Josh Duggar, You Messed Up… Again!

Just as the Duggars were creeping out of hiding and back onto Instagram and YouTube, Josh was named in the Ashley Madison hack. And then he came right out and apologized.

What I most wanted (and still want) to hear is Anna’s reaction. She sure stood by him after the kid-touching thing came out, and praised how honest and forthcoming he’d been with her. What could she possibly say about this now?

Then the porn star shared her story of how Josh tracked her down (at two strip clubs that are local to me, by the way!), told her he’d been following her career “from before [her] boob job until recently,” and then paid her for “terrifying” sex. And now he has checked himself into another one of those labor camp type rehabs, since that worked so well for him as a teen, I guess. I love their passive-aggressive rules:

“The room assigned to you, as everything else on our property, belongs to God. It must be treated as such. A violating student shall be held financially responsible for all damage done to God’s property.”

“Negative remarks about food will not be tolerated. Prayer and fasting are a profitable substitute.”

Oh BTW, this treatment center has connections to other sexual abuse cover-ups – the founder is an accused sex offender, which makes him about as qualified to run a rehab as the mastermind behind Josh’s first treatment center, Anna’s brother is saying what everyone has probably been thinking – she should get out of that crazy family! At this point, I bet she could have a great career counseling women who’ve been in her position or something (or she could even leave the cult and then help rehab others who want out). But Josh is falling fast, and he’s just going to drag her down with him if she stays.

Josh Duggar, You Messed Up

I guess I need to write about this, because for years, “Josh Duggar sex offender” has been one of the top search results for my blog, due to a comment someone left here in 2008. (And wow, is this site blowing up today!) As an avid and somewhat vocal Duggar watcher, I’ve been inundated for the last couple days with people sending me the articles about Josh’s alleged molestation charges, which have come back up in the news for some reason. But I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt because a) the story originated years ago from some very dubious sources and couldn’t really cite any hard facts or details, and b) in the Duggars’ world, “inappropriate touching” could be as innocent as holding hands before you’re engaged!

But now that Josh has come out and admitted it, I guess it’s true! (The one good thing to come from this may be that he’s resigned from his job with that hate group!)

Everything in the police report lines up with the rumors we’ve been hearing for years: Josh touching girls while they slept; the timing of the whole thing related to Jim Holt’s campaigns (“sin in the camp”); being sent away to ALERT (a “Christian program” that “consisted of hard physical work and counseling”); the part about how they were supposed to go on Oprah in 2006 but then didn’t. [Edit: 5/22] If you don’t have time to read all 33 pages of the police report, here’s a short summary and timeline. Here’s an even more detailed article that puts the events into a timeline with the Duggars’ TV shows, and asks the question we’re probably all wondering: how did Oprah, the police, the internet, and others know about these accusations, yet TLC didn’t seem to find out until this week? [/Edit]

I have been saying for years that I didn’t understand how other celebrities could say or do one wrong thing (e.g. Paula Deen’s racist remarks, Mama June’s pedophile boyfriend) and lose their shows, endorsements, etc., yet the Duggars went on and on despite all the controversial stuff they were mixed up in (politics, ATI, blanket training, etc.). Well, now here is a real scandal that really affects them (not tangentially, like the allegations against Bill Gothard). I’m very curious to see what this means for the rest of the family and the 19 Kids and Counting show. Will the Josh and Anna family just not be featured anymore? Or will the whole thing go off the air? As of the season finale two days ago, they were planning for and showing clips of what would be coming up in the “next season.” (Good thing Derick Dillard has his day job to fall back on; Ben and Jessa Seewald are kind of screwed, though!)

Also, I will note the ironic fact that the Duggars have been campaigning against measures that would support LGBT people, saying they are pedophiles and predators, and yet here their own kid is a predator…

Side note: I bet that within their own Christian circles, this not only doesn’t disgrace Josh, but in fact makes him look better. The way Josh, Anna, and his parents described it, it sounds like this great trial that he’s gone through and been strengthened by.

