March 10, 2005
The feminine mistakeBy Bob Weir
Martha Stewart, AKA, Domestic Diva, Home Furnishings Honcho, Bilious Billionaire, and Foul—mouthed Bully toward those too powerless to fight back, was recently released after 5 months in prison for obstruction of justice. As expected, her release has become a promotional event, and, with the help of some star—struck sycophants, another opportunity to proclaim that she wouldn't have done any time if she had been a man.
Yet, Sam Waksal, the CEO of ImClone, the company involved in the stock manipulation deal that caught Ms. Stewart in its web of greed, received 7 years in prison. In addition, Mr. Waksal was taken away in handcuffs when arrested, as opposed to Ms. Stewart, who was allowed to turn herself in at her convenience.
Furthermore, over the past few years, we have seen an assortment of male CEO's doing the 'perp walk,' on their way to the station for booking. Like her hotel empire counterpart, Leona Helmsley, Ms. Stewart was judged not merely for her crimes, but for her public persona as an arrogant abuser of 'the little people.' Her violent temper toward 'underlings' and her vitriolic behavior toward critics gave the impression of a slave master wielding a merciless whip. If any lesson is to be learned, it's that most jury members are just average, middleclass folks who may have scars on their backs from people like Ms. Stewart.
New York Times columnist, Maureen Dowd, in her usual role as male—baiter, writes about Ms. Stewart's incarceration as the modern version of a witch trial.
'Every culture has its own way of tamping down female power, be it sexual, political, or financial. Americans like to see women who wear the pants be beaten up and humiliated.'
The left—leaning Ms. Dowd goes on to say how obvious it is that men are uncomfortable with successful women. Comparing Hillary Clinton's rapacious attempt to control the health care system in America, to Ms. Stewart's 'bad judgment about her stocks,' Dowd attempts to convince her readers that women are treated more harshly for daring to seek power and money.
'People liked Hillary and Martha a lot more once they were broken, like one of Martha's saddle horses, ice queens melted into puddles of vulnerability.'
As is typical of militant feminists when one of their own gets caught with her hand in the till, Ms. Dowd conveniently overlooks a laundry list of past transgressions, while embarking on a tearful 'woe is me' campaign to portray the violator as a victim of a ruthless male hierarchy.
'When these women are brushed back, alpha men can take comfort in knowing that alphettes are not threateningly all—powerful and that they had better soften those sharp edges.'
The fact that Hillary was hip—deep in the Whitewater scandal, lied about her role in the White House Travel Office corruption probe, and covered up for her philandering husband with her nationally televised comments about a 'vast rightwing conspiracy,' will never be juxtaposed alongside Ms. Dowd's fawning admiration for the former First Lady. Instead, the one—sided list of complimentary convulsions includes the usual recycled rhetoric about female toughness:
'They are brass—knuckled survivors who elicit both admiration and an enmity.'
This paradoxical attempt to have it both ways has become fashionable in a society that makes excuses for its immorality and its contempt for authority. Just as some people cheered when O.J. got away with murder, some people will make excuses for the criminal actions of those they admire, the severity of the crimes notwithstanding.
Not surprisingly, Dowd writes positively about every woman with a well—known Democrat—liberal label brightly emblazoned on her forehead, but has nothing but putdowns for her conservative counterparts. When she deigns to mention the Secretary of State, whom she simply refers to as 'Condi,' the acerbic scribe says,
'She always seemed subservient to President Bush and Vice President Cheney, a willing handmaiden and spokesman for their bellicose bidding.'
Of course, Dowd makes no mention of the fact that every cabinet member, male and female, serves at the pleasure of the president, and is expected to carry out his policies.
Nevertheless, as for Martha, she has served her time and has the right to get on with her life. People can make positive changes in their attitudes, and when they do, fair—minded people should be willing to give them a chance to reclaim their place in society.
Forgiveness, like humility, is one of the finest human qualities. If prison time has humbled her, it could turn out to be the best experience of her life.
Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. BobWeir777@aol.com