Last night on HBO’s Real Time, host Bill Maher discussed the stick of sunburnt butter known as Paula Deen with his guests, and unlike the rest of the world, which is ready to place her on a spit with a (chocolate-covered) apple in her mouth, he kind of, sort of, maybe defended her less-than-dignified, i.e. incredibly racist, actions.
Host Bill Maher called Deen a “hot mess y’all,” but still came to her defense. “This may have been a shakedown,” said Maher. “People may have been trying to shake her down, that happens all the time, so I’m not sure what the original charge is. But she did admit to using the n-word, so the Food Network cut her off…”
Maher asked rhetorically: “If you’re 66 years old, and you were raised in Georgia, and you were a child before the civil rights movement, do you get a bit of a pass?” And Maher and his panel immediately said no. Maher was disappointed that Deen was kicked off the Food Network so quickly. “I also think that people shouldn’t have to lose their shows and go away when they do something bad…” said Maher. “It’s just a word, it’s a wrong word, she’s wrong to use it. But do we always have to make people go away?” (Via)
Maher later asked whether “we should ban rap records,” which is a surprise only because he didn’t say “hippity hop albums.” What Maher seems to forget is that it’s not just Paula’s use of the word n*gger that’s gotten the Internet riled up; it’s her slavery-themed wedding and how unapologetic and clueless she seems about why people are mad. I agree with Maher’s general point that we shouldn’t always purge everyone who does something we don’t like, but it’s not an isolated instance with Deen; it’s a habit, and her firing was richly deserved.