[Edit: 6/3] I wanted to document this – check out the hits to this blog since the story broke! [/Edit]

#SandyHelp

I already donated to the Red Cross today, and it was a lot more than $10, plus it was matched by my company. So I feel I am allowed to complain about NBC’s Hurricane Sandy telethon. It reminded me of the episode of “30 Rock” where they recorded celebrities talking about a generic tragedy that hadn’t yet happened, so they’d be ready to go – and just as this occurred to me, Tina Fey made an appearance!

I understand that this was a major tragedy for a lot of people. I was personally extremely lucky to not be affected at all, and I’m trying to pass along my luck by helping out others. And I know that there were some people who literally lost everything. But I found the telethon a bit over-dramatic:

  • They performed songs like “Under the Boardwalk,” “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” and “Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway.” As one of my friends posted on Facebook, that’s like singing Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” for a 9/11 tribute.
  • They kept talking about how there were people who still don’t have electricity on. I know, it sucks. But remember the earthquake in Haiti? Those people didn’t have electricity on, and many didn’t even have electricity to begin with! We do not have it so bad here in the US.
  • Not to put the blame on the victims, because this really was a catastrophic event, but a lot of people did not take the storm seriously or prepare sufficiently. Probably because Irene was not as big a deal as they’d predicted last year, but this was not like Irene.
  • Even though it was clearly pre-recorded (referencing the Marathon that had already been canceled), they kept talking about how busy the phone lines were, etc.

And I won’t even start on the fact that in 1994, there was a huge blizzard and ice storm that knocked out our power for a week – we didn’t have electricity or heat, and couldn’t go anywhere because it was too icy – and nobody had a telethon for us…

Besides that, I have to say, a lot of places have been very cool about support for victims of the storm. My bank sent something out about how they’re waiving ATM fees and such; my company credit card is offering assistance in making travel arrangements and booking hotel rooms. I’ve seen lots of people from NYC sharing about restaurants and places where services are available, and doing nice things like this.

In related news, it appears that most of the local kids ended up trick-or-treating on Wednesday after all. But we were home tonight and ended up handing out candy to several groups of kids who did come around. Favorite costume: a blue Lego brick.

PSU

This is not something I’m super interested in. I don’t follow any sports and certainly not college sports, but you can’t exist in PA without constant updates on the Penn State scandal, plus GG was following the whole thing pretty closely (mostly for comedy purposes). If you’re not in this area it may not be as bad, but in PA Penn State is almost like a cult to some people – they are obsessed with the teams, they travel to State College as much as possible for tailgating and games, etc. It’s sort of amusing that on Twitter and Facebook I have a couple extreme hardcore PSU friends who defended everything, and then everyone else I know posts anti-PSU stuff.

If you’re not really familiar with the cult of Penn State, check out the #1 Party School episode of This American Life, which covers the culture from a few different perspectives. Go listen, I’ll wait.

Anyway, I haven’t really read up on what punishment was finally levied against the school, but the PSU fans are up in arms, saying it’s going to destroy the economy of central Pennsylvania. (Is it possible that the central PA economy was artifically inflated due to the insane popularity of PSU sports?) They’re also saying that this is taking away opportunities from current and future students, which I agree is a shame, but look at the result of the popularity of the sports programs there. When the culture of the organization gets to the point where there is all this lying and cover-up in order to protect the program, you need to rework things. So yes, maybe the new student who was planning to go there for its big football and drinking culture is going to be disappointed this fall, but they could just find another school if that’s what they’re really after. But taking attention away from that might allow them to focus on the academic and other cultural offerings PSU has. Maybe they’ll come to be known as a great school for agriculture, business, engineering… Oh wait, they already are! In that case, maybe drawing focus away from football will bring attention to PSU’s other positive attributes.

As for the whole “taking down the Paterno statue” thing, that’s just symbolic and a way to keep troublemakers away. You don’t need a statue in order to remember someone, just like you don’t need to remove a statue in order to forget them. Plus as GG pointed out, the blank wall left behind now looks like the album cover for Rage Against the Machine “The Battle of Los Angeles.”

WTH, Duggars?

