I miss journalist Andrew Breitbart. Although he was not a libertarian, he was at least interesting, and certainly courageous. “Go to hell” was the late Mr. Breitbart’s message to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, as its bullies prepared to cow the tea party into racial submission by accusing its members of, what else but, racism.
Interesting or courageous is not something your average conservative commentator can be accused of. (Settle down: Using a preposition at the end of a sentence is perfectly fine, not that debates about grammar matter any longer. They’re so white.) This a senior editor at a conservative magazine proved in spades. (No apologies will be forthcoming in the event that the reader construes the last turn-of-phrase to be racially unkosher.)
Celebrity chef Paula Deen has transgressed against America’s many Orwellian Ministries of Truth. While being deposed by a disgruntled employee, in May of 2013, Deen was forced to confess to using the “N-word” decades ago, upon which the Paula Deen Enterprises began to lose revenue.
Now the poor woman is on that familiar, modern-day Via Dolorosa: the apology tour.
To the typical invertebrate conservative pundit, Deen’s sins are self-evident and indisputable. Thus does the aforementioned editor – who simply typifies conservatism’s rigor mortis – noodle on, not about the abject folly, if not sheer wickedness, of waging economic warfare against an upright individual for her infelicitous speech. No! Marching with the media Mafiosi, our editor’s mission here is to contextualize Deen’s transgressions, rather than to dispute their gravity.
Contextualizing Deen’s sins is achieved by alluding to her age, as racism trumps ageism on the pyramid of politically dictated Thou shalt Nots. Deen’s tainted upbringing in the Deep South forms another context. You see, Deen is a 66-year-old white woman who “grew up in a small Georgia town in the Jim Crow South.” Says our author: “If a Southern white person of Deen’s age told me they had never used the N-word, I wouldn’t believe them. The word had not the slightest element of taboo at the time.”
In belaboring the context of Deen’s use of naughty words, the writer has implicitly and unintentionally justified the histrionic reaction to such speech. It is part of “the daintiness of our popular culture in some areas,” a “depressing aspect of modern life,” he demurs meekly.
There is nothing dainty or merely depressing about tyrannical speech codes, whose enforcement by the centrifugal forces in our culture and politics is meant to make malleable clones of each one of us, on pain of boycotts, bankruptcy and excommunication.
Political authority depends on this sort of ritual sacrifice, reflexively coordinated by the country’s Ministries of Truth – the self-anointed “intellectuals” (who aren’t intelligent) in education, academia, the entertainment industry and the churches; among the ruling duopoly and everywhere in the malpracticing media.
A national, media-fanned contagion over bad words is perverse. It must be resisted, not contextualized.
Blaming Old-South culture – as the prototypical knaves of conservatism are doing – is, moreover, unlikely to help exculpate Ms. Deen in the minds of the morons who judge her for her words, rather than for her deeds. The bad Old South macro-narrative is as ineffective in mitigation as is pointing out that Deen misspoke because of a near-death experience. “A black man [once] burst into the bank that I was working at and put a gun to my head,” recounted Deen. “I didn’t feel real favorable towards him.”
It is for the same reason that the young mother, seen here in a video gone viral being kicked and punched repetitively and mercilessly by a burly black man, should watch her words in the future. The home of the mom was invaded by the man, who delighted in brutalizing her in front of her toddler.
Instead of sticks and stones that break bones, there can be no doubt that the mother from Millburn, N.J., would have settled during that terrifying attack for the kind of cuss words that “will never hurt me” – “cracker,” to quote Trayvon Martin, RIP.
But those who watched the persecution of the mom from Millburn and the tycoon from Georgia took away a different lesson than the one implied by that wise old adage.
Mind your mouth, mom! The hate crime you endured will not mitigate or explain any future slip-of-the-tongue. You may stereotype an elderly, highly successful white woman, based on her tribe’s past wrongdoing; but you dare not attach statistical significance to the misdeeds of a black man, because of his group’s considerable contribution to crime.
Ms. Deen appears to be a productive person who works hard and leads a good life. The Food Network, Wal-Mart and Caesars Entertainment have purged Paula, but her fans – hungry for the treacle of her voice and cooking – are packing into the “Paula Deen Cruise” liner and buying up her latest cookbook from Amazon.
“Go to hell” is what Ms. Deen should tell her detractors and wishy-washy, condescending defenders alike. The latter, it would seem, are offering up in her defense nothing but mitigating circumstances, the kind that attach to a crime.