Blurring the LInes


Excellent article.

Thank you, Buckeyegirl.  The article posits a good question:  "Reality television has been blurring the public-private line for years. With the Duggars, I’m not sure if it exists at all. "  Have the Duggars lost where the line is or has it ceased to exist for them?

32 comments:

Andrea said...

I read this article and really enjoyed it. The problem with assuming the private / public line has been entirely blurred is that we really don't know what is happening behind the scenes. We only know what is being released via their website / on their TV show. It is entirely possible that this whole thing has been fabricated by the Duggar's PR firm / people to further their pro-choice agenda. I think for the line to be entirely blurred we'd need a 24 hour channel dedicated entirely to the Duggar’s with unedited content, otherwise, what we see is a construction created by either the Duggar’s or the producers / editors of the show. Compare the Duggar’s to Jersey Shore, if one of the female cast members became pregnant and went off to have an abortion would you 100% believe what was being broadcast to you, likely not. I don’t think the Duggar’s are any different. I’m not suggesting that Michelle didn’t have a miscarriage, I’m just saying all viewers need to be sceptical of what is broadcast, the Duggar’s very clearly have an agenda.

Judy said...

I think that Michelle especially has lived in such a bubble for so long, even before TLC, that she no longer has a sense of reality. It's a bit like the movie "Truman" where a man lived his life, unknowingly, before TV cameras. Michelle, with JimBob's encouragement, seems to willingly lead life, as phony as that life is portrayed to be, in front of the cameras.

Patrice said...

I do believe the family has lost all touch with what reality they ever had. Beginning with the death of their grandpa, the birth and suffering of Josie, and escalating with feeling the need to record Jason's fall and trip to the hospital a few months ago. And now this! In their heads, do they believe that every aspect of their lives has to be on TV? Do they realize this is not how people live life? Nothing seems to be private or sacred to them. "Jason fell and is bleeding? Quick, kids, get this on tape; people need to know!" The three-ring circus funeral for the miscarriage is just beyond my understanding. It boggles the mind. The best thing TLC can do with this family is cancel the show, pay for the children to go through debriefing and counseling and let them get back to the simple life they once had. Obviously they do not know enough to do that themselves.

Seriously? said...

Absolutely on point.

Considering all the Duggar Speak from the very beginning including menstrual cycles and an abundance of conjugal time, on-stage (and on cue) tears about the first miscarriage, and leading up to the truly ignorant & staged dad-son pre-nuptials talk, the Grampa Duggar indignity, Josie's entire life even prenatal/pre-eclampsia overkill, and now The Duggars' Fetal Funeral Extravaganza, I'm pretty sure that line never existed for these classless and absolutely CLUELESS bumpkins. They are an embarrassment IMO.

Seriously? said...

Another thought: Not only does 'reality' tv blur the line between public and private matters, but it ERASES the line between truth/fact and pretend.

Further, those who contract to be on this poor-excuse-for entertainment genre absolutely SELL all personal dignity & integrity by cheapening life's most poignant and personal moments.

It is disheartening to observe people who brag of their 'family values' ad nauseum all the while they con$pire with tv mogul$ to turn a blazing spotlight along with a blasting volume to create a crude, broadstroke picture, one that has lost every beautifully simple nuance.

Even the most private, even the most tragic of life events go unspared so as to ramp up the drama factor for viewers and resultant rating$.

It's really hard for me to decide which Duggar debacle was Best in Class for Showing The Worst Taste, but it has to come down to at least: pre-eclampsia ponderances on cue and on camera, "people are like Lego's", Grampa Duggar's b'day and subsequent funeral, and let us not forget Toilet Birthing ala Duggar.

This whole fetal fiasco is, sadly, is as unsurprising as it is entirely tasteless and exceptionally exploitative.

rcadra2 said...

The Fetal Funeral Extravaganza! Thanks to Seriously? who summed it up perfectly.

Melba said...

What started out as a decent show has become no better than any other reality show, you know, the ones the Duggars themselves would look down on? IMO, they are now just using their religion and beliefs as a gimmick to attract a certain demographic. Once they began "feeding the monster" there was no turning back.

Melissa said...

