Humor: Duggar PR plan from Screwtape, Machiavelli and Bulth, Inc.

Humor: Duggar PR plan from Screwtape, Machiavelli and Bulth, Inc. September 16, 2015
...and the carnival train keeps on rolling... Image by Suzanne Titkemeyer of the Strates Carnival Train Sept. 12, 2015
…and the carnival train keeps on rolling…
Image by Suzanne Titkemeyer of the Strates Carnival Train Sept. 12, 2015

by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

A bit of levity from Mel that might actually not be too far off target….

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jim Bob Duggar,

Thank you for choosing Screwtape, Machiavelli and Bluth for your public relation needs.  Your family brand has taken a hit recently, but I think we’ve created a plan to get you back on your feet.

Current Liabilities:

Josh and Anna Duggar:

Due to recent events beyond your control, the marketability of Joshua Duggar is non-existent.  Your main concern at this point should be to limit the damage he can do if he decides to publish some media that contradicts your public statements about the excellence of your handling of his “incidents” when he was younger.

For this to happen, he would likely need the support of his wife since alone he lacks appeal to a larger audience.  If the two of them are separated, the threat of either of them breaking ranks with the family is greatly lessened.

Since Joshua has admitted to adultery, Anna is well within her rights to divorce him as a Christian.  It is in your best interest to facilitate the divorce as soon as possible.  Anna has no employable skills and four small children. Her parents are currently opposed to the idea of divorce, but this may be overcome if you provide financial security for Anna and her children.  Your financial managers should be able to create a comfortable annuity for Anna contingent on maintaining the positive image of the Duggar brand.    This will allow you to capitalize on the likability of Anna and her children without having the negative side effects of Josh around.

Likewise, Josh should be set up with a comfortable annuity contingent on maintaining an extremely low public profile.  We have floated the idea of a lower yearly salary with a bonus due on successful avoidance of public problems if you are willing.

Current Assets:

Jana Duggar:

People love weddings and babies.  There is a large groundswell of positive feeling towards your daughter Jana.  Through your careful management of her labor, she has a reputation of a “Cinderella” left to do all the work while her sisters and parents enjoy life.  Finding a husband for Jana should be a top priority.  Thanks to her age, she could easily be married in the 2016 summer wedding season without too many questions being asked.  It would be prudent for her husband to be seen as a “good catch” to the public since this will add to the happy ending of Cinderella marrying her Prince.

Jinger and Joy-Anna Duggar:
You also have two other daughters of  or near-marriageable age.  Aim to marry Jinger by 2017 and Joy-Anna by 2019. These daughters also have a great deal of positive public feeling and many people will be interested in their courtship, weddings and marriage.  Through careful management, three Duggar daughter weddings could refresh your family image and add more new children to attract attention to your brand.

Your daughters have enough public recognition value that the cash amount settled on the new couples can be relatively slim since the girls can likely bring in some income based on sporadic special coverage of major life events like the birth of children and family gatherings with their sisters.

Potential Liabilities:

John-David, Joseph and Josiah Duggar:

Your sons provide two problems: finding suitable careers and finding marriage prospects.  John-David needs to find employment outside of the family business quickly.  With his long volunteer history, he may be a good candidate for military, police or emergency medical response.  Joseph and Josiah should be enrolled in a credible, Christian college or university OR enrolled in a skilled trade training program within the year.  This will reduce the public speculation about the ability of your offspring to find work outside of the family business.

Increased career focus may not alone be enough to attract desirable marriage partners.  You should prepare to settle larger cash amounts on these sons upon marriage.  This will increase the number of potential partners as well as increase interest in following sons and daughters for future marriages.

Jessa and Ben Seewald:

Ben’s future career prospects are slim.  The couple, however, has helped your brand through their timely marriage and pregnancy.  If either member of the couple becomes discontented with their lifestyle, we believe they have a higher potential for deciding to make money by discrediting your brand.  Both Jessa and Ben have shown themselves willing to speak out even if it harms the family brand.  Ben’s family has also been troublesome in the last few months.  Because of this, it would be best to integrate Ben more thoroughly with the Duggar family brand.  He is interested in ministry.  We suggest moving Ben into the pastoral position of your family church over the next three years.  Seek support for Ben producing good quality videos, podcasts and audio clips from his ministry.  Doing this will cement Ben and Jessa’s financial reliance on your family for the foreseeable future and increase their loyalty to the family brand.

