Saturday, October 19, 2013

Martha said what??

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A few people have asked me what I think of the Martha brouhaha.
(Okay – one person.  And I think they only asked me because I am old.  After all, I have been with Martha from the beginning.  Beginning like the early-mid-1980s, when I first became a wife and stay-at-home mom and I wanted to do it RIGHT, dammit!  Back when most bloggers were in middle or high school, rockin’ huge hair and neon sweatshirts.  “So what do the old bloggers think about this whole Martha thing?” they are asking.)

Well, since you (one person) asked, this is what I think:
I think that the hypothesis of self-fulfilling prophecy is real.  I believe that if you fake it long enough, you can convince yourself you’ve become it. Unlike Tom Cruise, I believe that narcissism and other psychological disorders exist.  And I believe that there are some people who have a need for something which they do not have, and that they may never have.
I don’t know Ms. Stewart at all, but I was a follower for a long time.  I have her older cookbooks, and I use them (as evidenced by grease spatters and smears of batter).  Stuff is written in the margins where I had to tweak a cooking time or temp, based on old, ornery ovens.  (I was young and poor.)

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(photo is obviously not mine, as mine suck.  This is from Martha’s website.)

But even then, I could see what Martha’s gig was.  I could see that  (as the rumor went) if you turned down a scholarship to NYU in order to go to Barnard, you wanted that whole “Seven Sisters” mystique—almost guaranteeing that you would find an Ivy League husband.  Which she did.
I could see that having a husband who could not only support you (a girl from a large, working-class Polish family) in the manner to which you wanted to become accustomed, but also introduce you to contacts who would become valuable later on, was imperative.  I could see that the whole “Greed-is-Good” mantra of the 1980s was a critical piece of your business plan—convincing people that buying that $6 melon and $3 kiwi wasn’t extravagant, if it meant you were going to have the fruit salad of the year. 

But it was never going to be enough.  Never.

I remember reading an article in People magazine when my kids were in elementary school (it’s in the archives here!) and thinking to myself “this woman really isn’t happy.” And I think that’s it, in a nutshell.  Martha needs to believe she’s still all that and a platter of $10 melon (prices have gone up since 1986) and that she is somebody.  Somebody special who doesn’t have to compete with a younger, more vibrant arbiters of lifestyle.  Like bloggers,

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or Gwyneth…or anyone who is on her own journey, sharing tips and tidbits of lifestyle in a way that’s accessible to anyone with a computer.  Folks who aren’t going to spend a lot of money on a melon or a magazine.
Sure, Martha has beautiful homes and exquisite stuff which which to fill them.  She has dogs and cats and horses and probably a really cool truck.  She has oodles of money and contracts and all those things to which many bloggers aspire, albeit on a smaller scale.  All because she made Home-Ec cool again.

But if we stripped all that away...who would she be?  She would be a 72 year-old woman whose most impressive days are probably behind her.  She isn’t married, and her empire is losing money.  Now would be the time for Martha to make a change in her mission.  She’s clever enough to figure out how to segue into a new arena for which she could be a spokesperson—possibly one dealing with an aging population.  Or better yet…set up a non-profit to benefit folks who could use some of those $10 melons.

There’s more than one way to be somebody, Martha.  And, if you’re lucky, more than one somebody to be.

23 comments:

www.mysoulfulhome.com said...

My husband & I always say ( about a lot of things ) you can tell ( if u r going to like it ) in the first 5 minutes. Well, I think you had me about a week ago at the first 5 words I read. I was right then & I am righter now...I really like you...your blog & your writing. Happy to find you thru our recent blog tour. Martha oughta take what u say to heart....but then you are "not an expert"..HA!

Ricki Treleaven said...

What did Martha say originally?

MrsMajor Hoff said...

Hey, she actual does deal with the aging population. This was her project in honor of her mother. http://www.mountsinai.org/patient-care/service-areas/geriatrics-and-aging/areas-of-care/martha-stewart-center-for-living I don't think most people are aware of it. Thanks for your perspective.

