domestic violence, Duggars, sex

A whole lot can change in a week’s time…

Howdy folks… it’s a beautiful, cool, sunny Sunday morning in Germany, and I’m sitting here thinking about the crazy events of the past week. A week ago, Bill’s daughter was still pregnant, awaiting the birth of her son. A week ago, twenty-one citizens of Uvalde, Texas were still alive and presumably well. And a week ago, we still didn’t know Josh Duggar’s fate. Much has happened since May 22, 2022. Although I know it could be said at any time, a lot of lives began, changed, or ended in the past week.

As usual, I have a bunch of things on my mind. Some of it is pretty ludicrous and probably shouldn’t be shared. But, because I’m an inappropriate person who enjoys saying and writing shocking things, I’m going to share a ridiculous thought I had the other day as I watched Jim Bob Duggar storm out of the courthouse to his vehicle. Jim Bob was wearing a mask on his face, but it was pretty obvious that he was flaming pissed. Just watching the man walk, completely ignoring the press who peppered him with questions, I got the sense that Boob was seething. How dare the judge sentence Josh to 151 months in prison, when so many people had “vouched” for his quality as a human? /sarcasm

And it’s very inappropriate that I thought about this… as a masked Anna came out after Jim Bob, flanked by members of the legal team representing Josh Duggar. Man… the Duggars sure seem to have embraced the masks, haven’t they? It helps hide the wholly inappropriate facial expressions a number of them have made in the wake of this legal scandal. I thought about the obvious anger expressed in Jim Bob’s walk, and the energy that was emanating from it. And I wondered if he was going to go home to his wife and demand that she be “joyfully available” to him, so he might get out some of that energy…

Anna Duggar comes out after her father-in-law, who looked as mad as a wet rooster.

Yeah, I know… it’s inappropriate as hell. But this family wrote the book on being inappropriate, didn’t they? And based on what Danica Dillon said about Josh Duggar, and their alleged rough encounter in a hotel room, I figure the apple probably doesn’t fall far from the tree. Did Josh learn his technique from a book? Was it only from the videos he watched? Or did he learn from watching dear old dad?

Michelle is probably pretty pissed, too.

I think about Michelle Duggar’s speech to her daughter Jill, just before she married her husband, Derick Dillard. In her advice, she remembered being a young bride, preparing to marry Jim Bob. A friend gave her what she thought was very sage advice about being a good wife. The story goes:

She told me: “Michelle, I know you’re so excited. You’re a bride-to-be, but some day you’ll be at this point. I’ve been married three years and I’m still happily married. I have one child, we’re expecting our second and I’m big pregnant. You’ve got to remember this. Anyone can iron Jim Bob’s shirt, anybody can make lunch for him. He can get his lunch somewhere else. But you are the only one who can meet that special need that he has in his life for intimacy. You’re it. You’re the only one. So don’t forget that, that he needs you. So when you are exhausted at the end of the day, maybe from dealing with little ones, and you fall into bed so exhausted at night, don’t forget about him because you and he are the only ones who can have that time together. No one else in the world can meet that need.”

“And so be available, and not just available, but be joyfully available for him. Smile and be willing to say, ‘Yes, sweetie I am here for you,’ no matter what, even though you may be exhausted and big pregnant and you may not feel like he feels. ‘I’m still here for you and I’m going to meet that need because I know it’s a need for you.’ ”

Michelle went on to say that Jim Bob would “lay down his life for her”. That seems to be an unfortunate choice of words. He would lay down his life for the only woman he can lay in his life… or so he tells us, anyway. I don’t know if Jim Bob is a faithful husband. I’ve never seen any indication that he isn’t faithful to Michelle, so I’ll assume he is. But obviously, he has a very strong sex drive… just look at all of the kids he’s fathered. And obviously, since Michelle was so free about giving the “joyfully available” advice to her daughter, and the rest of the women of the world, it’s something that is probably expected of her in her marriage. So I wonder, when Jim Bob came storming out of the courthouse, obviously looking like he was mad enough to spit nails, did he go home and work off that energy by splitting logs, stacking cinder blocks, or playing basketball, like LDS missionaries do? Or did he request his wife’s availability in the bedroom for a joyfully available power fuck? I mean, what soothes the savage beast more than a willing helpmeet, ready to do her duty?

