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issue 1.1

Martha Stewart Pipes Up by Martha Stewart

By Shannon Manning


No word makes me feel more warm, loved, and humble than the word Thanksgiving. Friends and family gather around and you take stock. Having my perfect world come so horribly crashing down around me this year has given me so much extra clarity. Humility. And for that, I give thanks. Plus, I'm not in jail yet. And that's...a good thing.

So in honor of my newfound humility, and in honor of you my loyal readers and viewers, I am going to make a humble dish for my holiday preparations. Ambrosia Salad. Simple, honest, universally liked. A good thing.

I tasted this once-- someone had a container of it from the supermarket--and it was heavenly. But with just a little extra effort you can make it yourself.

1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained.

Oh isn't this cute...little bitty sweet metally oranges just right here in the can. Put them in a bowl and.... You know the thing I can't quite shake? It's why everyone keeps making such a big deal about me. First of all, I'm innocent until proven guilty. But let's just assume for the moment that I did act upon Sam's info and sold my shares. I didn't, but let's assume I did. First, you need to ask yourself, wouldn't you do the same? I've asked lots of people and they all say they probably would, even knowing that it is illegal. Are you just gonna sit there, knowing the stock's about to tank? People tell me they wouldn't. And second, my gross profit if I had acted upon that tip--here's some math: I sold 4,000 shares at 60, and it's now trading at 11. By selling when I did, compared to its current value, I saved myself less than two hundred thousand dollars. Not to be crass, but that's some pretty small change.

And the fact is I wasn't acting on a tip, I already had a stop-loss order into Merrill to sell at 60, but Merrill didn't have a record of that in their computer. Merrill now admits they had computer problems that day. Never mind, I'll have my day in court, and if they find me guilty I will go to jail. I'll be okay.

2 cups miniature marshmallows

And I don't see the press and the pundits and the comedians taking Bush and Cheney to task for their corporate shenanigans. And if I did lie, which I didn't, at least I don't hide behind executive privilege like Cheney. If I did this little trade, which I didn't, at least I didn't exploit anyone, defraud investors, destroy employee pensions, or take money in return for pushing bad energy policy. I just tried to make a buck. Like an average person would. Like maybe you would.

3 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed.

My freezer's filled with Cool Whip for the holidays. But see here's the real problem: Insider trading happens every day, everywhere. This is nothing new, and it's a strange thing, and a good thing, that the public's finally taking notice. And I'm not talking about little old me. I'm talking about the day-in-day-out institutional corruption that I have been lumped in with. I don't belong there. I ran my company on the up and up. I want it to succeed. Capitalism is like making a really nice meal and then sharing it with your guests--once everyone is fed, you get the leftovers. I'm not going to take my multi-million dollar severance and run away like those other charlatans--deadbeat dads of the executive class. I'm still trying to keep it all together.

So the left and the right are both making a few guys at Enron and Worldcom and such, and me, the scapegoats. But here's the thing: what you all don't realize is that you are playing into the corporate and ruling elite's game when you focus your attention on the individuals. They want you to think that there are a few rotten apples and then they'll lock 'em up and that will be the end of the problem. Back to old boys' club business as usual. But it's not a few bad apples; the whole system is rotten! And the boys are much stinkier than me!

1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained.

Yes, I said it, and you noticed. It's impolite but I'm pulling out the gender-victim card. I'm tired of being gracious. I am being attacked because I am a woman and thus not supposed to succeed. I was supposed to stay in the kitchen but not enjoy it, and certainly not make money from it, independent from a man. I know I didn't go out of my way to make a lot of friends, but it's hard being a working woman on her own, hard making friends in the boy's club. Ask Hillary, Rosie, Janet, Madonna. We all get treated so badly by the media and entertainment community. And that hurts.

And I understand why the business and media boys hate me, but you, my readers and viewers, why did you betray me? I know you hid that Living magazine under your IKEA bed and made refreshing summer cocktails and took the compliments while you took my name in vain, but that's fine. That is our relationship. I was sharing good things. I want you to have them still. If you leave now, don't bother ever coming back. I might not be here.

2 cups shredded coconut.

Maybe you think my work was designed to make the average person feel inadequate--that for women I am to domesticity as Cosmopolitan is to body issues. That's simply untrue. I proposed easy good things. Easy like this Ambrosia salad. I guess I need a bowl or something.

The focus on me is just a distraction. If I made a mistake I will pay for it--but there's a difference between a mistake and systematic, pervasive corruption. I'm not the problem. Do not continue to slander me--because it hurts my employees and shareholders and they didn't do anything wrong. I mean, neither did I, but they certainly didn't. The system is rotten. I said that already. But it can be fixed. Capitalism works, for the boys and the girls, I am proof. Was proof. Were proof.

Where the hell's my good wooden spoon?

Ok, well regardless, perception rules propriety so guilty or not, I slipped, just like you were all waiting for. But I wasn't trying to be perfect, just goodnessy. So punish me like some drippy dinner guest but don't punish my employees, don't punish the airwaves with your constant barrage of tired jokes. Let Living go on living!

Oh fuck it, just throw everything together and mix it with your hands for all I care. 1/2 cup milk? Forget it. Thanksgiving is already ruined.

All I did was try to put food on your plate, ribbons on your scrapbooks, goodness in your celebrations. I'm just trying to keep this family together, and I gotta tell you, it's not much fun anymore.

Chill an hour before serving. And garnish with one cup red maraschino cherries. Halved.

Shannon Manning is a writer, filmmaker, and actor from Chicago. She now lives in Brooklyn and publishes this magazine.

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