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.

The Duggars.

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?

51 comments:

  1. Bravo! Well said.! They deserve a kick in the pants. They are not sane and milk the system for everything they can. No one man can earn enough to support that huge of a family ever! So they really must be creative in their resources. Hey they even have built in babysitters lol... Well I am sure the more children the help comes with it. I have one teenager and I swear that is enough for me. I love her with all my heart but do not ever remember being difficult myself at that age. All I can say is shame on our government, shame on them for continuing to have more.children, and despite the glowing happy family photos I would really love to see it in action. Kate plus 8 was enough.

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  2. I agree. 20 is WAY too many kids. Come on! And @Christy is right. They are pimping out their family to America. I don't understand why people are so interested in people like this. I mean I hear people at work talk about them like they're just the most wonderful people in the world. Hellooo. They have way too many kids and they're making an already weird childhood even weirder by having camera crews follow them around. And wasn't this woman's last kid in the hospital for months when she had it because it was premature? That cost a pretty penny you can bet. Who paid for that? The insurance company, which means that others who have that same insurance paid for those kids by having their premiums hiked. Hey, the insurance company isn't in it for free. And I'd be really upset if I found out they were receiving any kind of government help. I don't want my tax dollars paying for their stupidity. I'd rather see my tax money pay to have Mr. and Mrs. Duggar fixed. Too harsh you say? I don't think so. I think they're a mentally off, and someone needs to step in and intervene.

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  3. They are debt free. He and the boys built the house. They are in commercial real estate. I don't personally want that many children however I think you should watch the show at least one time before passing judgement on them.

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    1. Thank you. I'm glad someone is standing up for this family. No one has the right to pass judgement. If you don't want 20 kids then don't have them, it's that simple, but you don't have the right to tell other people how to live their lives.

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  4. I don't see the point of having children at all. There are seven billion people on this planet already.

    Apparently only about 35% of China is subject to the one-child law. They're even considering allowing people to have a second child, and perhaps repealing the rule altogether in the next decade or so.

    Oh, and Anonymous - I believe this is America, so if the author wants to express his opinion on the subject of pumping out 20 children, it is his right.

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  5. Have you SEEN their house??? Its a freaking mansion!

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  6. I have a lot more to say, but it will have to wait until I can get to my LT. This tablet is irritating me.

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  7. They're Arkansas holy rollers, of some Pentecostal type movement where the girls can't wear pants, makeup, or cut their hair short, and have specific roles at home (laundry, cooking, cleaning). They also advocate the "Quiverfull" religious movement, which is that a couple's purpose is to procreate as many kids as possible. I watch them with all the horrified fascination as a nuclear waste train wreck. -Lee

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  8. I watched the show just to see what people were talking about and like @Lee Y., I watched it with the kind of horrified fascination I would a train wreck. 20 kids? Too many! And then to put them on TV? @Christy nailed it with the word pimping.

    If people want to have a lot of kids, I don't have a problem with it. Have as many as you can raise. But if you can't afford them or can't spend time with them, then don't have them. There is no way they can raise 20 kids without help.

    They home-school the kids, which isn't unusual these days, but the older kids are given younger kids to take care of and help teach. So really, the parents aren't able to be parents to all of these kids. They have to enlist the help of their children.

    Oh, and @Anonymous, Mr. Duggar and the boys did NOT build that home. A television network provided materials and contractors to help them. Look it up. Then they began filming their show. So they basically pimped their family for a house. Way to go Duggars.

    And don't even get me started on the weird religios beliefs. I'll just hold my tonuge for now.

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  9. They're teaching their values to these kids. Are they going to try to have 20 kids too? What happens if they can't afford them? They aren't going to get a TV show to help them pay bills. I hope they know life in real world is tough. They aren't living in the real world at all.

