragement to vaccinate is due to the revenue vaccines generate. Dogs with mast cell tumors should not get any unnecessary vaccines. I’m a little concerned about Arran, because he is due for a rabies shot next month, and the rabies shots can stimulate mast cell tumors. Arran has also had mast cell tumors, though not to the same severity Zane had. Because of Zane, I have some sympathy for people who are against vaccines, even though I think their reasoning is wrong in most instances. We don’t vaccinate people like we do pets, anyway. We certainly don’t get as many shots as they do.

Although I do believe in vaccine efficacy, I am not one to run out and demand the latest and greatest shots, nor do I get every vaccine available. For instance, I’ve never in my life had a flu shot. I would get them if I spent more time around other people, though. COVID-19 is different, at least right now. There’s hope that the virus will eventually weaken and become less dangerous, as flu mostly did. But at this point, it’s not getting better. Many people are getting sick and dying, and from what I’ve read, COVID-19 is a pretty nasty way to go.

I do think sometimes we need laws to protect ourselves and each other from those who lack insight, perspective, and wisdom. On the other hand, I agree that people should be free to make choices, whenever possible. Either way, medical freedom doesn’t do a damned bit of good to anyone who is dead. So I do hope that those who are against vaccines will wise up and get with the program. I understand wanting to wait and see how other people do with the shots, but time is running out… I have read too many sad stories about people who waited too long and got sick. There are too many stories about orphaned children, and bereaved spouses, siblings, and parents. And too many people are becoming downright mean and NASTY toward total strangers. I wish we’d all remember that when it comes down to it, we’re in a community. And being in a healthy community requires compassion, responsibility, and solidarity.

That being said… sometimes people DO need protection from crazy beliefs. Case in point, an old Mr. Atheist video I came across yesterday. Religion and politics make people do stupid things, even to their children. So while I am mindful of the so-called slippery slope when it comes to government overreach, I also think some people need to be saved from “freedumb” ideas.

JWs are just one group that have beliefs that can harm others… especially their own followers.
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condescending twatbags, rants

Pandemic shaming… it’s gotten out of hand.

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of people lecturing others about what they should or should not be doing. I suppose it’s only natural, since so many of us are at home, bored out of our skulls. Yesterday, I noticed several of my friends posting yet more pleas to others to make sure they follow all the pandemic rules. I get why some of them are doing it. COVID-19 is very scary. People are getting very sick and sometimes dying, and being stuck at home SUCKS. We all want life to get back to normal, and posting a clever pandemic themed meme or a heartfelt Facebook post makes it feel like we’re doing something constructive.

However, when every other friend is posting about the importance of social distancing and wearing face masks, social media quickly becomes a source of frustration and irritation. Frankly, a lot of the information being shared by well-meaning people isn’t entirely accurate. I’ve started to hide posts and unfollow the worst offenders, because mainly, I don’t need the extra stress or aggravation. I am capable of reading up on what the experts say I should be doing. So are you. It’s gotten to the point at which I’m starting to view pandemic shamers as being akin to Trump supporters.

Last night, I found an interesting op-ed on The New York Times entitled “The Seductive Appeal of Pandemic Shaming”. I mostly agreed with what the author, Jennifer Weiner, wrote. The only thing I didn’t like was that she decided to use the trendy pejorative “Karen” to describe angsty, middle-aged, white women who seem to be the worst “pandemic shaming” offenders right now. As regular readers might remember, I kind of hate the recent trend of co-opting perfectly good names like Karen, Becky, Chad, and Susan to put other people down. However, overall, I liked Weiner’s message to the masses. She writes:

...posting pictures of non-compliers on social media, or calling them out to their faces, is unlikely to help. It might even make things worse. And it comes with risks to groups who are already suffering more than most from the virus and its effects.

She continues with a quote from Damon Young, author of “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker,” who has seen a lot of people calling other people out for not following the rules.

I understand the compulsion” to call people out, Young said. “But is it really helping? If what you’re doing is supposed to be about saving lives, is this actually doing it?”

