CHARLOTTE, June 23, 2013 ― When it comes to cooking on television, only three personalities have ever been worth watching: the two English women who drove a motorcycle with a sidecar and the “Soup Nazi.”
Oh, others have had their followings: Emeril with his over the top “Bammm” ingredients; or Rachael the “forefinger-in-her-dimple-EVOO-Shirley-Temple-of the-kitchen” Ray. A host of others have paraded across the screen, including the now-deposed queen of Southern hospitality, Paula Deen.
Somewhere in the midst of genuine scandals like the IRS,
For the moment, Paula Deen is in the spotlight, and with typical frenzied hysteria, the media have found a way to over-emphasize the importance of a non-story. A non-story, that is, except for Paula Deen who has been released from her television show on the Food Channel and who stands to lose even more in revenues from the repercussions of our most recent grotesque national hypocrisy.
Paula Deen’s down-home, corn pone charm is a myth. It’s shtick. It’s all part of the act. No matter who they are, every entertainer does it. Why should Deen be any different?
Just because Deen is a phony does not make her a racist, however. To get up in arms about something she admitted saying or doing in her past while truthfully and directly answering a question under oath is hardly a reason for the overzealous negative response it received.
Deen is 66-years old and a product of the Old South. She grew up in a region of the country and in an era when using language that is totally unacceptable today was commonplace. That does not make it right, but it is a fact, and most native southerners who claim they have not uttered similar derogatory words or phrases in their distant past are being completely dishonest.
Senator Robert Byrd of
As the Deen story unfolded late last week, Bob Beckel, one of the regular hosts on the popular FOX News Channel show The Five was among the harshest critics of the Emmy Award-winning chef. However, not one of Beckel’s colleagues challenged him about his own outbursts on at least two occasions where he bombastically dropped an F-bomb on live television.
Beckel is still hosting The Five. All he had to do was issue an apology the following day after each incident, and he still has his job. Beckel rationalizes his comments by claiming what he said and what Deen said are different.
Actually, Beckel is correct. His tirade came on live television during the afternoon when children could be watching. Deen’s comments were made in her past n private, and she was forced to admit them during a deposition or face charges of perjury.
Another FOX contributor, Mark Furman, was severely chastised by noted attorney F. Lee Bailey during the infamous O.J. Simpson trial for using the N-word. Bailey didn’t bother with euphemisms; he just blurted it himself on numerous occasions during his questioning of Furman.
Now Furman is an expert analyst on FOX. Oh, and yes, Furman made his comments in the past too, just like Paula Deen.
More may come out about Deen that has greater implications and could be more damaging to her reputation. If true, then the story changes.
As of the end of the week however, the firestorm was about Deen admitting to using a racial slur for which she quickly apologized. Viewers will decide for themselves whether her remorse is sincere.
We should be less quick to judge, and when such events do take place, we need to step back and ponder our own lives before we start pointing fingers. Commentators like Beckel have more than their own share of skeletons in the closet and need to keep their mouths shut or, at the very least, be a little more tolerant.
There is no way of knowing what the next great debate will be, but it would be nice if we could find a way to solve some of the real issues plaguing the nation rather than worrying about what some celebrity said in her past.
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About the Author: Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.
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