This isn’t the first blog I’ve written about Paula Deen.
You’ll not see the first one. (Well, you might — I tend to drink a bit and post things I shouldn’t; just ask my Facebook friends.)
It started quite tritely with a definition of schandenfreud, made some joke about Sigmund Freud — I don’t know. It was bad. It can’t hurt us anymore.
Nonetheless, while it may seem that I’m “piling on,” I still find no reason to feel sorry for Paula Deen. Her cries on the “Today” show a couple of days ago just made me want to throw a rock at her all the more.
See, my problem is this: she’s a stereotype. A character. A character that’s made a lot of money, mind you, but a character nonetheless. As a character, she hawked a culture of food that was down right lethal, and when faced with the inevitable results of the diet she promoted — type 2 diabetes — she hid it, for three years, because it would’ve been bad for business. Type 2 diabetes is what happens when you eat deep-fried cheesecakes.
Her portrayal as a dame of the South wouldn’t be complete without a lil’ bit of racism, would it? I mean, a plantation-style wedding? Why wouldn’t you have one of these? It was such a great time in our history! We should bring it back every chance we get. Hell, I think my daughter’s sixth birthday will be plantation-themed. We’ll put Cameron in blackface and chase him through the woods. It’s going to be great!
Being a cartoon is a great way to build a media empire if your last name is Simpson or Griffin or Hill (OK, maybe not Hill). But not if you’re a television cook. Food Network, Smithfield, Walmart and Target have all dropped her. Why? Because being associated with an acknowledged racist is bad for their business. And why should our hearts ache because Deen’s little empire is falling down around her?
Deen’s supporters have filled social media sites to denounce the companies that have abandoned her chuck wagon. Oddly, many of those who are defending her openly proclaim using “the N-word” routinely and see absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Nor, I suppose, do they see anything wrong with conducting a business in such a hostile way that black employees are forced to use separate entrances and bathrooms from white workers (as is alleged by lawsuits filed against Deen’s company), that it’s OK to refer to women as “my little Jew girl” (also noted in affidavits given in litigation), and that it’s OK to come to work drunk, strike restaurant staff and make them look at pornography (OK, well, Deen didn’t do this, but her brother — “Bubba” — did, apparently, and it was in his defense that Deen acknowledged having used “the N-word”).
Deen done did wrong. When you support a wicked person, you support a wicked way. And Deen’s empire empire, the one that seems now to be tumbling down, has been built on myths, lies and abuse.
And a stick of butter ain’t gonna’ make things better, y’all.