Okay, I spent my snowed-in evening getting all caught up with the latest Duggar news on TWoP, and I can now say… WTH, Michelle Duggar?! You just delivered a baby fifteen weeks early; you’re recovering from gallbladder issues, severe, life-threatening preeclampsia, and an emergency C-section; it’s your last baby’s first birthday; and you had to make a tearful appearance at a board meeting to make sure a local gas station doesn’t get a permit to sell beer? And then call in to the local news to make your case?

You know, we hear about the political things they do, like making their kids go to abortion clinic protests and stuff, but we never see them on 18 Kids and Counting so you can kind of forget about that facet of their lifestyle. But it’s there. As someone on TWoP put it, this is really just a reminder that their goal in life isn’t to have a lot of kids because they love being parents or whatever, it’s to breed and populate the country with conservative voters.

Mackynzie Renee

Since I’m sure everyone is waiting for my comments with baited breath… Anna Duggar gave birth around 6:30 last night. I’ve only seen a few seconds of video, but: 1) that means the cameras were there while she was having the baby, poor girl, 2) everyone was gathered ’round her hoo-hoo, including father-in-law Jim Bob, and 3) it looked like it was a home birth, so that’s one positive thing at least!

Here’s an article with a link to the video. Check out the big ridiculous bow on this baby! Have to make sure everyone knows she’s a girl!

[Edit – 2:53 PM] I sent a message similar to the above to GG. His response:

So what you’re saying is…. Jim Bob has seen his daughter-in-law’s hoo hoo and where his son puts his thingy thingy? creepy. beyond belief.

[/Edit]

I see where the Duggars are headed… and “Duggars on a Double Date”

I already think I can predict what’s going to happen to the Duggars in the not-so-distant future. Let’s take a look at some of TLC’s past famous families:

The Roloffs: Became famous because TLC made a TV series based on a popular one-time special episode. Gained popularity as people watched for their unique family challenges and cute kids. TLC started sending them on trips and putting them in weird situations for more interesting episodes. Eventually, episodes started focusing on the mundane. There was a scandal (dad Matt’s DUI). Then I stopped watching because they were too annoying.

The Gosselins: Became famous because TLC made a TV series based on a popular one-time special episode. Gained popularity as people watched for their unique family challenges and cute kids. TLC started sending them on trips and putting them in weird situations for more interesting episodes. Eventually, episodes started focusing on the mundane (e.g. dentist trips and installing blinds). There was a scandal (Jon allegedly cheating on Kate, and maybe Kate cheating on Jon). Then I stopped watching because they were too annoying.

The Duggars: Became famous because TLC made a TV series based on a handful of popular special episodes. Gained popularity as people watched for their unique family changes and cute kids. TLC started sending them on trips and putting them in weird situations for more interesting episodes. Eventually, episodes started focusing on the mundaine (e.g. dentist trips and installing blinds). …Wonder what’ll happen next…

As for last night’s episode of “18 Kids…,” in which Josh and Anna had a visit with the OB and then went on a double-date with Cousin Amy and Boyfriend Mike, here’s a few notes based on my Twitters during the show:

  • I love Anna, but don’t love the way she uses “And…” as a pause word.
  • Josh is a huge jerk. His wife had morning sickness and they were already running late for her doctor’s appointment, but he had to make a detour to pick up a car for his used car lot… which he ended up not being able to tow anyway, because it had 4-wheel drive. Then they were late for the doctor and he no longer has the excuse that he’s part of a 20-person family, so he just looks like the jerk that he is.
  • Anna’s using the same OB as her mother in-law, how sweet/gross.
  • “She’s like the master of swallowing.” Best quote of the night. Yes, Josh was referring to Anna’s ability to swallow vitamin pills, but thank you TLC for including that one.
  • Also, thank you Josh for pushing the camera crew out of the exam room during your wife’s internal ultrasound, there are some things that do not need to be on TV. However it was very telling that the crew sort of expected that they would have been allowed to stay – I think Josh will let them film almost anything (e.g. he told them Anna was pregnant before he told her). I bet if Dr. Sarver (the OB) hadn’t mentioned that they should probably leave, we would’ve seen the whole exam on the show.
  • Why does Josh always drive the cars he’s selling at his used car lot? Doesn’t that just put extra mileage on them, which would be worse when it’s time to sell them?
  • I was already annoyed by Cousin Amy one minute into her appearance on the show. However, Boyfriend Mike is awesome. He would name his kids after Transformers! And during his pre-dinner prayer, he prayed for the baby that was “being processed.”
  • The whole go kart thing was rediculous. The girls could barely maneuver their long denim skirts into the cars, and poor Anna couldn’t even participate! What kind of date/family outing is that?

