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Keep Houston Press Free
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Who Cares About You and Your 400 Kids?

Hey, want to watch something fun on television? How about this show where these lunatics who decided to have 20 kids chase after them and talk about how challenging it is to have 20 kids?

Sounds…awful, right? So answer me this, why are such shows as Jon and Kate Plus 8 (also known as The World’s Most Castrating Wife) and anything involving the Duggar clan (aka Breeding Evangelicals) all over the dang set every time I turn it on? I suppose it’s because both shows and others like them seem to have a pool of rabid fans who think there is nothing more interesting in this life of ours than to watch people who are overpopulating the planet go through their day-to-day existence. Some fansites even include debates over which kid is the cutest or how difficult it is to tell them apart. (I’m dead serious.)

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Do people watch it because it’s like watching a freakshow? Because it’s impossible for us to understand how you can possibly make meals for 12 children or put 15 children to bed? (By the way, here’s how you do it…by either acting like a harried loon or continuously praising Jesus and submitting to your husband as you do so.) At any rate, I’m not the only one befuddled by these programs although I doubt they’re going away anytime soon. The Duggars pop out as many television specials as they do infants, and this week TLC is running a special “wedding event” for Jon and Kate where they renew their vows in front of their wriggling spawn. (Memo to Jon: Here’s your chance!)

Look, before someone attacks me for being anti-family or anti-kid, I’m not. I actually feel for the kids on this show and have a sense it must be difficult to exist in a family where you have to schedule face time with mom and dad a week in advance. I also get the feeling that the older kids are saddled with way more than their fair share of responsibilities, and, above all, I wonder what it’s like to live in a family where you can never get time away from it all. I spent many creative, happy hours of my childhood alone inventing stories with my dolls or painting pictures. After a few hours, my little brother would eventually discover me and invade my space. Now imagine if I’d had 15 little brothers. Ugh.

I also don’t necessarily have anything against big families…when 75 percent of the kids are adopted from Haiti or whatever. But to continue to pump out wee one after wee one when we’re already overcrowded enough as it is smacks of indulgent behavior and a narcissistic worldview. (Wow, I just got way intellectual sounding there.) Anyway, I can’t tell you why the Hell these people keep having babies, but I can tell you that I’m tired as Hell of them being on television all the time. – Jennifer Mathieu

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