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  10. @Lee Y. - too funny! I can't even begin to imagine having twice as many kids as I do now, let alone 11 or 12 more. Yep, that means we have eight. And believe me, eight is enough! (lol) Anyone remember that show?
    Believe me when I say there are days when I have wondered (to my embarrassment) what the hell I was thinking! I love them all though and wouldn't give any one of them up - well not today anyways.
    So why didn't we get our own tv show??? Life would've have been so much easier with all that extra income rolling in. Christie is right. That would be so wrong in so many ways. I'm not a pimp.
    Back to the Duggars. After the first few kids, it must have been a well coordinated plan having so many more. When you have ten kids running around who can think of procreating? All those mouths to feed, bodies to clean, diapers to change, minds to teach...Yes, it is their God given right to bear children, but I think the government needs to step in and say,"Hey, you are not allowed to profit from this in any way." I mean, really, there's octomom, kate plus eight, and who knows how many more. These kids are going to be some kind of screwed up when they get older. It is NOT okay to pimp your kids on national television. A thought comes to mind, I wonder if this 20th child was conceived in order to keep the show going and give them a new storyline, if you will. Why else? That woman has got to be exhausted.

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  11. @Tammy - I'm not so sure about the kids not getting their own tv show. That might appeal to the networks. (for whatever reason)
    I have never watched the show, but I do not believe that these kids (esp the older ones) are growing up in a healthy environment. Doesn't seem like they are being given a chance to just be kids.

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  12. I think you're on to something @Carrie. Having another one does seem like a good way to keep the show going. Mrs. Duggar is 45, so she's reaching an age where conceiving a healthy child that can be carried to term will become more difficult. Their television money train is going to run out of track unless they can figure out new spins to keep people interested.

    If someone wants to have a lot of children, that's fine, as long as they can provide a healthy and happy home for the children. Putting the family on TV isn't how one does that. The younger children are going to grow up with a distorted sense of reality. Camera crews don't follow you around all the time. People aren't generally interested in your every move. Money doesn't flow from television networks. At least the older children know what it's like to have a semi-normal life before their parents turned their family into a sideshow.

    I don't know Mr. and Mrs. Duggar so I can't say what their true motives are for having so many children. All I know is that looking at them from my point of view, it's looking like they're doing it for the money and attention, with a dash of religious fanaticism tossed in.

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  13. I agree with everyone here, except @Anonymous. It gets tricky when you start wanting the government to intervene in personal, familial matters. BUT -- for crying out loud. The welfare of the children has to come before religious beliefs. Some of those kids have lived their entire lives in front of a camera. That's not right. On The Today Show, the young ones were asked if they were looking forward to having another sibling in the house. They looked like Stepford Children as they answered, "Um…yeah." Creepy grins plastered on their little faces. It was disturbing.

    They have a 7000 sq. ft. house that's set up like a mini-motel. And Mrs. Duggar had an emergency C-section to deliver 1-1/2 lb. Josie. She was in hospital for nearly a year and Mrs. Duggar suffered from pre-eclampsia. And she was younger then than she is now! I won't watch the show and I don't need to to know what they're doing is wrong. It disappoints me that channels like TLC and Discovery Health treat their story like it's educational. It's nothing more than a freak show.

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  14. First of all, welcome back @Steven! I missed seeing posts from you. :-)

    Second of all, the Duggars are a waste of TV space. I think @Christy was right about them pimping their kids and @Carrie is right about them having more kids to keep the show going. It's kind of sick when you think about it. Large families are fine but not when you're displaying them for the world to see like they were a sideshow at a circus. That's just so wrong. And it makes me wonder how much of their religious stuff is real and how much is for show. I mean, I heard she took birth control pills when they first got married. I doubt that's part of their religious practices. But doesn't being uber-religious make for better TV?

    Have as many kids as you want. Just don't show up on my TV with them.

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  15. @Shay: Thanks, darlin'! It warms my cockles to have something to rant about. LOL!

    I didn't realize she was on The Pill when they first got married. Couldn't have been for very long though. I've been trying to do the math about how you can have 20 kids in 26 years. The had a couple sets of twins, but that woman has spent the majority of her adult life pregnant. Christy made an interesting point last night. What's gonna happen to their marriage when they can't have anymore children? I think they have psychological problems now. That's gonna get amped up when they're not preggers anymore, imho.

