Anyone who knows me well knows of my distaste for reality television. Survivor, Big Brother, Keeping Up With the Khardashians...never watched a single episode. Although my sister never misses a chance to pester me about how great Duck Dynasty and TopGear are, I've still refused to watch. And don't even get me started on The Bachelor or Celebrity Apprentice! Part of it is my stubbornness and contrarian streak. Honey Boo Boo may be the funniest thing ever, but I'm just not going to watch, partly just to irritate it's fans. But mostly, as a writer, I refuse to believe that in 2015 we've suddenly run out of stories to tell and must resort to watching the very worst of human behavior paraded, unscripted, in front of us every night. To call what happens on the shows I have listed above, reality, is one of the most disingenuous descriptions ever conceived by the mind of man. Does anyone seriously believe that the 24/7 presence of television cameras has no ability to alter...reality? Please.
So, having confessed to my reality television ignorance, the reader must keep this in mind when considering the opinion I am about to give on the scandal du jour in America at the moment...the Josh Duggar child molestation brouhaha. Although I have never watched a full episode of the 19 and Counting show, I must confess that I have seen bits and pieces of it while walking through my living room. Pam sometimes watches it, mostly in bewildered fascination at the incredulous fact that there exists a woman who willingly gave birth to 19 babies and survived. The fact that, generally speaking, the kids all seemed to get along and love each other was a bonus. The values on display in the show were also in sharp contrast to the normal narscicistic dysfunction celebrated elsewhere in the genre. For those of us who try to live a life of faith, the family's commitment to theirs was refreshing and seemed genuine. So, when the magazine InTouch leaked a police report that revealed the molestation history of Josh Duggar last week, all hell broke loose in the culture wars. Many on the left have had a field day with the story, thrilled to finally have proof of the too-good-to-be-true Duggar's hypocrisy. Conservatives, on the other hand, have largely rallied to their defense, suggesting some sort of journalistic conspiracy and pointing out that he was a minor at the time etc...and has since reformed.
I'm not about to judge an entire family by the actions of one of its members. How many of us would hate being judged to be just like our crazy lunatic Uncle Pete? Every family is a mixed bag of saints and sinners. Actually if I had brought 19 kids into this world and wound up with just one child molestor, I would consider that fine parenting indeed. However, what I will judge the Duggar's for is allowing their family story to be exploited by Hollywood in the first place. What kind of father would agree to allow cameras to become a permanent fixture in his home? What kind of parents would trade the sanctity and privacy of their family's life for the fame and fortune of a television contract? If you allow the barbarians into your house, don't be shocked when fame starts exacting its pound of flesh. You set yourself up as paragons of biblical virtue, then you better be prepared to deal with the heat when it's discovered that one of your kids is a pervert.
I wish the Duggar family no ill will. I would hate to see the amount of dirt that could be dug up about the Dunnevant family if I made myself a target by becoming a reality television star. But, I'm sure that by now they have made enough money to provide for even their expensive futures. Maybe now is the time to get off the fame treadmill and go back to just being the Duggar family, those crazy people stuck on the letter J.