Just dessert for Martha Stewart?
On Dec. 26, 2003, this column was titled: “Starting To Get Annoyed With Television?
My big beef at the time (and still is) was the continual television coverage of celebrity misfits who ran afoul of the law.
Yes, as a free and open society we do have a right to know the misdeeds of anyone breaking the law, be it celebrity or Joe average citizen. As I stated in that column, the real danger in television today is the ability it has to influence the masses quickly with raw data that can be detrimental to a defendant who has yet to have his day in court.
At the time that column ran Robert Blake, Kobe Bryant, and Martha Stewart were getting hammered daily by unrelenting television coverage. I wrote that “television had done a pretty good job on Martha Stewart and it was possible Martha may be roasting a turkey with all the prison fixin’s in a federal facility next Christmas, but for now why don’t we assume she’s innocent until proven guilty in a court of law?
Well Martha did have her day in court, and when I wrote that column 10 months ago, I didn’t know how prophetic those words would become. Yes! Martha Stewart, inmate No. 55170-054 has new accommodations in a joint nicknamed Camp Cupcake beginning Friday at Alderson, W.Va.
As for roasting a turkey, it pales by comparison when Martha cooked her goose by lying to federal investigators about her sale of ImClone stock.
Despite her legal troubles and financial setback, Stewart still has a loyal legion of fans who believe there were forces bent on destroying her simply because she was a woman of wealth. Stewart at one time was worth $1billion, but that was before she bailed out a little early on 3,928 shares of ImClone stock on Dec. 27, 2001, to save herself a few bucks.
So how much did Martha save? About $5,500 or .006 percent of her net worth. And how much is Martha worth now? Less then half of what she was worth before being caught in a web of deceit that nearly brought down her entire financial empire.
Martha Stewart was a product of the American dream. She applied herself early in life to making it big time and she succeeded beyond anything she could have ever imagined. But she paid a price for that success.
In May 2003, NBC aired the docudrama, “Martha Inc: The Story of Martha Stewart. The movie starred Cybill Shepherd in the role of Stewart. Shepherd wasn’t a fan of Stewart and portrayed the queen of the kitchen as a cold, heartless money-grabbing tyrant constantly barking orders and reprimanding the help. Shepherd seemed to relish the role and put forth a performance with a lot of gusto.
So why do so many people dislike Martha Stewart? The answers are many, but greed should certainly top the list. At a time in this country when most Americans are struggling to put a loaf of bread on the table, here is a woman who’s not satisfied owning the entire bakery, but is in search of more loaves to add to her stash.
It’s not easy to like Martha, for her aloofness and indifference can leave you stone cold.
An insight to her persona can be found in a statement she made on Sept. 16 when she held a press conference and announced she decided to start her sentence early rather then wait for her appeal to be heard.
“… and I will miss all my pets. My two beloved, fun-loving dogs, my seven lively cats, my canaries, my horses and even my chickens.”
It’s odd what becomes of immense importance when one realizes one’s freedom is about to be curtailed. Dogs, cats, canaries, petunias, a cabbage patch but no people was she going to miss, not even her mother or daughter were on that list, and that pretty much sums up the person we know as Martha Stewart.
It’s my belief Judge Miriam Cedarbaum made a major mistake sentencing Stewart to serve her time in a federal facility. Martha should have been sentenced to live with a family whose annual income is less than what she and her Wall Street cronies spent in one night in the Great White Way.
Maybe then and only then will she come to realize there is a lot more to life than money.
Chic DiFrancia, a resident of Virginia City, writes occasionally for the Nevada Appeal.
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Appeal political columnist Guy W. Farmer is in Seattle to visit with his twin grandsons, Duncan and Vincent. His column will resume next Sunday.