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The Duggar Family Chooses New Letter, Continues to Outbreed You

For those of you as-yet-unaware of the Duggar family, they are a rapidly-expanding clan of fundamentalist Christians and reality stars based in Arkansas. They are also the future. When Jim-Bob Duggar and Michelle Ruark got married, they were a typical … Read More

By / October 9, 2009

For those of you as-yet-unaware of the Duggar family, they are a rapidly-expanding clan of fundamentalist Christians and reality stars based in Arkansas. They are also the future.

When Jim-Bob Duggar and Michelle Ruark got married, they were a typical Southern Christian couple. They had a few kids, and then Michelle suffered a miscarriage. Their doctor told them that Michelle’s miscarriage was caused by their use of birth control pills in the past. Saddened and horrified, they then vowed to eschew all forms of family planning and let the Lord choose how many children they would have. [The Duggars are reportedly followers of the ultra-evangelical Quiverfull movement, but they deny it when the cameras are on.] Now, they’re expecting their nineteenth – yes, you read that correctly – child in the spring. Each of those children has been given a name that starts with the letter J, for continuity purposes. These names include the ordinary (Jennifer, James, Jill), the oddly repetitive (Jana, Johannah, Joy-Anna), the painfully old-fashioned (Jeremiah and Jedidiah, who are twins), and the just plain mean (Jinger). 

Last night, the Duggars, veteran parents, became first-time grandparents. Their oldest son Josh, who married Anna Keller last year after a "courtship" that allowed handholding but no kissing or going anywhere without a chaperone, is now a dad. Anna gave birth to a daughter last night. The child, whose younger aunt or uncle is due around April 2010, was given a unique and rare privilege – a name that starts with a letter other than J. The new addition, Mackynzie Renee, will be the subject of her very own special episode of the Duggars’ TLC reality series, 18 Kids and Counting, next week.

Why, you may ask, is this news? It’s news because they’re outbreeding us. I may dislike kids, but every time I hear about the Duggars popping out another sprog I start thinking I should procreate just to balance them out. Despite my dislike of their lifestyle, the Duggars seem like pretty nice people. They remind me of a lot of the evangelicals I grew up around in the South. To be honest, they’re probably more fond of Jews than they are of, say, Catholics. That’s not to say I’d like to strap on a prairie dress and join their clan – they adhew strictly to gender roles, eat tons of processed food, don’t believe in evolution, and are homophobic. [Side note: one of my favorite games during an episode of 18 Kids and Counting is trying to guess which kid is gay. I mean, look - statistically speaking, the odds say there's at least one or two. I have my suspicions.] There are plenty of reasons to have a child, but building an army of automatons for Jesus shouldn’t be one of them. Are the Duggars, with their apparent child hoarding tendencies, better or worse than my yuppie friends who spoil their only children with $27 a can organic baby food and handmade satin onesies? Perhaps part of the national fascination with the Duggars, the Gosselins, Octo-Mom and the rest is that they are the result of a country who worships childrearing to the point of fetishization. When we praise people for simply giving birth, what is there to discourage them from stopping? When we love watching outsized families on TV so much that a woman willingly implants herself with nine fetuses in the hopes not of having a happy family but landing a lucrative reality TV contract, what’s to stop anyone else from having the same idea? When America finally tires of the let’s-stare-at-these-huge-families craze, what will happen to the kids who were conceived solely to become breadwinners for their parents? Something tells me we’ll wind up with a lot of children in therapy as they learn how to be regular people without cameras around and new, cute siblings at the ready.

Maybe, instead of trying to force my uterus to compete with Michelle Duggar’s, I should just wait for some of the kids to jump ship. Hey, little Jezebel or Jehosophat: if you ever want to run away to New York City and become an evil secular liberal, give me a call. There’s a couch – and a barstool – with your name on it.

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