The Thing(s) that Bug(s) Me about Jon & Kate +8

I think I may have posted about this before, but I’m too lazy to look.  I was, however, talking about this this weekend and still thinking about it on the way home.

I have not watched that many episodes of this show and never a whole one all the way through.  But when flipping by, I would stop to watch the kids be cute and do cute things.

I mention this because it is possible that I managed to watch on the small handful of very rare occassions when Kate slapped Jon, but I tend to believe she slapped him almost every time I saw the show because she slapped him quite frequently.

And one show I watched, she was talking about how Jon used to make fun of how her belly looked after she had all those kids.

I’ve been thinking about that, because when I first heard it, I was like “god, what a fucknut.  Who says that about your wife after she’s had eight kids with you?”

But I’ve been thinking, what if Jon were Jonna and Kate were Karl.  Would I buy that because Jonna made fun of Karl’s body, Karl deserved to be able to slap her?  I’m not saying that that’s the argument Kate was making, of course, but it seems kind of how the show is set up, for Kate to be the put-upon drill sergeant who has to keep an army of kids and inadequate husbands together through discipline.

I also think that there’s the whole, “Well, she isn’t hitting him hard enough to hurt him,” thing.

But again, if Karl were slapping Jonna on tv regularly, would I buy that? That it’s okay because he’s not slapping her hard enough to hurt her?

We know well how male abusers work–how they and the people around them excuse their behavior because the victim deserves it in some way.

But it seems to me that here’s a classic example of how female abusers practice–wide out in the open because the kids are a handful, so who can blame her for losing it occassionally?, and because it’s kind of a joke that she hits her husband.  After all, you’d have to be a real wimp to not be able to take a few slaps.

You can see how our societal stereotypes about what it means to be a real man keep a lot of folks, even a lot of feminists, from recognizing what she does to him as abuse.  After all, we expect him to take it.  For him not to take it would be unmanly. (We call this “The Patriarchy Hurts Men, too” and then the men all laugh and say “Whatever” but I’m still right.)

But it still teaches the same thing to the kids–that problems are solved and frustrations resolved through violence and that you should be willing to tolerate some level of violence from your spouse.

But more than that what bugs me is that these two have behaved that way on television and then gone all over putting themselves out there as a good Christian example of a family.  I don’t blame them for trying to make a buck.  I even understand the motivations behind two people in a really fucked up marriage wanting continual outside validation that their fucked up situation is blessed by God.

But folks, if your church leaders watched that show and still had those folks into your church to talk to you or recommended their books for you to read, you might should ask yourself what kinds of shepherds are leading your flock.

5 thoughts on “The Thing(s) that Bug(s) Me about Jon & Kate +8

  1. I agree with you on all points.

    On a sidenote, while looking at the trashy tabloids in the supermarket line yesterday with a friend at Kroger, I remarked “I hope Jon & Kate enjoyed their tabloid run, because it’s going to be ‘Michael Jackson, all the time’ for a VERY long time.”

  2. You posted most of these thoughts as a comment on my site on the “she slaps him” thread. Be prepared for this to turn into something that draws commentors for the next 100 years. Commentors who say things like “you people don’t know what your talking about. she has 8 kids give her a brake” and “Dear kate Gosselin i love your show.”

    But yes, I completely agree with everything you say here. Everything. I’m actually a small part of a group that is writing to Zondervan Publishers (the publishers of Multiiple Blessings & Eight Little Faces) and the churches who had the Gosselins booked to speak in the last two years. I don’t believe Christians should sue other Christians. The Bible says that plain as day.

    But I have to admit that I have clear doubts about the “Christianness” of Kate Gosselin’s behaviour–also taught in the Bible–and I think that it would be a wonderfully interesting thing if the churches sued the Gosselins for fraud in a class action suit.

    Yes, I know I’m being totally whackadoodle. I admit it. It’s Monday morning and I’ve got nothing better to do than go a little crazy in your comments.

    But here’s the thing. They (The Gosselins) were going to churches as recently as 14 months ago to ‘give their testimony’ and ‘collect love offerings’. Right around the time they moved into a million dollar mansion in Pennsylvania, and all during the time they were collecting $50-75K PER SHOW they were asking Christians to fork over their tithe money–money meant for the needy–as they posed about being in need.

    It’s the same thing that shut down Jim Bakker.

    As a Christian I have a real problem with seeing the money we’re supposed to be giving to The Least Of These being forked over to The Charlatans. Last summer I was contacted by someone from within the Gosselin camp–who was being edged out of the Gosselin camp–to write a post about this on the Gosselin’s Without Pity site. I did so, but ceased involvement with the issue at that point because I felt manipulated.

    This entire affair is one of falsehood and manipulation. Typical hallmarks of the abuser, really. Because I’ll say this for her. Kate Gosselin is the typical abuser, albeit in sheep’s clothing. She knows how to present a good front, how to exploit her position in society to her advantage when cloaking her abusiveness and how to be cruel and destructive without leaving a mark.

  3. I have to admit, I wondered about that–the suing thing. I guess because that’s not something our dad ever talked about–whether suing was Christian or not–but I have to wonder if the sentiment behind not suing isn’t similar to the sentiment behind not charging exorbitant interest–this idea that you should not be able to financially ruin a desperate person.

    But it seems to me that sometimes you have to work with the tools you have and one of the only tools we have to stop con artists is the court system.

    But isn’t Zondervan owned by Harper Collins now?

    Oh, I just looked them up and they are.

    That seems to me to make what you’re doing more difficult (not that you shouldn’t). But Zondervan is walking that same fine line. They’re putting on the face of a Christian publisher (in other words, a publisher run by and on Christian values) when they’re actually just the branch of HarperCollins that publishes Christian books.

    I think it’s kind of funny-sad how many folks associated with this seem to be under the impression that there’s some way to make money off of being Christians.

    It’s like the Prosperity Gospel’s evil (or more evil) twin.

  4. But isn’t Zondervan owned by Harper Collins now?

    I didn’t know that. I feel like an idiot for not knowing that with as all up in publishing gossip as I am. I think maybe it’s because I hate all the Christian Publishers with their shady business models so I just ignore them.

    Paul says outright at some point that you shouldn’t sue… I should look it up but I’m just too damned lazy right now. He’s basically talking, though, about how we should all get along in the Body and treat Christianity as proto-communisim.

    So you can sue non-Christians all you want. My dad has always extended the belief that if you do all the Christian things (going to the person, going to the person with the elders’ and/or deacons’ mediation, etc) and the problem isn’t resolved you can then sue Christians, too.

    I wonder if now they’re part of H/C what Zondervan’s standing is in the Christian community? And of course a business can no more be “Christian” than a turkey can be a surgeon. Christianity is an individual pursuit.

    But I wonder if Zondervan is staffed by Xtians….

    Regardless, it seems that they’re complicit in the fraud. Especially with the divorce papers saying that the Gosselins lived apart for 2 years prior to the filing.

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