Part 1—What David Carr and Paula Deen said: Early this morning, in an undisclosed location, we were struck by the very first thing we read.
Each Monday, David Carr presents his Media Equation column in the New York Times. This morning, he started like this:
CARR (6/24/13): On Thursday night, the host of “The Daily Show” riffed on Paula Deen’s liberal use of both butter and racial slurs, chatted about journalism with Tom Brokaw and parodied the gangster code of honor that has been in the news in the Whitey Bulger trial. Along the way, he did a honey-dripped Southern accent and dropped into a Cagney-esque wiseguy voice.We were struck by that highlighted passage. Here’s why:
We’ll admit it! At this time last week, we had never heard of Paula Deen.
We have never watched the Food Network, although we assume the channel is on our cable system. Last October, we were surprised when Ruth Marcus cited something called “Cupcake Wars,” which she identified as a Food Network series.
Incomparably, we were saddened. Why would a journalist be aware of something like that?
(Programming note: We single men will start watching The Food Network when it starts inventing new ways to pour milk over cereal.)
Whatever! This Wednesday or Thursday, we finally became aware of Paula Deen. We were so apprised when Salon began its latest effort to invent, then loathe, The Other.
This morning, that general loathing issued in that highlighted passage from Carr. Here’s why we were struck by Carr’s reference to Deen’s “liberal use of racial slurs:”
Heaven help us! Inspired by Salon’s desire to loathe, we actually read the May 17 deposition which has inspired the current wave of attacks on the loathsome Deen.
We not only read it—we read it twice! And we’ll make another admission: Having performed this civic duty, we don’t know what Carr means when he refers to Deen’s “liberal use of racial slurs.”
By all accounts, Deen has never employed racial slurs in her three million public appearances. In her deposition, she describes using the most famous of all racial slurs once, apparently in the year 1986, in a conversation with her husband after she was held up at gunpoint.
In our view, the world would be a better place if she hadn’t done that in 1986. In her deposition, Deen also says that she may have repeated the N-word at some other point or points in recounting arguments between black employees.
In her deposition, she specifically says that she hasn’t used the N-word in racial jokes because she doesn’t tell racial jokes. Although she wearily says at one point, “Every man I’ve ever come in contact with has one.” Click here, scroll to page 22.
For the record, Deen seems to live in a world which is somewhat different from ours. We were born in the same year as Deen. But we can’t say that we’ve ever heard a man (or a woman) tell a racial joke, excluding public performances by comedians, who are often hilarious artists. In our personal life, we can’t say that we’ve ever heard a white person use the N-word in a derogatory or dismissive way.
“Every man I’ve ever come in contact with has” a racial joke, Deen wearily says. At another point, she rolls her eyes at the way the men she knows share sexual material with each other over the Internet.
That world is somewhat different from ours. Still, because we’ve read her deposition, we don’t know what Carr has in mind when he breezily refers to Deen’s “liberal use of racial slurs.”
In her deposition, Deen refers to using a racial slur once, apparently in 1986. And because we've read a few southern newspapers which have included more facts about this case than the New York Times has been willing to share, we have learned that the (white) woman who is suing Deen and her brother made the statements you see below in her own deposition.
We can't judge this woman's case, in which she is seeking $1.2 million, but her name is Lisa Jackson. This is part of the news report from yesterday's Augusta Chronicle:
SKUTCH (6/23/13): Deens’ attorney, Franklin, asked Jackson: “You have never heard Paula make a racist remark, have you?”We can’t judge the merits of Jackson’s suit. But if you read a few southern newspapers, you will be allowed to know that Jackson said she’s never heard Deen make a racist remark.
“Not heard it,” Jackson replied.
“You have never known Paula to discriminate against a person based on gender, have you?”
“I’m not aware.”
“And you have never known Paula to sexually harass anyone, have you?”
Here's the bad news:
If you read Salon or the New York Times, you will be exposed to a much more limited set of facts. This morning, you will see Carr open his column with a puzzling remark.
What exactly did Carr have in mind when he referred to Deen’s “liberal use of racial slurs?” We don’t know, but he may have been reading too many Yankee papers over the past several days.
And he may have been reading Salon! In the past week, Salon went on a merry old chase in which the newly low-IQ pseudo-liberal journal kept itself extremely busy inventing The Other and training its readers in the best ways to loathe.
Liberal readers were fed highly selective strings of facts about a wide array of matters. In the case of Deen, the New York Times has basically played along.
We awoke this morning to find Carr making a puzzling statement. What is David Carr talking about? And in what essential way does he differ today from the same-name pseudo-conservative hit man, Boston’s own Howie Carr?
