More Paula Deen!

So here’s what I don’t understand: Are we supposed to be responsible for our own actions or not?

Because the charming follow-up article, titled “Paula Deen Needs to Accept Blame for her Diabetes” (note: blame, not responsibility because make no mistake, we are talking about something shameful. I wonder if athletic legend Billie Jean King also has to accept blame for her Type 2 Diabetes.) makes me confused.

If Paula Deen has to accept the “blame” for her diabetes because of the choices she personally made, then doesn’t that sort of mean we ALL are responsible for the choices we personally make? And yet she’s contributing to the Big Scary Obesity Epidemic because…what now?

Listen, I can’t say I have total recall of every morsel I’ve shoved into my elegant maw in the past 32 years, but I am almost certain even during my discotheque days I would’ve remembered a chubby Southern lady with strip lashes force-feeding me Krispy Kreme bread pudding.

We are all responsible for our own decisions and although I make my living on the internet, which as we all know is the Intergalactic Capital of Moron, even I give people enough credit not to base their entire nutritional lifestyle on someone they see on th’ teevee.

It’s not Paula Deen’s job or responsibility to be the health model of our nation because she makes food on television.

Do you think Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods or whathisname, the guy who needs a shave and a shower in a carwash from Man vs Food, gulp down cold picked yak balls and 20 pounds of hotwings every day? Maybe, I don’t know their lives, but probably not. We imagine, because even on the internet we are marginally rational human beings, that they do what they do for a show, and that is not how they eat, or are suggesting WE eat, in our daily lives.

Neither of them are exactly willowy (hmm, could it be that men’s bodies aren’t generally considered public domain, existing mainly as an object to be appreciated or reviled, depending on how much random strangers find them physically desirable?) but no one seems to be on their mantits about healthful eating.

And what about Anthony Bourdain?

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen him smoke more cigarettes in his apparent lifelong quest to become Lou Reed (never gonna happen Tony, not for me, not for you, not for David Bowie) than anyone outside of a Thin Man movie. Is he responsible for the lung cancer epidemic?

Oh wait, not responsible…to blame.

18 Responses to “More Paula Deen!”

  1. Andrea January 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    Anthony isn’t to blame for his high blood pressure or high cholesterol because he’s smoking hot and on my celebrity 5 list. Actually, on his show, he has talked about his cholesterol and medication but, you’re right, noone takes him to task for still eating anything that is fried and sold out of a truck or drinking his way through the former Soviet Bloc. I think the only reason Paula is taking heat is because she made an announcement and has decided to team up with a drug company to “help people manage their diabetes”. So, now she’s making money from illness. If she had kept her medical issues her own business, no one would have cared.

  2. Lisa from SoCal January 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

    Do I have to ‘splain everything you, Plumcake? If a fat person is fat, they are responsible, 100 percent and totally for being fat. AND NOT ONLY THAT, but they can be blamed for giving fat cooties to innocents. A fat person who isn’t unemployed and miserable, and might actually be on tv and doing things, is DOUBLY to blame because of instead of just being the loathsome disgusting drain on society you obviously ARE if you are fat, they are OUT IN PEOPLE’S GAZE and therefore MIGHT leave the impression that food isn’t evil and that fat people aren’t utterly revolting pariah. I mean, after all, Paula Deen has made mazillions pushing her fat cooties on the innocent American public who, if ONLY they hadn’t gotten tv, signed up and paid for cable every month, and sifted through roughly 180 channels to see her WICKED WICKED ways would be out riding their bicycles (thereby cleaning up the environment and taking charge of their health!) while reading Improving Books. It’s ALL PAULA’S FAULT!!!

  3. jane January 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I’m fat and eat many bad-for-you things, yet my blood sugar and cholesterol are COMPLETELY NORMAL. Not “normal for a fat person,” just plain old normal. So much of this sort of thing has to do with heredity — Paula can’t control her genetic heritage any more than the rest of us.

  4. mccxxiii January 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    “I wonder if athletic legend Billie Jean King also has to accept blame for her Type 2 Diabetes.”

