All that said, and for those who have failed to turn on their Internet in the past day, Deen went on The Today Show to reveal that she has Type 2 diabetes, a diagnosis she received three years ago. This revelation came alongside the announcement that she will now be a spokeswoman for drugmaker Novo Nordisk's "Diabetes in a New Light" program.
In the past 24 hours, I have learned two things about the woman who now has a line of home furnishings at Nebraska Furniture Mart: She is more driven and calculating than I could possibly have known, and she has a serious set of Southern door knockers on her.
With her announcement and the fact that she kept her diagnosis private for three years, it's hard not to question the motives behind a show like Bobby Deen's Not My Mama's Meal, a program that debuted on the Cooking Channel last month and stars one of Deen's sons offering healthier takes on Southern cuisine.
Paula Deen has managed to out-Martha Martha Stewart. By slowly and beautifully building up a persona steeped in Southern gentility, she convinced me that she had been unfairly maligned in a society where shifting blame is favored over personal responsibility. She seemed to ignore those who attacked her food as fatty and sugar-laden, or else she regarded them with a little stagey prickliness. Now we see that this has all been part of a carefully built strategy with one overarching goal: building the empire of Paula Deen.
Yesterday I woke up to the news that Deen would shill for a drug manufacturer, and I felt like I got hit in the face with a ham. Sure, nobody plans to get sick, but her opportunism is deeply unsettling. It feels cartoonishly malevolent — a woman who became famous peddling butter and bacon now wants to profit from the issues surrounding a disease indisputably linked to a fatty diet and obesity.
Deen's mantra has been that she has "always encouraged moderation," a phrase she used again during her interview with The Today Show's Al Roker. It would appear that her mantra applies even to decency.