I guess the attention isn’t such a good thing after all…

Personally, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch. I think Jim Bob is an angry person. To me, he comes across as very narcissistic. Narcissistic people are often full of rage and shame. They hide behind charming, attractive facades that can fool people. I think Jim Bob is good at presenting that friendly, “Christian” image, at least at first. But over the years, I’ve read a bunch of stories about people and their dealings with him… and what tends to happen when things go south. Also, he seems to have some pretty tone deaf ideas about women and sex. He supposedly told his daughter, Jessa, before she married Ben Seewald:

“Both of you’ll like the physical relationship, but the guy, that’ll be kinda the main focus. But, for a woman, communicating is the most important thing.”

He also said:

“Be careful what you’re good at doing, because you’ll probably do a lot of it.”

And…

“If a woman is raped, the rapist should be executed instead of the innocent unborn baby. Rape and incest represent heinous crimes and as such should be treated as capital crimes.”

Obviously, he can’t see that his son, Josh, is a monster who would hurt women, AND innocent babies. And he clearly doesn’t think Josh should be executed for what he’s done. Josh got some of that stuff from somewhere… and based on what we’ve been hearing about the Southern Baptists lately, it stands to reason that the Duggars probably have similar views. I know they aren’t “Southern Baptists”– they have even more fundamentalist beliefs. They clearly live in a world where abuse is rampant and tolerated. So it’s not hard for me to imagine that when Jim Bob got home after seeing his eldest son sentenced to over 12 years in a federal prison, he had some anger to process. Hopefully, he processed it in an appropriate way, and there wasn’t any abuse. But frankly, my guess is that he’s probably pretty miserable to live with, especially when he’s angry. And he was clearly VERY ANGRY after the sentencing hearing.

No, the Duggars technically aren’t Southern Baptists, but they do come from a similar, and more secretive, world.

I hope that Michelle Duggar is okay… and I especially hope the other girls who are still under Jim Bob’s roof are okay. I hope Anna will be okay, and somehow she can be helped out of the situation she’s in… but unfortunately, she’s going to have to wise up and ask for assistance. Most of all, I hope the children are safer than they were. Unfortunately, I don’t think Jim Bob is a whole lot better than Josh is. Having grown up with a father who wasn’t a sex pest, but did take out his anger on me, I do worry that the people under Jim Bob’s control might be at risk.

Moving on to a more pleasant subject…

Now that Bill’s third grandchild has been born, my status as “granny” has come up again. I mentioned that Bill has a new grandson, and someone questioned my wording, wondering why I wasn’t claiming the child as my grandchild. This person explained that as Bill’s wife, what’s his is mine, too. And he tried to tell me that because younger daughter and her family need love, I should think of myself in a grandmotherly role as I offer that love to them. Bear in mind, I have never met this guy, and he knows nothing about our story.

Once again, I found myself briefly explaining the odd circumstances regarding my relationship with Bill’s daughters. I have only met them in person once in almost twenty years of marriage. It’s only been a few years since Bill and his younger daughter have been talking to each other. And, although I grow to like and trust her more and more as time passes, I don’t feel comfortable with the designation of “granny”. In fact, I don’t even know if she’d want me to make that claim. I would be very honored if she did, but I’m not about to make that presumption, especially since her mother is trying to pass #3 off as her “dad” and grandfather to her children. It’s clear that younger daughter doesn’t see #3 as her dad at all, but Ex is still apparently entertaining the fantasy. So I don’t want to stir the pot by referring to myself as a “granny”… especially since I barely feel like a stepmother, even in the technical sense.

I do hope, though, that I can get to know younger daughter and her family better. Bill is very happy to have them in his life again. And he couldn’t be more overjoyed about having another grandchild.

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Duggars, law, true crime

Josh Duggar gets sentenced to 12-13 years in Texas…

Today is going to be a busy day for my blog. Besides this post about Josh Duggar’s fate, I also have a new book review to write. I was thinking of combining my posts, but decided that I don’t want my book review to be commingled with the absolute ickiness of Josh Duggar’s crimes against children. So here’s a quick post on my thoughts regarding Josh Duggar’s punishment, since I know a handful of people out there actually seem to care about my opinions. 😉

Bill and I were in the middle of dinner when the sentencing for Josh Duggar was announced. The prosecution had demanded a full twenty year sentence for Josh, who was convicted of downloading horrific images of child sexual abuse. Josh’s defense team had asked for five years. Judge Timothy L. Brooks seemed to take the middle road, ultimately sentencing Josh to 151 months (12 years and seven months) in federal prison, either in Seagoville, Texas, or Texarkana, Texas. Judge Brooks seemed to prefer Seagoville, since there is a sex offender treatment program there. It’s my understanding that Josh would not be required to attend the sex offender treatment program, but would be strongly encouraged to do so.

