You May Have Heard the News

When life gives you lemons, get an endorsement deal for lemonade!

It’s been circulating for a while. Paula Deen has announced that she has Type 2 Diabetes. And she’s done it just in time for her other announcement, which is that she’s the spokesperson for Victoza, a non-insulin diabetes medication. In marketing, I think they’d call this synergy. It’s not as though Ms. Deen has many scruples when it comes to her endorsement partners, anyway.

And the response is mixed, but the most attention is going to people saying that she’s kept this hidden and has kept promoting her buttery, mayonnaise laden recipes for everything, leading all of her followers down the primrose path to cardiovascular apocalypse. I don’t have a problem with the food that Ms. Deen pimps. In fact, I grew up eating it. In some circles, it’s highly regarded, even the subject of academic inquiry.

What’s toxic isn’t the food itself, which, when eaten as part of a diet that follows generally accepted recommendations for good nutrition, is a wonderful and delicious way to celebrate time with friends and to remind us of our own ancestors. What’s toxic is the mixture of commercial capitalism and this type of food. Convenience food is often over processed and nutritionally lacking. Southern convenience produced with major financial backing from major food producers and shoveled down with a loving dose of commercials pushing its convenience, is the culinary equivalent of a perfect storm. It’s the worst of all possible scenarios, and it has a network pushing it, along with shows like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” where a fat guy with bleached hair eats the biggest, baddest item on the menu at restaurants all over the United States, and “Crave,” where the host takes viewers across the country for “the most perfect versions of the foods he craves — think pizza, pork, fried chicken and ice cream.” And, of course, in any half hour program, you’ll get at least 8 minutes of commercials for the convenience foods you so adore.

It’s another reason not to have a television. If anything in this country other than conservative talk radio represents the worst of who we are, it’s prime time mainstream television. It renders you immoble for 22 minutes of crap so that you can be sold other, more useless crap for the other 8 minutes.

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