Your remaining assets are too young at this point to create a detailed plan for use in the family brand, but we do have a few suggestions:

  1. Your teenage sons must be on career paths by age 18 to continue reducing potential criticism of failure to produce employable offspring.
  2. Start a sports league for the local home-schooled families.  This will provide additional positive public relations opportunities that are not directly focused on the Duggar family, but provide positive images nonetheless.
  3. Create a series of coloring or activity books “authored” by your younger daughters.  This will create a new income stream that should be fully utilized long before the girls come of age.
  4. If any of your children “come out” as homosexual, the correct response is one of subdued sadness.  Be prepared to say things like “We are praying for our dear child during this sad time” or “God never gives us more than he knows we can handle” while gently shaking your head.

We will plan to meet quarterly for the next two years to update this plan as needed.  New options may be opened as younger assets reach maturity.

Sincerely yours,

Billy Flynn

*Author’s note: This is satire….ish.  (If you didn’t pick that up from tongue-in-cheek literary, historical, television and theater names pulled for the PR firm, I apologize.  I get obscure nerdy sometimes.)   The Duggars have clearly been chomping at the bit to get back on TV, so I ran a thought experiment about what an unscrupulous PR firm would tell them.  The problem is that I’m not sure that the Duggars wouldn’t actually DO this if they read it.  Time will tell.


Read everything by Mel!

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She’s a wise fount of knowledge about things involving living with a farmer and farming. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide


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  • SAO

    All your employment suggestions for John-David, except possibly the military, require further education, which requires an HS diploma. Can any of the Duggars pass the GED without remedial study? Showing what crap a Gothard homeschooled education is would not be good for the brand.

  • KarenH

    It’s very difficult to join the military with a GED. It can be done in limited circumstances, but the ASVAB score must be much higher than that of a typical high school graduate, and each service has strict limits (from 1% of all recruits in the Air Force, to 10% of all recruits in the Army) on how many GED prospects are permitted to enlist.

    However, getting 15 college credits (but it must be an accredited college) counts as having a high school diploma, so there is a remedy.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I’m still trying to figure out how the Duggar daughters can ever be expected to home-school any children (be they siblings or children of their own) effectively given the *coughsarcastic*STERLING*coughsarcastic* education received through their Gothard studies program.

    There seems to be a lot of denial going on in the Quiverfull/CPM circles about the capability of their children to succeed in the future – after all, there will come a time when the parents will no longer be alive, and if the adults succeed in rolling back the social programs while Social Security is bled dry without anything done to fix it then I hope when the progeny is left with the responsibility of financially taking care of their elderly mother in addition to themselves and their own families they have learned how to live off the land, maybe set up a barter network with the neighbors…Maybe it’s more that the current adults are expecting the world to face “The Rapture” any minute, but if that’s the case then why the hell are the mid-level CPM dudes pushing that 200 year plan and urging young people to get married ASAP so they can get started on the baby-making?

  • SAO

    In short, other than starting their own ministries — and how many followers are there for the number of uneducated minister-wanna-bes in the CPM crowd? — they’re pretty much unemployable, having few skills and no education.

  • Mel

    Bluntly, most CPM folks need SS quite badly. Demographically, most CPM/QF have blue-collar jobs or a single college wage earner. This means their wife is not earning money that goes into SS, so she earns at best 50% of her husband’s earnings out of SS.

    Barter is hard to pull off. For food-stuffs, your neighbors usually can grow the exact same thing you can. You can’t legally kill and sell animals for food and many states prevent selling raw milk (which I think is sensible, but expect a backlash). Plus, running a garden and a home and homeschooling and putting up food if you live in an area that freezes or goes into a drought season…..that’s crazy.

  • Mel

    That’s a really low number of classes, actually. That’s 5 liberal arts classes or fewer if they are lab or practical classes. They could earn that much in one semester of college if they can keep up academically.

  • Mel

    That’s kind of a shame. The GED is a pretty stringent test that has validation that can give an equivalent 4.0 grade scale equivalent compared to all the HS graduates in the USA.

  • Mel

    True, but living at home at age 25 without income isn’t doing much benefit either. (And I’m guessing a PR agency is required to fix all the problems the Duggars’ choices over the last 30 years – they just give plans for the future.)

  • KarenH

    Agreed. But historically in the military, those with GED’s who enlist drop out/fail out at twice the rate of high school graduates.

    I imagine those with a GED who can succeed well in college don’t tend to enter the military.

