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Paula Deen, Twinkies, And The National Debt

January 30, 2012

Paula Deen is an American celebrity television chef. Part of her appeal for fans has been her cheerful use of butter and sugar in her recipes, without apparent concern for the risks of a high-fat diet.

On January 17, 2012, Deen revealed that she’d been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes three years ago. She’s now a paid spokesperson for a drug company. What’s she being paid to promote? Their diabetes management program.

This idea that one can “have it all” and never pay a price sounded familiar. The same idea is reflected in United States fiscal policy: that as a country, we can go on spending and not worry about our ever-growing debt. In his January 24th State of the Union address, President Obama showed little interest in preaching austerity during an election year.

I thought all this called for a cartoon. I threw in a big Twinkie for extra symbolism.

caricatures of Paula Deen the TV celebrity chef who cooks with lots of butter and just revealed she has Type 2 diabetes and and Barack Obama who keeps adding to the federal deficit both of them with big fat lard butts against giant Twinkie in background

You’re probably thinking: he should have used Fed Debt, not Fed Deficit.  You’re right: Federal Debt would have been the better choice.

Why? A deficit is an annual figure: if you spend more than you take in for a given year, the result is a deficit for that year. Debt is the cumulative total of all one’s annual deficits.

The current United States Federal Debt is more than 15 and a quarter trillion dollars. It increases at a rate of more than $39,000 per second.

Here’s a larger detail image of the cartoon.detail image of caricatures of Paula Deen the TV celebrity chef who cooks with lots of butter and just revealed she has Type 2 diabetes and and Barack Obama who keeps adding to the federal deficit both of them with big fat lard butts against giant Twinkie in background

What do you think? Should Paula Deen have let viewers know immediately when she was diagnosed with diabetes? Are high-fat diets and deficit spending both forms of denial? Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. January 30, 2012 10:20 AM

    hahaha, what a perfect, yet unexpected juxtapositiong. We are a gluttonous, excessive country and your cartoon illustrates it perfectly


    • January 30, 2012 12:29 PM

      Wow, that’s the kind of excessive praise I’m a glutton for… : )

      Many thanks for your very kind comment, Grace, I’m so glad you stopped by!


  2. January 30, 2012 11:05 AM

    They are both forms of denial Mark. Kicking the can down the road is one of the worst crimes a person can commit both against themselves and those they are chosen to lead. Great pic as always!


    • January 30, 2012 12:35 PM

      Well said, Tracey. We’re our own worst enemy when we engage in reckless behavior that’s only going to hurt us in the long run. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Or a free deep-fried Twinkie… : )

      Many thanks for your unflagging kindness and support!


  3. January 30, 2012 2:44 PM

    What a great post. Well, let me answer in reverse order. First, you should know I’ve been severely critical of Obama’s ignoring of the environment and am not going to vote for him (I’m voting for Jill Stein). However:

    Under Clinton, our country enjoyed a surplus. Bush spent 8 years getting us into debt. He spent 87 BILLION dollars on the war. Once we were in that situation, no President in 2 or 3 years was going to get us out of it, no matter how good he was and even if the global economy had not tanked. Obama is streamlining several Federal agencies, so that’s a great start and it’s what the Republicans asked for. Obama said during his candidacy that it would take more than one term to get us out of debt, and he’s right.

    Paula Deen: I despise our culture’s nosiness. Her medical condition is none of our business. But to promote “medicine” that alleges you can still eat butter out of a jar and not get sick, well, that’s just patently false.

    Thanks for such a provocative topic! Well said!


    • January 31, 2012 9:07 AM

      Many thanks, Amelie. Always good to see you here, and I appreciate your taking the time to express your opinions so forthrightly.

      I’m going to take your advice and never eat butter out of a jar again!! : )


  4. January 30, 2012 10:22 PM

    You have drawn the issues perfectly! I couldn’t agree more with Tracey’s comment. 🙂

    Well done, Mark! 🙂


  5. January 31, 2012 8:48 AM

    When I first saw your illustration I did actually think of why you didn’t put debt instead of deficit. But since you explained it, it makes more sense.

    As a United Kingdom girl I have no clue who Paula Deen is but when looking at the illustration you can gather up the information and work it out. It makes me wonder though why it took her so long to mention that she has been diagnosed with diabetes.

    I like how you used a green cream (I think that’s what twinkies contain–only had it twice) for Obama’s twinkie in relation to the overspending of money. And the almost stuffing everything in the mouth for wanting everything and not thinking about the consequences.

    Sorry for another long-winded comment!


    • January 31, 2012 9:22 AM

      Long-winded?? Never! A comment as kind as that can only be described as expansive and generous!! : )

      I appreciate your noticing fine details like Obama’s green money-on-a-stick, and I’m delighted that you could decipher the cartoon without previously being acquainted with Ms. Deen. (Very happy to know you have been spared some of the excesses of American celebrity culture!)

      Thanks so much for your feedback and support. I am in your debt. (not deficit!) : )


  6. January 31, 2012 10:56 AM

    There seems to be a massive movement built on denial of the fact that never ending growth is unsustainable. I loved the clever juxtaposition and the detail in your cartoon.


  7. February 1, 2012 2:23 PM

    This is hilarious, clever, and political! All three mastered! Another wonderful post 😀 It is so very entertaining to see what you will come up with next!


    • February 1, 2012 9:10 PM

      Blush, blush, blush!! My face is so red, people will think I’m a fox!– or possibly a tomato…

      Thanks, Jane! You are kindness itself. : )


  8. robpixaday permalink
    February 4, 2012 6:20 PM

    She’s the one who fries butter, right? ::gags delicately::

    btw, the Hostess company declared bankruptcy in January. Et tu, Twinkies?


    • February 6, 2012 9:06 AM

      Yes, I’ve been over to her house for dinner many times. Those butter fries are the tops!!

      ::grabs heart, arranges pillows, falls to floor::

      A world without Twinkies?? Does this mean I’ll have to rely on deep-fried Snickers bars??

      ::puts on black armband, eats chocolate-covered tofu out of bag::


      • robpixaday permalink
        February 6, 2012 10:13 AM

        You’ve been to her house!? Wow! That’s very cool!

        LOL re the Snickers!

        I suppose the Hostess people will get themselves reorganized and stay alive. Can’t imagine that Twinkies will be allowed to go away.


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