Frankly, I don’t think it does help very much. What it mostly seems to do is piss people off and make the situation worse. I was reading the Duggar Family News group this morning and someone posted about how Jill Duggar Dillard posted on Instagram about how she and her husband, Derick, went to visit Derick’s family. As Duggar followers know, Jill and Derick, like most of the rest of the Duggar family, live in Arkansas. According to group members in the know, Arkansas has not enacted a “stay at home” order, nor is wearing face masks in public currently a requirement there.

Jill and Derick went to see his mother and stepfather and did not wear masks or practice “social distancing”. Derick’s mother, Cathy, has some significant health issues, which were documented on the Duggar family’s reality shows before Jill and Derick fell out with The Learning Channel and Jim Bob Duggar. Lots of posters were going off about how *wrong* and irresponsible it is that Jill and Derick didn’t wear masks and gloves… or that they visited his family in the first place. As I read shaming response after more outraged and shaming response, I was suddenly reminded of an angry hive… a somewhat timely image, as I read about the murderous hornets that are now in the news. And then I took note of this exchange:

Notice the overall tone of these posts. It’s kind of aggressive. The hand-wringing face mask crusaders are doing their best to shame the holdout into seeing their view. But are they changing her mind? Not really. As you can see, she gets more and more hostile. I doubt she’ll be donning a face mask due to these people– perfect strangers who don’t know or care about her– piling on her on social media. And I’ll bet there were a lot of people reading who silently agreed with the original poster. Most adults like to think of themselves as able to take care of themselves without “special help”, especially in the United States– “land of the free”.

After I read this post, I thought of another quote from Weiner’s op-ed, which came from Syon Bhanot, a behavioral economist who teaches at Swarthmore. Does calling people out online for their “misbehavior” actually make the situation better? Does it save lives? Bhanot says that when you point out misbehavior online,

“you’re not confronting it — you’re virtue-signaling.” And confronting wrongdoers in person “is not going to be motivationally effective,” he added. “Shaming creates defensiveness. It doesn’t persuade, it entrenches.”

Makes perfect sense to me, especially when you look at the exchange I read in the Duggar Family News group. Neither side was backing down. The conflict was getting worse. The mood was getting uglier. And I wondered if that made things better in the already difficult situation we’re all having to weather right now. Bhanot says that instead of personally calling out “wrongdoers”, it’s better to appeal to the authorities and ask them to handle it on an organizational level. I would also add that sometimes there’s something going on that you don’t know about and is none of your business. One astute German in a local Facebook group posted that someone you see in public who is not wearing a mask might have a medical problem that makes mask wearing difficult or impossible. I think it’s better to just give those people a wide berth rather than berating them.

I was still thinking about the subject of pandemic shaming last night, so I did more Googling and found an article on The Guardian by Poppy Noor about shaming that is going on in the United Kingdom. Noor writes that a few weeks ago, journalist Amelia Gentleman tweeted a photo of an apartment building where someone had posted huge posters shaming a neighbor for not socially distancing. The disgruntled neighbor was perturbed because “Ann” had been having people over and when she was asked to stop having company, refused to comply. So Ann’s neighbor decided to publicly shame her with the posters… which anyone passing could see, but as you can now see, has been picked up by the news.

Noor writes that most social distance and face mask shamers are simply trying to do the right thing. They see someone out and about with no mask on and feel the need to call them out, reminding them that they could be spreading the virus. But what if that person is a nurse or a grocery store clerk on the way to work? What if it’s someone making sure an elderly family member is getting food or medication? What if the person not wearing the mask has severe lung disease or anxiety and can’t wear the mask without panicking? And why is it any of your fucking business? Especially since, if you’re seeing these folks out and about, you’re probably out and about yourself. No one needs to be reminded about the coronavirus right now, anyway. I was actually kind of happy to read about the killer hornets yesterday, because it was a diversion from the 24-7 chatter about the virus… and Donald Trump’s moronic handling of the situation.