    This. This is all I’m saying now, forever, any time anybody starts talking about Paula Deen’s HgA1b challenges.THANK YOU!

  5. qbertina January 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Brava. It’s very much about misogyny.

    (switching usernames, because there’s another Violet hanging here)

  6. Jophiel January 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Total tangent: any chance you’d consider a Myrna Loy post in the near future?

  7. Bethany January 18, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    It’s pretty sad. I hope she has a good doctor, otherwise any other health problems she has will most definitely be caused by her diabetes.Don’t even get me started on the starvation diet pushing, large sweet tea drinking nutritionist I had to see five times. Don’t even…
    I’m rather attached to Paula, and it’s kind of nice to see someone who isn’t apologizing for their weight, even when they have diabetes. Why is it ok for fat people to be fat only if they’re trying to lose weight?

  8. Melissa January 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    A quick note about Adam Richman, the guy from Man v. Food (who I will personally volunteer to shave and shower, but I may not actually follow through with it b/c I think he’s positively delightful the way he is): he frequently gets questions about his health, specifically cholesterol levels, and he is adamant about replying that that information is between him and his physician, and not the public. So it seems that not even dudes are immune from being shammed for “immoral” eating.

  9. saraGalactica January 18, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Yes. A thousand times yes. I am so frustrated over the unadulterated glee with which people are mocking Paula Deen. Paul Campos wrote a great post entitled “No Proof Paula Deen’s High-Fat Southern Cooking Caused Her Diabetes,” where he takes Bourdain on as well. I recommend reading it if you haven’t already:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/17/no-proof-paula-deen-s-high-fat-southern-cooking-caused-her-diabetes.html

  10. Special K January 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    I’m not sure this is so much about weight or gender as it is about mixed messages. To hear a spokesperson for diabetic health say “healthy living/appropriate medications” out of one side of her mouth and “eat all this high-carb fried stuff” out of the other side of her mouth chafes the hide a bit. You can’t say both things at the same time and be considered a role model for living well with diabetes.

    Healthy diabetics–that is, diabetics without disease progression–are healthy because they exercise and they limit carb intake. Although higher body fat does predispose to type 2 diabetes, controlling diabetes is about exercise/healthy eating AT LEAST as much as it is about weight control. Furthermore, without these other factors, there will be disease progression, even on medication.

    Having a spokesperson for a diabetes drug who is simultaneously marketing high-carb foods is confusing and disingenuous. It has potential to actually hurt people with diabetes by sending the message that you can eat whatever you please as long as you take Novo Nordisk. I don’t give a hot buttered damn (credit: Plumcake) what Paula looks like–but it turns my crank to see her sell her lifestyle as a recipe for successful living with diabetes.

  11. Cassie January 19, 2012 at 1:05 am #

    Special K – I agree, that’s the basis for the problem with it. But the author of the above article said, and I’m quoting here, “if she really wants to help her fellow Americans with diabetes, she needs to accept the blame for her diabetes, and possibly yours.”

    How is Paula Deen responsible for what I put in my mouth, or don’t? She doesn’t come to my house and force cake into my mouth while I’m sleeping (at least, I don’t think so; that would be creepy). She isn’t to blame for anything anyone else does to themselves, any more than Adam Richman is to blame for people who eat themselves sick trying one of the food challenges he’s done.

    My issue with the article isn’t that it demonstrates that Paula Deen may not have been practicing what she’s preaching, but the tone it takes; to wit, “look at her, lying and trying to shirk responsibility for her actions!”

    Also, drinking a lot of sweet tea isn’t the same as eating one of her Gooey Butter Cakes a day, which is what the author seems to believe Paula Deen was doing before this. And the idea that cooking for people who don’t want to eat what Tony Bourdain does means that you don’t advocate moderation doesn’t make a damn bit of sense to me. It seems like that’s a big jump to make on the evidence at hand, and it makes me wonder why the jump happened.

