- The Washington Times - Friday, May 24, 2002

Martha's meltdown
"Like Madonna, Britney and Cher, the woman is known simply by her first name. She has diehard, devout fans and an astounding net worth. And now Martha Stewart, though not a musician, even has her own 'Behind the Music'type expose, full of gaspy revelations and suggestive, read-between-the-lines dot-dot-dots.
"Christopher Byron has just published a book 'Martha Inc.' which concludes that everything isn't coming up roses for the powerful businesswoman these days.
"Though Martha was once the supreme doyenne of domestic bliss her garden, it seems, may be filling with weeds. The ratings for her television program, 'Martha Stewart Living,' are below those of even small-time newcomer 'The Ananda Lewis Show'; for the first time since 1991, her once astoundingly successful magazine of the same name has taken the expensive measure of soliciting new readers by mail; and her earnings as a company have fallen more than 50 percent from last year, according to first-quarter information.
"As Martha publicly unravels it becomes increasingly hard to suspend disbelief, to buy into the fantasy that this woman does and has it all. Martha may have spoken to needs that were important in the 1980s and 1990s. But these days, is Martha's goose cooked?"
Nina Willdorf, writing on "The divine Ms. M?" in the May 16 issue of the Boston Phoenix newsweekly

Meaning of marriage
"Civil society builds on marriage, the first and most crucial social bond. Marriage holds these distinctions, for it is natural and self-renewing, rooted in the mutual attraction of man to woman and of woman to man, both of whom feel their incompleteness when existing alone.
"Every new marriage is an act of rebellion against ambitious political and ideological powers that would reduce human activity to their purposes. And each marriage contains within it the power of biological reproduction, a throw of the genetic dice that brings to life new beings, unique and unpredictable in their details.
"Each marriage is also a covenant between the couple and their kin. In marriage, two families merge in a manner that perpetuates and invigorates both. Even in the denatured society of the modern West, family members will travel great distances to attend the wedding of a cousin, nephew, or niece, still recognizing through residual instinct the importance of both the promise and the event to their own identity and continuity."
Allan Carlson, writing on "Toward a Theory of the Autonomous Family," in the April issue of the Family in America newsletter

Dixie's New Yorker
"Ever since New York displaced Boston as the home of the ultra-Yankee, Southerners have tended to see whatever we dislike about Northerners as concentrated there. When we describe ourselves to pollsters as friendly, polite, hospitable, leisurely, traditional, conservative well, it goes without saying who is not that way.
"There has been no love lost between New York City and the South. And in this, the South has merely been a 100-proof stand-in for places like Omaha, Idaho, Ohio, and many other parts of what some New Yorkers call "flyover country." We all know this, don't we?
"Most Southerners who know New York (I lived there for five years) know there's a kind of outer-borough New York guy (it's almost always a guy) we get along with just fine. He is working class and usually Irish, Jewish, or Italian, but these days sometimes black or Latino. These are the kinds of New Yorkers we saw on television after September 11: policemen, firemen, rescue workers ordinary folks.
"Their accents may have sounded funny to Southern ears, but they're our kind of Yankee: unpretentious, hard-working when they have to be, offhandedly courageous. Mayor [Rudolph W.] Giuliani may or may not have be one of them by nature, but in that context he sure looked it, and most of us found him wholly admirable."
John Shelton Reed in "A View From the South" in the June issue of the American Enterprise magazine

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