Why Do People Hate Martha?

For years, Martha has guided the way we live with perfect meals, perfect decorating, and perfect gardening.

It was perfect, because -- well because Martha said so.

The daughter of a Polish immigrant domesticized herself into an American icon, partially by counting every penny along the way.

"Martha has an immigrant mentality. Every dime means something to her," Stewart biographer Jerry Oppenheimer told CBS News Correspondent Mika Brzezinski.

Oppenheimer is the author of "Just Desserts" -- an unauthorized biography of the Domestic Diva. He says Stewart-- who was born Martha Kostyra, one of six children -- forked, dug and frosted her way to the top.

"She came out of that house in Nutley, New Jersey as a fighter. And she fought her way to the top," Oppenheimer said.

Martha Stewart Omnimedia became, at its peak, a $900 million empire built on one woman's ability to do everything well. And some wonder if that is what really brought her down.

Playwright Wendy Wasserstein wonders if the verdict is, at least in part, punishment for doing everything too well

"Martha's successful. Martha's basically telling you that she gardens and cooks better than you do,'' said Wasserstein.

So why do people hate her?

"You always want to see little Miss Perfect fail,'' says Wasserstein.

After her indictment, Martha tried to stay above it all. When the charges were made public, she held a large knife and chopped cabbage on a segment of The Early Show.

"I want to focus on my salad!" she said.

It was a delicious moment that was even tastier for the tabloids.

And now they have more Martha to feast on than ever before: a conviction of a woman whose kingdom is intertwined with her name.

"I am an individual, but I'm a business," she said on "60 Minutes." "Martha Stewart the individual has become Martha Stewart the brand."

But will her company still fly? Will people still want to do everything just like Martha does?

For Martha Stewart, her next project may be one where she has no control over the fabric or the colors. And hungry Martha followers will watch to see if the queen of domesticity still reigns -- wearing pinstripes.
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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