The Duggars bid us all a fond farewell

The “Learning” Channel has taken the plunge at last and terminated the Duggar show. The Duggar family (or their PR staff) have issued a “statement” (as if they were public officials). Let’s read their “statement.”

Today, TLC announced that they will not be filming new episodes of 19 Kids and Counting.

Years ago, when we were asked to film our first one hour documentary about the logistics of raising 14 children, we felt that it was an opportunity to share with the world that children are a blessing and a gift from God.

No, not “share with the world that.” They mean “try to convince the world that.” [Read more…]

No Fifth for you

Poor Duggars. They’re still in the weeds, trying to figure out why god won’t pluck them to safety.

According to In Touch, which first broke the molestation story involving the former “19 Kids and Counting” star, one of 27-year-old Josh Duggar’s victims who isn’t in his immediate family will be filing a civil lawsuit against him.

The anonymous source who told In Touch about the lawsuit added that it could be very damaging not just for Josh, but the entire family, because as a civil proceeding about a crime whose statute of limitations has expired, neither he nor his parents would be allowed to plead the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination.

Aww…so they have to spill or be in contempt?

Being forced to answer uncomfortable questions about when they knew about Josh’s behavior — and after they learned about it, what measures they took to protect his siblings and their friends from him — could put the future of “19 Kids and Counting” in even greater jeopardy than it already is.

Or, who knows, it could just prompt even more on-air crying and complaints of martyrdom to the Libbrul Agenda.

Legal experts told In Touch that the victim will be eligible to sue Josh Duggar under Arkansas Code Annotated Section 16-56-130, which stipulates that victims of a sexual assault can bring civil litigation against their attackers whenever they begin to feel the effects of the abuse — even if that occurs years later.

I wonder if there are similar stipulations in states where Bill Cosby pursued his hobby.


And who was that man?

Holy crap. Libby Anne did some Google-sleuthing after the Duggar parents’ interview, and she found something pretty…telling.

While Josh initially molested his sisters while they slept, he eventually began molesting them while they were awake, too. Did the family value personal space so little that the girls seriously had no idea this this was inappropriate?

“We pulled him out [of the home], and he went through working with that man.”

What man, pray?

“This man really reached his heart.”

“This man” is convenient shorthand for “I don’t want to tell you who.”

But there were clues. [Read more…]

Even 1,000 times worse

I saw about half of the Duggar sisters’ interview on Fox last night, and it was revolting. It turns out that Josh Duggar did nothing wrong and the Duggar parents did nothing wrong, and the real perpetrator here is the wicked secular agenda-driven news media, for reporting on Josh Duggar’s sexual abuse of his younger sisters.

The Washington Post has highlights.

“We are victims,” Dillard tearfully told Kelly in another portion of the interview. Explaining her reaction to the moment when allegations against her brother came to light last month, she said: “They can’t do this to us.”

“I see it as a re-victimization that’s even 1,000 times worse,” Dillard said. [Read more…]

But who put them on TV in the first place?

Jill Filipovic has a brilliant piece on the Duggars’ interview.

What viewers got was a long defense of the Duggar parents, a minimization of Josh’s crimes, and a fuller illustration of why a misogynist “purity culture” is bad for girls, boys, and sexual assault victims in particular. What the Duggars proved is that their own self-interest in gaining status, influence, and money outweighed the needs of their own daughters — and that Michelle and Jim Bob aren’t just kooky religious extremists, but parents capable of remarkable manipulation and cruelty.

Nobody’s a kooky religious extremist; that’s not a thing. Religious extremism is too destructive and terrible to be kooky.

Josh comes to his parents to say he’s molested his sisters in their bedroom. They don’t do much beyond feel “devastated” (that word comes up a lot in the interview), watch him closely, and tell him not to do it again. He does it again, this time on the couch. They feel devastated. They watch him closely and tell him not to do it again. He does it again, this time under their clothes. At some point he also molests a babysitter. They feel devastated. [Read more…]

Rerun: Turn the other what?

I wrote this post on March 27, 2010. For some reason it feels peculiarly relevant again today.

