Published: Thursday, August 2, 2007 | 2:07 PM ET
LITTLE ROCK (AP) - An Arkansas couple had a baby daughter today - their 17th child and seventh girl.
And the pair say they're still not ready to give it a rest.
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar said in an interview that their daughter, Jennifer Danielle, was born at 10:01 a.m. at a hospital in Rogers, Arkansas.
Michelle, who's been pregnant for 126 months - or 10.5 years - of her life, said the couple would like to have more girls, since they love the ruffles and lace.
All the children - whose names start with the letter J - are taught at home.
The oldest is 19 and the youngest, before Jennifer, is almost two years old.
The Duggars have been featured on several programs on cable television's Discovery Health Network.
The next special, the Duggar Family Album, is scheduled to air next month.
Among the "fun facts" listed on Discovery Health's web page devoted to the Duggars is that a baby has been born in every month except June.
Fun Facts indeed. This should make you cringe and think, "Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with you people?"
But as Mark Morford stated (on the birth of the Duggar's 16th child), that would be mean and callous, wouldn't it?
It's wrong to be this judgmental. Wrong to suggest that it is exactly this kind of weird pathological protofamily breeding-happy gluttony that's making the world groan and cry and recoil, contributing to vicious overpopulation rates and unrepentant economic and environmental strain and a bitter moral warpage resulting from a massive viral outbreak of homophobic neo-Christians across our troubled and Bush-ravaged land. Or is it?
Perhaps the point is this: Why does this sort of bizarre hyperbreeding only seem to afflict antiseptic megareligious families from the Midwest? In other words -- assuming Michelle and Jim Bob and their massive brood of cookie-cutter Christian kidbots will all be, as the charming photo suggests, never allowed near a decent pair of designer jeans or a tolerable haircut from a recent decade, and assuming that they will all be tragically encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right -- where are the forces that shall help neutralize their effect on the culture? Where is the counterbalance, to offset the damage?
Where is, in other words, the funky tattooed intellectual poetess who, along with her genius anarchist husband, is popping out 16 funky progressive intellectually curious fashion-forward pagan offspring to answer the Duggar's squad of über-white future Wal-Mart shoppers? Where is the liberal, spiritualized, pro-sex flip side? Verily I say unto thee, it ain't lookin' good.
Perhaps this the scariest aspect of our squishy birthin' tale: Maybe the scales are tipping to the neoconservative, homogenous right in our culture simply because they tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction and pious sanctimony, whereas those on the left actually seem to give a whit for the health of the planet and the dire effects of overpopulation. Is that an oversimplification?
Ah, but this is America, yes? People should be allowed to do whatever the hell they want with their families if they can afford it and if it's within the law and so long as they aren't gay or deviant or happily flouting Good Christian Values, right? Shouldn't they? Hell, gay couples still can't openly adopt a baby in most states (they either lie, or one adopts and the other must apply as "co-parent"), but Michelle Duggar can pop out 16 kids and no one says, oh my freaking God, stop it, stop it now, you thoughtless, selfish, baby-drunk people.
No, no one says that. That would be mean.
Children (In order of appearance):
Jana & John-David (twins)
Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins)
Jinger Duggar? Yeesh. Poor, poor kids -- homeschooled without a chance in the world, doomed to holding Republican congressional power in about forty years or so.