Josh will probably have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he can be considered for release. When he is eventually released, he will be on supervised probation for twenty years. He will not be allowed to have any unsupervised contact with children, including his own. He will not be allowed access to a computer with Internet access, nor is he allowed to view any pornography. Judge Brooks vacated one of the charges against Josh– the charge of possession of child pornography, which was the lesser of the two charges against him. However, the charge was dismissed without prejudice, so he could conceivably be charged again for that crime. Additionally, Josh has to pay a roughly $50,000 fine.

Attending the court session yesterday was Josh’s long suffering wife, Anna, who wore a subdued navy blue dress and a face mask. After he was sentenced, Josh signed “I love you” to Anna. Josh’s father, Jim Bob, was also there, also masked, but apparently doing a lot of smirking. Sister Joy Anna Forsyth was there, sitting on the prosecution’s side of the courtroom, with her brother, Jason. I read that she got up and left the room, apparently upset, when Josh’s conduct toward her when she was a child was discussed. That must have been horrible for her.

Josh, Anna, and Jim Bob appeared to be stoic as the sentence was announced. Josh was even described to be in “good spirits” before the sentence was handed down; he was described as wearing a grey suit and having a beard, but less hair on his head. Anna was described as “blonder”, and some people in the Duggar Family News group were speculating that she might be pregnant again. Personally, I think it’s more likely that she’s still got baby weight from her most recent pregnancy, and perhaps has gained some weight from stress eating. I hope she isn’t pregnant again. It’s possible, I guess… but I think it’s unlikely.

Brother-in-law Derick Dillard was not at the sentencing hearing, although he did attend the trial. Derick did tweet yesterday…

Not surprisingly, Derick uses the Bible to send a message to Josh.

A lot of people don’t think Josh’s sentence is long enough. Personally, I am not surprised that he got 151 months. That’s about what I predicted he would get. I came to my conclusion, in part, because this is technically his “first offense”, even though we all know it’s not really his first offense. I’m sure the judge was careful to make sure to do everything according to normal standards, so that there would be less reason for appeals or complaints about unfair treatment.

While I firmly believe that his attraction to illegal pornography is going to be a lifelong issue for Josh, and I think he will eventually reoffend, it’s unrealistic to expect him to get a super harsh sentence from the start. Yes, he’s gross, but he’s not the grossest… and the reason we know so much about him is because he was a reality TV star. He was a reality TV star because his parents are greedy fame whores. As nasty as Josh is, there was a time when he was innocent. His parents failed him spectacularly. However, as much as they’ve failed Josh, they have also failed the rest of their children… especially the sisters who were among Josh’s first victims.

I don’t understand how any decent parents with a scintilla of sense would keep having babies when there’s a known sexual predator in the family. And yet, beyond 2002, when Josh’s proclivities were exposed, Jim Bob and Michelle kept having babies. They encouraged him to marry very young, and Anna became the recipient of his attentions, while they continued making babies who were probably victimized by Josh, too. I don’t know what is the best thing for parents to do in a tough situation like this– but I do know that adding more children to the mix was not the right thing to do.

In any case, Josh will soon be headed to Texas, where he’ll have some time to think about what he’s done. Some people are hoping he has access to the general population… or they have access to him. I don’t wish for prison justice. It’s not anyone else’s place to visit retribution against Josh Duggar. He should do his time safely. He will be in a low security facility, though. Both Texarkana and Seagoville are low security prisons, which means that as bad as prison is, it won’t be as bad as it could be. Violence is typically pretty low at low security prisons. If Josh is able to stay out of trouble, he’ll probably be okay. Of course, the tabloid newspaper, The Sun, describes the prison as “hellish”. But there are certainly worse places Josh could be going, and possibly could go, if he doesn’t do his time like a model prisoner.

It may turn out to be a relief for Josh to leave the Washington County Jail in Arkansas, where he’s been since December, when he was convicted. I have heard that prison is much better than jail is, if only because prisoners are freer to move around, and there’s more to do. Jails are intended to be temporary, so there usually isn’t much for prisoners. They are locked down a lot more. At prison, Josh can get a job and maybe further his education. And his children might have a fighting chance of growing up with less chance of abuse, although given that they are probably going to be taken care of by Jim Bob, it’s definitely not an ideal situation.