Personally, I haven’t had much of a problem staying holed up in the house. I seem to have a low need for socializing with people other than Bill and our dog, Arran. Not everyone is like me, though, and some people are starting to go a little crazy, especially as the weather improves. Some people want to go sit on the beach or play basketball because it’s good for their mental health. Mental health is also important. Without it, people become hopeless and despondent. They start drinking too much booze and entertaining thoughts of suicide. So I’m inclined to give people a break… and a wide berth when I see them outside with or without a mask. As Noor points out,

Take the case of a friend’s mother, who was recently reported to the police for making too many trips outside. She, in fact, was dropping off supplies to people who were sick and in isolation. Now she might feel less inclined to do so – but who cares, so long as whoever dobbed her in gets to post on social media about it?

Too much of that kind of thing will also cause people to be paranoid. I read another account of a couple in Australia who were fined because they were reported for posting pictures of themselves doing “non-essential” travel. But then it turned out that the photos were taken months before the coronavirus struck. From the article:

The husband and wife were fined the equivalent of $1,000 each by state police for “going for a drive to Lakes Entrance,” which was deemed a violation of the country’s strict lockdown.

The couple was warned that if they “posted any more photos,” they would “be arrested,”

The cops revoked the fine once it became clear that the pictures were a year old, although the wife had to contact the media to get the police to drop the citation. But that led people to wonder if the police were Facebook stalking the populace, looking for people to nab. Who turned them in to the authorities, anyway? That is a rather uncomfortable thing, isn’t it? Might make one not want to do much posting on social media or sharing of photos if it means the cops will show up on your doorstep with a citation, especially when they don’t have all the facts. It’s creepy as hell, too.

The police should have more important things to do than investigate this kind of thing. It’s a pretty shitty thing to do to someone during these stressful times, particularly if you don’t have all the facts. If someone is genuinely breaking the rules and actually causing trouble for you, that’s one thing– it’s appropriate to call the police in that case. But snitching on people who aren’t personally affecting you or calling them out based on erroneous assumptions is ugly behavior that causes more problems than it solves.

I did have one friend who wrote that she was upset about some things she’d been seeing. Even here in Germany, some folks are protesting. They aren’t bringing massive weapons like they do in the United States, but they are coming out en masse to complain about the measures enacted to slow the spread of the virus. Also, some people are defiantly throwing parties. I don’t have a problem with calling the authorities when something like that is happening that affects someone personally. But the group shaming, online nannying and nagging, and bold confrontations of strangers is counterproductive. Most people don’t react well when they’re shamed and policed by ordinary citizens, especially when the shamers are total strangers on the Internet. All it does is make them defensive and defiant.

So, at the risk of sounding preachy myself, knock it off, please. Live your life and do your part to stay healthy. Hopefully, your neighbors and the strangers on the Internet will do the same.

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Duggars

The message here…

I have not made it a secret that I follow the Duggar Family News Facebook page and am a member of its private group. I don’t comment very often, nor do I follow what goes on there obsessively. I could fill a whole day doing that, since both locations are very active and popular. I probably read two or three posts a day.

We just celebrated Christmas, so there have naturally been a lot of Duggar “Christmas” posts. There’s also at least one more baby on the way. John David Duggar and his wife, Abbie, are expecting a daughter this month. So besides Christmas posts, there have also been baby shower posts.

I used to watch the Duggars on TLC. I quit watching when the show became unbearably boring. My hiatus lasted a couple of years. I started watching again when the Duggar women started pairing off. Back in 2014, Jill Duggar was “courting” Derick Dillard. I initially liked Derick, who was a college graduate living in Nepal. He seemed intelligent enough and genuinely appeared to love Jill, even if her dad made some ridiculous requirements for him to meet before he would sign off on him being allowed to get to know his daughter.

Jill and her dad, Boob, flew to Katmandu to hang out with Derick and after a few embarrassing control moves, Boob gave the two of them permission to wed. In those days, Jill was evidently one of Boob’s favorite children. I heard a rumor that it was because she was obedient and quick to tattle on her siblings, but there could have been other reasons. Hell, maybe she was always a “black sheep”, as she appears to be now.

“Pickles”, the lady who runs the Duggar Family News page and its group, has noted that Jill has apparently become persona non grata. She’s no longer featured on the Counting On show, which initially was just about her and Jessa, who is married to Ben Seewald. Jessa, fans will remember, was the first to court, but Jill and Derick married before Jessa and Ben did. And Jessa, who always seemed to have a reputation for being disobedient, now seems to be the golden child. What happened?