  12. Lisa from SoCal January 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Paula Deen is a television personality and a businesswoman, and she built up a successful brand doing a particular schtick. So Shaq was schilling some topical ointment for pain a few years back. Playing basketball Shaq style leads to long-term injuries, active though it may be. Nobody screamed and yelled and discussed HOW DARE HE take that money because children are going to one day wind up needing knee and hip replacements. Because Shaq, as a male entertainer, he doesn’t owe anybody anything. He’s not responsible for protecting the collective the way Paula is. She owes us, man, she owes us.

    She doesn’t owe us anything. She never had to disclose her diagnosis because it’s her own body. Now she’s a smart businesswoman trying to retool her empire.

  13. Special K January 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    I dunno. I think Paula Deen is part of the overall landscape of permissive unhealthiness that enables eating crappy food and being inactive. I’m not sure why there’s so much resistance to agreeing that the lifestyle she markets is unhealthy and probably contributes (even in an unquantifiable way) to others’ bad health. I agree it’s a little over-the-top to call her responsible for others’ diabetes, but it’s still worth considering how our environments shape how we treat our bodies.

    As far as someone’s diabetes is considered, enough sweet tea might be EXACTLY like eating a slice or a quarter or whatever fraction you will of a butter cake. Carbs is carbs.

    I can’t make the Shaq comparison work in any kind of way in my head, sorry. Lots of people are hollering about how this is a gender thing, and there may be some component to that in some arguments–but I’m the angriest feminist I know, and even I don’t see that as the basis for many of the best arguments against her actions. I think most people expressing outrage are unhappy with what appears to be a big cashgrab. She just can’t expect her celebrity persona to be two different things in the same public eye, but she seems to be trying to make it work in order to get THE MONEYS.

  14. Madame Suggia January 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

    I do find Paula Deen to be at best irritating (though nowhere near as teeth-grindingly irksome as Rachel ‘Manic Grin’ Ray) but of course I take the simple precaution of avoiding TV shows that I don’t enjoy.

    Having said that, I’ll wager you a dollar to a doughnut that if a younger, slimmer and ‘prettier’ (all so subjective I know) TV chef had recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, someone like, for instance, Gaida whats-her-face, all we’d be hearing is commiserations and sympathy.

    And that goes two-fold for make TV chefs.

    On a side note, are most TV chefs off their heads on speedy happy pills? They’re all so UPBEAT.

    Anyway my culinary heart belongs to The Blessed Nigella, who’s hardly undernourished.

  15. ZaftigWendy January 20, 2012 at 2:50 am #

    Actually, Special K, you seem to have some misconceptions about diabetes. Yes, controlling dietary carbs (or actually, balancing them in such a way as to lower the body’s glycemic response) and being active is a part of diabetes treatment.

    For some, particularly early on in their disease, that is enough to keep blood sugars in an acceptable range. For others, it is not and will not ever be enough.

    Even the American Diabetes Association admits that you cannot get diabetes from “eating too much sugar.” Here are some other myths: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-myths/

    If you want to understand more about what DOES cause diabetes, have a look at this page (note: it isn’t short and is fairly scholarly):
    http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/14046739.php

  16. Lexi January 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

    This is a good blog post on the Paula Deen topic:
    http://www.caphillstyle.com/capitol/2012/1/20/discuss-as-smooth-as-butter.html

  17. Just_My_2_Cents January 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I guess I don’t really get the Bourdain comparison… sure he eats bad foods, and he smokes, and drinks, but you don’t see him getting a paycheck from a big pharma company marketing a drug for cholesterol, tobacco cessation, etc.

    I do feel for Paula, nobody deserves diabetes; but I think what a lot of people are angry with is not that she cooks unhealthy, not that she has diabetes, but that she cooks unhealthy, has diabetes AND jumped in bed with a big pharma company.

    Just my .02

  18. Special K January 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    I’m with you, JM2C. Bourdain is actually constantly talking about how all of his bad behavior will lead to an early grave. He might be kind of an asshole, but he’s not kidding anyone about it.

    ZW, I don’t mean to sound snippy, but I didn’t say that sugar consumption causes diabetes–just that in someone with diabetes, carbs are essentially the same regardless of the source.