    @Tammy: Welcome back, sweetie! :-)

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  16. Maybe that is all they have in their marriage - raising kids on tv. Maybe the grandchildren will be enough to keep it going, maybe not.
    I love ranting Steve, so keep it up! I have always felt that having a tv show just because you have a lot of kids was ridiculous, but these people take the cake.
    One of these times childbirth is not going to have a happy ending for the Mrs. A body can only take so much and needs time to recover in between pregnancies. She is not allowing her self to do that. One of these days this will have grave consequences, and that baby will not have a mother. Oh wait, yes it will, it will have lots of siblings who have been trained to be little mommies.

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  17. Oh, and among the health risks - bleeding out or at the very least an emergency hysterectomy because her uterus has been stretched so many times that it will no longer be able to contract efficiently after the birth to control bleeding etc.
    Delivering another preemie - why would you get pregnant again knowing that you and your baby almost died the last time. Considering her age and the number of pregnancies she's had, it is very likely she will have major problems with this pregnancy as well. Another premature delivery in order to save mom's life? Selfish, selfish, selfish!!!!! Poor kid.

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  18. (Sorry - this more or less a repeat of what I posted an hour and a half ago. I've been having email issues.)

    @Carrie: You made another good point. I hadn't even thought about her delivering prematurely in order to save her own life. Meanwhile, her newborn spends the first year of its life in and out of hospitals, and the next few years with a camera shoved in its face. And the networks put it all on TV. And publishers put in on bookshelves. All because someone out there is watching and reading it all. Pitiful. What kind of psychosis makes a mother think all of that's okay?

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  19. I don't care if these people have 20 or 200 kids, but to make money off of them is just plain old wrong, wrong, wrong. Mr. and Mrs. are putting the life of this new baby on the line as well as Mrs. own life. Don't they care? Is the money and fame really that important to them? Or are they really that religious and fanatic about it? Is it time for them to be on another reality show? One called Intervention? Yes it's a real show. Who do we contact to nominate them?

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  20. (back from a working weekend)

    if teachers find it hard to give 20 pupils an indvidual care, it must be just as tough for parents?

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  21. Mrs. Duggar better hope Mr. Duggar never cheats on her and leaves her. Then it would really suck to be her.

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  22. I hope for Mrs. Duggar's sake nothing like that happens @Denise.

    Good point @sorei! Teachers talk about how hard it is, so how are the Duggars doing it?

    LOL @Sadie! I like the Intervention idea!

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  23. personally, I say good for them! I think it's a change in society as to why people think the Duggars are crazy. I really don't. I personally don't want more than my two kids, but if they want that many kids, and can afford them, and love them and raise them well, then more power to them! I don't feel it's my right to tell them they shouldn't have that many. Do you like it when other people tell you how many kids you should have, or hey you shouldn't have more than two cars in your household. It's their life, their business. Yeah, they have a tv show. If you don't like it, you don't have to watch it.

    I always wanted five or six kids. That had always been my dream. Why? Because I love kids. After I had my first one, I had a miscarriage, then spent the next almost 3 years suffering with secondary infertility. It was hell. When I finally got pregnant again I swore I would NEVER prevent again. Grant it, now things are different as I know I can't afford more than two, so we are a completed family now. BUT...I understand Michelle's stance on that and on the religion thing. I'm not against birth control, but I know many who are. (my parents included).Some religions don't believe in birth control, and there are some women that are just that freakin fertile. Annoying yes. But I don't feel its' anything to be that upset about.

    I also think back to the old days. It was very common for families to have 18 or more kids. AND they had less money back then. I really think it's just a society thing. Kids are frowned upon in today's society.

    I say if Michelle and Jim Bob are happy, they are doing well both financially and physically, their kids are well looked after and are happy, then more power to them. :)
    (btw, a personal note...I always wanted to be part of a large family. I think it would be cool!)

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  24. @Brenda

    I do not know how exactly "common" is defined, I checked back with statistics in europe.
    average number no more than 5.
    which for me means, 18 and more is definetively above average.

    as far as know from my grandmother (for example) 12 was more "common" (happened more often, but was still not "normal"= average) when she was young, but 20 would have been a lot even then. at least in germany/see statistics europe.

    you had much more children dying these daysm, children not growing up. I think that makes a difference too. when you got pregnant then, you had a good chance of dying yourself AND of loosing your child early: which often meant, they did not attach to the young child emotionally, not as much as we see fit today.

