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Lessons in Controversy

Lessons in Controversy

“The TV cook and restaurateur tearfully opens up to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about the recent controversy surrounding a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee, saying the using the N-word is ‘just not a part’ of who she is and that despite the fallout, she is glad she didn’t lie under oath.”  (

It does not appear that Paula Deen is savvy.  She admitted to using slurs in the 1980s and more recently failed to clean up the language of cooks in her restaurant kitchen.  Both bad choices.  

Her interview with Matt Lauer was not her best performance.  After the interview one of the Today hosts commented that Paula Deen needed to apologize until everyone forgave her.  That is not how forgiveness works.  Matt Lauer and the other hosts took time to admonish Deen after he conducted the interview and she was no longer on screen.  Gleeful revenge is not professional.  If Lauer had something to say, then say it to her face and let her respond.  (*Of course most good-hearted and professional people do not endorse the use of certain words).

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC), National Football League (NFL), Target, Walmart, and Smithfield Foods dropped Paula Deen.  Yet, fail to remove the speck from their own eyes.  Each of these companies currently make money in horrible manners.  NBC, Target, and Walmart sell music and movies that use “the” word.  Today has featured many of these singers, actors, and directors such as Eminen and Quentin Tarantino.  Smithfield has recently been in trouble for using gestation crates, metal enclosures, to house pigs for most of their lives.  Smithfield has also been under investigation for waste neglect.  Since February there have been 27 NFL players arrested for an array of minor and major crimes, including murder.  These confusing business ethics or facade thereof calls to mind “Hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”  (Matthew 7:5)

Elites by definition control resources: power, wealth, education, prestige, status, skills of leadership, information, knowledge of political processes, ability to communicate, and organization.  Elites are drawn mainly from wealthy, educated, famous, prestigiously employed, and socially prominent elements of society.  Elite behavior is not always enlightened and farsighted, it is instead frequently shortsighted and narrowly self-serving.  The power of separate elites in a republic—governmental, corporate, financial, media, legal, civic, and cultural—often encourages narrow visions of the common good and a willingness to sacrifice social values for relative advantage.  Examples of narrowly self-serving elite behavior abound. (Thomas Dye)  

Perhaps if Paula Deen were from New York or Los Angeles the corporate and news elites would have looked the other way.  Much as the corporate elites looked the other way at Matt Lauer's behind the scenes comments and actions.  These same elites continued to buy ad time on Today, produce and sell products from celebrities of worse ilk, and kept Lauer in the anchor chair despite his harassment of others.

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Credit:,, The Irony of Democracy

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