I think I am more obsessed these days, though, with the unrealistic nature of all the home offices featured in her magazine. I'm getting downright pissed, which is silly, since I'm not paying for grotty realism here, but I'm starting to think these feelings might permanently unbalance the pain/pleasure Martha ratio.
The editing that goes on in the home office tableaux is too much to take! What is allowed to exist in them are:
- pretty pens, uniform clumps of sharpened pencils
- letterpress or engraved invitations
- vintage stamps
- photos, preferably old
- paraphernalia related to old-fashioned activities such as writing airmail letters
- well-designed office supplies, chosen in careful amounts
- tickets, etc.
I'm taking this personally. It is a denial of one of the biggest demands of modern living, and the stated goals of her magazine, for what its worth--organization and such--to exclude evidence of the constant flow of paper in and out of our lives from these office scenarios.
These offices that look like the dainty surface of C.Z. Guest's escritoire, c. 1950: what are they telling us? There is an intimation in the set design they offer that anything other than the pretty acoutrement, which often are, frankly, signs of a lifestyle not shared by all, are indelicate. And not to be seen. Best kept out of sight. Managed--they are lurking in all the cloth clovered boxes and files, we feel--but not central. Somebody else is dealing with All That, maybe.
I think my reaction to the phenomenon of the MStew office is partly a matter of sensitivity--I don't care when they do the same thing, basically, in kitchens or closets. I get off on that. But here I find it painful and too full of denial to be comfortable. The flood of paper exists in absolutely everyone's life. You can divert it--maybe--but you can't cut it off. It's flowing through those offices somewhere.