Josh’s attorneys will appeal the sentence. I doubt it will go anywhere, but one never knows. For now, I suppose we can await the news that he’s been transferred to whichever facility he goes to in Texas. I suspect the drive down there will be pretty horrible. But twelve years isn’t so long. Twelve years ago, I lived in Georgia, and this blog was in its infancy on Blogger. Those years have gone by in a blur. So, while I wouldn’t want to do twelve years in prison… or twelve hours, this isn’t so bad for Josh. But he better watch himself. And in case anyone is wondering, yes… I think he will get in trouble again. I will be very surprised if Josh doesn’t end up back in prison at some point, after he’s released. We’ll see what happens.

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Duggars, law, true crime

Apparently, some people still love Josh Duggar…

Apparently, in spite of his well-known crimes against children, Josh doesn’t have a face only a mother could love…

In a couple of weeks, notorious convicted sex offender and former reality TV star, Josh Duggar, will be headed to some federal prison facility. Josh Duggar is much reviled for the crimes of which he’s been found guilty, which include receiving and possessing pornography involving children, as well as crimes for which he was never punished by a court of law, which include molesting his sisters and a babysitter. I remember that even before the year 2015, when Josh’s earliest crimes became common knowledge, a lot of people thought he was a vile creep. I used to read about him in the forums on the now defunct site, Television Without Pity, and raise my eyebrows at the derisive comments about Josh, who was often called “Smuggar”. People thought he was a massive asshole even before they knew about his many creepy issues with sex. Now that we know about the bad things he’s done, he’s now outright hated by a lot of people.

But Josh Duggar does still have some people in his life who love him. Naturally, Josh’s parents love him. Josh’s wife, Anna, inexplicably still seems to love him. I guess his kids love him… or, I would assume they do. And he still seems to have some friends in his community. I base these comments on the bizarre letters these folks wrote to Judge Timothy L. Brooks, who will be handing down Josh’s prison sentence in a couple of weeks. The first one I saw was from Josh’s mother, Michelle Duggar, who signed her name with a little heart over the “i” in her first name. I would certainly expect Michelle to support her son. She gave birth to him, after all. Her letter to Josh made me cringe a little bit, but of course I knew she’d support him. Jim Bob probably made her do it, if she wasn’t already willing. Below is a screenshot of Michelle’s letter to the judge on Josh’s behalf.

WTF, Michelle?

Anna also wrote a letter to Judge Brooks. I would expect Anna to write a letter, since she’s Josh’s wife. Even if she’s faking having actual love for him, she does depend on him for support. So of course she wants him out of prison as soon as possible, since they have seven children together. Still, I can’t help but remember that Josh allegedly cheated on Anna with a sex worker, who later described him as a violent person. He had a subscription to Ashley Madison. To read this letter, one would think Josh’s problems are very “minor”… Is Anna really this brainwashed?

There are several other letters of support from people in Josh’s life, most of them church people. Below is a lengthy screed written by a woman named Nicole Burress, whose property is adjacent to the Duggar family’s property. Burress describes herself as a former pediatric nurse who has met abused children. Her letter really shocked me, since I would hope that a nurse would know better than a lot of people how damaging abuse is toward children. And yet, she champions Josh for 3.25 pages…

I don’t know anything about Nicole Burress. I do wonder if she wrote this letter in a spirit of genuine concern for Josh, or because Jim Bob threatened her somehow. This woman is a wife and a mother, a Christian, and a former pediatric nurse. And yet, she’s standing up for a convicted sex offender, and acting as if his issues are curable. I think a cure for Josh is extremely unlikely.

Other letters came from LeCount Reber, whose home Josh lived in while he awaited his trial, his father-in-law, Michael E. Keller, Nicole Burress’ husband, Timothy, and David Waller, who is a pastor and Josh’s brother-in-law. Most of the letters bring up times in the past when Josh did something “kind” or charitable. Some of the letters describe Josh as “polite” and even “gentle”. One person pointed out that Josh “didn’t choose this life” of notoriety, and he will never enjoy privacy. To that point, all I can do is scratch my head. How does not having privacy excuse Josh from downloading and viewing material depicting sexual abuse of children? Was that the cause of Josh’s perversion? I tend to think not.

