- Cullman, Alabama

June 27, 2013

Melting like butter

The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Paula Deen’s long ride at the top of the food chain as a celebrity chef melted like one of her vaunted sticks of butter when she admitted to using a racial slur years ago.

After years of building fame and fortune with her characteristic drawl and embracing high-fat Southern cooking, someone reported that Deen used the racial slur more than 30 years ago, perhaps frequently. Confronted with the accusation, Deen admitted she had spoken those words. She has tried to convince her fans and critics that she no longer speaks such words or feels that any human is less than another.

In an emotional interview on one of the many television confessional “news” shows, Deen apologized and invited anyone who could claim to be free of such a transgression to stone her — to hit her so hard with a rock that it kills her.

Deen’s biblical reference to sin and forgiveness is certainly worth noting. She could easily have denied the accusation. Instead, Deen was honest.

The fallout from Deen’s confession is stripping the butter queen of millions of dollars in endorsements, ending her relationship with the Food Network, and perhaps relegating her career to the backwaters of American society.

While the television talkers and Internet crowd will continue to turn the controversy like a pig on a spit, the uproar from Deen’s past should stand as a warning to a generation addicted to recording every lame personal act on Twitter and Facebook.

Will the world ever be rid of the infamous Paris Hilton sex tape, or some obscure person’s drunken rampage in Cancun? Doubtful. The Internet is a vast wasteland of personal blunders that follow people to job interviews and appear in the midnight hour of political campaigns.

If you think Deen is disgraced by admitting the truth about a racial slur, which is a serious matter, think what the future holds for a generation that chronicles the worst of human life in real time.