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Friday, August 03, 2007

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar: 17 and counting

This blog post has been moved to a new location: http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/dialogues/users/rvaleev/blog/jim-bob-michelle-duggar-17-counting

Read more of our blogs at http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/dialogues/communicate


  • Even if Jim Bob and Michelle can afford all 17 of their "gifts from god" will their progeny be able to afford all the therapy and rehab bills that are sure to stack up after 17 years of Duggan Family Line-Ups

    Maybe if someone explained to Jim Bob that it's not God who makes children, poor Michelle may actually have some time to rest

    By Blogger Anna Rose, at Fri Aug 03, 12:43:00 PM PDT  

  • There is a version of this photo floating around that reads, "Vagina. It's not a clown car."

    Honestly, enough is enough. These people travel around in a shuttle bus, for chrissake.

    By Anonymous jeff, at Sat Aug 04, 12:03:00 AM PDT  

  • Why does every comment I've ever read about this large and seemingly happy family attack the Duggars for the number of children they decided to have, their faith, or the public perception that there is no such thing as enough love from two parents for 17 children? That's ridiculous and childish to me. It's mean just for the sake of being mean to people who are perceived as different for their life-choices that in no wise impacts any of these narrowminded critics.

    I commend anyone who chooses to have a child at all into today's society. I commend the strength of families everywhere. I commend great parents who selflessly commit to rearing fine healthy children. There is nothing wrong with parents who want more than a McMansion in some suburban concentration camp for their 2.5 kids, the dog they come to love more than the kids, and the competitive great-paying jobs that keep them away from the kids, who wind up in therapy trying to find out why mom and dad loved the 2.5 of them less than the Hummer.

    I grew up in a family of seven kids very happily. My folks weren't rich, and had to work. So, the older of us frequently cared for the younger of us. But, none of us came away from that bitter or in need of therapy. We love each other more and more every day, recalling growing up together fondly. It made us responsible productive adults with a lot of great memories about growing up together. None of us required therapy, rehab from chemical abuse, or had any trouble with the authorities beyond a few traffic violations. We managed to get decent jobs, marry, have our own kids, and pick a week annually when we crowd back in at the family home where we continue to enjoy being a huge family.

    Frequently, my folks took in the kids from overwhelmed family members and friends we loved like family. So, often, there were more than twelve and fourteen kids spread between two adults. It wasn't the end of civilization. It was family! That days were tight and lean didn't end the world. It just meant we had to lovingly pull together to struggle more efficiently than usual to ensure that the roof didn't link, both toilets worked, there was enough food, no one was forced to go naked, and the utilities stayed on. No, there weren't many vacations. There weren't a lot of frilly luxuries like a TV in every room. But, we had each other, something we still all have to this very day.

    Granted, the vagina is not a clown car. However, critics have yet to insult the vagina guilty of carting in some true clowns like Brittany, Lindsay, Paris, Anna Nicole, our boozing drug addled Commander-n-Thief Dubya, and other clowns from vaginally delivered smaller groups who are screaming for an intervention. It's a pro-choice world until a man and his wife freely choose to have the family of their choice, not the one more fitting with the social norms of the day. There is only freedom of religion for folks who are bashing the traditions of Jewish-Christian practice. Let some of these critics tell it, only enough affluent aesthetically perfect attractive children necessary to fill the second row seat of one's two-story SUV need be born to any family. After all, no one is capable of loving more than four or five immediately accessible people during his lifetime, right? All you prejudiced critics need to check yourselves, and cease with all your terse religious compound-life generalizations about large Christian families. It's not fair to them and it makes you look kind of culturally limited.

    When I see the Duggar Family, I see 19 very content people, which is very rare indeed in this world wherein discontent is fueled by a synthetically generated appetite for what we're told we can't live without. This family may not be affluent, overly fashionable, or famous for more than their numbers. But, they're genuinely happy together. They have great faith and a commitment to their GOD that they obviously value. They have love and support that is indeed rare in America. I find nothing weird, abnormal, or obtuse about the Duggars at all. The Duggars, too, sing America.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Aug 05, 12:47:00 PM PDT  

  • I agree with the 3rd post. Everyone is judging and criticizing these people for their choice to have a large family and being Christians. Everyone automatically assumes that these people are covert white supremist Christian soldiers breeding the next reactionary wave of right-to-life, gay-hating, patriarchal lobotomized hypocrites to battle satan in the O'Reilly reported American Culture War. And, that's not fair, and likely fartherst from the Duggars' goal in life. There is nothing anywhere known about this family that suggests more than that they are numerous, Christian, and choose to live a less complicated life that just happens to run countercurrent to the idiocy advocated as cool, exciting, and to-die-for in American ad-whoring sit-coms. We shouldn't criminalize them any more than we should cleave to the idiocy that gay marriage somehow affects straight marriage.