    They often had to start working early.
    Yes, a society ting: society has changed, childhood is defined differently now, and we define a "good" childhood differently now then we did back years ago.
    And with todays' defintions I just doubt that 20 children is something that can be handled as well as you hope.
    Of course they had less money. Milk and bread did cost less back then as well, houses, everything did cost less.
    Everyone is entitled to decide that by him/herself of course.
    "Well looked after" with 20 children simply cannot be the same as with say, 5 children.

    Just my 2 cents.

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  25. @Brenda and @sorei back in the old days when people had a lot of kids it was because they needed them to help run the farm. The more kids, the more free labor they had. It was kind of an economy thing. They didn't have them because they loved having a lot of kids. And don't kid yourself into thinking it wasn't tough going for them because it was. I've heard horror stories from my grandparents about those days. Why do you think our grandparents had smaller families? They saw that they couldn't afford that many kids and that there were ways to prevent having them. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

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  26. @Sadie
    of course it was tough.
    I agree!
    I did not mean to make it sound like it wasn't.
    I was trying to state some facts. And that was what meant too with: they had to start to work early. :-)

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  27. Oh, OK. Thanks @sorie! :-)

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  28. I totally agree..just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
    Every family/parent needs to make their own decisions on what's best for their family. But maybe the Duggars WANT that many. I don't think people should fault them on making their own life choices. I don't feel it's our place to judge. That's God's job.

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  29. @Brenda:
    allow me a question please.
    despite what we SAY (and sometimes think we even mean it): don't we judge all the time?
    In my opinion we do, we should at least be aware of it in order to be able to make a second (and third..) judgement....
    it might not be our place but we do it anyway. all of us do. (everyone is entitled to disagree of course)

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  30. Hold on. I'm a little dizzy. I came here to comment but realized I wasn't really signed in. So I tried to sign in. But Google told me I had rejoin. What? So I rejoined. Then it dumped me in Google+ where I got hopelessly lost for an hour. Interesting place. Interesting people.

    OK. I'm ready to comment. I think.

    @Brenda I think some people do judge but I think others are showing concern for the welfare of the younger kids and unborn kids. You're right. It's not up to us to judge anybody, but we can express our concern about how people are parenting. If a person chooses to put her life and the life of an unborn child on the line, I'm going to show concern.

    Or at least that's the way I see it. I could be wrong. :) Maybe @Steven will weigh in and tell us what he thinks. Since it is his article.

    I'm going back to Google+ now.

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  31. Anybody else on Google+ and want to share names so I could put you in a circle? I'm Shay Dougan if you want to look me up.

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  32. I'm on that Google+ thing but I don't know how to use it. If I figure it out I'll look you up Shay Dougan.

    Breanda I'm with you. I always wanted to be part of a large family too. I thought it would be fun to have lots of brothers and sisters around all the time. :)

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  33. I'd like to know who's paying for their trip to Ireland and Scotland? I'm guessing TLC. I can't afford to take my kids to the local amusement park, but these people can somehow manage to take theirs across the ocean. Chaps me. I think I need my own freaking TV show!

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  34. I don't know. I say good for them for gatting to go to Ireland and Scottland! If I could figure out how to get somebody else to buy me a trip I'd do it. At least the kids are getting to do things they might not otherwise if it weren't for that show. Maybe its not so bad?

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  35. @Steven where are you on all this? What do you think about it?

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  36. Let's all get our own TV show and so we can have free trips to Ireland and Scotland! I'm on board. Anybody else? Looks like Jennifer's with me. Any others? Come on! We can come up with something people! Let's get on TV, make money, get free trips, become famous, have articles written about us, and then cry when it all goes away.

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  37. Well, truth be told, I am feeling a little judge-y about Michelle and Jim Bob's choices, which probably isn't entirely fair. If someone wants a houseful of kids, it's their right to do so. I'm with @Shay: my concern is more for the kid's welfare. Raising 19 kids would be daunting for anybody under ideal circumstances. Doing it with a film crew underfoot constantly just seems wrong. People have done a lot worse in search of fame and fortune, but for some reason The Duggars bug the crap out of me.

    @Tammy: Good point. Those kids probably are getting to do things many other kids will never have the opportunity to do. I just hope their heads are on straight. Maybe the TV networks provide counseling...

