Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I Hate Martha Stewart

I used to hate Martha Stewart because she made her fortune by perpetuating an impossible image of the "woman who has it all" and then convincing women that they were inadequate if they didn't live up to this image. Nevermind that ol' Martha achieved the image with the help of a large staff and a lot of rehearsal, retakes, and touch ups.

But now, I actually hate her more. Because she is the worst example of celebrity entitlement and detachment from the real world.

Martha was recently released from prison after being convicted for her part in some illegal stock trades (I don't know the technical term for her charges). The poor dear had to spend five months in a detention facility known as "Camp Cupcake" because it's conditions were so cushy. No, being denied one's freedom isn't a whole lot of fun, but her punishment could have been a lot worse.

Now, she has five months of house "arrest." I use the quotation marks because during her so-called detention, she's allowed to work 48 hours a week and travel when "necessary" for business (which apparently includes a multitude of social and publicity events).

I'll concede, again, that any loss of freedom sucks. But she did commit a crime, and her "punishment" hardly meets the definition. Yet, Martha has the gall to complain about her "hideous" house arrest and unfair treatment. Poor dear. She has to stay in her multimillion dollar mansion being pampered by her staff and can only go to the Hamptons if her lawyers can invent a reason loosely tied to work. Whatever.

But Martha makes herself even less sympathetic by claiming that she's being treated more harshly because she's in the public eye. Again, I say: Whatever. To the harsh part. I do agree that she's being treated differently because she's a celebrity.

* If Martha wasn't a celebrity, she wouldn't have been in this pickle to begin with because most of us can't afford high-priced stockbrokers who call us to let us in on insider-trading secrets. Most of us are just another account number to our brokers. If we lose our life savings, well, it sucks to be us.
* If Martha wasn't a celebrity, she wouldn't have been able to hire a top-notch legal team, so she probably would have been convicted much quicker, would have received a longer sentence, and would have been sent to a less-comfortable prison.
* If Martha wasn't a celebrity, she wouldn't have been able to continue her business while she was in prison. She would have lost her job. Her legal fees would have drained her bank account. She would have come out of prison broke and unemployed.
* If Martha wasn't a celebrity, she wouldn't be working 48 hours a week while under house arrest. Again, she wouldn't have the legal team to negotiate such favorable terms. But, also, she wouldn't have kept her job. The average person coming out of prison has lost his or her job and reputation. Most people struggle to find work after a prison term; they don't return to heading a multibillion dollar company.
* If Martha wasn't a celebrity, she certainly wouldn't be allowed to forgo house arrest to attend parties in the Hamptons or cover shoots for Vanity Fair. If she was the average Jane, she'd be in violation of her house arrest and sent back to prison.
* If Martha wasn't a celebrity, she wouldn't be spending her house arrest time in a luxurious mansion with a full house staff. She probably would have lost her house to foreclosure while she was in prison. If she wasn't placed in a group home for parolees, she would struggle to find any sort of housing because of her record and her inability to get a decent a job.
* If Martha wasn't a celebrity, she would struggle to rebuild her reputation and her life. She wouldn't be handed a television show, magazine covers, and the reins to the company. She wouldn't be welcomed back into society with open arms and a kid gloves.

Martha Stewart needs to quit her griping and thank the heavens that she is a celebrity. 'Cause I don't think she'd last a minute in the real world.


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