    Why don't we all do our own thing, and chill with all this madness about the vagina not being a clown car, especially when your posted identity would indicate that you were not even born with a vagina!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Aug 07, 08:29:00 AM PDT  

  • wow, some great comments.

    I whole-heartedly support women and men doing whatever they choose with their own bodies.

    In my own personal opinion, I believe that we also have some accountability to our community and our environment. Most of us realize that resources are strained, we're going to run out of oil and clean water. That's 17 more mouths to feed with food flown in from Chile and Mexico, 17 more people to outfit in polyester clothes sewn by children in China. Anyways, that's just my apocalyptic vision.

    On the other hand, it's nice that they have the option to have 17 children. It's wonderful that they were all wanted and planned pregnancies (I assume).

    But once again, my personal opinion is, if you want so many children, why not adopt. There are so many children out there whose parents, for one reason or another, could not take care of them. Why not give those kids a chance to wear matching outfits and stand in the Duggan family line up?

    This is, please remember, just my opinion.

    By Blogger Anna Rose, at Tue Aug 07, 09:41:00 AM PDT  

  • Anna Rose,

    People don't adopt because the same pro-life advocates who preach "have the kid no matter what" are the same legislaters who make adoption near impossible for anyone except affluent European American heterosexual couples whom my favorite commentator aptly described in the 3rd post. Yuppies in Hummers who reside in gated communities in LMN concentration camps in Stepford, Connecticutt.

    Let's despense with the feigned concern for the environment, okay? The Duggars are no greater a burden on our natural resources than you phonies who harp on protecting the environment while bearing the largest and most damaging environmental footprint per person on the planet. The Duggars probably boast a smaller collective environmental footprint than your personal individual footprint. These folks live in a modest home that they are pretty much constantly remodeling themselves to fit their modest familial needs. They grow a lot of their food, and make a lot of their own clothing to cut the cost of living. They don't claim to possess more than enough transportation for themselves than what it necessary for them to get around. They obviously aren't going that far. They're not eating out daily. They aren't mall rats. They aren't into designer labels and hair/nails crap. And, not every single kid is pictured with a camera phone, an I-Pod, and a Sony handheld game station, with his backpack loaded with ten or more expensive cartridges. Most rural Americans don't sew with polyester, preferring cotton and linen in the summer, and wool in the winter, as these are natural fibers that breath. And, I'll bet you own at least a dozen pairs of shoes by yourself, while this entire family may boast 51 pair of shoes max, with most of those being handed down.

    More importantly, the 17 Duggars children will emerge from an environment of love, responsibility, emotional stability, and established identity that is not only rare, but exceptional. They will know the responsibility for caring for others. They will have experienced consideration of each other. They will have shared. And they will have honed processess for facilitating diplomatic compromise that consequently equitably benefits everyone involved. These are lifeskills that the spoiled, pampered single-born urbanites emerging from Humvies at the Country Club soccer field miss. These over indulged brats usually have such skills displaced with an unjustifiable sense of entitlement to the deed to Planet Earth. The Duggars will grow up knowing that all humanity is worthy of social entitlement, though only a few will receive it on merrit based on what these offer society, not what society OWES them. I actually cringe at these children reaching adulthood and having to enter a world filled with mean prejudiced people who find them to be freaks born to some Christian borg. These 17 good and decent kids will leave home to enter a crazy world where they encounter folks like you and Jeff, stuck on stupid about the personal familial decision their parents made.

    Let's be fair, Anna Rose. So, rearing 17 kids is your definition of an apocalyptic disaster. As the environmentally conscious single black female parent of NONE, I can most certainly appreciate your choice. Howerver, I will literally be damned before I intrude upon the Duggars' right to have the 17 children they have elected to have. Their decision neither impacts me nor the environment that greatly. If you're for adoption, fine, fight for that. Because, you're right; there are always seventeen existing kids who need a good home. But, also pass that memo along to the women who are abusing their bodies in fertility clinics to "vaginally clown-car" in humanly unnatural litters of six or more preemies who are going to spend the first year of life on life-support at our expence. Make sure your suggestion reaches these affluent papparazzi-chased yuppies who are fashionably bagging up posh babies from everywhere but America as preferred designer accessories. Be sure seventeen kids are placed in the permenant custody of each of these patriotic Christian abortion-clinic protestors who fight our handing out condoms in the classroom and find sex ed to be satanic. And, make doubley sure these sanctimonious patriarchal pro-life legislaters, idiots who have made it too costly and near impossible for a great parent to adopt an orphaned child, each receive 17 of these mismanaged systems clogs, while you're ruling the universe. But, why dog out the Duggars for being able to naturally have and afford the 17 children they want and so love? The Duggars have done nothing wrong to anyone in having and loving their 17 children.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Aug 07, 02:03:00 PM PDT  

