I really hope Jimmy Kimmel was joking when he said President Barack Obama should send a chopper and child protective services in to rescue Honey Boo Boo. It's hard to tell this time around because the comedian pretty much summed up what a lot of America has been alluding to since Here Comes Honey Boo Boo took TLC (and the country) by storm. The show should not exactly be taken by new parents as a how-to guide. But does that really mean it's child abuse? Really?
Allow me to offer just a few stories for perspective. All of these have cropped up in the news in the past few weeks, at the same time that we've been getting a look-see at the world June Shannon and Mike 'Sugar Bear' Thompson have created for their kids.
A 3-year-old in Texas was allegedly pulled into a webcam sex chat by her father's girlfriend. A teenager was allegedly kept locked in his parents' basement for four years before they loaded him on a bus with $200 and a list of homeless shelters and told him to go take care of himself. A father is facing charges for lighting his house on fire with his four kids inside.
Still think Honey Boo Boo's being abused by her parents?
My parenting is wildly different from that of Mama June Shannon, and I'd be loathe to do much if any of what I've seen her do with little Alana and her sisters. But Shannon's kids have a roof over their heads. They have clean clothes on their backs. They have food in their tummies. They don't show any marks or bruises that would indicate abuse.
I'm going to assume Jimmy Kimmel was joking about CPS because that's what he does for a living, and there's nothing that would indicate a true need for intervention in the Honey Boo Boo home. But even comedians need to be careful with their language.
We have come to a dangerous point in society where we're quick to brand any sort of parenting that we disagree with as "abusive." The result can vary from serious -- wasted time for an already overworked social system that has to field these ridiculous claims -- to just plain annoying for the parents who have to hear their names dragged through the mud.
In the case of little Honey Boo Boo's family, it's mostly the latter, and it can be said that they opened themselves up to criticism by showing upon reality TV. But let's just set this record straight: criticizing the parenting you see on this show is one thing; but if you're calling it abusive, you need to check your definition of abuse.
Do you agree with Jimmy Kimmel? Are the kids on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo being abused?
Image via TLC