Good point with the article. I think any one of us could caught up in all of the same issues if we led our lives publicly via a reality show. If anyone watches Sister Wives, it is evident that the same things have happened to them (blurring the lines/moving to another state because they've exposed their religious/lifestyle beliefs) and they're only into their second season. Sorry not to start another tangent on a totally different subject (different reality show!), but my point is that I can empathize with the Duggars/Browns/Roloffs/Gosselins in the idea that once they go down this road with reality tv, there really is no turning back (or so it seems).

Judy said...

What I don't get, and I've tried to, believe me, is how they can truly believe they are prostelytizing via tv when they are accepting money, gifts, and trips from the show? If they are truly doing this to "encourage" (vomit) other people, is it still pure encouragement when they are making so much money off of it? I believe THEY believe that showing some of these pictures of the fetus, sharing the miscarriage publicly, etc., proves the whole life starts at conception thing, and I'm sure the message they want us to get is don't abort, as circular as that particular logic is. But when you accept money to get your point across, you cheapen the whole thing. Sorry Duggars.

Elverna Bradshaw said...

Melba has an excellent comment above. My question for the Duggars would be: do you really think you are the same family you were in all aspects except number of kids 5 or 6 years ago? Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together would answer NO. They've sold out on their original premise, become waaaay more worldly than they would admit, and have succumbed to the fame monster and become attention seeking fame whores. Sorry but it's true. The toilet birth should be enough proof of this for anyone.

Seriously? said...

"my point is that I can empathize with the Duggars/Browns/Roloffs/Gosselins in the idea that once they go down this road with reality tv, there really is no turning back (or so it seems)."

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Absolutely no sympathy vote from me for the 'reality' families who sold themselves out for WHATEVER their stated purpose.

This same basic scenario (TLC's concept of 'family' aimed at unique and specific demographics) in the beginning, but after a few seasons, the public begins to see through the facade and begins to call TLC and the actors on the B.S. factor.

If we viewers see it happening, there is no excuse for the families involved can't see what's going on with their brand.

AND there is ALWAYS a way out. It may be a detoured route until contractual obligations are finished, but no one holds a gun to the heads of these parents and MAKES them sign on for additional seasons.

The ugly truth is, these parents WANT the attention, fame, and fortune. They can claim otherwise, but as noted by a previous commenter, 'anyone with two functional brain cells' can see through the hollow rhetoric. And yes, Virginia, the Duggars are no different than any of the others who have CHOSEN this route - the Duggars are right there along with the Gosselins, Kardashians, Housewives - pick a demographic and you can find its scripted 'reality' series.

mom in texas said...

When a person(s) decides to sell themselves (as well as their family) and become reality tv "stars" they also sell away their right to privacy. You make a conscious choice to open your life to the world. Now nothing is no longer sacred. We have yet to see the effects this will have on the children who are growing up in the eyes of the world since many of them are still young but I can imagine the effect will be tremendous. The Duggars in particular stated they began this show as a way to minister to others and share their lives. However, the have a for-profit juggernut that apparently will go to no ends to stay relevant. I was not bothered by the family sharing the pictures of Jubilee with family and friends at the memorial service. However, they had to know these pictures would become public. I believe this was the intent. If you have sold the other 19, why this one child (fetus)? I think that Jim Bob and Michelle, and now Josh and Anna, have gotten lost in the shuffle. The show and the publicity from it all is completely out of control. I often wonder if the Duggars had not been on television would the quest for an endless number of children be so important?

Melissa said...

