Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Best Served Cold

Standing in the supermarket checkout line at Loblaws last night, waiting for one of those fanatical exact change Nazis to finish counting (“No, no, it’s alright, I know I have some pennies – oh maybe they’re in the other wallet at home. Just a minute, there’s probably some in the bottom of my purse…or maybe my pocket, won’t be a moment…” I feel like Archie Bunker pulling out his imaginary revolver and spinning the chambers as Edith blathers interminably on…until KABOOM!) I espied a National Enquirer cover that confirmed what I have been predicting for some time – Martha Stewart is about to be re-born.
(See below: Tuesday May 25th – ‘Quelle Dump’; and Tuesday March 9th – ‘Martha the Musical’. If there’s something I like better than being right, I’d like to know what it is – though I do have a soft spot for French fries and kissing.)
“MARTHA FRAMED BY GOV’T!” screamed the outraged 48 point font. “Ah ha!” I thought in no particular font at all.
Let the reinvention begin.
But before I get all self back-patty smug and superior, it’s only fair to admit that it’s likely many others have been doing the same fairly simple math and come to the same fairly simple conclusion: get too big, they knock you down; get knocked down too small, and its only a matter of time before they start to build you back up again.
The scale seems to have readjusted and some sort of judicial balance appears to be shifting the weight of public opinion in favour of the Domestic Diva.
The question now is, how much will she get back – money, stock, respect, reputation – and how high on the 20/20 lineup will be her ubiquitous tears welling up, thanks-be-to-God ‘Come to Barbara’ tell-all debriefing segment take place on the show?
- Somewhere, anywhere and things are looking up for Omnimedia.
- First, and they’ll order up a new series of Martha Stewart Living shows.
- The whole damn program – the sky’s the limit.
(Though to be perfectly honest, if Martha goes all ‘Jailhouse Christian Squirrely’ I’m prepared to have my I Heart Martha tattoo lazered off. No kidding.)
The signs have been emerging steadily and quietly since her conviction was announced: a few positive mentions from Page Six gossip columnist Liz Smith here, a few less skits on Saturday Night Live there, business journals taking a decidedly pouty tone when detailing the cruelties inflicted upon Martha by her Board of Directors… Dominic Dunn’s empathetic telling of the tale in Vanity Fair (including the interesting tidbit that the ‘close friend’ who testified that she was with Martha when the call came in to sell the Imclone shares, is married to a man who mysteriously was able to unload 600,000 of his own shares soon after - many more, as it turned out, than Martha divested herself of…) had to create some ripples, not the least of which the image of a woman once perceived as proud and haughty, brought as low as she could conceivably go by the testimony of her best friend.
Add to that the news that one of the experts who testified in court against Martha is now being charged with perjury; Stewart’s lawyers couldn’t get a new trial on the basis of the deceitful witness, but America is much more powerful judge and jury than any legal system could ever have hoped to assemble, and appears to be bellying up to the legal bar to affect some form of public opinion redress.
But it’s the National Enquirer front page story that has really turned up the volume on the musings of Middle America, which will no doubt soon instigate a run on the ‘Martha Stewart Everyday’ line of home furnishings and accessories at Sears. It’s where America shops you know… and probably where America shows its forgiveness - one tea towel at a time.
It’ll be interesting to see how the growing Martha momentum plays out. Interesting too to see if the whispers and grumblings comparing the enormous price paid by Stewart versus the discount low, low price paid by the slimy but powerful rip-off artists at Enron increase in volume. Big bad Martha has been transformed in relatively short order from Off-With-Their-Heads “Who brought me Russian caviar when I specifically demanded Iranian?!” to little old hard done by “Please sir, may I have another plate of gruel” Martha, quiet and contrite, polite and politic.
I believe that if she can just chill for a little while longer, she’ll soon be able to present heaping helpings of crow to her enemies and detractors; a recipe Martha will no doubt be planning to serve cold.
Revenge – it’s a good thing.

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