Modesty and Taking Responsiblity for Your Own Thoughts and Actions

I’ve been reading a lot about modesty lately. I don’t know why, probably a combination of the Duggars, that Purity Balls special, and the Modbe clothes. There seems to be big business in selling women clothes (or encouraging them to wear clothes) to keep them from “tempting” men, or show them anything that might be a “stumbling block.” In fact, this web site for young Christian guys ran a modesty survey to collect young men’s opinions on various topics. Um, why is it my problem that it’s a “stumbling block” for 46% of men to see a lacy shirt that reminds them of underwear, or 29% of men to see a girl take off a pullover? Or how about this comment from a 24 year-old respondant: “…it is such a blessing when we know that we can spend time with our sisters in Christ, enjoying their fellowship without having to constantly be on guard against ungodly thoughts brought about by the inappropriate ways they sometimes dress.”

Well, sorry guys, but I am of the opinion that you need to be responsible for your own thoughts and actions. Women have their own minds, bodies, and lives to take care of. So mind your own thoughts and I will mind mine.

And lest you think my purchase of Modbe clothing means I’m getting into the modesty movement or whatever, I’ve been wearing that hoodie (which is awesome, I love it) with cleavage-bearing v-neck shirts.



Halloween, Wedding, Purity Balls

I took Friday off work to do some things. Sacha went to the vet in the morning (he’s healthy, might never outgrow chewing stuff up, and is part Siamese(!) because he has this little crook in the tip of his tail that’s a genetic thing only Siamese cats have). Then I went out to pick up my shoes for Saturday (more on that later), and even though we hadn’t been planning on having any trick-or-treaters (because neither of us was going to be home, and kids hardly ever come to our house anyway), I picked up a bag of Halloween candy. Well! GG and I both actually ended up being home, so I put out our little string of Halloween lights on the porch (since we don’t have a porch light). Then we ordered Chinese food and sat in the living room to eat. The kids started pouring past our house. Of course, many people missed us, but there were lots of large groups, like a couple families going around together, so we handed out all our candy! The last group was a bunch of teenagers with plastic bags and no costumes. (One kid was wearing a Metallica t-shirt, and I asked, “What are you, a Metallica fan?” to which he replied, “Uh… drinking smoking.” Yeah, they did reek of smoke.) They wrecked it for everyone else that night, because I put away the lights and shut the door after their visit. Oh and also we only had 3 pieces of candy left at that point, and since people were coming in such large groups I didn’t want to have to say, “Sorry, only three of you get candy.” So we did end up handing stuff out, but at least it went quickly.

Saturday was the wedding, yay! I’d helped arrange all the flowers on Friday afternoon, and I got there early to set them all up for the reception. It was beautiful, and everyone was very happy, so that was great. Also, I got to meet my cousin’s girlfriend, and my brother’s girlfriend, and GG got to talk to the professional characature artist who was working there, and it was just a good time. (If you’re a friend of mine on Flickr, I have about a million photos.) My feet are still killing me, though! Here’s the story about my shoes: I bought a pair of shoes last week that would have been so perfect for my dress, except they were about an inch taller than the maximum height I would want to wear. Like, I could barely walk in them and GG was making fun of me. So on Thursday I ended up finding a new perfect pair of shoes at Famous Footwear. But I needed a size smaller than what they had, which they only had in stock in Royersford, so the girl at the store where I was called and had Rofo sit them aside for me to pick up Friday. So Friday I drove out and got the shoes. I put little pads in them so my feet wouldn’t hurt, even though the heels aren’t that high. Well. I was doing fine, until we all had to stand during the ceremony Saturday (there were just a couple rows of chairs, for the old people). After that, my feet were killing me the rest of the night. It was mostly pressure on the balls of my feet, and then Sunday morning it also felt like I’d been stubbing my toes all night or something. Not cool. But at least my shoes were cute and I got compliments all night..!