Seriously?... very good points. As you've said, these families (reality show families) all have in common the concept that they are willing to sacrifice the sacredness of their private life for the mighty dollar. My husband and I have been talking about the Duggars quite a bit this week (he and I started out being Duggar fans when TLC has the specials about the larger families). He and I were both discussing how we could understand their initial decision to sign a contract with TLC (if it was going to provide a good income for them so they could put their kids through college). In a lot of ways, I imagine that Jim Bob and Michelle felt like the offer to do a reality show was just that (an answer to their prayer to be able to provide more for their family). But anyway, my husband and I were both saying how we feel the show has definitely gone too far now. They should have gracefully backed out of their contract at the end of Season 2 or 3. The breaking point for me was the episode where Jason fell, and Michelle's reaction to that. They are starting to feel like super-stars whether they want to believe it or not. But the part where I'll give them the benefit of the doubt is this: they're probably so wrapped up in the show that they don't "see" these things the way the audience does. Perhaps, the Bates family or another close Christian family could pull them aside and approach them about this? I don't know... I guess I give these reality families (especially the Duggars) the benefit of the doubt because I try to understand the reasoning behind why they would accept a contract with TLC. However, like another commenter said we don't know yet the effects this show will have on the children. Does anyone else think it's odd that Michelle and Jim Bob haven't really addressed that question: "How does all the videotaping/cameras in the house affect the kids?" I know this question was asked to Kate Gosselin several times, and she side-swept the question with some silly answer, but I wonder how Jim Bob and Michelle would answer it? One of the first things that worried me (for the kids' sake) was when they had to wake up so early to do the stupid Today show interviews. Seeing the little toddlers rubbing their eyes and having to sit there like robots... absolutely ridiculous, and I blame some of that on Meredith Viera, too. Like they really need to do Today Show interviews everytime a "special announcement" is made. And why couldn't Michelle and Jim Bob just do the interview instead of making their kids wake up at 4:00 am their time to do an interview just so the kids could sit there?

Judy said...

Melissa,
They accept a contract because it's a ton of money! Imagine making $30,000 + for every episode you do, plus a book deal, plus gifts, and you're suddenly making a million a year, at least.

I don't think that you should blame Meredith Vieria or the Today show for making the Duggars get up early. Michelle and Jim Bob clearly love the spotlight and get a kick out of their Today Show spots. The kids are props for their plays and they want to make clear just how large their family is, every time they make "an announcement." If anything, blame TLC. But mostly blame the parents. Why don't they just say We don't want our little ones up at that hour? Because they don't stop to think about that.

Jen said...

Have they crossed a line?
One would have to ask, which line? and who set the line?

The line of showing Jubilee?
Some say the line was crossed while some are holding them up as a example of excellent grieving practices and are happy they are showing the positive example.

Some say they have crossed the line and are acting famous and spoiled while others say they are acting like a city on a hill, a light in the dark world.

Some see their change in dress as an improvement while some see it as losing their morals.

I think there are so many definitions of the line and so many different people setting and judging those lines. I'm sure they have crossed some of those lines but have not even come close to the starting line of others.

Do I think they have changed?
I think whenever something is viewed or hidden from view it changes the outcome, for people on tv as well as people not on tv.

Would the Duggars be different if they had never been on tv?
Yes, I think they would be different. Is that difference for the better or for the worse?
I believe that depends on who is judging the line or what measuring stick they are using.

Sweetie Pie said...

Very true without TLC these kids would never get a glimpse of the real world. They would still be 19 kids living in a too small house, wearing 2nd hand clothes, there would be no SOS computer classes but just a few random workbooks, life would be a lot harder. No traveling which gives them a little bit different perspective of things. So the show has made changes for both the good and bad imo.

sandi said...

I find it rather disconcerting that Josh sold Anna out so quickly after the marriage.He was respectful to her (via courtship rules) prior to marriage (other than the hand groping),but it appears once the marriage had taken place,respect and privacy were thrown out the window.I wonder if Anna will ever (or perhaps does now?) regret the toilet birth being shown on tlc, and now all over youtube,for all the world to see.
It's interesting that Anna's father put down dating, but yet said they weren't approving the marriage just because the Duggars were on TV.I would think tv would be more of a problem than a simple date.If he would take a step back and look at it,I believe it is.I just wonder why anyone in that family isn't screaming for that to be taken off the net? It seems so improper for someone from such a conservative family,no matter what the payout for it was.I hope Anna and not just Josh benefited from that lump sum of money.Josh appears to be such a user,and I suspect Anna had no say in the matter,Josh being the patriarch of the family.Anna can't even vote as she pleases,so I seriously doubt she has any say over what is filmed,births included.JMO.

Please do not use anonymous said...

