Martha in Chains

Martha's faux pas
Martha’s faux pas

A grand jury today indicted Martha Stewart on charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice stemming from her sale of ImClone stock in December 2001. When news of Martha’s troubles broke a year ago, Michael Kinsley rejoiced that her fall would liberate lazy slacker Americans like him from her perfectionist tyranny. Carol Vinzant explained why Martha’s cover story about the ImClone sale didn’t make sense. Other Slate writers have been kinder to the lifestyle queen: David Plotz’s 1999 “Assessment” insists that we separate Martha’s awful personal behavior from her superb advice. Martha’s 2002 Christmas special—spirited and relentless, despite her problems— heartened Virginia Heffernan: “I officially believe that her fixation on domestic good things—come hell, prison, or bankruptcy—will never, ever fail her.” (These editorial cartoons are a bit more mocking.)