I think of all of the letters I’ve read, though, Michelle’s gives me the most pause. Yes, I would expect her to love her son. I would expect her to want him to be out of prison… although it does puzzle me that she’s not just as caring toward her daughters, who were among Josh’s first victims. But in her letter, she writes about how Josh played games with his kids, took them hiking, and built them forts. Okay… so he did “daddy” things with his kids, as I would expect. But how does this excuse Josh for what we know he did? And why doesn’t Michelle spare a thought for the four daughters who endured Josh’s perversions when they were kids? As a mother of 19 children, doesn’t Michelle have any regard for the children who were harmed by her son’s actions? I get that she’s Josh’s mom, but doesn’t she have any empathy for the parents of the victims, who would probably like to skin Josh alive or burn him at a stake?

I’m not sure how effective these letters are going to be as Judge Brooks considers Josh’s sentence. I think a lot of people will be very outraged if Josh doesn’t get a harsh punishment. Granted, he doesn’t have a prior record of criminal misconduct, but he definitely should have had one. The only reason he doesn’t have a police record is because no one reported the crimes before the statute of limitations expired. He clearly has a real problem, and it’s not safe for him to be around children. I hope Judge Brooks pays more attention to the statement made by the mother of one of the children victimized in the material that Josh downloaded. The child’s mom wrote:

“I can find no words to express the fury I feel at those who participate in this evil,” she stated, “or my scorn for any attempt to minimize the responsibility by feeble claims that the crime was ‘victimless.’ My daughter is a real person. She was horribly victimized to provide this source of ‘entertainment.’ She is exploited anew each and every time an image of her suffering is copied, traded or sold.”

And the child herself had a comment for Josh:

“Don’t you know no one should do that to a little girl!” she wrote. “Don’t you know it hurts!”

Obviously, for all of the positive character qualities that Josh allegedly possesses, he has done some very bad things. And while I would never advocate for him to be treated inhumanely, because I don’t advocate for cruelty, I do think he needs to be taken out of society. I also think that he’ll one day get out of prison. When that happens, he will reoffend, unless by some miracle someone comes up with a way to treat pedophilia.

My heart goes out to Josh’s victims, especially his children, who really “didn’t ask for this life.” Imagine the horror of being the child of a reality TV star whose fame is now overshadowed by the infamy of being a sex offender. What will it be like for those children, as they grow up with the shadow of Josh’s disgusting and disgraceful crimes hanging over their heads? Imagine being one of Josh’s sons. I suspect they may have a difficult time finding wives some day. Who would want to have Josh as a father-in-law? That’s only one aspect of how hard it’s going to be for Josh’s children in the coming years. They are really going to suffer, although they’ll presumably be safer from their father’s obsessions.

I will be surprised if Josh gets the 20 year maximum, but I sure hope he’s in the jug longer than the five years his attorneys have requested. What he did wasn’t harmless… and it’s part of a worrying trend in Josh’s life. He’s clearly a deceitful person, who only disguises himself as decent and God fearing. Underneath that smug exterior, there’s someone with some very serious antisocial qualities. So… while I understand that some people still love Josh Duggar, and they hope that the judge grants him leniency, I have a lot more concern for the children who were hurt by him. I think their safety should count for much more than Josh’s fans’ hopes for leniency. But we’ll see what the judge decides in a couple of weeks.

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Duggars, narcissists, religion, YouTube

Jana Duggar… poster child for stay at home daughters and keeping sweet!

I’m getting a late start on my blog post today. It’s because I got sidetracked watching YouTube videos. One of the videos I saw was posted by none other than Katie Joy, of Without a Crystal Ball. I know a lot of people don’t like KJ for whatever reason. I am not involved in that drama myself. I think her videos are interesting and thought provoking, but I am pretty neutral when it comes to whether or not I think she’s a good content producer or about her as a person. I did find her recent video about Jana Duggar and “stay at home daughters”, in general, interesting viewing.

What is a stay at home daughter?

Stay at home daughters are usually the eldest daughters in large, fundie Christian families. They typically don’t get married or find jobs. Instead, they stay in their parents’ homes and help raise the youngest children. Then, as the parents get older, the stay at home daughter takes care of them. In the Duggar Family’s case, it’s said that eldest daughter, Jana, is a “stay at home daughter”. I don’t know if that’s actually true, although it does appear to be so. At this writing, Jana is 32 years old and evidently still sleeps in the same bedroom with her much younger sisters. But then, Jana has never had the simple luxury of having her own bedroom. She grew up with many siblings in a home that was much too small. Privacy is a concept with which she’s probably got very little experience.

Is Jana really a stay at home daughter?

