Sunday, March 06, 2005


Martha Stewart has been released from the slammer. If you don't know that, you sure must not watch television, because we have been inundated with it since before her release. Pictures of Martha, stories about Martha, predictions for Martha, all have muscled the War in Iraq and any other story right off the airwaves. Even Michael Jackson has just earned a minor flicker, as we delve into Martha's story.

Previously, I refused to watch Martha Stewart and considered her one of those boring, awful people who can do everything well and are happy to tell you about it. She was so damned clever, making all those silk roses and decorating cakes and making the bathroom look just so. I am a stumblebum when it comes to creative crafts. I am as apt to burn a cake as to bake it. And my bathroom is...well, functional.

But I have to admit, I have changed my mind about Martha. She has conducted herself with courage and dignity at a time when others might have crumbled. She has faced the public with a stoic reserve, proclaiming her belief that things would turn out all right. She has earned my respect.

The case against her seemed to rest on the fact that she lied to federal authorities. Well, that's a bad thing to do. On the other hand, Martha did it with a good heart, trying to protect others. The woman has an "Empire", for Heaven's sake. How would you feel, fearing a confession would cause many job losses, the crumbling of a huge business, and shame to your family and friends?

I suppose the whole thing started because Martha received a phone call telling her that she had better sell her stock in some troubled company. The fact that she did so is obscured by the fact that the company revived from near-fiasco and went on to make billions of dollars, leaving Martha with nothing but troubles...and probably a lot of regrets.

It was off to jail for Martha, as the federal prosecutors preened, and Martha got a lot of news coverage that was probably worth a fortune. Even small children knew Martha was headed for jail. It was a bonanza of publicity. And the story wasn't forgotten even while she was locked up. We received bulletins on her good works. We saw pictures of her daughter visiting her. We saw cartoons of Martha decorating her prison cell.

If the War in Iraq had received as much coverage as Martha, we might know more about what is going on over there.

Now that Martha is out of prison, I understand that she is on Probation and that she will have to wear an ankle bracelet for an additional five months. Why? Are the federal authorities afraid Martha will stray off the beaten path and consort with known gangsters? Are they afraid she will blow up the Empire State Building? Are they afraid she will cozy up to those crooked, nasty CEO's who had ripped off the public for millions of bucks and are still roaming free?

Why the ankle bracelet for Martha? And why the Probation? Do they really think that a Probation Officer can do anything for a 63 year old millionairess with a tremendous business to run? What will you bet the two of them, Probation Officer and Martha, will sit down for tea and home-baked cookies with a marvelous handmade centerpiece centered on the crisp, white tablecloth? I wouldn't mind being her Probation Officer myself. I might learn something.

The ways of law enforcement sometimes elude me. Certainly Martha Stewart did not deserve jail time. A little Probation and a stiff fine probably would have rehabilitated her. But now that she has had a taste of prison, perhaps she will work toward improving conditions there. Perhaps she can help the public become more aware of the rotten circumstances of women in prison.

If anyone can make lemonade out of lemons, it's Martha. A lesser woman would have become embittered and angry. Not Martha. She made cocoa for the flocks of newsmen. She plans on joining Donald Trump in a television program, the Apprentice. There is much to admire in Martha Stewart. Perhaps we should elect her to something, maybe even the Presidency. Perhaps she could brighten up the Oval Office. And the Allies would love her!

Good luck, Martha, in the years ahead. You are a lesson to all of us on How to Survive Adversity. This experience will probably end up in a book......and I may even buy it!

Blogger Lorraine said...

Hi Herma..I love your essays, they are so good. I especially like this Martha post, 'cause I agree. She showed the smug corporate good-old-white-boys just what a realwoman is all about, didn't she?

I have always felt Martha was something of a scapegoat in those insider trader dealings. She wasn't the only one who profited by "the call" to buy that certain stock....and she certainly didn't do this all alone. So where are the male culprits in all of this?

Of course I rant & rave about Enron's good old boys, too. Where is Ken Lay? What a legal system we have, right?

Keep it up, girlfriend, you done good here. If you want to put pictures or whatever on your homepage, let me know, OK?

5:23 PM  

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