Well… it all seemed to start when Derick started attacking fellow TLC star Jazz Jennings on social media. Jennings is transgendered. That’s pretty much all I know about her, since I’ve never seen her show. But Derick was making disparaging comments about Jennings, which drew some negative heat to the Duggar clan. Derick was eventually kicked off the show over it. He probably could have come back if he groveled enough, but then he seemed to get upset over another huge issue… not being paid for his work. (Edited to add in 2021– now we know that Derick and Jill didn’t WANT to be on the show… and now that I know more about what happened, I can’t blame them at all.)

In 2015, it also became public knowledge that Josh Duggar had molested four of his sisters and another female back when he was a teenager. The Duggars covered it up for years, and when the secret was finally out, the fallout was pretty epic. Of course, a lot of us thought they’d finally be kicked off TV, once and for all. Alas, it was not to be.

Anyway, years later, it’s pretty obvious that Derick is no longer in Boob’s favor. It was revealed on Duggar Family News that Derick and Jill are no longer allowed to visit the Duggar compound unless they have specific permission from Boob. Other news outlets have picked up the story, that Jill has now apparently become a black sheep. Back in May, when her sister Jessa unexpectedly gave birth to her daughter, Ivy, Jill had to get permission to tend to her. Before she was persona non grata with her family, Jill was supposedly training to be a “midwife”. Others in the family had already gone to the wedding Jessa and Ben were planning to attend when it was suddenly time for Ivy to make her entrance into the world. Clearly, Jessa needed help and Jill was available, but instead of arranging it among themselves, like most normal adults would, Jill had to ask her daddy. I wonder what the rest of the family thinks about this.

All of this appears to be happening because Derick has been very outspoken on a number of topics, to include his displeasure that he and Jill reportedly weren’t paid for their appearances on Counting On. Apparently, Boob is the only one with contracts involving TLC and he’s the one being paid. Derick, as a normal adult with a family to support, was thinking he and Jill should be getting paid for their work on the show, rather than Boob doling out the money as he wanted. I’m no fan of Derick Dillard’s now, although I do think he has every right to be upset about the way Jim Bob handles his adult children.

As Pickles pointed out in her comments about this issue, Josh Duggar, who not only threatened the cash cow, but also molested his sisters and cheated on his wife, Anna, is still allowed full access to the family. He has been photographed at family events that don’t include Jill, Derick, and their two boys, Israel and Samuel. Josh’s actions are the ones that damaged the family’s reputation the most, yet he hasn’t been forsaken. His sister, Jill, who was one of his victims, has… evidently simply because her husband wants to be paid and treated like an adult… and head of his family.

So what is the message here? It seems that Josh, being the eldest son and producer of six Duggar grandchildren so far, has been forgiven for being a sex pest and philanderer, even though it tarnished the family’s name. Jill, who had always seemed to be in favor, is not in favor anymore, because her husband doesn’t want to be Boob’s doormat and has determined that he and the rest of his family won’t be on Counting On again. So much for the close, “loving” family the Duggars appeared to be back in the day.

To be honest, I’ve mostly lost interest in watching the Duggars on TV. I don’t watch Counting On at all, mainly because I’d have to pay for it and I find it very dull. It’s more fun to read the snarky comments on Pickles’ page and in her group, but even that doesn’t interest me much anymore. Personally, I think it’s time for the Duggars to go away and get jobs that don’t involve their being on television. However… if one of the “kidults” decided to write a tell all book, I’d probably read it. I bet Derick will eventually do just that at some point, once the TV franchise is finally dead. Or maybe Jeremy Vuolo will do it? Who knows? I think it would be best if one of the Duggar women wrote the book… in previous years, I would have expected Jessa to be the bold one, but now I think she’s got her head rammed up Boob’s ass. So maybe Jill will add to her nose ring and pants wearing and tell the world what it’s really like to “grow up Duggar”. It would be the ultimate “fuck you”, and I bet she’d make lots of money… although Boob would probably disown her for good. And frankly, that might not be such a bad thing.