The LA Times notices that the pope has a problem. The problem is that instead of just saying ‘We did a terrible terrible terrible thing, and we did it for decade upon decade,’ the Vatican is lashing out at 1) news outlets that report the terrible things the church has been doing and 2) other institutions that do terrible things. This is infantile and disgusting, and it is unworthy of an institution that (to repeat a point I’ve made a few hundred times) purports to have a higher and better morality than anyone else. It is unworthy because it persists in caring more about the self than the object of the terrible actions. This fact all by itself shows that they are if anything morally worse than the majority of reasonably good people. There’s a reason for that. The reason is this: if you become convinced – if you have good reason to realize – that you have caused appalling harm and suffering to another sentient being, then the only thing you should be feeling about that is agonized repentance. That’s all there is to it. Your angushed empathy and regret should simply inundate all self-concerned feelings, blotting them out of your awareness. This is all the more true if you’re a huge powerful age-encrusted institution that is able to command deference and obedience – right down to literal kneeling – from millions of people and even from heads of state, and the sentient beings are underage, small, weak, and defenseless. You should be grinding your head into the dirt with remorse, in the intervals of doing everything you can to repair the damage to your victims. The last thing you should be doing is even thinking about how all this will affect you. Yet the church is doing exactly that. It’s not surprising, but it damn well is shocking.

Earlier in the week, New York’s archbishop, Timothy Dolan, used his blog to dismiss the New York Times’ reports and defend the pontiff’s record by arguing that authorities outside the church also are culpable…Sadly, this latest everybody-is-responsible-so-nobody-is-to-blame defense is of a piece with a little-noticed section of Benedict’s letter to the Irish church in which he seemed to blame the crisis, in part, on “new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society.”

[Read more…]

God’s principles

USA Today reports a bit from the Duggars’ interview that shows how completely they still don’t get it – perhaps how incapable they are of ever getting it, because they don’t get the underlying basic point.

Kelly also pressed them on the widespread criticism that they lectured others about sin while covering up their own sins.

“Everybody has things in their past in their families,” Michelle said. “Our son violated God’s principles, and it was terrible what Josh did, it was inexcusable but it was not unforgivable,” added Jim Bob.

See it? They think it’s about “God’s principles.” It’s not. It’s about the well-being of the girls Josh molested – it’s about the harm he did to them. It’s about human beings, not god. Morality is about human beings, not god. The Duggars are probably incapable of ever understanding that.

The Duggars’ interview with Kelly was their first public discussion of the scandal that has deeply damaged their show, their children, their pious image and their conservative GOP politics since InTouch magazine published a story May 21 based on police reports obtained under a Freedom of Information request to Arkansas authorities.

But the interview totally turned that around.

Just kidding.


Michelle Duggar says there’s an agenda

Did you see the Duggars’ interview? I only caught the last 15 minutes (will watch it all eventually, obvs) but that was bad enough – jaw-droppingly disgusting. Michelle bleating away in that self-consciously meek little voice about people who have “an agenda” and how terrible they are.

Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast has some highlights.

Megyn Kelly may not have wagged a finger at them or damned them to hell, the way so many of us wished she would have. But she did ask them tough, responsible, and necessary questions.

She asked why they protected a son who was harming their daughters. She asked for details that would refute the accusations that they covered his misdeeds up. She asked them if they were hypocrites. She asked specifically about Michelle’s comparing transgender women to child molesters. And Michelle stood by it. “It’s common sense,” she said, proving that she has no blessed idea what “common sense” is.

More, she thinks people accusing them of hypocrisy have an unholy ax to grind.

“Everyone of us has done something wrong. That’s why Jesus came,” she said. “This is more about—there’s an agenda. There are people who are purposing to bring things out and twisting them to hurt and slander.”

[Read more…]


Josh Marhsall at Talking Points Memo:

In Touch Weekly is reporting that in 2007, when Josh Dugger was 19[,] he sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services to prevent them from making a finding against him or possibly to prevent on-going monitoring of his interactions with his sisters.

I’m writing this here in the Editor’s Blog because In Touch Weekly‘s reporting on this seems thinly sourced and, let’s be honest, In Touch Weekly is not where we normally go for industry standard reporting.

They had documents for the previous stories, but this one is just “as told to.”

According to this report, when local police decided that no crime had been committed within the three year statute of limitations, they nonetheless referred the case to Arkansas’s Families in Need of Services agency. The FNS has a different charge – not criminal culpability but protecting the welfare of children in the state. In other words, the statute of limitations wouldn’t be relevant to their ability or charge to monitor Josh Duggar since he was still living in the Duggar home with his younger sisters.

So a bit less than a year after an anonymous tipster put in motion the chain of events that led to the actual police investigation in 2006, Josh Duggar apparently sued the state to block something the state DHS was doing. This was around the time that the Duggar family reality show was moving into production for its first season in 2008.

So they probably didn’t want quite that much “reality” in their “reality show” about how fabulous they are.

Josh Duggar was apparently successful in his legal action. According to the report, the records of the lawsuit as well as the documentation which the suit was over are both sealed.

Maybe he too will be invited to speak at TAM.