June 24, 2013

A Buttery, Slippery Slope

It was the shot heard round the bundt pan: Paula Deen admitted to uttering the n-word...repeatedly. In the past. She issued one pathetic video recant (or so I've heard because it was taken down as quickly as it was posted), then was scheduled to issue another wanna-be mea culpa on The Today Show, but instead settled for a new Please-I-Got-Butter-In-My-Recipes-Don't-Y'all-Remember-How-Much-Y'all-Love-Butter apology video.

None worked and the Food Network summarily dismissed her and her buttery goodness by not renewing her contract.

Sorry, Paula. Yes, I said it: Sorry.

What hapeend to you is because you reflected your upbringing in the south during the days when people living south of the Mason Dixon Line regularly referred to the Civil War as the War of Northern Aggression. Trouble is, somehow, someway, you just couldn't keep those words, that history and that slant from bubbling up out of you and into conversation.

Truthfully Paula, I'm not worried about you. You will ultimately be fine. Oh yes, your slip o' the attitude is causing some momentary unpleasantness, but it'll blow over. Just give it a minute. Soon another high profile person will commit a cultural faux pax, and the internet will be consumed with crucifying them; and that's when you can make a quiet comeback. Trust me.

What really concerns me is that you got the axe in the first place for admitting to telling a few off-color tastesless jokes, saying the n-word and having the craptacular idea of dressing folks up as slaves for an antebellum-themed event. The subject matter of the jokes, the ugliess of the word and the sheer stupidity of the event theme are all cringe-worthy.

But is it right to lose your job because of words and ideas? I just don't think so. No matter how inane.

Listen Paula, I'm not an alarmist nor am I a public figure, but your very public execution puts me ill at ease:
Will the internet village mob wielding pitchforks and torches who called for and joyfully received your head on a platter, one day come knocking on my door because I admitted to uttering unwise words or doing something(s) stupid in my blissfully ignorant youth, or espoused an unpopular concept or slant on a hot-button topic?
Will they come knocking at the door of my employer and demand my dismissal because of it? Will my employer go along with it to save the bottom line?
Or what about my pastor? What if he preaches about the Bible's slant on a social issue that doesn't align with "what everyone thinks?" Will the mob show up on my church's steps too and demand a public apology or a change in theology?
Understand Paula, the ethnic jokes you admitted to tittering about and telling: Dumb. About the n-word: Hate it. Hate that you used it. Hate that anyone uses it, including black people (who by the way need to stop it. Just stop it.) Oh, and the antebellum event theme you were musing over? You probably rethought it a couple days later and wondered if you had drunk too many mint julips to come up with that beauty.

I've been there. We all have, if we're being honest.

But all of us won't lose our jobs over it....as long as this slippery slope we all seem to be on doesn't get any slipperier.

Pic from Mad Art Lab by Amy Davis Roth

8 comments:

  1. I agree. I feel everyone pointing the finger at Paula needs to realize that there are 3 fingers pointing back at them.

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  2. I also think that there is a generational gap in the world of political correctness. It doesn't make what Paula said or didn't say right, but it is a factor.

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    1. Exactly Charlie.

      And even beyond the race dust-up, I still wish the conversation was less about race and more about being convicted by internet-torch-wielding-mob and group-think...

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  3. I really didn't want to pay any attention to this "story" so my knowledge is limited to what you've included in your blog. Which, as it turns out, is just about everything that ever needed to be said about it.

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    1. Yup.
      Much ado about the wrong thing, you know?

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  4. Ditto what Vickie said...I'm glad I read this blog instead of anything else out there.

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    1. You're too kind, Kristi. I'm just glad I was making sense...either that or we're all nutty. ;)

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