  • Interesting retort anonymous. I'm curious if you are friends with the Duggars cause you seem to know quite a bit about them.

    I'm also curious if you read my whole comment.

    I want to say that I'd much rather read about a loving family than a Florida Rep getting caught trying to give head to some random dude in apublic restroom (see blog for more details!!)!

    I'm all for happy families and in fact, did state that "it's nice that they have the option to have 17 children. It's wonderful that they were all wanted and planned pregnancies (I assume)."

    I don't quite see how that's attacking the Duggars (or why they'd really care what I say) but hey, maybe i'm out of touch.

    You called me on the environmental thing, I don't really care. I live in the US and by legacy that means I will leave a huge, dare I use the term, 'carbon footprint'. And that's probably not going to change soon.

    Even if it did China is only getting more environmentally unfriendly and poser urbanites in the US pretending to do their part by driving 25k hybrids and hiring day laborers to haul 30k worth of solar panels onto their newly remodeled green condo roofs are just fooling themselves.

    Hey I don't want kids (bu I"m still available for babysitting!)

    As for adoption, your point is kind of mute. I know that the process of adoption is extremely difficult and unfairly biased. However, in this case, I would say that Jim-Bob, a White real estate agent and former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives and his wife Michelle, also a real estate agent, could probably find a way to adopt, if they so chose.

    Finally, I have to wonder if you know me, since you seem to have me pegged. If you do, do you think you can hook me up with the Duggar's oldest son? He's pretty hot! Or if he's taken, the daughter?

    By Blogger Anna Rose, at Tue Aug 07, 03:45:00 PM PDT  

  • jim bob and michelle remind me of animal hoarders -- except their house is cleaner...also i agree with everything anna rose said :-D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Aug 07, 04:13:00 PM PDT  

  • "There are so many children out there whose parents, for one reason or another, could not take care of them. Why not give those kids a chance to wear matching outfits and stand in the Duggan family line up?" -Anna Rose Tue Aug 07, 09:41:00 AM PDT

    Now, that was a low blow to crassly criticize their attire, and reference their pose derrogatorily as a line-up. These are children! Have a freaking heart, Anna Rose!

    Point 1: It is neither the Duggars' fault ror their problem that there are folks who had kids they could not afford. The Duggars led by example, having kids they could afford.

    Point 2: If you feel these abandoned orphans need to be adopted, dressed in matching outfits, and lined up for photoshoots, lead by example and adopt as many as you can. Buy them matching flammable polyester. Feed them imported waste. You can even let them wear knock-off designer labels made by foreign slaves in other countries, so as not to lose your apocalyptic vision. When you get 17 kids, hell, we'll spring for the photoshoot.

    The rest of us are going to continue to fight with American Farmers, Unions, and every other social progressive fighting to get industry and agriculture back to America within one hundred miles of American venders who sell us the wares. This way, some of these abandoned kids whom parents can't afford for whatever reason will once again have working parents who can afford to feed, clothe, shelter, educate them, and provide health care. Then we won't have to endure more of this fake, judgemental centrist dreck from indifferent, unconcerned, prejudiced liberals like you and Jeff.

    By Blogger rage, at Tue Aug 07, 04:20:00 PM PDT  

  • Anna Rose,

    The Duggars are not new to us Discovery Channel viewers. There was a special on them when there were just 16 kids.

    Coming from a much smaller African American inner city Chicago family, watching the Duggars was fascinating to me. My great grandparents came from a family that large in Tennessee, from a farm. But none of the following generations boasted families larger than five children. So, it was fun and interesting to see a family that large in a contemporary setting.

    So, no, I don't know them personally. But, their story did interest me enough to read up on them online.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tue Aug 07, 04:31:00 PM PDT  

  • To Rage: the term "line up" has not been used to offend the Duggar family. The term is used by the Discovery Channel documentary. So chill out.

