Contributed by guest blogger: Robert Rosenthal, Short Order Dad
Paula Deen is a hero to millions. With restaurants, books, magazines, TV shows and more, Deen is both an icon and an industry.
So many people really seem to love her, understandably. She is lively, gregarious, charming and fun. And she cooks the kind of Southern fried favorites that people dream of, doing it with joy in her heart.
But hers is also the kind of food that can bring you some trouble over the long term if you eat too much of it too often. As evidenced now by Paula Deen herself. Hey, I like fried chicken as much as the next guy, but I don't make a steady diet of it.
So when it was announced this week on the Today Show that Paula was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, it was as surprising as an alcoholic waking up with a hangover and tremors.
The real surprise surfaced when she revealed that she was diagnosed three years ago. She has known about her condition for three years. Al Roker rightly inquired as to why she waited until now to say anything at all about it.
Because, she said, she had "nothing to bring to the table."
Except that she did.
For three whole years, she continued to bring to the American table a steady diet of the very same death-defying food that brought her Type II diabetes. Her belated claims of having preached moderation would be laughable if they weren't so transparent.
What finally brought Paula out of the pantry was her announcement that she is now being paid as a spokesperson for a big drug company that sells diabetes medicine. She had the opportunity to do the right thing without having to be compensated. Instead, whether one views hers as a savvy business maneuver or distasteful, disingenuous hypocrisy is up for discussion. As is her legacy.
She had the prerogative not to say a word, but how many others have been similarly diagnosed during her three-year silence? She has to live with her coverup.
As of now, the Paula Deen message is that you can eat as much of whatever you want as you'd like without regard or worry because there's a drug for that.
But she still has the opportunity to do the right thing and turn this into what they call a "teachable moment."
Let us know how you feel about the way Paula handled the situation.