Skip to comments.Mark Steyn's I-Was-Wrong Moment
Posted on 03/05/2004 2:04:12 PM PST by WarrenC
MARK STEYN I-WAS-WRONG MOMENT
Martha Stewart has been found guilty on all four counts. And it looks like all those jokes we did about the happy homemaker in the big house - how to get the file in the cake, how to make an attractive centerpiece in the cell bucket to surprise your bull dyke when she returns from the showers, etc - are about to come true.
I wrote about Martha's troubles in this Wall Street Journal column from last June, and thought she'd come up smelling of roses:
Most analysts reckon there are two options facing Martha Inc.: The brand will sink with its creator, or it will successfully distance itself. Perhaps this makes sense to those immersed in the financial world, a culture of evasive acronymic generalities, where the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp. is now HSBC and, instead of the First National Bank of Dead Horse, Nev., American banks now have names like "Key" or "Banc One." Or is it Banque One? Supposedly hard-nosed financial institutions are far more prone to chichi upscale soft-focus herbal-scented ersatz Continental designer pabulum than Martha: Andersen Consulting now goes under the name Accenture, which should be the name of Martha's paint line.
But I can't see Martha Stewart Living going down Evasion Avenue and emerging as MSL or Elegantia. Let me suggest a third option: The brand won't be able to shrug off the founder, and it will survive and eventually prosper. The prosecutors are at the very least overreaching and in some ways attempting a wholesale redefinition of the concept of "fraud." Who's to say it won't be the SEC brand that comes out of this looking like unreasonably demanding control freaks?
Martha, on the other hand, is a master of surviving setbacks. As I understand it, on Monday the feds gave up trying to cut a deal with Martha because (so I hear) she genuinely believes she's not guilty. Copping a plea is like using store-bought meringue nests or pumpkin-pie mix: it's quick and easy but you feel ashamed and everybody knows, even if they don't say anything. If Martha's going down, she's going down true to her philosophy, with a hand-stitched, beautifully detailed, exquisitely tooled case for the defense. I'm betting it'll be like the flora and fauna in her homemade Christmas decorations: Establishing gilt is harder than it looks.
That's still the way I feel. It's not entirely clear why lying about a matter on which no prosecution is brought should itself be an offense. It's certainly less material than what a certain W J Clinton did.
Instead of worrying about how much more than you Martha has EARNED, you ought to figure out how to EARN some big bucks yourself so you can grow out of this infantile class-envy garbage.
It's really holding you back.
That's exactly what I've been saying.
Sam W. calling her up and saying "sell" is insider-trading.
Her broker calling her up and saying "Sam W. is selling" is not insider information.
It's the same exact information you can get from the SEC, because insiders are required to notify the SEC when they buy or sell.
The DA was on a fishing expedition and manufactured a crime.
This is the same sort of garbage that the Florida DA is pulling on Rush Limbaugh.
Martha will, however, win on appeal.
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