Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:June 25th, 2013 08:17 EST

Does Paula Deen Accurately Represent the 'Southern Hospitality Culture' of Savannah?

By John G. Kays


Can Paula Deen survive this downward spiral, which is a result of her antiquated Southern lifestyle and values? Paula just lost her endorsement partnership with Smithfield Foods, who are known mostly for their hams. Yet, her biggest problem is that her cooking shows have been dropped by the Food Network as of Friday, apparently for using the N word at a deposition, related to a lawsuit by a former manager (Lisa T. Jackson) of one of her `Butter Quisine` restaurants, The Lady and Sons in Savannah, Georgia.


The problem could get even worse if other sponsors topple like dominoes; many major retailers carry Deen`s cookware, such as Target, Wal-Mart, J.C. Penny, Kmart, and Sears. As they see Paula Deen`s awkward damage control campaign unfold, with poorly orchestrated apology videos only making people all the more suspicious of her sincerity (regarding racial issues), they may follow suit and drop her before they become contaminated Zombies also(see World War Z)!


I`ve never seen any of Paula Deen`s shows, nor tried any of her products before; I`m a health food advocate, so I fail to see the appeal of what she`s about. I did hear she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but for the longest time didn`t reveal this health issue to her fans, while continuing to dole out a butter-laden diet to her votaries. I hadn`t paid her any attention anyway, but this lowered my opinion of her even more, when I thought she was dishing out a spiel of heart disease and diabetes, when it was killing her too.


No, this didn`t sit too good with me; not that we can exterminate Southern cooking, this is a free country, but it sure would be nice if we could partially sideline it, `cuz too many people are dying from obesity! Paula`s just uping the ante, encouraging gluttony, and making it easier for people to let down their guard against an early death from poor eating habits; with her fame and popularity, it amounts to a subtle mutation of poisoning.


Another problem I`m having, is Deen`s supposed take on the distant past, or what we know the South was before the Civil War. The Antebellum South is a big selling point for Savannah, which I just recently visited. But what I noticed when I went there, is that natives look sensitively on their history, on race relations, the supposed Plantation culture, and especially on the troubling issue of slavery, which was very much present in Savannah (with both rice and cotton plantations).


When I was there a new Civil Rights museum had just opened, which had a diorama of a lunch counter from the `50s, that features a white waitress readily serving fellow whites, but denying Blacks service to eat some lunch. I mean, I`m trying to point out, there`s a sensitivity and a measure of consideration for the past, the legacy of the South (that Gone With the Wind so candidly addressed), an attempt to set the record straight, that renders Paula Deen out of the picture. Paula doesn`t get it really, we have to believe!


I mean, Confederate Bean Soup; is that a real recipe? I just don`t believe natives from Savannah gain by having Paula Deen compromise to absurdity, if not parody, the rich Southern traditions and history (much of which is only a painful memory now), that I know for sure exists there. James Edward Oglethorpe, when first designing the original colony for Georgia was very careful in warning against slavery making it`s sinful way into the colony; but that`s just what happened after he left for London. In any way, promoting the dead ideas of the Confederacy has to say bye bye, Paula! Most have already made the leap, but not you, apparently.


http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/21/paula-deen-teflon-chef.html