- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Paula Deen’s career continues to suffer death by a thousand cuts of the carving knife. She testified under oath that she repeated a racial slur many decades ago. Alec Baldwin, the actor, pitchman and serial hothead, was forgiven at once for his latest profane rant, which included slurs against homosexuals, currently the most serious sin against political correctness.

Ballantine Books is the latest to pile on, announcing that it won’t publish Ms. Deen’s latest cookbook, “Paula Deen’s New Testament: 250 Favorite Recipes, All Lightened Up,” despite thousands of orders. Ballantine joins cable TV’s Food Network, which ended a 10-year association when her contract expired at the end of June, and retailers Wal-Mart, Target, J.C. Penney, Sears, KMart, Home Depot and others. These easily identified companies risk a backlash because Paula Deen’s friends, and she has many, are furious over what they regard as unfair. There’s no shortage of places to buy groceries, underwear, shoes and flower pots.

The fallout stemmed from a deposition in a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled white former employee of restaurants owned by Mrs. Deen and her brother. She admitted using the n-word in the distant past, regrets it and no longer does so: “As time has gone on things have changed since the ‘60s in the South.” Repeated and profuse apologies have not stanched the bloodletting. This should be a caution to future offenders. “Never apologize and never explain” goes too far over the top, but Ms. Deen learned that the more you apologize the more your critics pile on.

Mr. Baldwin was forgiven within 24 hours by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation after his Twitter tirade against London Daily Mail reporter George Stark, whom he called a “toxic little queen.” Mr. Baldwin had previously erupted in intemperate Twitter outbursts against American Airlines and even his own daughter, but has yet to suffer any consequences. He remains a celebrity spokesman for Capital One Bank.

HBO didn’t suspend, much less fire, comedian Bill Maher for his misogynistic rants against Sarah Palin and, as recently as last month, ridiculed her 5-year-old son, Trig, who suffers Down syndrome, as a “retard.” Mr. Maher, who has a particularly dirty mouth, describes women by a particularly loathsome term that all women regard as vile. We leave it to sex therapists to speculate why he does. He even made a movie to vent his wrath at the Christian message.

Jimmy Carter defended Mrs. Deen, a fellow Georgian, over her past use of a racial slur. “I think she has been punished,” the former president told CNN on Saturday, “perhaps overly severely, for her honesty in admitting it and for the use of the word in the distant past.” Indeed, if every American, black and white, who has ever used the n-word should be exiled to another planet, much of the nation and not just the South would be depopulated. We’ve come a long way over the decades, and God be praised for it. If we eliminate the power of regret and redemption to change lives, we’re all doomed.

The Washington Times