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Duggars

Varicella, malaria, salmonella…

Yesterday, Josh and Anna Duggar welcomed their sixth baby to the world. They named her Maryella Hope, in keeping with their “M” name theme. I’m kind of surprised by the name, since they had originally said that the name Mary was too close to Meredith, which is the name of their second daughter, born in 2015, when Josh was having his whole “sex pest” scandal. Josh is still pretty much vilified by the press. Yesterday, I read an article in the Daily Mail about him and every time his name was mentioned, they added “sex pest” to it. I kind of think “sex pest” is a funny Britishism, but I feel kind of sorry for Josh’s children, who must be affiliated with a man who is still repeatedly being called a “sex pest” four years after his scandal. It’s not their fault their dad is a pervert.

I’m sure Josh and Anna named their new baby Maryella because Grandma Mary Duggar died earlier this year. I’m glad they remembered her, as she was a good woman, from what I could tell. However… I am not wild about the name Maryella, because it immediately makes me think of diseases like the ones listed in today’s post title. Even if it didn’t make me think of diseases like varicella, malaria, or salmonella, the way they spelled the name- Maryella- makes me think of MarYELLa, which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. I’m also reminded of someone I knew in high school whose name was Louella. She used to get picked on a lot. I guess Maryella won’t have to worry about attending high school or being picked on, since she’ll probably be homeschooled. Still… I hope she doesn’t get teased too much.

Maryella is, of course, not my baby and it’s not my job to name her. But if it had been my job and I had to use the name Mary to honor my granny, I would have chosen something different. Like, I think Mary Ella is okay. I have a friend who named her daughter that. That doesn’t sound like a sexually transmitted disease or a virus to me. What about Mariela? Or Mariel… like Mariel Hemingway? How about Mary Beth or Mary Ann or Mary Jo or Mary Louise? Or Marie or Maria? They haven’t used those names yet, and they are incarnations of Mary. Personally, I like the name Mary, too, even though it’s a pretty ordinary name.

I have read that Josh and Anna plan to pronounce their daughter’s name as Mary Ella, but they’ve chosen to spell the name Maryella. I think that’s a spelling that will probably be problematic for their daughter for the rest of her life unless she becomes famous. She may wind up being famous, since she’s a Duggar, but my guess is that this family’s cachet will eventually fade as more and more babies are born and people eventually stop caring. Anyhoo… it looks like she’s healthy and I’m sure Anna is relieved that the birthing is finally done so she can enjoy Thanksgiving.

Next up is Abbie and John’s daughter, who is likely due in January. For now, John and Abbie can entertain themselves by painting each other’s nails and giving each other haircuts in their trailer. Apparently, John David is good at painting nails. I want to see him paint her toes… that way, he can get between her legs for a reason besides joyful availability. Besides, I’m sure at least one of the Duggar men has a thing for feet and any number of other fetishes, common and uncommon. The odds are good they aren’t all into Biblically approved sex.

All kidding aside, so far of the Duggar guys, I think I like John David the most. He seems very self-sufficient, especially since he waited until he was 28 to get married. He doesn’t appear to put up with a lot of shit from JimBoob, which automatically puts him ahead of most of the guys in that family. Looks like Derick and Jeremy are also bucking against Boob, with varying levels of success. I also think Ben Seewald is turning out to be pretty good in the dad/husband department, although that’s probably because Jessa is in charge. They make very cute babies, too. Their daughter, Ivy, looks like she’s going to be Jessa’s mini me.

Meh… I only know about this because I follow the Duggar Family News group and page… I finally gave up on the show years ago. It’s one that really needs to peter out. And, I know, I shouldn’t write about them, because that just prolongs the time between notoriety and petering out. I just can’t help it, though. They’re just so snarkworthy. I’ll stop being irreverent now, and go do something helpful to prepare for our low key German Thanksgiving.

Well… happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating it today. Because our oven is too small for a turkey and we could never finish one anyway, Bill is going to cook Cornish game hens for dinner. Should be a hoot.

