Friday, November 11, 2011
The Daggers (er...Duggars)
Okay. Lest anyone think, because I have a blog, I'm up on current events. I am not. And, oddly, I'm not ashamed of it. But when I have a strong opinion about something "current", I try to do at least a little homework.
I was cleaning my kitchen the other day and had the TV on, mainly for background noise. When I'm up early, "The Today Show" usually entertains me enough to forget that I'm washing dishes or cleaning the previous nights' unidentifiable muck from my stove. I was innocently, almost happily, scrubbing a pan when I heard a story begin about "The Duggars". I swear to Rudy that I'd never heard of them before. So I half-listened and continued my toiling. (Keeping a spotless kitchen while creating gourmet meals is something I don't do, nor do I aspire to. But if people think I do, more power to me.)
While eavesdropping on my TV I overheard Ann Curry talking to The Duggars about their 19 children. The number 19 piqued my curiosity, so I turned the water down low so I could half-pay attention. After a bit of small talk about their existing 19 progeny, I glanced up at the television screen as Ann thrust the microphone into the face of Mrs. Duggar and gleefully asked, "So, I understand that Number 20 is on the way. How do you feel about that?" I stopped scrubbing.
Really? I thought two things, simultaneously. 1) "You have her on the show and she must be ecstatic, so why ask?" And 2) "What sane person welcomes a 20th child when they already have 19?" And, actually, Thought No. 2 was a precursor to Thought No. 3, which was, "What sane person wants 19 children in the first place?" Mrs. Duggar went on to explain how child No. 20 was a blessing, yada, yada, yada. (I'm paraphrasing, hence the 'yada') and they're eternally grateful that God's will allowed them to continue pumping out babies. Again, I'm paraphrasing, but the sentiment is legit: neither Mr. or Mrs. Duggar have any problem having so many children.
My consternation has nothing to do with 'pro-life', or 'right-to-life', or religion or, really, anything incendiary (but don't get me started on Mississippi). My question is this: What psychological dysfunction compelled you (The Duggars) to believe that it was your moral or religious obligation to have so many children? 20? TWENTY? What kind of house would you need to raise them in? The Brady Bunch had a 3 bedroom house and 3 brothers shared a room and 3 sisters shared a room, and Dad was an architect! Even he couldn't find a way to give at least the oldest kids a room of their own.
And how do you afford to take care of these kids, nearly two dozen? My girlfriend Christy said, in her infinitely plain-spoken wisdom, "Well, that's why they pimp them out to the networks for a TV show." So, of course, me being the insensitive cad that I am, answered, "So if the parents are pimps, then the 20 children must be...". I didn't finish the thought, but by golly, I wanted to.
We're turning people into celebrities for having too many kids. (Yes, I'll say for the record, that I think 20 kids is too many.) As a mostly-proud American, it makes me wonder what foreigners are saying about us. I mean, hell, foreigners are denigrating us anyway, but this kind of thing just seems like a gimme. "Hey, did you hear the latest? The Americans are giving those baby machines a TV show!" "What people?" "You know -- the ones with all the children."
Really. As a nation, from the government on down, we've already credit-carded ourselves into the poor-house. We're not a super-power anymore even though we keep acting like one. Do we really need to give the rest of the world more ammunition to attack us?
I don't think we should turn into China and start passing laws about how many children we should be allowed to have. But shouldn't common sense kick in and tell us when enough is enough?
at 9:30 PM