Tom Ross: Martha Stewart scandal inspires entrepreneurs
There are three types of people in the world; how do you feel about the convicted homemaker?
March 7, 2004
There are two kinds of people in the world this morning. First, there are those who think Martha Stewart got what was coming to her and relished seeing her knocked off her high horse. They believe she is the embodiment of corporate greed, and they resent her for projecting a false and unattainable standard of personal perfection. There isn’t a one of them who hasn’t already thought up at least one of their own Martha Stewart jokes:
“Did you hear what Martha Stewart asked the parole officer during her pre-sentencing investigation? She inquired as to whether it would be possible if, while residing in the federal pen, she be absolved from making license plates. Instead, she asked that she be permitted to crochet license plate holders.”
Ba-dum, ba, da bum (imagine a rim shot here).
The second group of people populating the earth this morning is made up of Martha’s legions of fans who are left wondering how they will ever come up with a divine Easter centerpiece for the dining room table without Martha’s guidance. They need someone to tell them how to make their Easter eggs look fashionable this spring. They are really peeved. They cannot imagine how Martha will ever come up with accessories for a bright orange jump suit. And they are convinced that Martha was the sacrificial lamb of the G-men. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, and the truth, after all, is what the Martha Stewart saga is all about. Had Ms. Stewart come clean to begin with, her gaffe with the Securities and Exchange Commission could have ended in a fine, and she could have put it behind her by writing a check. But she couldn’t bring herself to do it, so she lied. A half dozen of the Martha Stewart trial jurors were interviewed on a TV news magazine Sunday night and said this about the case: “If you tell the truth, you’ll be better off. And the sooner you tell the truth, the better, because a lie takes on a life of its own.” Tell me the truth. Are you a guy (as in a member of the male gender) who had never ever looked at a copy of “Martha Stewart Living” before. But this weekend, you went to the magazine section of your favorite grocery store expressly for the purpose of flipping through the magazine to see what it was all about? I thought so. Don’t you feel better now that you have admitted to the truth?
If you have any feelings you would like to share about the Martha Stewart jurors, there is a chat room on the Web meant just for you and people like you. You can find it at
http://sitechat.siteprotect.com/savemartha.com/savemartha.html. Don’t hold anything back.
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In the spirit of capitalism, a number of Web sites have surfaced under the guise of “Saving Martha” from her fate. In fact, they exist primarily to sell merchandise. Even Martha would approve of their entrepreneurial spirit. Take, for example, the thong that is on sale at savemarthastewart.com. This white undergarment is just one of 39 items of Martha merchandise offered for sale on the Web site. The thong is emblazoned in red letters which spell out the phrase: “Save Martha — Jail: it’s not a good thing.” OK, maybe the thong is in bad taste, and Martha would disapprove. But the other 38 products include a tote bag for $15.99 that reads: “Save Martha! Her only crime was being better than everyone else.” You also may choose from among the Save Martha teddy bear, the Save Martha wall clock and the Save Martha infant creeper. All proceeds go to the Martha Stewart Defense fund (Not!).
Come to think of it, there may be a third kind of person living in the world today. Someone who is neither a detractor, nor a fan of Ms. Stewart. That would be the person who is indifferent to Martha Stewart’s fate, but is quite certain the federal government has bigger fish to fry when it comes to securities fraud.