Martha Keeps It Real: Another Deconstruction

This month’s Martha Stewart Living (May 2004) features, as usual, a Letter From Martha. Unlike Martha’s many other letters, this one actually keeps it real. No BS about gardening: Martha has made the brave (and committee-prodded, I’m sure) choice of addressing her legal woes. Let’s look closer, shall we?

How can I thank you all–readers, advertisers, business partners, family, friends, staff–for the outpouring of affection and support that you have shown me recently, just as you have consistently done for nearly two years? It’s comforting to know that you are sending so many good thoughts my way.

How revealing the ordering of Martha’s list! In the world according to Martha, advertisers and business partners outrank FAMILY and FRIENDS. And of course, staff at the bottom. But c’mon, Martha, I’m looking at your advertisers and I assure you that the people from Bose stereo systems were not there at your trial like your daughter Alexis was. Remember Alexis? Or have you replaced her with Flonase?

Your encouragement and messages, as well as the steadfastness and companionship of my daughter, Alexis,

Ah, here we go…

of my mother, Martha Kostyra

Her mother is a former czar…

and of my sisters and brothers and friends, have meant everything to me, have literally kept me going. I want you to know that I am okay–sick to my heart, yes, but functioning, working, thinking and being productive.

Is this the most emotion Martha has betrayed in the history of her career? Seriously, when was the last time you heard Martha say she was “sick to [her] heart”? Probably when a staff member subbed Shiraz for Merlot. Kidding, I’m kidding! OR AM I.

I also want you to know that I am so sorry for the upset my personal legal troubles have caused for all of you who care for me and have welcomed me into your lives through our television program, magazines, books, and products for more than two decades now.

I like the addition of “products.” It’s a cunning way to remind readers that there ARE products. She’s basically saying: “While mourning my impending prison sentence, why not buy a Martha Stewart toothbrush? Or my world famous shoulder pads!”

This is not an end to anything, but kind of a fresh start, I believe.

Oh come now Martha. That’s pushing it, isn’t it? Your company’s stock is worth less than bupkiss now, I’d hardly call that a fresh start. That’s like Lincoln popping up from the balcony with bleeding-head saying: “Don’t worry, America! I’m still here!” [And then keeling over.]

In my new role as founding editorial director, I will continue to be as involved as I can be, and as is appropriate, in the work that we do here at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

She lost me with the Omnimedia. Sounds so corporate. Be a human, Martha, a human. None of us run around telling people we work at such-and-such Omnimedia. My dad’s a dentist who uses drills, explorers and sucking tubes. Is he Dr. Roberts Omnimedia? And if you only use two mediums are you bimedia? “Are you omni?” “No, I’m bi.” “Ohhh…”

This magazine, in particular, is such a great source of pride, and its readers such an extended family for me, that it, and all of you, will never be out of my thoughts–not for a moment.

I’m in Martha’s thoughts! And I’m never out of them! What am I wearing, Martha? Ohhh Martha…you’re baaaaad. Growwwwl.

I feel secure knowing that the magazine is in capable hands…

This paragraph is really boring. She names her staff.

Then she concludes:

I am so proud of what the expert team and I have built here, and want to assure you that the quality, originality, and usefulness–the inspirational how-to ideas you use in your lives every day–will continue without interruption. Continue to expect good things from all my dear colleagues here at Martha Stewart Living, and you will not be disappointed.

It’s kind of sad, really, isn’t it? She’s basically saying: well I’m a failure, but I have good people who aren’t failures so you can trust them. Me, I’ll be behind bars, but that’s ok–I have my crochet. Keep reading!

Oh, Martha. I miss you already.

6 thoughts on “Martha Keeps It Real: Another Deconstruction”

  1. OK, the thing that gets me about all of this is the way that people say she was treated unfairly by the courts and shouldn’t have to go to jail.

    “But she broke the law,” I always reply to them.

    “Yes, but so did those people at Enron, and they’re not going to jail,” the Martha defenders say.

    “But she still broke the law,” I reply.

    Then, they storm off in a huff.

    Martha broke the law. Those Enron people broke the law. They should all be in jail or face stiff fines or whatever’s going to happen.

    Martha knew, in going to trial, that there was a chance of conviction. And she was convicted.

    What’s so hard to grasp about that?

  2. It’s not that people have a hard time grasping that she was convicted under the law, I suspect that more people have a hard time dealing with the idea that the legislators of our fine nation would pass laws that aren’t fair or aren’t moral or aren’t constitutional. I think people also have a hard time dealing with the fact that many of those same laws are not applied uniformly.

  3. I think the other thing people have a hard time grasping is that she was convicting of not helping the government prove that she committed a crime that she doesn’t admit she committed.

  4. Yeah, she broke the law, but does the time fit the crime?

    I don’t think so.

    If Martha’s going to get 1 year for her crime, which amounted to approx 45-50K in savings to her by selling her imclone early, then I feel sorry for those Enron bums and all the BILLIONS they seem to have misplaced.

  5. I understand that people are frustrated that laws aren’t enforced uniformly, yet their arguments regarding the Martha case don’t suggest that everyone should go to jail. They argue that Martha should go free if other people do illegal things and go free.

    When asked to justify that, the housefraus I’ve spoken to merely say, “Because it’s MARTHA.”

    How are laws against insider trading immoral, unfair and unconstitutional? I’m not saying that legislators don’t pass such laws. But how are the laws she broke immoral, unfair and unconstitutional?

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