All week long, we will examine the various ways Salon kept inventing The Other last week, while training its liberal readers in the best ways to loathe. In the past, these impulses haven’t worked out especially well for progressive causes or for the American interest. But lord, it can feel so good!
Increasingly, Salon has been working out of a low-IQ trash can. But will our liberal lizard brains permit us to process this fact?
Tomorrow: Lazy, bogus, selective claims in a wide range of cases
Glad you commented on this although I agree that there is something wrong with our news when cooking show hosts are front page. I also read the deposition because the stories in Salon, Slate and HuffingtonPost seemed off and the comment sections way over the top. I wonder if even a small number of these commenters could be convinced to read the deposition as well and have an open enough mind to realize how they have been played by these news orgainizations. I could not see a way to differentiate the knee jerk (low information) reaction to this story and the behavior of Hannity and Limbaughs sheep.ReplyDelete
I too wonder why they are going after Paula Deen. The lawsuit is against her brother Bubba Hiers and mostly accuses him of sexual harassment. But otherwise I have heard the N-word used in a derogatory way, not as much as back in the 1960s and now mostly by very old white people who will be facing St. Peter shortly. Most interesting I heard the N-word used by black citizens last year. Several of them spewed the word as they chased a couple of pickpockets off a standing room only bus last winter, in effect applying it to people of their race that give their race a bad name.ReplyDelete
"we can’t say that we’ve ever heard a man (or a woman) tell a racial joke, excluding public performances by comedians, who are often hilarious artists. In our personal life, we can’t say that we’ve ever heard a white person use the N-word in a derogatory or dismissive way."ReplyDelete
I can't say that I believe you, but if this is true, it explains a lot.
Somerby is obviously not familiar with Michael Richards' ill-fated attempt at standup comedy a few years ago.Delete
And you must not have understood what he meant by public performances by comedians.Delete
One point for Ray. Minus one point to Kenny for reading-comp fail.Delete
Holy crap. I'm ten years younger than Deen and Somerby, and even before I moved to Alabama from DC I heard racists jokes in public and use of what is now known as The N-Word by adults. Down here in Alabama (much closer to Deen country) it is not at all uncommon for white people, when they think they are in sympathetic company, to tell jokes and use the word in a BUSINESS setting, not just in private.Delete
I used to watch the Food Network when it was about teaching cooking instead of celebrity chefs and competitions. Could never stand Deen's show, or cooking, but not sure she is being fairly treated (but then, I'm also not paying much attention to it).
While I've heard a few racial jokes in my life, when I was a kid, the most derogatory jokes I heard were aimed at people of Polish ancestry. I was told quite a few by people who didn't know my mother's folks came from Poland, I didn't react because the guys telling them seemed to be cretins. But then a friend of my kid brother told a really bad Polish jokes involving misuse of outhouses to my mother. She didn't get angry. She instead dryly commented that the last time she heard the joke the protagonist was Irish (the kid's ethnic group). He reacted in disbelief and shock and ran home to tell her mother, who came storming over to bawl out my mother for daring to suggest a demeaning joke could be told about the Irish. Apparently the ethnic jokes tellers can dish it out but can't take it. A great life lesson!Delete
This past Friday, I counted 10 front-page links to stories about the Deen hoohaw at a well-known left-leaning *cough* TPM *cough* news site.ReplyDelete
Well, it is obvious to our analysts that TPM readers are more likely to watch the food shows on cable than more manly fare like Duck Dynasty.Delete
In our personal life, we can’t say that we’ve ever heard a white person use the N-word in a derogatory or dismissive way.ReplyDelete
So...not getting away from the "sprawling campus" much?
People think what they want to think...he wants to think he has never heard the word nigger used...he believes it. And I guess he expects us to believe it.Delete
While I heard "that word" used in by children in my youth (in the early '70's, in Florida), I too have not heard it used as a slur by white adults in my personal life for the last few decades.
It's hardly a matter of not getting out much -- the simple fact is that there actually have been many positive developments in race relations in the US.
The scorn and contempt with which that particular slur is now viewed, leading to its decline, is one such development.
Then you have not spent a lot of time in the military. Or Down Neck in Newark, the docks of Newark. Or South Boston...or in Bay Ridge, or Carnarsie in Brooklyn to say nothing of Nassau County. And don't even mention Staten Island. And it is by no means something only 'old people' do. This is not to say I find it accceptable. But it is all around.Delete
I thought this was curious too. I guess I am about 10 years younger than Sommerby but I grew up in MA and I certainly heard the word when I was young all around. I will say my mother never used the word or tolerated this kind of disrespect for others. As an adult I no longer hear the word and I think this is only a small part due to who I choose to spend time with.Delete
Excellent and needed analysis. I too do not ever recall hearing a white person use such a term. Deen was treated unfairly.ReplyDelete
TPM by the way is more slanted than Fox News.
