Sunday, March 07, 2004

I am not a follower of the Martha Stewart case. Upon learning that she was being prosecuted, I'm sure I thought something or other about it being an easily dismissible, forgivable offense. Her guilt or innocence wasn't a question. But as word of the trial began coming in the sound bites more often, I began probing a few minds here and there to help me piece together what I think. And what I've gotten are two ends of the spectrum--vehement argument for severe punishment with assured guilt before a verdict came through; and then vehement disdain for our American culture who chooses to hold up Kobe Bryant and Martha Stewart as its worst sinners.

The verdict came to me on my lap as I lay on the blue cushions that pillow me after school each day. Searching for either a cooking show of interest or maybe Ellen, I was interrupted by reports of Martha's guilt on all counts. Since then I've bought the paper each day, reading the stories, looking at the photographs of her almost always brushing a manicured clump of golden-gray hair behind her ear.

I am an admirer of Martha's ability first. Anyone who is a doer is a good thing in my book. She's like my grandmother or Eleanor Roosevelt, like all the ladies who are determined at their core and composed in their air. They rise above the times and go on with their business, full with purpose. But beyond what she does and what she's created, Martha has positively contributed to the culture, taking things back home, to the ways of our grandparents who took pride in the mundane tasks of sewing a straight hem or weed-eating and then bagging the mowed grass on a hot July day. If you don't do it with your own hands you lose the gratification from the effort--pride in yourself and what you are able to create and keep. Several generations now have been without. It's a Fast Food Nation, yes?

Martha is a foremother of American culture; and yet, she is in her guilt of corruption for monetary gain, again, a foremother of American culture.

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