  • SAO

    Besides, most things are cheaper from the store than home made from a small farm/home industry. Try making simple clothes for the price you can get them on sale at Walmart. Try growing peas for the price of a bag of frozen. The other thing is that barter requires the other party to want what you have, which if they don’t really, they’ll only accept it at a discount. In short, there isn’t much incentive for the average neighbor to barter.

  • paganheart

    Which is probably why a lot of these people start their own churches and ministries. They’re not qualified to do anything else.

  • paganheart

    I wonder if there is any research or data out there about homeschoolers in the military? I doubt there are many. Seems like you hear a lot about homeschoolers going to college or starting their own churches or ministries, but I can’t think of anything I have read or heard about homeschoolers entering the military (though I fully admit I’ve not done exhaustive research.) I am going to go out on a limb, though, and guess that homeschool grads probably don’t do very well in the armed forces. Much like going to college, joining the military means being thrown into close quarters with a lot of people of different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds, as well as going to foreign countries with very different cultures. That can be a tough adjustment for people from “normal” backgrounds (I know it was tough for some of my non-homeschooled family members who had not been exposed to a lot of diversity), and when you throw in the extreme isolation that a lot of homeschoolers come out of, I just can’t see it going very well at all.

  • Julia Childress

    Shh. Don’t say these things too loudly. I’m counting on the lack of education and marketable skills possessed by these offspring to help facilitate the collapse of the patriarchal system. We wouldn’t want them to get the idea that they have a problem.

  • Julia Childress

    While they don’t make this public, CPM fundies do not encourage their young men to join the military. They may be saber-rattling patriots, but A. they don’t want to lose patriarchal control over their boys, B. they don’t want their boys to have to answer to secular authorities, C. they don’t want their boys exposed to ideas that might take them away from their belief system and D. they would be horrified to have their sons exposed to the language, alcohol use, and normal sexuality that they would experience in the military. Michelle Duggar once answered a question about military service, and she said how much they appreciate the sacrifices that our military members make. She then made some vague statement about supporting one of her children should he decide to join, which is a crock.

  • Julia Childress

    Ironic that though this is written mostly tongue-in-cheek, some of Mel’s ideas are better than the advice they apparently received from Huckabee’s actual PR firm.

  • paganheart

    Very interesting…and not surprising at all. Basically yet again doing everything they can to keep their offspring from discovering the real world. (Even though they plan on out-breeding the rest of us in order to take over the real world, which, by necessity, would mean they would have to operate some sort of military force…how frightening.) It also reminds me of the LDS church; they are all about being patriotic and supporting the troops as well, but I grew up in an area with a decent amount of Mormons, and while about 25 percent of my high school graduating class went into the military (this was back in the 1980s fwiw) none of the Mormon boys did…they all planned on going on missions, of course, which kind of conflicts with your prime military service years. In fact IIRC, Mitt Romney was conveniently exempted from serving in the military during the Vietnam War because he was serving his LDS mission in France. Very interesting indeed….

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Now that I think about it, every last one of the guys I know who enlisted in some branch of the U.S. military has been a total SLUT while they were in. One ended up transferred to the base in Japan because he slept with the wife of someone who outranked but wasn’t his immediate superior and found out about the wife sexin’. Another was always dating 16 year old girls (their parents knew and ok’ed it – he was in his mid 20’s at the time) which he seemed to always knock up but only worked out where his girlfriends remained pregnant for the necessary 9 months to become a father twice. The rest weren’t as scandalous but they liked to ‘spread the love around’ to as many of the single young women they could get to go home with them. And there were a whole lot, which being the sister-ish or mom-ish female of the group (and pretty much the only female of the group) they didn’t see a reason to keep their mouths shut on the escapades around me. 😛 Whores, man-whores the lot of them! But if those guys are any indication, fundies aren’t going to want to allow their kids to enlist.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Are we going to feed them and house them after that?

    I suppose we should, otherwise we’d be treating them the same as the CPM guys are out to do – towards their preferred target; minorities, poor people, disabled, women, and people who don’t share their religious beliefs.

    Might want to have a plan to teach some useful skills so they can ‘earn their keep’ – don’t want them to sit around all day refusing to work because they’re lazy and smoking dope, and becoming single mothers!

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    They undoubtedly do need SS and other assistance programs, but how many out there continually vote for politicians and policies that are absolutely against their best interests? While believing the empty promises they’re told over the never ending campaign season!

