Friday, June 28, 2013

Whom to hate THIS week (hint: it's Paula Deen)

Not long ago, we took a look at the way modern hatred works:

  1. Someone does something mean/stupid/thoughtless
  2. Somebody on the internet finds out
  3. The entire internet reacts by focusing their scorn directly on that person...
  4. ...until somebody else comes along.
At that time, the target was a bitter, ignorant self-entitled miscreant named Taylor Chapman. Her shift is over now because it's Paula Deen's turn.

Throwing up gang signs isn't going to help you now, lady.
Ms. Deen, the celebrity chef who justifiably earned worldwide fame and popularity with innovative recipes like this:


Ingredients: 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cans (14 1/2-ounces) English peas, drained
Directions: Melt the butter in small pot and add the peas. Cook over medium heat until peas are warm. (Source: The Food Network)
Clearly, she's a genius. Or not. Because her carefully-constructed empire is at risk because of her casual use, and even more casual defense of her casual use of the word 'nigger'. Her odd strategy of trying to explain her behavior instead of offering a sincere apology is causing her to bleed sponsors on a Rush Limbaugh level and makes you wonder if she's taking advice from a PR firm that may not have her best interests in mind.

"No no, Paula. You're doing fine. Trust us, this is going to work out great!"
Anyway, that's who we're all hating right now, very, very much. So there you go.

While we're on the subject (sort of) of the word 'nigger', I'd like to get a couple of things off my chest. Over the years I've heard a lot of white people express anger and frustration at the fact that they can't use the word 'nigger' in casual conversation that "they" do, with the "they" being black people. As in, "They use it all the time but if I do that, it's a big problem. That isn't fair." My initial reaction when I hear that complaint is always to wonder what it is they have to say that can only be expressed by using that particular word? What idea or sentiment is it that simply can't be expressed effectively with any other word? People who get upset when they hear people use the word "retard" object on the grounds that what they really mean is stupid, so why not just use the word "stupid" instead of a word that insults and demeans people? Same thing here.

Secondly, why would you be angry at the people who are insulted when that word is directed toward them? It's not their fault. The people you should get mad at are old, white racists. They're the ones who put all the hate and meanness behind it. Even if you're just someone with a severely limited vocabulary with perfectly innocent intentions who harbors no ill will towards people who are different than you and totally not a racist, racists are the ones who have made it more difficult for you to have a conversation. Now, don't you wish there was a word as good as "nigger" that you could call them?

Third, this is 100% true:


Erin Kane Spock said...

I don't swear because I'm trying to model ladylike behavior for my kids, but when I got in a car accident, the stream of words supported by my survival instinct in my lizard brain would have made you cringe (my kids were wearing head phones at the time, thank goodness). The words are there, in your head, whether or not you chose to use them is key. It's a garbage in, garbage out thing. Paula Deen is part of a generation where certain words were more common place without thought of who they might offend, similar to teaching teenagers to unlearn "that's so gay" because it insults a culture of people. I'm babbling.
My point, I wonder who it is that's panicking about her use of a word thirty years ago. I have a feeling it's not the black community

Jeff Hickmott said...

I'm English, and never in my 47 years have I seen peas prepared that way, by any English person or dining establishment. Ms. Deen is many things, clearly, but first and foremost, a liar. Hate her now.