Sunday, June 30, 2013
My Sunday Feeling
I confess that I really hadn't paid much attention to Paula Deen prior to the recent troubles. I don't watch the Food Network and I didn't look at any of her cookbooks as I had always been told that her food was not particularly healthy. I really had no opinion about her. I still don't have much of one. Other than she is proof that business acumen is no real predictor of actual intelligence. That, and her "empire",as it were, seems to be falling in and around her ears after she fessed up in a deposition to use of the "n" word. That the deposition was being taken pursuant to a discrimination case filed against her by 2 former employees seems to have caused but a ripple in the national consciousness.
Despite profuse and tearful apologies, the Food Network and all of her other sponsors are dropping her like a hot rock. This has caused her supporters to threaten boycotts of these sponsors (2 of them being Wal-Mart and Target ) and of the Food Network. A more clement reaction came from an unusual source when Rev. Jesse Jackson chimed in to say that her apology was sufficient for him. Former President Jimmy Carter is on the record as saying that she has suffered enough. And some of the commentary has been completely ridiculous, such as Glenn Beck's comparing the furor against her to be reminiscent of McCarthyism.
Which leads me to my first point. Some folks have referred to the reaction of her skeedadadling sponsors as "censorship." It is not. Censorship is when the government comes in and takes your laptop for something you have written. Or arrests you for something you said. Corporations making the business decision that its spokesperson is sufficiently divisive to cost it money is not censorship. It's business. Look at Michael Vick.
My second point is that whether you believe that boycotts are fair typically follows the principle of the gored ox. As I have written in the past, I don't have a problem with boycotts. People can spend,or not spend, their money anyway they damn well please. So if Paula's supporters want to stick it to Target or Wal-Mart that's jake with me. My only thought is that I'm guessing, giving the apparent strata which is supportive of Paula, that a goodly number of these boycotters didn't think much of it when the gay folks urged a boycott of Chik Fil'A. Again, the gored ox.
Finally, I also confess that I have a little sympathy for the ole diabetic slinger of high sugar foods. It's not like she got caught in a casual conversation using racial slurs. She gave truthful answers under oath during a deposition. What was she supposed to do? Lie? And the fact that the deposition was taken in a discrimination case against her doesn't mean much to me. While I don't know much about the case at hand, I have defended more than one such case that was merit-free. Granted the story about wanting black folks in plantation garb to serve the guests at a party (or whatever it was) was just plain stupid.
But she's a woman of her age and station. And she evidently ain't real bright. That's not to defend her. But it's not like they got video of her catering a Klan rally. Again, it's the companies' right to disassociate themselves with her if they want. It's the law of the jungle, baby. It may be neither right nor fair. But it's Business 101. You can't let somebody hurt the brand.
I suspect she will be OK. After all, Michael Vick started getting sponsors again. Nike even took him on again. And he killed, or caused to be killed, a bunch of dogs.
So you never know. She may not ever get the diabetes drug manufacturer back. But maybe someday she can pitch recipes for Jenny Craig. Is this a great country or what?