I look at Jana and I think she’s absolutely beautiful. She’s very capable, in spite of having been educated at her parents’ dining room table. She’s done everything from rearing children to heavy construction work. I’ve noticed that she’s even wearing pants lately, which is a new development. I would hope that she’s been exposed to the world enough to understand that her father doesn’t own her. But there’s really no telling what the truth is about being Jim Bob Duggar’s daughter.

Young women in the IBLP cult are raised to believe that they are always under a man’s power. They belong to their fathers until they get married. Then, once they marry, they become their husband’s “property”, for lack of a better term. They’re expected to have babies and serve their husbands and the church. They don’t have a voice. They aren’t supposed to work for money. They are supposed to wear skirts and grow their hair and do what the man says.

Fundies live for this…

To be sure, Jana Duggar’s lifestyle isn’t like that of her sisters closest in age to her. They’ve all been married off and have their own babies. But there’s Jana, 32 years old and still having to take orders from her father, sleeping in a big “dorm” room with her little sisters. Maybe this is the way she prefers it. Who knows? I have heard rumors of her “courting”, but then the courtships invariably fizzle out. I’m sure Josh’s recent trial has had an effect on Jana’s prospects for escaping the Duggar compound. After all, Josh’s seven children need help with their raising now…

I think I was especially interested in watching this video because I’ve seen a similar dynamic in my husband’s older daughter’s life. Older daughter is a few months older than Jana is, and she’s still living in her mother’s home. We’ve heard that she does all of the housework and takes care of her brother. There have been a few times she’s been allowed to leave the home. For instance, she spent some time working with her brother in another state. But even though she reportedly thrived on her own and enjoyed her work, she always faithfully returns to Ex. She supposedly doesn’t have privacy, autonomy, or apparently, much respect. She takes care of everything while Ex presumably sits on her ass, grifts money and gifts from people, and tweets.

Now… older daughter isn’t a fundie. She was raised LDS, which is something her mother pushed. She was not born into Mormonism. Ex decided that she liked the church’s teachings– or maybe the emphasis on family units and staying married for eternity. Ex doesn’t like abandonment. However, the whole Mormon thing seems to have fallen apart. Ex supposedly isn’t in the church so much now, especially since it became more of a burden than a blessing. She just runs her “mini cult” by convincing her grown children that they will suffer without her. Even the ones who aren’t living under her roof anymore are given the message that they have to do what she wants, or else.

I really think this “stay at home daughter” thing often has more to do with narcissism than religion. I think a lot of narcissists are attracted to super strict religions, because it allows them to maintain control over their mini family cults. A lot of strict religions place a lot of emphasis on families, and keeping everyone in the family on the same page, as it were. Where things get into trouble is when the church tries to intervene, or people within a church point out that legalism and power mongering isn’t very Christlike behavior.

I’m sure there are people in the world who like the “stay at home daughter” trend. Some people might be very happy in that role, staying in their parents’ homes, taking care of the house, younger siblings, and later on, their parents. Maybe it works in some situations. To me, it sounds like a special kind of hell. But maybe Jana Duggar and her ilk like how they’re living their lives. I just think it’s sad… because Jana appears to me to be a very smart, capable person who could be living life on her own terms. I feel the same way about older daughter… and I think it’s sad that older daughter can’t or won’t take advantage of the many people, her father included, who would help her escape the situation she’s in. But again… maybe it makes her happy. I don’t know… she doesn’t talk about it.

Anyway… I did run across an interesting blog post about the concept of “stay at home daughters”. The person who wrote it seems happy enough with her lot. It would definitely not be for me, though. I spent two years living with my parents after I came home from the Peace Corps. It was not easy. Thank God for graduate school.

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disasters, Duggars, Reality TV, transportation, YouTube

Jim Bob’s auditions, Derick’s defection, Josh in prison, and the world’s oldest profession…

Lately I’ve been kind of obsessed, watching some of the old episodes of the Duggars’ reality show that have been recently posted on YouTube. They’ve brought back a lot of repressed memories. I did used to watch the show, back in the days before we knew the truth about Josh Duggar. Even before I knew about the Duggar family, I found super large families interesting. It’s probably because of my dad’s experiences growing up in a big family. My dad and his siblings always seemed very close-knit and loving, even if my experiences as my dad’s daughter seemed to be less like that.

My dad was one of nine children, and I always thought that was a huge family. By today’s standards, it is a huge family. But my dad’s family still had fewer than half of the kids in the Duggar family. In fact, compared to the Duggars, my dad’s family almost looks petite.