The “Purity Balls” special on TLC … Wow. A few thoughts:

  • These girls don’t have sex, kiss, or even hold hands until they are married? Wow, they make Josh and Anna Duggar look like a couple of wild tramps.
  • I don’t understand all the flavors of Christianity here, I guess. The Purity Ball girls can go to school and wear pants, unlike the Duggars, but have slightly stricter rules when it comes to boys/dating/marriage.
  • The father who “blessed” his family every week? Crrrrreepy! Okay, he is a minister, is that what gives him the right to do that to his family? He’s not the god of his family, shouldn’t they all just be worshiping god at the same level together?
  • It’s up to the father to choose and approve of his daughter’s future husband. How is he qualified to do that? Just like any human, he’s capable of making mistakes – it’s possible he might select the wrong guy. If their defense is that he’s following what god tells him or something, well why couldn’t god send the same message to the girl’s mom, or heck, the daughter herself?
  • The 13 year-old girl who said it was one of the 10 commandments to not kiss before marriage or whatever? And then couldn’t remember exactly which commandment that was? And then her older sister chimed in that it was the adultery one? Priceless.
  • I felt sorry for the girl who ended up breaking her pledge, got pregnant, miscarried, and was pretty much disowned by her mother for now living with her boyfriend, but no matter how little sex education you have, I think you realize that it doesn’t just “keep happening” – you are responsible for what you are doing!
  • Isn’t it amazing that none of the parents in their own youth had followed the rules they’re now laying out for their kids? Though they can still turn it around and the kids admire their strength for being able to overcome dating other people before their spouse.
  • The obvious question: Why are there no purity balls for boys? Why did the girls interviewed not seem to expect their future husband to have lived up to the same ideals and standards that they are? Even the husband of the one girl who’d gotten married had dated girls before Miss No-Touch.
  • If you’re going to go to one of these things, okay, adolescence seems like the time to do it. Why would you bring a 5 year-old? Does she even understand what she’s doing at that age?

I don’t know… my single mom raised me, and somehow I made it to this point without getting a disease or getting pregnant. I wore pants my whole life, held hands and kissed boys, went to college, and have a good job. I’m married to a man who was not vetted by my family (they like him, but there was no committee or anything to approve whether we could get married). I think I turned out okay! I’m totally happy with my life – I don’t feel like I missed out on some magical experience or something.

A Word on Josh Duggar’s Marriage

[Edit: 5/21/15] Looking for info on the allegations that came out in May, 2015? Check out the post I wrote today! [/Edit]

If you hadn’t heard yet, Josh Duggar, the oldest Duggar child at 20, married a girl named Anna (also 20) last Friday night. Just Google it, because it’s all over the internet. Anyway, after meeting at a homeschool conference in 2006, their “courtship” apparently consisted of phone calls (the Duggars live in Arkansas, Anna is from Florida), with occasional meetings but always with a chaperone present. Hand holding was a privilege, and their first kiss was after they said “I do.”

So let’s not even get into how these wacky kids are going to make their marriage work barely knowing each other, my main gripe is the chaperone thing. These people have just gotten married, having never been alone together. And it’s not just for courtship – from what I’ve been reading, the Duggars never let their children hang out with anyone from another family unescorted, even if they’re all the same gender. Why is this? My guess is that they want to make sure nobody introduces new ideas into their fundie minds. This is also why they limit TV and internet use in their home. If you had really raised your kids right, wouldn’t you be excited to send them out into the world with people different from them so they can share what they know, instead of worrying that some worldly knowledge might rub off on the kids?

Just something to think about. Happy breeding, Josh and Anna. Michelle might have a couple left in her before her uterus quits – it could be like Father of the Bride Part II!