Whenever I visit my parents and sister I get sucked into their TV programs for at least a couple of weeks. Last year it was Rachael Ray and this year it’s Jon & Kate Plus 8. The more I think about it the more I feel as though this is the videodrone form of Montezuma’s Revenge–an unfortunate illness picked up on vacation that makes you very sick.
I had long had a policy that I wouldn’t watch J&K+8 after seeing them in Disney World. (My TiVo automatically records anything with “disney world” in the description.) Their obvious grab for the brass ring at the expense of their children was disturbing to me. My sister and mother watch it for the children and over the course of this vacation I found myself sucked into all the adorableness of 8 beautiful, cute kids.
As I watched the “Embarassing Moments” episode something sunk in that has so troubled me I’ve debated about even writing about it. I don’t want to bring more attention and publicity to this trainwreck, and the adage of “any publicity is good publicity” is fresh in my mind. After sleeping on it for several days and mulling it over in my mind I decided that it didn’t matter. I HAVE to say something. Even if no one hears me.
Kate slaps her husband. She slaps him hard enough to get a sharp “crack” and she slaps him frequently enough for it to not be noticed if you watch several episodes. It becomes a sort of background noise.
In the recent new episode they did a mash-up and she referred to them as ‘love taps’. I refer to it as ‘spousal abuse’. Maybe it’s my Mennonite upbringing, maybe it’s my parents long years of trying to curb my own angry childhood outbursts, maybe it’s just basic human dignity. I’m not sure. All I know is that I believe firmly that raising a hand against anyone in anger is completely wrong. There is no excuse for it. When you strike out in anger you murder a little bit of your own dignity, the dignity of the person you’re hitting and whatever relationship you have with that person. It’s inexcusable to hit.
This is a popular tv program that showcases spousal abuse as entertainment. If the roles were reversed and Jon was hitting Kate I have no doubt that women’s rights groups across the country would campaign to have the show taken off the air, but since it’s a woman hitting a man nothing is said.
I won’t allow the show in my home. I’ve written to TLC and to some sponsors of the show voicing my complaints. There’s nothing else I can do except repeat over again in my own little corner of the Internet that it is never alright to hit another human being out of anger or frustration..