The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Paula Deen’

WHAT WOULD GROUCHO SAY?

One of the shows that we always watched as a family was “You Bet Your Life” starring none other than Groucho Marx and his sidekick, George Fenneman.  This little quiz showed debuted on radio in 1947 and transitioned to television in 1950 – running until 1960.  (I only caught the later episodes if you’re wondering).

This quiz game which took a variety of incarnations during it’s 10 year television span allowed randomly selected members of the studio audience – normally one of each sex (in those days there were just two) – to compete by answering some questions of varying difficulty.  The game itself was, however, secondary to the amusing repartée that Groucho had with his contestants.

At the beginning of the show, before bringing on the contestants, Groucho would show the studio and television audience the “secret word” – worth one hundred dollars if the contestants happened to use it while they were on the show.

After Fenneman brought them onstage, Groucho would chit chat with each of them to find out about their background.  During this conversation, he held a large cigar in his right hand and waved it around.  The cigar never went out – perhaps because it wasn’t lit – and was more of a prop than anything else.  And at the conclusion of the interview, Groucho, before launching into the questions, would tell them, “Say the secret word, the duck will come down and you’ll win a hundred dollars.”  He would give them a general hint as to what the word was such as, “It’s something you find around the house.”

Now I know that if there are any young readers out there, I’m sure that you’re not impressed with a one hundred dollar prize.  In fact, the most a contestant could win was twelve hundred dollars plus the “secret word” bonus – and that was split two ways.  But to put it in perspective, in the ‘50’s when the show was extremely popular, one hundred dollars would cover more than a month’s rent in a nice area in Manhattan.

The show was broadcast live, as most TV programs were in the early days of the medium.  So what was said by the star was heard by the audience.  And that resulted in the abrupt cancellation of the program in 1960.  Like Paula Deen, Groucho said something that the TV station and the program’s sponsors considered “off color.”  No, wait a minute, I stand corrected.  Apparently Ms. Deen said something that was “on color.”

One of the guests on the final broadcast was a man (I honestly don’t recall his name so we’ll call him Tom Smith) who was from Canada.  Groucho first interviewed the female contestant and then turned his attention to Mr. Smith, asking him what he did for a living, that sort of thing.

Then Groucho asked, “So tell me Mr. Smith, do you have any children?”

The man smiled and looked down at his feet and grinned.

He said, “Yes, Groucho.  My wife and I have eleven children.”

Groucho paused for a moment, and then said, “Eleven children?  That’s a lot of kids.  Why do you have so many, Mr. Smith?”

The Canadian responded, “Well, Groucho – I guess it’s because I love my wife.”

The live audience laughed at this response.

Groucho took a dramatic pause, removed the cigar from his mouth and stared at it for a few seconds before responding, “Mr. Smith, I love my cigar too but I take it out sometimes.”

End of show – cancelled – final episode.

Last night I was, as usual, up late, trying to put some ideas together and they just weren’t co-operating.  So I decided to stop trying to force it and take a break.  And there’s nothing less challenging mentally than watching a little television.

So I turned on the set on my office desk and a show called, “The King of Queens” was being aired.  Actually, I thought it was a new show and I wondered why they were showing it at midnight.  Not much of an audience us night owls.  So I googled it (I refuse to use a capital G for google – so I’ve had to add “small ‘g’ google”  to my spell check’s vocabulary) and found the show had run for ten years – though from the ten minute snippet that I saw I couldn’t imagine why.

Well the point here is not the show – rather it was one of the ads.  Here I am, trying to relax and what do they have on but a provocative ad (I could be wrong as I was in a mild state of shock) but I think the advertiser was Durex.  Depicted in this ad was a mostly unclad couple, cavorting and rolling around in bed while the sexy female-voiced announcer touted the company’s “condoms, lubricants, massage gels and so much more – available everywhere.”