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  38. I doubt that TLC is providing counseling but you never know. It would be good if they were. Why do I get the feeling it's probably against their religion?

    They bug the crap out of me because they're using their kids to gain fame and fortune. @Christy nailed it when she said they're pimping their kids. Plain and simple.

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  39. @Sarah: Yeesh. A whole brood of maladjusted wee ones clamoring for the spotlight. Boggles the mind...

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  40. @Steven did you see this about the Duggers losing their 20th baby? http://tv.yahoo.com/news/duggars-plan-memorial-baby-jubilee-shalom-michelle-hospitalized-191629324.html

    Here's a quote from the Mr. Dugger "As our whole family is grieving, we also know that God promises to work all things for good in our lives."

    I don't mean to sound crude, but my first thought was yeah right. For the good of your show and your bank account.

    From the article "Despite their miscarriage, the Duggar patriarch said the entire family was able to celebrate the recent birthday of their youngest child, Joise, 2, who was born in 2009 at just 25 weeks."

    The fact that their last kid was born prematurely should have been a heads up that it's time to stop.

    Another quote from the article "This was Michelle's second miscarriage. She previously lost a baby during her second pregnancy, when she was reportedly taking oral birth control. According to the mag, this incident caused the couple to let the number of children they have be left "up to God."

    That's just stupid. Come on! What a stupid reason to go off the pill and start having a thousand kids!

    From the article "In addition to their youngest daughter, Josie, the couple is also parents to Joshua, 23 (who has two children, Mackynzie, 2, and Michael, 4 months, with wife Anna, 23), twins Jana and John-David, 21; Jill, 20; Jessa, 19; Jinger, 17; Joseph, 16; Josiah, 15; Joy-Anna, 14; twins Jedidiah and Jeremiah, 12; Jason, 11; James, 10; Justin, 8; Jackson, 7; Johanna, 6; Jennifer, 4; and Jordyn, 3."

    I really don't like these publicity whores. Sorry to be blunt, but that's what they are. Who wants to take bets that she's pregnant again before 2012 ends? Anyone?

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  41. Wow @Shay. You kinda seem angry about them. I don't like them either. Won't surprised me if she's pregnant again soon. Dumb. All these kids is just another way for them to make money and stay in the spotlight. She'll either have to get pregnant or kill one.

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  42. I just don't like them @Denise. I think it's wrong to make money off your kids like they do and fool people into defending them as good religious people. I'm tired of hearing what upright citizens they are. I still believe they're having kids to keep themselves relevant and stay on TV and make money.

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  43. Where is @Steven? I haven't seen him here or on Google+. Anybody?

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  44. @Shay: I'm here! I'm here! I had a combo of much work and little sleep, so I slacked online. Loved what you said and agree with totally. How miscarriages and troublesome pregnancies does God (and the network) want them to have anyway?

    @Denise: LMFAO!!! "...either have to get pregnant or kill one." That's priceless. I know you probably weren't necessarily trying to be funny, but Christy cracked up just now when we read that together (having dinner over Skype).

    I'm just so over all the publicity whores in our country, the people that pay them, and the people that consume their sh*t. Instant celebrity without doing anything but getting knocked up or screwed up. (I guess that could be the same thing...)

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  45. Here's an article that tells how the Duggars afford to live, TV show aside.

    http://shine.yahoo.com/financially-fit/duggars-support-nineteen-kids-live-debt-free-180400323.html

    I wouldn't want to live like that, but I guess if you're going to have more kids than any one family should, you have to make sacrifices.

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    1. I just read the article and I'm...torn. I still think the Duggars are a wacky brood and raising your entire family on TV is just wrong. (They need to start saving for therapy.)

      But the way they live, from a financial standpoint, is actually pretty smart. And that's as much praise as I'm willing to give em! LOL!

      Thanks for posting the article, Jorge!

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    2. I respect them for being smart financially, but I think they have too many kids. At least they aren't using WIC and Food Stamps to feed the kids. They're doing it on their own instead of letting taxpayers foot the bill. Kudos to them.

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    3. @Jorge DeLeon I still think they're using their kids. They may be smart money managers and scrimp and savers, but you can bet having kids and showing them on TV is all part of the master plan too.

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