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Duggars

As the Duggar women pop, the Duggar home is busted…

Lately, I’ve been following the Duggar Family News group more than usual, mainly because I find the members to be an entertaining bunch. Over the past few days, there’s been some chatter about the Duggar family Tinkertoy Mansion in Tontitown, Arkansas being busted by Homeland Security— aka ICE. There’s been all kinds of talk about why ICE invaded the Duggar home/ Josh Duggar’s office. The Duggars, for their part, denied being investigated by the FBI, which of course is a different law enforcement agency than ICE is. Also, it’s not clear if ICE hit the Duggar house, or just Josh Duggar’s office.

Of course, this could be related to a long list of things. It could be anything from Josh Duggar’s car dealership buying cars abroad illegally to child porn originating from foreign countries. I really don’t know. Many of the people in the Duggar Family News group seem to think that Josh is a child molester (as opposed to a pedophile– there is a difference). They base their opinions on the fact that Josh molested four of his sisters when he was 14. Since he’s the oldest Duggar child, his victims were all younger, to include Joy Anna, who was just five years old at the time.

Since Josh was technically a child himself when the abuse occurred, and I have not seen any concrete evidence that he still molests children, I am not on that “Josh is a child molester” bandwagon myself. Josh, after all, was the same age Elizabeth Smart was when she was abducted. People have no trouble referring to Elizabeth as a child at 14, so I am inclined to extend the same courtesy to Josh, even though I think what he did was repugnant. However, I do think that Josh is narcissistic and he’s definitely a philanderer, and if I had children, I wouldn’t want to leave them alone with him. He’s certainly not trustworthy. (Edited to add: as of April 30, 2021, I now know that the people calling Josh a child molester were right.)

All of this is going on as Anna, his long suffering wife of 11 years, is about to have her sixth baby and two other Duggar wives have brand new daughters. Seems like Josh is always in trouble when his wife is about to have a baby. Oh… I guess I don’t remember him being in the news when Mason was born a couple of years ago, but I definitely recall 2015, when his second daughter, Meredith, was born. That was the year the revelations about his prepubescent dalliances and postmarital relations were made public. And again, just as his wife is about to have a baby with him… (Edited to add: as of December 3, 2021, I now see that Josh was acting out his worst impulses when Anna was about to have Mason, too.)

I really don’t know what to make of Anna. I feel kind of sorry for her on one level. She must feel trapped. On the next level, I wonder what needs to happen before she finally dumps his ass and leaves with the children. She will need a lot of help, of course, and I’m sure it seems like going against Boob Duggar seems like fighting Goliath. But hell, she could write a book and make some coin… if Boob hasn’t hamstrung her with a non-disclosure agreement, that is.

Incidentally, I’ve also noticed that Jon and Kate Gosselin are back in the news. Jon Gosselin’s gag order just expired, so he’s opening up about how much he disapproves of the way Kate has raised most of their kids. I was never a regular viewer of their show and really only know what I’ve read in the headlines. Seems to me he was very young when he married her, and I’m sure he’s no angel, but I also think he’s telling the truth that she has some narcissistic tendencies herself. I’m sure these folks who decide to go on TV for years on end, enjoying the lifestyle on the backs of the notoriety caused by their many children, start out with good intentions. It seems to me that TLC is a network devoid of scruples, though. Seems like a lot of the people with shows on reality TV end up in trouble.

I definitely think the Duggars are a long way from the squeaky clean family they originally portrayed themselves as, back in the day. The only show I can think of from that network that didn’t have a lot of scandal is The Little Couple. I really liked that show, but it’s been so long since I was in the States, I don’t even know if it’s still airing.

Well, tomorrow we head back to Germany. I’m looking forward to it. I suppose I’ll put up the trees and start doing some shopping. Then, after the holidays, maybe it’ll be time to find Zane’s successor, so I can work off the tremendous beer gut I’ve developed.

Hopefully, Anna Duggar will have a healthy baby girl despite the mysterious legal drama that appears to be unfolding in the Duggar world. Should be interesting to see what’s up. I’ll keep my eyes peeled. In the meantime, I think it would behoove Anna to stop procreating with Josh. But that’s just my opinion, of course.

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