It's the fact that the Duggars do the reality show that bothers me the most. The aspects of their life (their aversion to birth control, their religious leanings, even having a toilet birth and a funeral for a fetus) are all ok with me, because its their life. BUT, when you put these things out there for the world to see and exploit your children and aging relatives in the process is beyond comprehension. As a conservative christian I actually find their exploits offensive because it casts a dark shadow over what it really means to be a cristian. I am pro-life (not in a political way, just personally) but I do not see how exploiting your dead child for publicity is encouraging. I think it's dsirespectful to the poor child and their other children as well. I am a home birth advocate and planning one myself (due tomorrow). I even understand Anna giving birth on the toilet, it actually is not that uncommon. HOWEVER, it is no place for a group of men with cameras, and it is certainly not something that should be on prime time television! I really don't think the children,, even the older ones, fully understand how invasive this reality show is. They don't keep up with the media, their internet viewing is monitered and limited and they don't read anything which isn't parent approved, so they have no idea how exploited tthey are. But someday they will, and it will be aweful. Very few child stars go unscathed, and those are kids with a say in what work they do. I can't even begin to imagine what the outcome will be for reality T.V kids who were forced into this life with no way out. The worry I have now, though, is that the sshow has done too much damage to simply end it and go back to their former way of life. Ending the media circus will bring a host of new problems, i.e: less money to maintain their current lifestyle, less exposure to things outside their home and a ton of confusion for the little children who have never been without the camera crew in their lives. It's a horrible state these parents have put their children in and my heart goes out to them.

tiffches said...

The kids are given a glimpse of a world they will never be allowed to live in unless they leave home. That is cruel. I just hope at least one child has the courage and intelligence to get out. If their own family does not still love them, even though they choose a different lifestyle, then they never really loved them at all.
I see one of the middle kids, or even a couple of the younger kids to decide there is a whole world away from their prison and they can be a part of it. To a few kids it may be worth the sacrifice of losing their family.

SmokeyKitty said...

I wonder if the younger kids aren't protected by the cameras. The Duggars put the book "How to Train up a Child" as recommended reading on their website. I suspect that they have used this deplorable piece of literature. One of the things I read in the book was the idea of placing a forbidden but tempting object where a child can reach it and then hitting them when they reached for it. Basically baiting a child and then punishing them for a natural response. They recommend this sort of training for toddlers.
Perhaps the smaller children have been spared from this sort of abuse by the presence of outsiders who don't "understand" this sort of thing.

I also just saw the Jason falling episode on Ondemand. And I have to say that I was disturbed by the glee in Michelle's expression when she described the whole thing. What mother would smile while discussing her child's pain and suffering? My heathen mother still can't talk about when my little brother touched the stove as a child. That happened 27 years ago and she's still horrified by it. Thankfully he never had a lasting scar from the incident but it still hurts her to mention it. That Michelle can be so happy in describing teeth being knocked out so violently that it tore a hole in her child's upper lip sends a shiver down my spine.

I can only imagine that accidents and miscarriages create more drama and that Michelle and JimBob had a meeting on how to capitalize from each of these unfortunate events.

Seriously? said...

"The Duggars put the book "How to Train up a Child" as recommended reading on their website. I suspect that they have used this deplorable piece of literature. One of the things I read in the book was the idea of placing a forbidden but tempting object where a child can reach it and then hitting them when they reached for it. Basically baiting a child and then punishing them for a natural response. They recommend this sort of training for toddlers."

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And just when I was sure I couldn't possibly hold the Duggars in lower esteem.

This level of ignorance is frightening. Most people know better than to use a method like this to train their DOG, muchless their children. My god, are these people REALLY this ignorant???

They can call it "Training UP a child" but IMO it is evidence of an obvious Dumping DOWN that the Duggars personify.

Seriously? said...

Make that dumBing down in my previous comment. Is it the Xmas lights or the egg nog distracting me? Apologies for the typos.

Entrapment (baiting then smacking a child) is MEAN. It is a way for the parents to achieve a sense of POWER and CONTROL. Parents really ought to be above the need for this level of power and absolute control. But this is exactly what I expect from the likes of The Patriarch and his not-an-A-student wife. From the child's perspective, this treatment is confusing and humiliating.

Does anyone seriously envision a god who would WANT this kind of (perhaps) well-intentioned, definitely misguided, and meanspirited treatment of innocent toddlers?

The Duggars' beliefs are baffling at best.

londonbridges said...

I certainly can't envision anyone's God favouring this kind of treatment of any blessing. Just shameful that 'well-intentioned' parents would follow such teachings about how to raise children. I also thought I couldn't put the Duggars any lower on the esteem scale, but I was wrong.

