I felt like reposting this open letter I wrote to the Duggar Family. I did this shit for The Daily three years ago, but it seems awfully relevant at the moment. (I hate to say I told you so, but seriously, what a bunch of fuckin’ creeps.)
Dear Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar,
You are horrible people. There, I said it.
I know there are plenty of basic-cable watching Americans who’ll tune in to your new season on Tuesday night and rush to your defense. They’ll scream that it’s not my place to judge, but screw that. I just watched you bury the miscarriage of your 20th child in an ammunition box on national television, so you know what? I’m judging.
You are unfit parents. More than that, you’re a pair of glassy-eyed wingnuts who’ve latched on to a dangerously narrow interpretation of an already ridiculous belief system, and you are using it to inflict serious psychological, emotional and spiritual damage on your nineteen children. No one ever seems to call you out on it, though.
You’ve trained your brood to smile and tuck in their shirts, and apparently that’s enough to fool everyone into thinking that your sinister program of isolation and indoctrination is a legitimate form of parenting. It’s not.
Your syrupy-sweet wholesome schtick doesn’t work on me. I see right through to the underlying cruelty, and it breaks my heart to think what will happen to Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn or Josie (just the youngest eight, mind you) if any one of them should turn out to want a different kind of life.
How will you treat the boy who has the heart of a nonbeliever? How will you treat the girl who has the mind of a free-thinking individual? How will you treat the teenager whose sexuality isn’t heteronormative? Let’s not pretend for one second that they won’t be tortured with shame, repression and authoritarian violence.
I know, I know. That’s not the part they show on your outrageously exploitative reality television program, but the brutal truth is that for a quiet minority of your nineteen children, their lives will be a soul-crushing hell.
By all means, live your lives of ignorant bliss on the lunatic fringes of red-state America. This is a free country, and you have every right to practice whatever creepy fundamentalist nonsense makes you happy.
That being said, it is morally reprehensible to treat your uterus like a clown car, and what you’re doing to those kids is wrong.
Yours in judgment,
“If you live in Indiana and are pregnant, don’t ever tell or text anyone that you are ambivalent about being pregnant or are thinking about an abortion because if you have a fetal demise the fact that at one point you might have contemplated an abortion means you had something to do with it, medical evidence proving otherwise be damned.”
(I always thought Indiana was filled with kind and stoic heartlanders. How did it suddenly become the new Florida?)
Holy shit, this documentary is amazing. Dark, twisted, and amazing.
I was reading an otherwise unremarkable article about women in combat when I stumbled upon this photo. It absolutely took my breath away.
It’s of two women, both Marines, both harsh and beautiful, their strength and poise almost palpable. It’s like a modern-day Dorothea Lange photograph, crisp and real, but still with a dreamlike quality.
I don’t know why the image struck me so hard, but it did. I haven’t been able to look away from it. As an added mindfuck, the caption told me their names — Lance Corporal Brittany Holloway and Lance Corporal Brittany Dunklee.
They’re both named Brittany. The socio-political implications of that alone are staggering, but it also just adds to the poetry — “The Two Brittanys.”
I desperately want to meet them. I don’t know what we’d talk about, and they’d probably hate my guts, but I don’t care. I’d be totally okay with that.
This got me. Damn it. I’m over here crying actual tears to these people’s reactions at seeing certain shades of red and green for the first time.
It just seems so magical and profound, to suddenly have the world pop with all the colors of the rainbow. What a gift. I want that. Hell, I need it. Not so much on the visual spectrum. On a spiritual one.
Yes, Robert Durst killed those three people. Of course he did, and yes, he will probably spend the remainder of his life incarcerated, but so what? He’s a bored old psychopath with a hundred million dollars and nothing better to do with his time than to burn it all down.
All of this is by his design. The documentary. The arrest. The eventual trial. He wants this. He needs this. Hell, he practically planned it all himself. Like all men in their late sixties, Robert Durst began reflecting on his legacy, and about a half decade ago, he reached a tipping point where his legacy became more important than his liberty, so what did he do? He tapped Andrew Jarecki on the shoulder and dangled his story like a piece of raw, dripping meat.
Admittedly, “The Jinx” is one of the most brilliant pieces of true crime docudrama I’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t change the fact that HBO funded Bob Durst’s final bid for infamy. Everyone involved with the project was patting themselves on the back after the arrest, but they should all know better. Now Durst gets his legacy, served up by the inevitable onslaught of a cable news murder trial so sensational that it might even eclipse coverage of the 2016 presidential election.
Andrew Jarecki is a smart guy, and sure, he’ll deserve the Emmy he’s inevitably going to win, but I hope when his head hits the pillow at night, he feels a little twinge of self-awareness deep down in that dark sticky place he won’t talk about in interviews that he was Robert Durst’s pawn all along. I hope he knows he got played. Shit, we all got played, but it makes for great television, and there’s a lot more to come.
Yeah, I’ll be watching. Of course I’ll be watching. I won’t be able to look away, and I’ll feel bad about it too, because I know that ultimately it doesn’t matter what happens at his trial.
Robert Durst already won.