Saturday, May 23, 2015

An American Tragedy--Several Times Over

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My Facebook page is exploding with photographs and links to the Duggar story.  For some reason, I feel compelled to write about it, which shows something more about me than the facts of this case.  The blogging world empowers us to have a voice or enables us to think we have something to say with that voice.

I have read several of the “articles” on the Internet, including Christianity Today’s and many blog posts.  The whole story is just tragic, and I am not going to qualify it in any way.  I don’t see anything good about this, any good coming out of it, either for the children who were victimized, his own children, his wife, his parents, him, the organization he worked for, the evangelical community as a whole, or the sniping secular audience who says things like “one of their kids is probably gay.”  I am not sure what that has to do with anything, but comment sections are often bizarre.

What I haven’t read, and don’t understand, is the fundamental question.  Why were these people on television in the first place?  I don’t mean why did that network offer to produce a show about them, but why did they agree to be on a show?  Would any of the people reading this seriously want camera crews in their houses filming their lives?  Why would you do that to your children, whether one child or nineteen? 

Is the money and fame worth it?  Was it, or is it now?  Was it about politics?  To make a statement about how great huge families and homeschooling and courtship dating is? (And I have nothing against those three things per se, but out of context they make little sense to most secular audiences).  And why would anyone watch this? 

Perhaps it’s my world view and training, but I always step back and think—how are they doing that?  When I watch a nature show, I am as intrigued by the fact that there is a camera operator in as much supposed danger as the “snake whisperer” or anything.  I watch special effects and wonder what went into them.  This doesn’t make me enjoy it less, but it’s how my mind works.

So I approach this whole Duggar tragedy the same way. If someone lives by the media, they might die by the media.  Exposing your children to the world and making your five-year-old a media “star” means there is an end to your privacy.  Anything negative is going to rise to the surface.  It did in this case.  Now the victims have to be exposed, as well as the perpetrator.

I am often a curmudgeon on this blog, which I wish were not the case.  I would love to paint happy pictures here, but in my lifetime I have become discouraged by the trends in present-day Christianity—the cult of celebrity, the dumbing down of knowledge and worship, the political slavishness, and the moral laxness.  I have known many families like the Duggars, but none of them would have allowed the media to infiltrate and ruin their lives.  I am perplexed by this whole situation.

I would like comments on this. 

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