Perhaps the cameras have saved the little blessings from this 'training'.

Crazy n Lazy said...

Here's my thought. If a family is willing to share the suffering and death of beloved grandparent, the birth of a 25 week preemie necessitated by the critical health of the aged mother and now the funeral for a miscarried fetus, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT THIS FAMILY WOULD DEFINE A SITUATION THAT WOULD REQUIRE PRIVACY?

For most sane people, the Duggar parents certainly have allowed their lust for money cloud any critcal thinking and judgement skills. They have easily sold away moments and events that most would consider very, very private and painful matters...not photo ops.

londonbridges said...

I would also be interested to know what situation/event would be considered 'private' by the Duggars. My thinking is that the almighty dollar comes before all else. JMHO.

ennvee said...

I can only imagine that accidents and miscarriages create more drama and that Michelle and JimBob had a meeting on how to capitalize from each of these unfortunate events.

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By "had a meeting," I am sure it's more of a teleconference between them, their PR staff and TLC. Whereas in most REGULAR families (remember that old saw?), such tragic events would be dealt with in the family circle and close friends. The moves they've made since Josie's birth (I think they sincerely believed that what they did to Grandpa was a "tribute"), is ALL for cash. The also get the added benefit of spreading their questionable, far right wing political agenda at IFB churches (who are basically off-the-grid "Baptists" because their theology is so extreme) and political events with featured speakers like Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann (Value Voters, IIRC, they were in DC for it the past two summers).

This goes FAR beyond any blurring of the line. They've jumped every shark in the ocean and I'm afraid the little ones will be really confused when the cameras and attention go away (although I imagine some like Jenny, Justin and maybe Jordyn will do better without all the hoopla of the Dog and Pony Show.

heavennoseven said...

I also don`t get why they saw diaper changes,baths(granted Micheal was covered with a rag). Just go into a room and shut the door.


The bad thing Grandpa,Josie did not give them an okay to film.

sandi said...

Grandma Duggar would have been the one to release the rights to film as far as Grandpa Duggar is concerned.That is not to say that Jim Bob and tlc didn't have any influence over her decision.It was a poor one,IMO,but she may have been told it would have been handled in a most respectful manner,and certainly that didn't turn out to be the case.She sppears to be a nice lady though,and I bet she didn't want to make waves with tlc due to Jim Bob.JMO,I am just throwing some thoughts out there.

Alberta Rose said...

I'd already seen some very graphic shows on Discovery and TLC before they started showing the Duggar family, so what's going on with the Duggar family doesn't make me blink. Also, there have been enough tell all books and newspaper articles again what the Duggar family is doing isn't unique to me. Also, having seen another TV family show things like the couple undergoing plastic surgery and the woman's mammogram, I can't condemn TLC, Michelle and Jim Bob.

londonbridges said...

While I understand your point about other reality shows and their content, the Duggars have been very clear from the get-go that one reason to agree to participate is to encourage and minister to others. I may be wrong, but I don't recall any other family who has stated that.

I fail to understand how the Duggars believe that the episodes of Grandpa Duggar, the injury from falling off a stage, a toilet birth, and lastly the dog and pony show surrounding a fetal loss, encourage and minister to others. I myself have suffered a miscarriage, and the Duggars' show did neither for me. JMHO.

hart&sole said...

Obviously I am spending too much time thinking aabout the Duggars. Yes, I believe they have an agenda, which is to encourage others to join their conservative movement. In the past I have said, "well I disagree with the Duggars, but still they are such 'nice' people." Creepys, chubby Josh states his agenda right on his blog listing the ACLU as 'the enemy.' Yes, damn those people anyway for wanting to uphold the constitution. From now on I will just watch '19+,' or not, read the blogs and not let it get to me. I do like the kids, well, except for Josh, of course.

Alberta Rose said...

For me the miscarriage helped me deal with ghosts that haunt me, as well affirming mine and my husband's choice to not attempt to have a 40 something pregnancy. Seeing how the Duggar family handled Grandpa Duggar's major illness inspired me to handle my grandmother's long illness with grace instead of regarding it as an inconvenience. As for the falling off the stage, it inspired me to react more calmly when things go wrong. I've discovered by keeping calm, it helps my son do the same thing.