You are living a Northern, extremely sheltered life if indeed you have never heard a white person use that word except for comedians. I've heard it many times, and I've lived in SWMO all of my life. I heard my parents and my grandfather use it. I have a friend who used it in public when she was 4 because she didn't know any better, her relatives said it all the time so she didn't know it was wrong. I'm 52, not young but not exactly one foot in the grave either. My boss had to make a point to tell the workers where I work not to make racist jokes at work, & my husband has more than one friend who I've heard unabashedly make racist jokes and use that word. They only do it once around me, but they do it, and you can be sure that among themselves they do it regularly. You need leave 'the campus' and get out more into the real world, Bob.ReplyDelete
Are you suggesting Bob seek out racists to pal around with?Delete
My own experience differs from Bob's as well, but I'd say not for the better. If he lives in an area free from the use of racial slurs, I'd suggest he keep doing what he's doing.
Adopting the practices of these cooking shows causes one to expend more calories than consume.ReplyDelete
Bob's personal experience with the word Nigger should not have been brought into evidence here, I'm a very sheltered northern liberal and IVE heard it used in an ugly fashion a few times (by both northern and southern whites, and a racist asian guy I know), but that has nothing to do with Paula Deen.ReplyDelete
Beyond that, I totally agree with him on this one. You don't need a "lizard brain" to disagree, but I think you are ignoring the basic facts surrounding this one. A sad performance from the ever more wayward Salon.
Oh, it is one sad performance all right, by Salon. And the legal system. I think the issue of what makes someone a racist is a tricky think. But there are a lot around, Black and White. And Asian and Hispanic. I do think people are careful where they express such feelings. Although employing any particular term, in my opinion, does not automatically make anyone a racists. I've seen go along green kids...want to impress on the Docks, and say lots of crap they don't really feel. Life is complicated...Delete
If your a white person and you use the word Nigger to describe blacks (that is, you are not talking about history or Huck Finn) you are 99 percent likely to be a complete creep or idiot. But Deen has SAID She understood long ago it was wrong and stopped doing it.Delete
My liberal friend Gary is a Professor at Northwestern University. Gary told me once that if someone was accused of something racial by a black person, s/he would always be found guilty of some wrongdoing. I hope that standard hasn't spread to the world of TV.ReplyDelete
There have been ugly examples in the past when an accusation pretty much meant a conviction. One was the witch trials, another was Stalin's reign. I hate to think that today's society in any way resembles these awful periods.
My liberal friend Gary is a Professor at Northwestern University. Gary told me once that if someone was accused of something racial by a black person, s/he would always be found guilty of some wrongdoing. I hope that standard hasn't spread to the world of TV.Delete
1) Bullshit. 2) There's little danger of this alleged "standard" being applied in the case of Ms. Deen. Her accuser is white.
I'm sure your "liberal friend Gary" is about as liberal as Mickey Kaus. And about as real as Mickey Mouse.Delete
And let's forget what being accused of being pink by Joe McCarthy did during the 50's.Delete
A dramatic example of the principle my friend enunciated was the case of Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was found guilty of racial harassment for merely reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan during his work breaks.ReplyDelete
Surely there's more to the story, David.Delete
What else do you want, Quaker? Despite having done nothing at all wrong, the student was convicted. I might add that book was not outlandish. In fact, it was in the school library.Delete
After intervention by FIRE and the ACLU, his conviction was overturned. And, after the case got national publicity, the Dean eventually apologized.
Here's a quote from an article written by Samson:
that didn't stop the Affirmative Action Office of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis from branding me as a detestable Klansman.
They didn't want to hear the truth. The office ruled that my "repeatedly reading the book . . . constitutes racial harassment in that you demonstrated disdain and insensitivity to your co-workers."
A friend reacted to the finding with, "That's impossible!" He's right. You can't commit racial harassment by reading an anti-Klan history.
For months, I felt isolated and dejected. Yet I knew that most of the faculty, staff and students at Indiana University were good people. The campus is a growing, thriving part of Indy, where people of all colors and religions come to study.
But the $106,000-a-year affirmative-action officer who declared me guilty of "racial harassment" never spoke to me or examined the book. My own union - the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - sent an obtuse shop steward to stifle my freedom to read. He told me, "You could be fired," that reading the book was "like bringing pornography to work."
