Letters to the editor

Is Martha Stewart's move a "good thing"? Plus: Ungrateful bride should send thank yous anyway; why we loathe Hillary Clinton.

Published April 14, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)


The original published version of "Twilight of the cryptogeeks" by Ellen Ullman contained two factual errors that have been corrected. Lenny Foner is a Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab. And Ontario Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian did not attend Foner's workshop at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference.

From household saint to social pariah

Martha Stewart is lonely in Connecticut, and she has been for years. I was raised in Connecticut, and two of my grandmother's best friends live in Westport -- one had the misfortune to live in her neighborhood. Martha alienated most of her neighbors when, after a small town meeting which gave her permission to film one show a week at her home, she began filming three to four days a week. Martha's home was not in a business district, it is in a very nice area of Westport.

Her neighbors did not expect to have their driveways blocked, their access to their own homes limited, and occasionally their lawns ruined by a huge multimedia crew that behaved as though it was on a film lot. Martha's neighbors did not bargain for watching their homes devalue and their children and grandchildren unsafe on the sidewalks covered by trucks. Martha was approached by a neighborhood committee that requested that she keep her promises -- she declined to do so. She was sued at one point. Many of her new neighbors bought their homes from fleeing older people, and they, too, have little regard for Martha.

-- Kathleen Hosley

I moved to Westport from New York City last year, and I agree with most of Martha's comments about the town.

But what she didn't mention in the New York Times is her recent purchase of the 20-plus acre Sharp estate in Bedford, N.Y., one of the last working farms in the area.

Stewart is not fleeing the 'burbs for Manhattan but just moving on to her next renovation project, and to a community not so unlike Westport (all the celebs are buying in Bedford, says Vanity Fair).

-- Stephen Graham

I found your article very interesting, but you did not mention a "Remembering" column that I will never forget wherein she wrote about her daughter's wedding. Her daughter had a very small ceremony and did not confer with her mother at all. Martha casually wrote that she feared she might not be invited at all! I read this and blushed with embarrassment for her. What is going on when a daughter does not invite her mother to her wedding? Certainly too much to allude to in an end page, but I do not think she sees the implications. It is fascinating how emotionally out of touch she is.

I agree with you in that I don't want to see Martha's vulnerable underbelly. I think she is more than a little crazy, but I don't need to know the details. I have stopped reading the end pages of Martha Stewart Living. More often than not I finish the magazine sad.

-- Aundrea DeFur

How sad that Martha has neighbors rude enough, and stupid enough, to slam the door on her when she brings them eggs and produce! If Martha showed up here, I'd drag her inside and lock her in the basement until she organized everything and decided on a unified decorating scheme. Forget Westport, Martha, come to Concord!

-- Molly Carocci

Gift rage



I do sympathize with Mary Valle. Getting loot you don't want in mass quantities gives new meaning to the term "embarrassment of riches." Not being able to do a damn thing with it is also awful -- and sad.

However, I wanted to remind Valle that thank-you notes are not ass-licking missives of Great Untruth. Ultimately, whether it's great-aunt Bea giving you the 10,000th soup spoon or Mom and Dad pitching in for the new dining-room set, the point of thanking people is to recognize their kindness.

People give you gifts at a wedding for the same reason they got together with you to celebrate it: to wish you well on this new scary enterprise. The gift is a symbol of their affection. Thank them for that, if nothing else.

Open the box o' paper and start writing, girl.

-- Stephanie Seery

I can picture a "gift firing squad" for Mary Valle, where she stands blindfolded in the courtyard, and the poor saps who bought her wedding gifts line up to throw them at her.

She obviously holds the community she stood in front of for her "powerful ritual" in deep contempt. Why would she feel that their "shame" would matter when she decides to divorce?

Life is not so easily divided into "things we asked for" and "things we didn't want."

-- Anne Mitchell

Mary Valle should have listened to her instinct for a small and quiet wedding, moribund professorial pronouncements be damned. My husband and I were married in a casual ceremony with only four guests in attendance. We felt that our wedding was about our commitment to each other, not our commitment to raking in china and feeding overcooked chicken to everyone we knew. With the money we didn't spend on invitations, caterers, musicians and general brouhaha, we honeymooned by riding the rails through Europe for a month, with nary a crystal bowl in sight.

-- Mishel Dyas

Mixed signals

In your otherwise good story about the efforts of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and National Public Radio (NPR) to cripple low-power community radio, you should have provided a direct link to the statement of the top FCC engineer about the ridiculously misleading NAB-produced CD purporting to demonstrate interference from low-power radio.

According to the statement from Dale Hatfield, head of the FCC's office of engineering technology, "The type of 'crosstalk' interference suggested by NAB, that is, where you can intelligibly hear portions of both transmissions, does not occur from LPFM stations operating on third adjacent channels. Any such interference that might occur would only appear as noise or hissing. The NAB 'crosstalk' demonstration simply does not represent actual FM radio performance and therefore is meaningless."

In other words, the NAB CD is a blatant lie, designed to influence non-tech-savvy members of Congress. That NPR would endorse it as "credible" and "very useful" is appalling.

I encourage everyone interested in the truly groundbreaking democratic potential of low-power FM radio stations to call or write their Congress members right away.

-- Todd Morman

Left out of the NAB's argument that second adjacent protection spacing will cause too much interference is the fact that in 1996 they lobbied the FCC for those very changes. Wanting to operate their own "short-spaced" stations they claimed the current rules were "overly restrictive." Anyone in a major metropolitan area can find examples of stations happily co-existing with even less separation than the LPFM rules call for.

-- James Thorson

All Hillary, all day

I suspect this is what's behind the loathing of Hillary Clinton: She claims to be a distinguished person in her own right, yet her handling of national health care, Travelgate, the Rose law firm files and lately her wooden campaigning here in New York highlight the fact that she's really only successful because she's the wife of a successful man. And if she's just a wife, why then she should be a wife. She's claiming to be a feminist when she's not, and that annoys both the feminists (since feminism is not supposed to be about doubling the opportunities for nepotism available to successful families) and the right wing (since even the most aggressive wife has to pay lip service to the ideals of the devoted wife and mother, Nancy Reagan style).

-- Diana Jarvis

Bush's Latino bid

Do the Republicans not realize how bad they sound when they continue stating they are only reaching out to Latinos and other minority groups because they are forced to by those groups' growing electorate power? They sound like they would be happy to continue ignoring and even abusing minorities in this country, as long as those minority votes didn't add up to much. Such arrogant racism continues to be the GOP's driving character trait.

-- Jack TerceRo

"The Blue Bedspread"


Please be more careful in the future when writing your blurbs for articles. Reading "A brother and sister get too close in a gritty first novel," I got terribly excited about what I thought would be Angelina Jolie's biography. Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed. Please don't toy with my emotions.

-- Robt Seda-Schreiber

By Salon Staff

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