Back when their reality show premiered, I thought the Duggars were fascinating. Most of the kids were cute and precocious. Even Josh, back in the day, seemed benign in his brightly colored polo shirts and khaki pants, with his neatly cut hair. It wasn’t until the specials turned into a show that I realized how smug and glib Josh appeared to be. But then there was Jim Bob… and Jim Bob frequently came off like a blockhead– a heavily shellacked blockhead. Sometimes he said things that made it sound like he’d been inhaling too much hairspray, or something. But then, after watching the Duggars for awhile, I realized that Jim Bob is quite narcissistic and uses people, especially his family. For years, he’s used his own children as a source of power and money.

Yesterday, I watched the Duggars, then listened to a couple of YouTubers opine about them and their family. One v-logger, in particular, highlighted Jim Bob’s lengthy application/questionnaire that he handed out to his daughters’ suitors. The v-logger commented that the questionnaire seemed almost akin to an audition. The young men who came a’courtin’, had to explain their religious beliefs, and describe how they planned to support the Duggar daughters.

An interesting video by kyeluh about Jill, and her upbringing in a cult.

It dawned on me that Jim Bob was holding auditions, to keep the gravy train rolling. It mattered less if the potential suitor was a good match and had things in common and basic chemistry with his daughters. He was looking for guys who were reasonably attractive, loyal, hard working, and, above all, malleable, and willing to submit to Jim Bob’s authority. So far, it doesn’t look like Boob is the best judge of character, even with that lengthy audition/questionnaire he makes his potential sons-in-law fill out for him. Ben Seewald seems to be the only one who stays totally loyal to Boob, besides Boob’s own sons. The other sons-in-law mostly seem interested in actually being the “headship”, rather than allowing Boob to stay in that role.

Then I thought about how Jim Bob had basically “prostituted” his children to TLC, using a contract in which he collected all of the money from the episodes of the Duggar series and specials, supposedly to dole out the money to the participants. However, Jill Dillard and her husband, Derick, later sued Jim Bob so they could get paid for their participation on Counting On. It’s been widely reported that Jill was basically paid minimum wage, and the cost for pursuing that money, as well as being allowed to live life on her own terms, was being ostracized from her family.

I remember when I first saw Derick Dillard. I thought he seemed reasonably intelligent. I even kind of liked him. He did, at the very least, seem to really love Jill, anyway, and God knows she needed someone to show her some authentic love. Then later, Derick was criticized for making transphobic comments about fellow TLC reality star, Jazz Jennings. It got to the point at which he was no longer on Counting On. At first, I thought TLC gave him the ax because of all of those transphobic comments he made about Jazz Jennings, and the backlash resulting from them. Later, I read that he and Jill had decided to leave the show, because they weren’t getting paid, and because they didn’t enjoy having their personal lives plastered all over a reality show solely for Jim Bob’s profit.

I also realized, sad as it is, that a lot of Americans probably have feelings that are similar to Derick Dillard’s when it comes to issues regarding the LGBTQ community. While I disagree with Derick’s opinions regarding that community, I can also understand why he still has a voice. It’s because many people agree with him, but aren’t saying so out loud. They don’t want to be lectured or canceled. It’s sort of the same reason why Donald Trump is popular, in spite of being an obvious and major narcissistic dickhead.

It would be nice if every person’s controversial and problematic views evolved at the same time, but that’s not reality. The truth is, it takes time to change public sentiment. That’s why we still have issues with racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. Loftily telling someone to “educate themselves”, when they have an opinion that isn’t politically correct, isn’t likely to end with positive results. People don’t like to be told what to do or how to think or what their opinions should be, even if more progressive people have come to different conclusions. Telling them that they have to change their views is going to result in a lot of defiance, and championing of those who are bolder about expressing their opinions.

So, instead of disliking Derick Dillard simply because he made those offensive, transphobic comments, which are right in line with his conservative Christian beliefs, I choose to look at him in a more positive light. I don’t agree with his ignorant comments about people who aren’t heterosexual, but I like that he encourages Jill to live a less constrained life. I like that he seems to love her very much. I love that he took on Jim Bob, and doesn’t let Jim Bob run his or Jill’s lives. I love that Jill does more of what she wants, and their sons go to public school, where they are exposed to people who aren’t just like them. I love that Derick insisted on being paid for the work that he and Jill did.

