The Paula Deen Witch Hunt
No era is complete without the demonization and purging of scapegoats by those who deem themselves able to discern who is allied with the Powers of Darkness. Every age has folk accused of being witches and warlocks. There is always someone like Matthew Hopkins, who believed he was uniquely qualified to identity them, be it through the spotting of bodily defects like warts, birthmarks or second breasts used to suckle imps. Hopkins identified some 230 witches who were eventually executed.
For some, especially leftists, the witch of the day is Paula Deen. Her use of the "N" word years ago is seen as the equivalent of a linguistic wart, the verbal portal through which the very Devil entered into her. She must perforce be eliminated from civil society.
It is not enough that Deen, who seems genuinely penitent but a bit confused as to why she continues to be the target of such unremitting and savage attacks (including mockery of her tears), has confessed her sin and asked for forgiveness. Of course so did some of the accursed wretches in the Salem witch trials. Those confessors were forgiven. Deen is not.
No, for the Left, her weeping confessions and pleas for forgiveness have not been penance enough. Deen must be destroyed. Her material possessions must be confiscated, her cook books banned and her food empire eliminated from the earth.
The fact of the matter is that Deen represents everything leftists despise. Her use of a blasphemous word is a pretext for attacking a person who is everything the Left hates.
What is it about her that invites hatred?
First, Deen is a devout Christian. According to Aesthetics International Association, "Paula Deen is a devout Christian above and beyond all other professional attributes. Her peace of mind and gentle character exemplify what it means to be a Christian. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Criswell College in biblical studies and in library science. A large part of her adult life has been dedicated to the church while developing her professional esthetic training and work experience."
It is hard to imagine a description more calculated to bringing down the wrath of the largely atheistic Left. Being a Christian, especially a conservative Christian, is enough to warrant Deen's destruction, just as it has been for Sarah Palin, Tim Tebow and for the hapless president of Chick-fil-A, whose mere mention of his biblical views on marriage set off a political firestorm that serves as a severe warning to other Bible-toting warlocks. The list of the condemned is long.
Next, Deen does not endorse the Left's food ethos. One of the most important doctrines of the Left is salvation by works, especially salvation by proper food choices. Paula Deen violates their doctrinal food standards. She's overweight and diabetic, but still has the temerity to cook greasy stuff packed with carbohydrates, fats and sugar. Joy Bauer of Business Insider cites ten of Deen's most horrible culinary transgressions, including a Krispy Kreme pudding actually concocted by viewer Bill Nicholson. The pudding (a video of Paula making it is found here) does weigh in with a total of over 8,000 calories; but the fact that no one is forced to cook and eat vittles Deen cooks appears to be completely overlooked by food mandarins.
Deen is also a formerly poor woman who came from nothing and who built an empire now worth millions. Therefore, she is part of the corporate world of greedy capitalists. She profits from her entrepreneurial endeavors and so should be punished for her successes.
Just as bad, she's Southern, which means that in the eyes of the Northeastern and Californian leftist elite there are grounds for suspicion. For some, the South is still considered automatically racist, filled with members of backwards tribes that cling bitterly to guns, religion and greasy food. Deen is from an area thought to be inhabited by Deliverance-type genetically inferior, inherently racist and homophobic rednecks who openly advertise "Guns, Peanuts and Hams" on billboards directing travelers to Stuckey's stores, home of nutritionally disastrous pecan logs.
In a recent and incredibly condescending article about Deen in the New York Times, John McWhorter kindly suggests she should perhaps be forgiven for her use of the "N" word some three decades ago and reinstated in her Food Network job because "People of her generation can neither change the past, nor completely escape their roots in it. [...] Changing times cannot utterly expunge all traces in her of the old South's assumptions. Old habits of thought linger, like eczema and asthma."
In other words, McWhorter sees Paula Deen as an incurably scabrous Southern old school racist, well past hope even if subjected to intensive re-education and thought reform. It's just too late for her. Therefore, the best that can be done for her is to put her outside the camp because she is beyond conversion and can never attain salvation. There, forever banished from polite society, she can go on working in semi-exile until she eventually retires from the Food Network. That's how charitable McWhorter is.
The Deen controversy illustrates the fact that the Left is the one of the most unforgiving and unyielding religious cults in existence. When its doctrinal standards and creeds are brought into question or its religious rules violated, no punishment is enough and no act of repentance suffices to wash away the indelible stain of sins committed.
It wouldn't matter if Paula Deen were to don a hair shirt and enter a convent in order to atone for her sins. She has erred by her blasphemous use of a word, and now will remain unforgiven for the rest of her life. Though eventually she may be tolerated enough to continue living and even cooking, Paula Deen is to have the Letter "R" for "racist" emblazoned on her kitchen apron forever as a permanent reminder she is afflicted with Bigot's Eczema.
But most importantly, the Deen case represents something else, something really far worse for the health of America than Krispy Kreme pudding. Her case shows that we Americans live in a society far too often given over to witch hunts.
Any one of us can be and too often is accused, condemned and publically destroyed without trial or proof of guilt. We can be pilloried and have rotten eggs thrown at us for any infraction, real or perceived, committed in the past, present or future -- all without proper consideration of the rule of law. With the eye of the NSA and the IRS as well as God knows what other all-seeing gaze upon us, each of us is considered guilty of something and can have arbitrary vigilante justice visited upon us at any given moment. In other words, each of us has a wart that is proof to the current righteous elite that we are guilty and worthy of condemnation without prospect of forgiveness or redemption in this life or the hereafter.
What a contrast to genuinely tolerant Americans who believe judgment should be withheld until guilt is absolutely proved; who believe a person is to be judged by the whole of his or her character and not by one flaw; who do not think one word should make a person eternally guilty; who think sins can be forgiven and that redemption is possible.
Fay Voshell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org