Unless you've been trekking in the Himalayas this week, you've undoubtedly heard all about celebrity chef Paula Deen's admission that she has Type 2 diabetes. Deen is known for her signature deep-South-deep-fried-deeply-buttered cuisine, and the criticism of her condition/food/pimping diabetes drugs is almost as painful as the day after eating one of her famous doughnut burgers. She's a "greasy villain," according to Hamilton Noland, and Anthony Bourdain tweeted: "Thinking of getting into the leg-breaking business, so I can profitably sell crutches later." Deen probably has a pretty sore ass right now from everyone chewing on it, but we're ready to give the queen of butter sheen the benefit of the doubt.
Here are our top five reasons to get off Paula Deen's ass -- to grease it up with a stick of butter and slide right on off -- already:
5. She hasn't claimed to be the healthiest chef -- or eater -- in the universe.
There doesn't appear to be any cognitive dissonance going on with Paula over how healthy -- or really, really not -- her food is. She's on record preaching moderation and personal responsibility, and although it's easier and more satisfying to blame her every time you gulp down an entire coffee cake, at some point you have to follow point A: fork, to point B: mouth, and figure out for yourself how much and what kind of food is going into the airplane hangar.
4. Did she really "deceive" anyone?
Jim Healthy from Healthy Living wrote, "By keeping her diabetes a secret, she gave her audience the illusion that her excessively-rich dishes were perfectly healthful to consume, while secretly knowing that her diet played a part in her illness." This is a pile of chicken-fried horseshit. The only illusion she created was that it's possible to make entire dishes in the span of one show, and foodies get the whole pre-prep-ingredients thing, anyway. She's never asserted that her foods are healthy, and as for her "secretly knowing," well, there's only one person who knows exactly what went on in Paula Deen's brain for the last three years, and that's Paula Deen.
3. Type 2 diabetes does have other factors besides food choices. Doctors have made educated guesses about the factors contributing to Type 2 diabetes, with diet and lifestyle choices being two of them, but they don't know all of the exact reasons why some people are susceptible to it and others aren't. Sure, Deen's eating habits and admitted lack of exercise are likely to have put her at risk, but judging from the amount of Type 2 diabetes research studies being conducted at any given point in time, medical science still has a long way to go before we'll have all the answers.
2. This is a PR problem, not an actual one.
If she had come out and told the public that she had been diagnosed with diabetes, then it's probable that her fans, her detractors and everyone else would have giggled for a few moments, soaking up the sad irony, and then moved on to something else -- quickly. Deen's decision to shill for Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharmaceutical company that makes Victoza (a non-insulin injectable diabetes medication) at the same time was really her temporary undoing on the public-relations front. She looks like an opportunist at best, and a sugar-coated a-hole at worst. But this situation doesn't qualify as an actual problem, and if she'd been a bit more media-savvy and waited to announce her deal with the drug company, the drama probably would have been minimal.
1. Her personal medical issues are her business. Yes, she kept her diabetes a secret for three years, but she was under no obligation to reveal her medical condition then -- or now, for that matter. Medical issues are supposed to be a private matter -- in theory, if not practice -- and most Americans should be aware of this by now, if only because you have to sign HIPAA forms to draw a breath in a doctor's office nowadays. Sure, it's interesting that a celeb chef known for her fatty indulgences gets diabetes, but if she had chlamydia, would her announcement have been deemed necessary?
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