The American queen of domesticity, Martha Stewart, has announced plans to take to Western Europe next year with what she describes as “a full-blown four platform approach—magazines, television, merchandising and the Internet.” Analysts here and elsewhere have gone to great lengths to emphasize that Martha’s ambitions should not be understood as a future clash of civilizations and that Stewart has nothing against Western Europeans in general. Pentagon and State Department officials say they shall observe the Stewart campaign very closely; her endeavor could prove useful if their current battle in Afghanistan fails to unseat the Taliban and to lure Osama Bin Laden from his hiding place. A special-edition broadcast for residents of Kabul may be an option.
You can expect that nothing about Stewart’s campaign will be traditional—this will be new kind of campaign—even if so much of what she espouses reflects the traditional values of American living. It will, you can imagine, begin with a propaganda war. Leaflets will fall through letter boxes from the
Yet there’s one nagging question: When, if ever, will this war be won? More importantly, the grim, sunless European winter, expected any day now (and if the previous winter is anything to judge by, this may stretch into the last week of April 2002) may hamper Stewart’s future ground operations. Winter is the season when the local kitchen mujahideen, the all powerful TV chefs, prove immensely effective at winning new recruits, and when the time comes for battle next spring, these kitchen-hardened troops shouldn’t be underestimated. And then there’s European public opinion. Many influential commentators argue that Martha’s campaign is really all about olive oil and propping up regimes that produce the best extra virgine. Why no Martha Stewart Italy,