Debra Oliver said...

I'm out of the loop, I had to go check what she said. Oh, when you're the top banana it's hard not to remind others.

Jean @ www.thebackyardbungalow.com said...

Wowsers! Nicely put, Kirb!!

Mel@Mellywood's Mansion said...

Best response yet! As to what she said, I sure as hell aren't an expert, I'm continually learning through trial and error but I think that's the fun of it for most people ho read my blog. It's relatable to have a Mom make mistakes because everyone made them and they cheer me on when I have a win. I also love my older blog friends, they have been a wealth of information behind the scenes on everything from painting and DIY to parenting. That's what I love about this community, real people with real answers :)

Shannon Fox said...

I enjoyed your view point. It's sad. She has always seemed unhappy and discontented. Instead of being a mentor, and possibly increasing her longevity and appeal, she lashes out. Sadder still is the more, more, more mentality. Sit back and enjoy some life before it's over Martha.

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

I truly love your take on this my friend! The one thing that truly drew me to blogs -- versus magazines -- is not just the pretty pics but the hands-on DIY. Martha has done that with her recipes and crafts. But what about the power tools? No, I have not seen Martha wielding a nail gun ... or caulk gun ... or paint brush! Things that we can do to transform our homes ...

:) Linda

Andrea said...

I scribbled down her recipe for peanut brittle 17 years ago and have made it every year since...beyond that Martha always intimidated me and I felt like I wouldn't be able to do whatever she was doing. I don't feel like that here amongst a community that feels more like peers.

pendy said...

Love that - more than one somebody to be. We could all take that to heart.

Sharon @ mrshinesclass said...

Well said Obi Wan Kenobi.

Danni SiloHillFarm said...

The bigger they are the harder they fall.

Deneen@dreaming-n-color said...

I think it is about inspiring. When someone feels inspired by a project they are more inclined to do it. The difference here is bloggers are more personal. They become your online friends. They answer your questions. They are creative and talented. Martha is talented. I think it takes more than being an "expert". I think it takes having heart. Being real. Connecting. At the end of our lives it really only matters how we are as people in this big world. Making a lasting impact. Martha can't change you. Come to think of it...her words are just that. She has to live with herself.

Storywood Designs said...

You, my friend, hit the nail on the head. I think that whenever someone puts down another person, verbally or otherwise, there's always something behind the attack... something that the other person is feeling that makes them defensive and makes them feel as though they have to bring someone else down to make them feel better. The whole thing makes me feel sorry for her... that she feels like she has to belittle someone else in order to feel good about herself.

Gypsy Heart said...

I agree! Martha has incredible talent and the $$$ to bring it to fruition in a high class manner. I do love her products, however, it all ends there. She is not a nice person ~ know that for sure via a friend. She seems like a bitter, lonely, older woman that still wants the spotlight. So very sad ~

xo
Pat

miss flibbertigibbet said...

Great observation! She is lonely I think too and her admiring public has made her feel wanted and special.

Bliss said...

Oh Martha. It sucks getting old.

1914house said...

I had NO idea what this post was about. Of course, it was just a quick google-check away to find out. Unfortunately, sensationalism sells. And, being a narcissist, she knows how to take advantage of that.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

Nice take. I don't understand her need to make sure that everyone understands what good taste she has. And I don't understand how (considering herself to) having good taste makes her a special person or an expert. She started out just like bloggers do - doing stuff she likes and thinks she is good at.

Feral Turtle said...

Lol I had to google "What Martha Said" I never really pay great mind to what people say....only the ones who count; family and friends. Guess everyone is entitled to their opinions, but in the bloggers defence, I must say I have seen many great ideas and recipes on the blogs long before I saw it on Better homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart Living or similar sites, so who is taking from who?

LittleMyoo said...

I just finally watched the Martha vid this morning. What a sad, ugly side of her. Like the mean bully who can only feel better about herself by putting someone else down.

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

bravo!

Collar City Brownstone said...

I don't get it. What did Martha say?

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