Let's talk about Chip and Joanna Gaines
Sort of an aside, but not really, I went diving into the Duggars' Instagram friends (attempting to find a finstagram), and noticed that they followed other Duggars and the Gaines's almost exclusively.
I can't put my finger on what it is, exactly, about Chip and Joanna Gaines that causes the part of me that rejects my fundamentalist upbringing to be thoroughly disgusted by them. When I was in high school I worked at Mardel Christian Bookstore in the music section. On the walls we had a poster that said things like "If you like the Goo Goo Dolls, then try SonicFlood" and "If you like Destiny's Child, try Mary Mary." Maybe their show is like that poster, except instead of promoting a (mostly) harmless Christian band, it promotes Evangelical dominionism behind a saccharine, bleached smile.
Maybe the Duggars and the Gaines are just two prongs of the same fork.
This was fantastic. Thank you for sharing this kind of thinking and writing! Would be so interested to see a similar analysis of empire builder Ree Drummond/ Pioneer Woman and the American West. I’m also pretty fascinated by the power trio of design influencers/related Mormons Gabrielle Blair, Jordan Ferney & Liz Stanley.
This is fascinating analysis, particularly vis-a-vis shiplap. My Chip and Joanna fascination has to do with the performance of parenting in the show — what “dad” does (shows up with kids and pizza while J decorates, but also then leaves again with the kids suggesting he may actually put them to bed himself), Chip’s combination of masculinity and non-threatening Christianity, and, less academically, the hot door maker guy.
A question — has anyone clocked if they’ve ever had an LGBTQ couple on Fixer Upper? Most other HGTV shows feature same-sex couples, and then there was the throuple House Hunters.
Also, if you'd like to get in touch with Rebecca for whatever reason (do you want to read her queer romance novel? Do you want to talk more about shiplap?) email *me* and I'll pass her email along.
This is fascinating. Also as an aside, I feel like the guy in the meme holding the "Change My Mind" sign, but I feel like nondenominational churches are virtually all Baptist by another name.
"Virulent palatability" is a KEEPER of a phrase describing so many blandly assertive, or assertively bland, elements of a culture assumed or asserted to be the one someone needs to protect from something "different" meaning "different from the kind of white middle-class world you saw on Leave It to Beaver no matter how long ago that was."
This interview was great, and I enjoyed your Buzzfeed article about Waco, AHP, so thanks for that link.
But—and please don't hate me for this—every mention of the couple in question as "the Gaines" made me cringe. Our Holy Mother of the Chicago Manual of Style would have us write the plural of Chip and Joanna Gaines as "The Gaineses."
I know it's ungainly! (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) Unwieldy, even. Not really easy on the eyes. But it's a damn sight better than "The Gaines," which, frankly, makes me want to stab something.
I knew from the first paragraph that Rebecca must have gone to my high school in San Antonio, and with some light Facebook and LinkedIn stalking, I can confirm that she did and graduated a few years before me! I was a lowly freshman, but I remember her cool band of seniors. This was great to read- thank you! Go Globies!
This is so fascinating. I've opened about a dozen tabs in my browser and expect to go down so many rabbit holes tomorrow. Could not help thinking about Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, as I read this, and the new directions she has taken the Drummond empire whose ranch started on Osage land in the early 20th century.
Oh I am fascinated by this - Joanna and Chip fandom has always felt religion-adjacent (if not outright religious) to me! the interviewee I cut waaay back on my HGTV when I was going through home improvement adventures of my own in real life and watched pretty much none during the time when the Gaineses were gaining prominence. Then one day in 2016 I asked a friend if she’d had a nice trip to Texas and I am not kidding she went on for 45 minutes about the “silos” and “Chip” and “Joanna” and all these other things that I had never heard of with such fervor I was momentarily worried that she had joined a cult! I was relieved when I finally pieced together that she was just a really big fan of some tv show!
I might get crucified for this but the shiplap claims seem overdone.
“In their repeated, ecstatic use of shiplap, the Gaines promise salvation from the horrors of the past and present by way of “timeless” domestic space.”
I certainly find it hard to believe they are consciously offering “salvation”. And to the degree it’s unconscious, does it differ in any degree to what shopping at Anthropologie offers?
The article is fascinating and our whole history is racist. I just wonder to what degree shiplap is haunted by our past. I should read the paper.
Fascinating interpretations! The intersection of geography and religion made me think of summer camps, many of which are religious-based, and simultaneously co-opt indigenous symbolism with no regard for the attendant irony.
LOVED this interview and sent it to my advisor and another grad-school friend who's working on religion at the U.S.-Mexico border. I'm curious whether either of you have read Shannon Dawdy's "Patina": https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780226351193
It's a really excellent (and short!) academic book on archaeology in New Orleans that uses the ideas of patina and stratigraphy to think about nostalgia and place. Would probably be very interesting for both of you!
This was so fascinating. I've never felt drawn to the shiplap/things written in that faux-handwriting font on cheesecloth aesthetic, but now I'm thinking about the New England (where I'm from) versions of this sort of religion/design dynamic, like Shaker everything.
Isn't shiplap just an updated version of 70s paneling?
This was such a good read and also weirdly refreshing after all the other stuff happening. This fascination with the particularly christian-heavy culture of the states is always so strangely appealing to me coming from a very secular European background. The fronting of your faith in such normalised ways across music, decoration, and other aspects you would never inflect with faith in Europe is so unexpected and bizarre.