America's Favorite Felon

If you ever needed proof of the extent of the culture gap between your New York television network news and your ordinary middle class, mortgage-paying mall walker, check out the reaction to the verdict in the Martha Stewart trial.

For reasons as different as chocolate banana daiquiris are to Amish checkerboard quilts, normal ordinary civilians and big-time network reporters were both whacked into bewilderment upon hearing the Queen Cream Dream was found guilty by a jury on four felony counts. The media was astounded because Ms. Stewart had been a minor deity as long as they've been in the game -- a top-five "get" on their career goals had been an invitation to one of her soirées -- and they consider her actions less criminal than attempting to crash a velvet rope party encumbered with uninvited Midwest guests wearing creased jeans. "Insider information? It's the way of the world. Don't be naive."

On the other hand, the mall-walkers are incredulous a bona fide celebrity actually got nailed for anything. Folks on the street find the suburban superstar guilty not of insider trading, not of lying to a federal agent, but of being smug. Of being overly blonde. Of betraying the holy gospel of household perfection by cutting ethical corners. Of risking a $450 million fortune in a vain attempt to save a measly 50 grand.

She earned her chops as the domestic goddess for women from Connecticut. "Today we'll learn how to hacksaw walnuts into decorative napkin rings." Oh for crum's sake. Bite me, lady. We have families who need two incomes just to put food on the table, and this socialite twit got famous for making housewives feel guilty because they can't find the time to carve a two-fifths cream cheese replica likeness of Mount Rushmore to honor President's Day. And at the end of every show, the revelation: "Look what I made." Oh, get real. You didn't make squat, Martha -- everybody knows you have 20 Vietnamese women backstage begging to go back to work for Nike.

But everybody agrees she'll be back: You can't keep a good girl down, and America loves redemption stories. So she gets 18 months: 3 months before her release, K-Mart will start promoting Martha Stewart's newest line of coordinates. Assorted shades of gray in muslin and burlap. Lots of vertical stripes. "Discover the confining beauty of slate and granite with the new Martha Stewart Solitary Collection: Busting Out for Spring."

Will Durst thinks vertical stripes are so slimming.

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