I turned off the TV, passing on watching the remaining portion of “The King of Queens” episode, and went to bed.  And as I lay there getting ready to head off to slumber land I couldn’t help wondering, if he were alive and caught that ad, “What would Groucho say?”

MEAN, OBSCENE, PAULA DEEN

As Jesus was writing in the sand, the Pharisees brought to him a woman, taken in the act of committing adultery.  They told him of her sin and asked, “Should we not follow the law given us by the prophets and stone her to death?” 

Without looking up, Jesus replied, “Let he who among you is without sin cast the first stone.”

At that point, a rock went flying over Jesus’ head and hit the woman squarely in the stomach, knocking her over backwards.

Jesus looked up and said, “Oh really, mother.”

Pardon the minor irreverence, but that joke if you are a follower of either the teachings of the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Churches is theologically correct.  Mary, is unique in being conceived without sin (The Immaculate Conception) – but as for the rest of us, we’re all in the cesspool of sin and wickedness and moral turpitude – some of us more deeply, perhaps than others.

And now cometh Ms. Paula Deen – the press’ most currently in vogue whipping person (I was going to say girl but that would probably be construed as sexist).  A woman who is so low and venal that she can’t even see high enough to look at the scum of the earth.

Ms. Deen, as you’re probably aware, has had a successful career promoting her Southern style of cooking – which if it were Yiddish food could easily be mistaken for the kind of cuisine that killed more Jews than Hitler.  She’s had a good run promoting her artery clogging recipes (which have gotten  a bit more healthful in later years).  It was not for the bill of fare that she presented that I was not a frequent viewer of her program.  It was because of her very heavy twang that always reminded me of two cats on the back fence in heat.  Sorry, fingernails running across a blackboard sounds more melodious to me.

Well, at some time in Ms. Deen’s past, apparently she uttered the “N” (or is it the “n”) word?  She is, after all from the South where the term was frequently used – often in a descriptive rather than a disparaging way.  But there is no question that it was also used frequently in the latter context.  How Ms. Deen used it is probably only known to Ms. Deen.

And so, whether because of sincere remorse at having used the “n” word in the past or, perhaps for fear of losing her lucrative financial enterprise through backlash, she broadcast what appeared to me to be a very heartfelt apology.  It seemed genuine enough to this viewer – but even if it were not, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Apparently, those at FNN, which hosted her television program and those at Target who carried her line of cookware and cookbooks had greater insight because they have both divorced themselves from any further dealings with this woman and have held themselves up as gleaming examples of “responsible corporate citizenship.”

I cannot help but think of their actions in the same light as I did of Captain Louis Renault in “Casablanca” who, as he is closing down Rick’s Café says, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that there’s gambling going on here,” as he receives his roulette winnings from the croupier.

Let’s make a leap and say that Ms. Deen and her video were staged and melodramatized simply to keep her business enterprise afloat and that Ms. Deen truly holds feelings of disdain for our darkly-complected citizens.  While I, and I am sure most of you who are reading this would find that unfortunate if not personally insulting, does she not have a right to harbor that attitude?  Isn’t difference of opinion – even if it is only one person’s view and no matter how noxious we personally might find it – permitted in what we have billed as an “inclusive society?”  Or is inclusion so narrowly interpreted that only those who hold the currently popular view may determine who is to be allowed membership and who excluded?

Perhaps you are familiar with the “comedy” of the late Redd Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock.  Frankly, I find all of them to be extremely offensive because each employs the “n” word along with “ho” and “mo fo” and “b*tch” among other terms of endearment.  And they are restrained by comparison to today’s Rap “artists”.

So tomorrow I am going down to my neighborhood Target and browse through their CD’s to see if they have pulled all of the works containing these “lyrics” in accordance with their defined policy of corporate “responsibility.”  And if not, I am going to ask the Manager why not?

I’ll let you know what I find out.  But if I am not satisfied with their response, I will no longer choose to do business with Target and will explain to my neighbors why they shouldn’t either.

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

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