    To anonymous: you commend anyone who chooses to have children and then 15 words later you trash suburban families. So do you not want suburbanites to breed? Or should every family be like yours?

    To others: Duggars do seem like a completely happy and cool family (too bad Rage didn't enjoy that type of background). I am very happy for them and I do believe that there is certain economies of scale that reduce carbon footprint for large families.

    And finally, research does show that kids from large families perform worse in school (by this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Conley). And research found the more children couples had, the worse their health and the more likely they were to die early. To all of you out there who wants to say "I came from a large family and I turned out great and my parents are still alive and healthy", well just remember n=1 isn't much of a proof.

    By Blogger kazanit, at Wed Aug 08, 09:05:00 AM PDT  

  • To kazanit:




    And, so!

    By Blogger rage, at Wed Aug 08, 11:00:00 AM PDT  

  • And finally, research does show that kids from large families perform worse in school (by this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Conley). And research found the more children couples had, the worse their health and the more likely they were to die early. To all of you out there who wants to say "I came from a large family and I turned out great and my parents are still alive and healthy", well just remember n=1 isn't much of a proof. --Kazanit


    Too many of these ridiculous studies say exactly what Big Pharma or whoever is footing the bills want them to say. So, I guess you're half way right about n=1 not being the most reliable data. I certainly would never dismiss a family of 17 children as mental dwarves based on the single study by one guy this hostile crowd has discovered noted stellarly by the renowned folks at Wikipedia where anyone can and unfortunately does contribute information. You couldn't research this site for more credible academic support of your premise?

    No one is saying the suburbanites should not breed. Actually I personally encourage anyone capable of having a child who wants to be a parent to do the damned thing. Have as many as you want. But that's exactly my point: pro-choice allows ANYONE to live with the choices he or she makes, without being curtly restrained to narrowed social norms of other groups. Therefore, if 17 kids is what the Duggars want, since none of their critical urban and suburban detractors have to birth or raise a single child, they should be allowed the dignity to live freely without this hostility.

    You've called the wife's womb a clown car, invariably dismissing the children as little clowns. You've criticized their clothes. You've predicted that they will wind up sick, and mentally diminished, with no sense of identity. We've damned the Duggars' "little gifts from God" to expensive therapy and rehab centers. You've accused them of being a drain on society and our natural resourses. You've belittled them for their shuttle bus tours. You've likened the parents to animal horders, only in a cleaner house. Then, someone even had the audacious temerity to impose a limit on how many children these people should be allowed to have, declaring that Enough is Enough! Good Lord! Has anyone judged or criticized any of you this harshly for any of your life decisions? Has anyone come up with a study to support your damnation just because who you are or what you're doing was aesthetically different, odd, against the grain of the norm, or unusual?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Aug 08, 11:57:00 AM PDT  

  • Being the author of the original blog post, I thought I was pretty respectful to the Duggars, never posting any references to clown cars. So I assume "You've called..." is broadly applied to a certain segment?

    I do apologize for posting a wiki link - it was my attempt to make research findings more accessible. But I do have to admit, I meet Pharma reps regularly in dark corners and they pay me money to promote their Pharma research. Oh the shame - I have been caught.

    And there is just so much self-projection in these last comments. "Mental dwarfs" - where did that come from?

    But for now, I have to admit my total defeat - the intellectual strength and objective constructive criticism of the comments have reduced me to mush. I do not have the power to battle such powerful statements as "so....so....so." I leave this world a broken man.

    By Blogger kazanit, at Wed Aug 08, 01:03:00 PM PDT  

  • To the author of the original post:

    The only thing you hoped was that every post was going to cut these folks down the way anna rose and jeff with the vagina did.

    Try not to be so pissed that everyone who has seen the photo or read about the family is not as viciously prejudiced as you are.

    That people don't always agree with you does not make you a victim of their opinions. That you would post the photo of someone else's family only to open them to hostile criticism does make you a thoughtless annoying PRICK though. But, not a victim. Prick, yes! Victim, no!

    By Blogger rage, at Fri Aug 10, 07:41:00 PM PDT  

  • First of all, may I just say, that there is no need to insult other people. There are a few things I would like to say:

    1. I do not think it fair that the older children have to take care of the younger children. While helping out is not a problem, as I believe that kids should indeed assist their parents, I simply to do not understand why someone would think that it was alright to assign their child to be a stand-in parent. These children did not choose to be in this role; they were simply born first.

