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Martha True to Form to the End

Well, my idol and role model was finally sentenced and it wasn't worth the wait. Martha Stewart received a meager five-month in a minimum-security prison with an additional five-months of house detention and two years probation. She even gets to choose which of her five homes she'd like to be confined to. Decisions, decisions.

I don't have a quarrel with the sentence. Stewart's crime was minor compared to many white-collar criminals. She's primarily guilty of seer stupidity stemming from a case of supreme arrogance. Hell, compared to the level of arrogance Martha is prone to display, I'd be a candidate for the Mahatma Gandhi "humble person of the year award."

But give her credit for being consistent. True to her shallow, self-centered, narcissistic, egomaniacal nature, she is unrepentant to the end. Proving once and for all that despite her obvious talents and successes, Martha Stewart is a worthless excuse of a human being.

After her sentencing, she wasted no time in attempting to prop up her ailing company.

"Perhaps all of you out there can continue to show your support by subscribing to our magazine, by buying our products, by encouraging our advertisers to come back in full force to our magazines," she said outside the courtroom. "Our magazines are great. They deserve your support, and whatever happened to me personally shouldn't have any effect whatsoever on the great company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia."

Hey, I'm a staunch capitalist and I don't blame her for wanting to bolster her company. Good taste may have dictated that she wait more than a nanosecond to do so, but that's splitting hairs.

It wasn't her self-serving financially-driven statement that bothered me. I'd expect no less. It was her portrayal of her transgression and the case against her that irked me. It clearly illustrated that Martha Stewart is not worthy of anyone spending a single cent on her merchandise.

Here's what she had to say:

"What was a small personal matter became over the last two years an almost fatal circus event of unprecedented proportions. I have been choked and almost suffocated to death during that time. All the while more concerned about the well being of others than for myself. More hurt for them and for their losses than for my own. More worried for their futures than the future of Martha Stewart the person."

She went on to say, "I'm just very very sorry that it's come to this. That a small personal matter has been able to be blown out of all proportion. And with such venom and such gore. I mean it's just terrible."

SAY WHAT!!

A small personal matter? In what world is breaking securities laws a personal matter? Not to mention lying to federal investigators. Only in the world concocted in Miss Martha's mind. The one where she is the sun and all else revolves around her. It's a world where the rules of civility and fair play don't apply.

And you have to love the "choked and suffocated to death" and "venom and gore" comments. Ah, if only it were true and not just an absurdly exaggerated description of events.

However, the capper was her heart-felt concern for the little people.

LIAR!!!

I think it's safe to say Martha Stewart doesn't make a habit of putting anyone's well being ahead of her own. Had she been concerned for her employees and stockholders she would have told the truth from the very beginning.

So now, pending appeal, she is a convicted felon. Not that she'll be much the worse for wear when the dust settles. Once she's done her time she'll be able to wallow in her millions, still believing she did nothing wrong.

What a travesty locking up the little lady. It's on par with the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela. If don't believe me ask Martha. That was the comparison she used during her Barbara Waa Waa interview. No ego there.
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I don't wish Martha ill, nor do I wish her fortune. It certainly is a defect of human nature to not admit fault, and had she been at least a bit contrite and admitted culpability, she would probably have escaped even the five months.

In the face of truly heinous crimes that go unpunished, and often even unheralded, hers is relatively trivial. But make no mistake - five months in jail is not trivial, especially to one used to the unlimited freedoms that accompany wealth and power. I recognize her courage in accepting what the court would throw at her.

Richard
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I view Martha Stewart in a larger context. True, others have committed much more egregious crimes. However, it is the mindset of the "Martha Stewarts" of this world that ultimately created the Enrons, WorldComs, et al.

This issue is one of culture and the fact that the rich and powerful believe they are not obligated to abide by the rules. Putting Martha in jail hopefully sends a message that the rules apply to everyone. One can only hope it serves to move the culture of corporate America a little closer to where it needs to be in order to sustain long-term success.

That, and she's simply not a nice person and deserves to be put in her place.

Tony
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However, it is the mindset of the "Martha Stewarts" of this world that ultimately created the Enrons, WorldComs, et al.

And the Hondas, the Standard Oils, the Microsofts, the Mercedes, and yes, even the MSOs ;-)

The doers who create wealth and capital empires are often the nastiest people you ever didn't want to meet. The are arrogant, dictatorial, amoral, and sometimes truly evil. But usually, in toto, society is better off for their existence and their labors, selfish though they may be. In seizing opportunity for themselves, they create opportunity for untold thousands.

If Martha is the woman we love to hate, we have to wonder why we love to hate at all.

Richard
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And the Hondas, the Standard Oils, the Microsofts, the Mercedes, and yes, even the MSOs ;-)

The doers who create wealth and capital empires are often the nastiest people you ever didn't want to meet. The are arrogant, dictatorial, amoral, and sometimes truly evil. But usually, in toto, society is better off for their existence and their labors, selfish though they may be. In seizing opportunity for themselves, they create opportunity for untold thousands.

If Martha is the woman we love to hate, we have to wonder why we love to hate at all.



Excellent perspective. Your observation that the powerful are a necessary evil is astute. But silly me, I'm naive enough to think we can have our cake and eat it too. I believe there are enough talented people that could accomplish the same goals without misusing their position. We need to alter the criteria we use to select our leadership. Barring that, if we took seriously our efforts to police those in positions of power, things would at least marginally improve.

As for our desire to love to hate. I don't relish in hating anyone. I would prefer Stewart and her colleagues would realize their obligation to society and behave correctly. Short of that, they earn my contempt.

Tony
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