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martha stewart for president
it's a good thing
by robert a. melos

Martha Stewart. The name alone invokes images of pure white linen table clothes, fine china, elegant crystal, tasteful silverware, beautiful and fragrant flora centerpieces, and perfection. Now this pillar of good taste in everything held dear by those who strive for perfection in their daily lives, is embroiled in a financial scandal making world headlines. Oops! I guess that's not a good thing.

My problem with the entire Martha Stewart mess isn't so much the allegations of insider trading. After all, if we really analyze what it is Martha Stewart does for a living, we will realize she is the queen of insider trading. Her popularity soars with each little bit of inside information on where to find the very best antiques, the very best flora arrangers, the very best linens and bed sheets (Martha Stewart brand name, of course).

No, my problem stems more from the feeling Martha, icon of virtuous perfect that she is, is a victim of societal double standards. Now I'm not going along the route of successful women are a threat to the male dominated business world. No, this is far more basic than a battle of the sexes.

Martha succeeded by doing what we are all taught to do by society. She worked hard, and took advantage of the opportunities which presented themselves. While she is a model of virtuosity to many, she is a real flesh and blood human being who managed to claw her way to the top of the frivolous heap by passing on information on distressing antiques, and growing your own strawberries.

All she did, if we are to believe the media, is take a bit of information which came her way, and use it to her advantage. Isn't that what each and every one of us is taught to do in school? Aren't we taught to stay alert to information and use it to help advance our position either socially or financially.

I will admit much of this is corporate style thinking, usually resulting in the reward of the golden key to the executive washroom, but it is put into practical use on every level of society from boardroom, to bedroom, to the county fairs where one-upmanship in the cake baking contests is as blood thirsty and competitive as a hockey game.

Viewing things from this perspective, I fail to see where Martha did anything wrong. Everyday, people profit from someone else's problems. Doesn't the banking industry profit from foreclosing on a defaulted on loan, thus profiting from someone's financial pain? Heck, didn't the original settlers of America profit from the naiveté of the Native Americans by unloading a trunk load of costume jewelry for Manhattan Island?

All Martha may have done was to act on some information innocently passed along, perhaps over a nice meal of ginger-carrot soup, a crisp endive salad with walnut vinaigrette dressing, delicate crab stuffed pastries, saffron rice and white baby asparagus tips in a cream sauce, with a sweet and tempting raspberry and blueberry torte topped with fresh whipped cream for dessert. Information served up like that would be much too hard to ignore, and it wasn't as though she made a pig of herself and went back for seconds.

So why does it seem the government wants to roast Martha on a spit? Is it jealousy over the fact she did something so many of them have done in the past, and she obviously did it better and with more style and good taste than they? Or is it something much darker in the human psyche which causes hypocrisy to rear up in politicos, making them wish to appear as the gate keeps of morality when someone not socially unlike themselves, with no real political agenda, does something of a one-upmanship maneuver causing the judges of public opinion to award a blue ribbon of excellence to one who is not a member of that particular club?

As I said, I fail to see where she did anything anyone one of us, when presented with a similar situation, wouldn't do. She thought of her own best interests first, and that is what makes America great. Oh, I know. The world changed and we all have to think of our fellow man and how our actions will effect him. Well, if that's the case, instead of persecuting Martha Stewart for alleged insider trading, she should be brought up on charges of being too perfect of an image for the rest of us to live up to.

Come on! How many of us mere mortals can bake a perfect cherry pie, from cherries we picked in our own orchard, cut down the very tree from which the cherries were picked and turn the wood into a charming dinette set on which we can then serve the perfect cherry pie?

If anything, Martha Stewart finally, after decades of being above mere mortals when it came to domesticity, has shown she is, underneath it all, one of us! I say stop badgering her and run her for office. I'll bet she could balance the budget and clean up the war on terrorism, and unite the entire world for a sit down dinner for eight billion all before the ballots are counted.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

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sarah ficke
8.12.02 @ 10:30a

Can you picture Martha in the White House? I bet she'd redecorate the oval office in tasteful shades of Olde Country Blue and hand out doilies as presidential party favors.

robert melos
8.12.02 @ 11:11p

All that, and still be able be threatening to Saddam Hussain. We all know doilies are widely feared by Saddam.

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