Woe to thee, O Jon and Kate

As a long-time OCD enthusiast, I’m compelled to perform countless weird rituals coaxing the world to continue spinning on its axis and keeping gravity from allowing the bulk of humanity to float away into the cold, dark void of space. Just call it community service. In a similar way, ancient Aztec sorcerers (without the benefit of the Two P’s–Paxil and Prozac) believed human sacrifice was the only thing that could keep their bloodthirsty gods from burning the Earth to a greasy charcoal smear. Be glad my fellow OCD’ers and I can’t pronounce “Quetzlcoatl”…and (lucky you) most of us have never ripped anyone’s heart out. We just wash our hands in multiples of three, count backwards through the steps we’ve taken throughout the day, and touch the door knob constantly to reassure ourselves the door is safely locked.

So, along with saving the Earth on a day-to-day basis, my repetitive rituals helped bring about the downfall of uber-popular reality show “Jon and Kate Plus 8”. You’re welcome.

And now I feel ashamed.

After all, despite my hatred of these kinds of shows (which strangely doesn’t help me summon the willpower to change the channel), the end (being nigh) comes at the cost of 8 innocent, aggravatingly cute kids.

Divorce is an American institution. It’s a bit ironic so many Americans get knotted up over gay marriage as a supposed attack on the “sacred bonds of marriage”; it’s divorce–not tying the knot–that is the real institution. We’ve long ago passed the 50/50 mark. In Vegas, that’s great odds–no wonder so many people run off to Vegas to get married. They’re looking for luck in all the RIGHT places.

Apparently, Jon wasn’t overly fond of turning his life into a public spectacle. Who can blame him? A couple years ago he was the proud father of twins and what appeared to be a healthy marriage. But Kate apparently decided two wasn’t the magic number, and like aVegas gambler she rolled the reproductive dice (albeit with a little spermatic help from Jon). And what does one do when one suddenly has eight children through the miracles of modern OB/GYN sorcery? Call in the cameras! 

Though I’m sure these comments are enough to brand me a misogynist, let me be clear: I realize it takes two to tango. Well, unless you make a withdrawal from your friendly neighborhood sperm bank. But in this case, Jon COULD have said: “No, Kate. I don’t think I’m ready for more children.”

That said, perhaps you will argue that they had no way of knowing it would be multiples. Great. But in the end, 8 is the hand they were dealt, and 8 is most definately ENOUGH. So fast forward a bit, and the Jon and Kate Plus 8 show becomes America’s guilty pleasure and secret addiction. For some weird reason, peeking in on this family– like a real-life version of the popular computer game “The Sims”–has become entertainment. And, like The Sims, it’s a little bit creepy. Instead of living our own lives, we watch someone else live theirs.

And the irreconcilable differences that drove a stake into the bloody heart of Jon and Kate’s 10-year marriage was doubtlessly helped along with trying to raise 8 kids in front of a national audience.

But the sacrifice isn’t the marriage; it’s the children who will pay the highest price. Sure, they’ve got a million-dollar home and the money (indirectly paid by the audience…that is, us) to make life more comfortable in many ways than it might’ve been had the show been unsuccessful or if it had never been. Sure, the kids have their own individual play houses and all the toys any kid could ever want. But this doesn’t seem worth the cost, when you add up the bill.

The Aztecs had another method of human sacrifice…one that’s not so well-known as ripping hearts out on top of stepped pyramids in order to keep the sun shining bright and happy. The rain god, Tlaloc, had his butcher’s bill, too. And, though not as bloody, it was far more horrifying. The priests, in an effort to please their god, would scare and torture children…the more the little tykes cried, the more rain the god would supposedly send. This procession of crying kids led inexorably towards sacred wells called cenotes where the kids were thrown in to drown.

TLC, in an attempt to keep the money rolling in, are little better than Aztec priests. Though Jon and Kate made their choices–and in so doing, made the choices for their children as well–I imagine it was hard to resist $75,000 an episode. With 10 mouths to feed, it was an easy choice to make. But TLC isn’t a human services organization or a church or a public assistance agency. They are in business to make money…and the show apparently WILL go on.

But I won’t be watching.


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