    2. Secondly, what actually bothers me most about this situation is that they are teaching their daughters to be submissive to men. While many people may agree with this idea, it makes me wonder how many of the children Michelle actually wanted to have, and how many her husband wanted to have. I am not there, and I have not been involved in their conversations (clearly). It would be unfair and incorrect for me to state that what I just wrote was indeed fact, but it is something that I wonder about. It saddens me that Michelle will never be in charge of her own destiny.

    3. There is no question as to whether or not the Duggar's will have a large carbon footprint. There is also, however, no question as to whether or not many families with fewer people have a larger carbon footprint. I think that we are all guilty of consuming rather more than we deserve, and I think that it is great that they do sew their own clothes.

    I guess some my questions will never be answered but it is good to see that these children are loved.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Aug 13, 10:46:00 PM PDT  


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Oct 23, 08:01:00 AM PDT  

  • I love how Christians keep blaming criticisms of this family on the fact that these people are Christian, or conservative, or have a large family. THE REASON PEOPLE CRITICIZE THE DUGGARS IS BECAUSE OF THEIR BLATANT HYPOCRISY, claiming they don't let their children watch TV yet they are on a TV show, that controlling Jim Bob wants his sons to go to college but not his daughters (is this 1912? Women have brains, too), and the mass psychological damage being inflicted on any child growing up in an environment where their lives are constantly taped and aired to millions (many of whom don't have any say in anything). This is NOT a Christian thing, it's a common sense thing. These people are exploiting their family and profiting big time, regardless of the humble image they are trying to project.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Oct 26, 09:59:00 PM PDT  

  • there children have no concept of reality. They better hope that there father can come up with a career for all of them as they will never be able to work in the real world.

    I just say an clip of the 20yo son who is getting married. He isn't going to kiss until his wedding ceremony. GIVE ME A BREAK.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Nov 01, 09:01:00 PM PDT  

  • and would michelle get a hair style....

    By Anonymous ryan, at Sat Nov 01, 09:02:00 PM PDT  

  • With over population a huge problem for our world, I find popping out babies like Pez, whether you love and can afford them more than selfish. I am sure they are lovely people, but what does the future hold for them and for an already overburded world. How about adopting a child who is already here and needs the love and care just like any other child?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat Nov 22, 09:56:00 AM PST  

  • How we see the Duggar family represented on television, edited according to what Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the editors of the show, the producers, the channel, and the sponsors of the show want us to see, will never be a "true" view of the family. It's not as though this is a camcorder view of the Duggars that we can access day, night, anytime, and that would reveal the usual kinds of discord other families experience. The Duggar family life, as it is filmed over hours and days and weeks and months, is condensed and moments of taping are selected and spliced together in order to give us a picture of nothing other than a happy family. The background music and the other particulars of the show are all selected to enforce this image of family happiness, togetherness, wholesomeness, and, yes, endless energy. We can't make judgments about the real family because we can never know them; we can only perceive them through other peoples' lenses. From our own perspectives as folks who most likely come from non-televised, publicized "reality" show families, we can only see and understand the Duggars based on our own experiences and, quite correctly, come to the conclusion that all is probably not as it is seen on TV." The function of this show is to make all the rest of us feel guilty if we are exasperated at times with the real human complications that take place in our much smaller families; to feel guilty if we feel overwhelmed or tired or feel a need to get away from our children now and then, to want lives of our own that aren't totally based on our reproductive choices; to feel guilty if we have not had children, no matter the reason; to feel guilty if we reach for education, dreams, goals, and relationships outside of our own families or families just like ours in terms of religious beliefs, race, and economic class; and in the end to feel that any discontent we might have is indicative of our own lack of so-called American family values, rather than the fact that those values, as represented in this television show, are limited and distorted, to say the very least. So what then is left for us to do? To embrace whole-heartedly the "conservative" values of the Duggan family and suppress any other feelings and needs? Or perhaps to buy the "family-oriented" products promoted during the show in order to make us so-called better parents? The point is to remember that this is a re-presentation of this family's life, not the real thing itself; to keep in mind always that there is no family (including the Duggan family) on the face of the earth that doesn't experience strife at one point or the other.

    By Blogger madamemaxime, at Thu Dec 25, 08:56:00 PM PST  

  • Having just watched 17 kids and counting, i am amazed and delighted by the Duggar family. The family is well structured and down to earth, and added to that Jim and Michelle are still very much in love. I think that Jim and Michelle Duggar are doing a very good job of raising a family they should really be proud of. I have 3 children and have found that tiring at times.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Dec 31, 01:37:00 AM PST  

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