  • paganheart

    Yep, that sounds like a lot of the military guys (and gals!) I know as well; you put a lot of young, healthy people in close physical proximity with one another for extended periods of time, and sooner or later, hormones are going to take over no matter how good your intentions might be. Especially when you’ve gone without, uh, physical companionship, for a while.

    My husband spent a semester in what was then West Germany as an exchange student, in a town near Stuttgart, which had a large U.S. military presence. He told me that the girls he met there said that the only part of Stuttgart they felt unsafe walking alone in at night, was near the U.S. military base. There had been some cases of German girls being molested or raped by U.S. soldiers, and in general just a lot of guys catcalling and constantly trying to pick up on local girls when they were off base. I remember being in San Antonio (another town with a big military presence) for a work conference in my mid-20s with some fellow 20-something female co-workers. When we went down to the River Walk in the evenings, we were constantly being flirted with and hit on by military guys. It was flattering, but it also got a bit annoying after a while (especially because I was newly married at the time!) I could see guys from a CPM background being totally unable to handle themselves in that type of environment.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I’ve heard stories from Vets who served back in WWII and Korea where they joked about some guys on shore leave who got really drunk and would probably have attempted to screw inanimate objects if those were covered by a woman’s dress. I love listening to all their tales – even when it’s at the table on Thanksgiving.

  • Friend

    Many military families homeschool their children, to limit the disruption of frequent moves, and/or for religious and social reasons. My guess is that these families have developed a reliable path for their kids to enter the military. However, I don’t know any facts about this.

  • Friend

    This hasn’t been my experience in knowing quite a few young single military folks over the years. From what I have seen, they exhibit somewhat more self-control than college students. Young adults away from home for the first time do sometimes sow their wild oats…

  • Edie Moore McGee

    This is hysterical!

  • Edie Moore McGee

    And what if their sons have — gasp! — any females in the chain of command?

  • Julia Childress

    Yes, exactly. That needs to be on the list since they would certainly not want males taking orders from females or being exposed to competent, independent women.

  • brbr2424

    Great PR advice. The Duggars already rejected the advice of the top Christian PR guy when the Josh story broke. They don’t take good advice. I kind of like the strategy of helping them dig the hole they are standing in.

  • brbr2424

    Somewhere I read that the Army started a program of remedial education just for the incoming homeschooled enlistees.

  • B.E. Miller

    Soooooo…. has anyone gone and posted the link for this on the Duggar’s facebook page?

  • B.E. Miller

    But those Democrappers are all liberal atheists! At least the Repubicans have Jebus on their side!

  • B.E. Miller

    I also wonder about nutritional backgrounds and general overall health for some of the CPM kids. Seeing as how the Pearls and their followers saw nothing wrong with feeding kids feed corn and raw milk for a year….

    What kind of shape are their muscles and teeth? Could they actually pass the physical?

  • pinkie

    Seems there would be way too many ministries to go around.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Jesus or not, the Republicans aren’t all that interested in actually helping the people in need. Even when they’re fellow Republicans.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Maybe I’ve just had a lot of rowdy military friends. 🙂

  • BondGurl7

    I was enlisted in the Air Force, and I can attest to the level of sleeping around, both as a single airman living in the dorms and when I got married and we moved to family base housing. And it isn’t just the actual military members; their spouses, mostly stay-home wives who did nothing but have kids, were just as bad. The wife of the airman who lived across the street from us shamelessly flirted with my husband at the time. Base housing was a constant real-life soap opera.
    As for education, those who didn’t score very high were put into Security Forces, i.e. military cops, i.e. “the guys who stand at the gates and wave you through.

  • BondGurl7

    After the recent backlash over Jill and Derrick’s possible misuse of “mission donations,” I’m surprised they aren’t listed under “Potential Liabilities”.

  • Poster Girl

    From what I’ve seen, I don’t think ATI includes ANY math. Like, ANY. Maybe– MAYBE– basic elementary things like addition and subtraction, maybe place value, and maybe multiplication. But I don’t think they even know division, never mind any of that pesky algebra stuff.

  • Mel

    I wrote it about 24hrs before that hit the web. If I had known about the donations and Jill’s plan to work as a not-particularly-good midwife, there would be a section on them.

  • SAO

    Long division probably often requires someone to help, in the initial stages and when the kids get to it, they are probably often too busy teaching their younger sibs.

    Kids who are good at math and like it often get bogged down on long division, as it’s tedious. Without encouragement, I imagine many don’t move beyond it.