Jim Bob acts like a pimp, and his wife and children, and now his grandchildren, are pressed into service to make money for him, just as if they were prostitutes for TLC. I’m glad Derick stopped allowing Jim Bob to prostitute him and Jill, using them for his personal gain. While some people may not like that I use the terms “pimp” and “prostitute” to describe Jim Bob and his family, if you look up the definition for “prostitute”, you will find that it’s not always a word that’s used for sex workers. It’s also used for people who surrender their self-respect and misuse their talents for personal gain. A pimp is a “go-between”– a “purveyor” of services rendered, especially if they’re sexual. But, if you think about it, Jim Bob kind of does sell off his offspring, if not for reality entertainment value, then for their abilities to reproduce and make more bodies who can be raised to think the way he does.

The Duggars, and the people who have married into that family, are all conservative Christians. Most of them hail from the southern United States, which is Bible Belt territory. I think it’s unrealistic to expect most of them to change their beliefs about homosexuality and transgendered people on a dime. It would be nice if they could instantly join us in the 21st century and stop being homophobic and transphobic, but that isn’t reality. While I think their show should have been canceled ages ago, I also think the fact that it wasn’t is a sign that a lot of Americans are, deep down, more like them than they’d like to admit, political correctness be damned.

Maybe it’s not necessarily a bad thing that the Duggars had a reality show for so long. If anything, the show and the incredible fall from grace the Duggars are experiencing, shines a light on the very disturbing and destructive IBLP and ATI cult formed by Bill Gothard. If not for the Duggars, would most of us even know about Bill Gothard? I don’t think I would. Maybe I would have eventually gotten around to reading a book about fundies, but it takes more time and effort to read a book than watching a TV show.

Personally, I think it’s better to try to understand the Duggars where they are, and realize that for now, they are homophobic and transphobic, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. We have to work with what we have. They aren’t going to change their beliefs simply because I tell them they need to educate themselves. They have to want to change. And right now, they have bigger fish to fry, as eldest son Josh awaits his sentencing and trip to federal prison. Speaking of which…

Lately I’ve also been watching videos made by former prisoners. I’ve been watching Jessica Kent, who served time in New York and Arkansas, for some time, but I’ve also watched a few videos by Christina Randall, a winsome YouTuber from Florida who did time in prison there. Recently, I saw her video about what it’s like to be transferred to prison, and how terrible an experience that was. I think Josh has some terrible days ahead of him, but at least he won’t be pregnant when he goes to prison.

This is actually a pretty harrowing video. Being transported to prison sounds pretty hellish.
Jessica’s experience. She was pregnant when she went on that horrible five hour drive to prison.

I don’t have any pity for Josh. I don’t think he is someone who should ever be on the outside, mainly because people like him can’t be rehabilitated without extreme measures. Basically, he’d probably need to be castrated to have any hope of quelling his deviant desires. We know that’s not going to happen. He poses a danger to the world’s most innocent and fragile people. But even though I don’t pity him, I also know that he’s going to be in for a rough time. And I know that in spite of how I feel about his family– especially his father– there are people in that family who love him in spite of what he’s done. So I have some compassion for them, and basic compassion for Josh, because he is still a human being who has done really terrible, monstrous things.

Josh is not ever going to be trustworthy, especially around children. And it is sad for his SEVEN children than their father is a sexual deviant who is going to prison. Although it would probably be sadder for them if he had been acquitted, and allowed to raise them, since it’s likely that they were victimized by him. The sad fact is, people who look at what he was looking at usually have to produce it themselves, in order to be trusted in that sick community. I would be surprised if Anna doesn’t get investigated, too.

Of course, not everyone in the Duggar family is guilty, and they shouldn’t all have to pay for Josh’s mistakes, or the fact that the patriarch trotted them out on reality TV so he could make a fast buck. They can’t help being who they are, or how they were raised… and even if the world is telling them they should be different, it’s a scary proposition to reject one’s family and upbringing, and the ideals that they learned during their formative years. I have hope that some of them will break away and have the courage to live life on their own terms, rather than being Boob’s enslaved prostitutes for publicity.

Anyway… this whole fiasco has been an epic shitshow. It’s really something to watch the oldest episodes of the Duggars’ reality show and see just how deceptive they were, and how much “actual reality” was being obscured by “reality TV”. It’s always sad when someone’s image is significantly less than the reality of who they really are becomes obvious. But I do take heart when I see glimmers of hope and light, and I do see those when I see Derick Dillard take on Jim Bob and Josh. No, he’s not perfect, and I certainly don’t agree with his homophobic or transphobic opinions, or his conservative political views. But I think it’s a beautiful thing that he supports his wife in her recovery, and doesn’t let Jim Bob whore him out to the highest bidder. That’s got to count for something.

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