Look out, white people. Black people will loot you through the court system. So says David in CA, who, between picking shit out from between his teeth, cites as evidence one case which was overturned on appeal. Live in fear of black domination of the legal system! They're coming to get you.Delete
And ignore all the evidence that shows the legal system actually treats black people far more harshly than white people. David in CA has found this one case, plus his imaginary "liberal" friend, that say otherwise. White people have it so hard. How do they persevere against all the discrimination?Delete
Easy, Anonymous on 6/25/13 @ 12:42A, we own everything.Delete
Quaker in a Basement, Of course there's more to the story: a clueless co-worker of the hapless reader filed a complaint and found an equally clueless university administrator to make a fuss. "Convicted'! "Guilty of Racial Harassment"! What actually happened to the reader? No disciplinary action. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. The administrator put a letter in the guy's employment file, the ACLU stepped in and demanded the letter's removal, and the University caved and issued a letter of apology.Delete
There's no dumb and lazy like school administration dumb and lazy. Unless it's media dumb and lazy, as TDH likes to point out. But it wasn't all a loss. It got DaInCA so worked up he actually thinks he has liberal friends.
"...It got DaInCA so worked up he actually thinks he has friends."Delete
[/fixed that for you]
Anonymous on 6/25/13 @ 7:52A, DAinCA may not have many friends among the commenters on TDH, but in the wide world he does, and in fact, their name is legion. They think in lockstep and write in the same voice. A few minutes with the google will reveal their unanimity about the incident at IUPUI: "convicted of discrimination," "guilty of harassment."Delete
Anon and Anon - your comments about the legal system may be correct. However, the comment in question is not about the legal system or the court system. It's about how colleges and universities deal with accusations of racial harassment.ReplyDelete
One incident (which you've grossly misrepresented) is not "about how colleges and universities deal with accusations of racial harassment. Looking at the bright side, you ARE very consistent and persistent in demonstrating your intellectual dishonesty.Delete
MacCecil, consistent (rigidly) and persistent (ceaselessly) DAinCA may be, but I think it's unfair to accuse him of intellectual dishonesty. I think he believes what he posts. And it's not as if he doesn't understand the concept of due diligence, it's that for him belief is due diligneceDelete
deadrat: I disagree that it's unfair to accuse DiC of intellectual dishonesty..ReplyDelete
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Intellectual honesty is an applied method of problem solving in academia, characterized by an unbiased, honest attitude, which can be demonstrated in a number of different ways, including but not limited to:
One's personal beliefs do not interfere with the pursuit of truth; Relevant facts and information are not purposefully omitted even when such things may contradict one's hypothesis; Facts are presented in an unbiased manner, and not twisted to give misleading impressions or to support one view over another;
References, or earlier work, are acknowledged where possible, and plagiarism is avoided.
Harvard ethicist Louis M. Guenin describes the "kernel" of intellectual honesty to be "a virtuous disposition to eschew deception when given an incentive for deception."
Intentionally committed fallacies in debates and reasoning are sometimes called intellectual dishonesty.
The key word here is "purposefully," a necessary ingredient in "deception." It takes forbearance in the face of ignorance, especially seemingly-willful ignorance not to jump to an accusation of dishonesty. I urge it upon you in the name of TDH.
When Bluto asked "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" did you think he was being intellectually dishonest?
He simply doesn't care what the truth is. His intent is to troll, that's all. Anything that seems likely to hold together enough to get a response is good enough for him. Wanton disregard for the truth is dishonesty. That's not to say he isn't stupid, because he plainly is -- a decent troll could come up with better arguments. But one can be dishonest AND stupid at the same time, which are the two words I'm most inclined to use for Mr. DinC.Delete
I'm 39 and have repeatedly heard the "n-word" used by white adults, but almost exclusively by those with blue collar backgrounds. Though I am in a white collar occupation now, I worked in the construction industry for ten years and those types of racial slurs and racial jokes were quite common.ReplyDelete
This makes me believe even more strongly that the widest cultural divide in modern America exists between those who work at a desk with a computer and those who don't. It's really two different worlds, and per his experiences Bob has obviously been confined to one side of that divide.
"Bob has obviously been confined to one side of that divide."Delete
Well maybe, except maybe for the part where he taught school in Baltimore...
More seriously, what is the point of these comments?
Your own post, even if its ridiculous dichotomy is fully accepted, implies that yes, a great many Americans would indeed never hear this slur used in their daily lives, true?
So what's the point? It doesn't do anything for the (supposedly important) issue of Somerby's naivety or insincerity, so what's it about?
You just have to chime in that, yeah, you've hung with some unreconstructed racists, therefore "cultural divide" something something? OK thanks, brah.
You mad, brah?Delete
Look, no need for the hostility. I was just trying to put some context into Bob's claim that he had never in his life heard the n-word used in a derogatory way by a white person. I don't think he's being insincere, in fact I believe him. But, it shows that he hasn't been exposed to a lot of blue collar whites, because what is considered acceptable speech in that culture is much different than what is considered acceptable speech in other environs. As anyone like me who has experienced both sides of this divide knows, this is obvious.