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February 05, 2004

The boy next door in the hot seat

For a variety of reasons that are more varied than my long-standing morbid fascination with Martha Stewart, I've become a slave to the media coverage of her trial, and more specifically, to the role that her ex-stock broker's assistant, Doug Faneuil, is playing in this soap opera.

The part that has become so enthralling to me, though, is not at all what I would expect, but how the defense (expectedly) and the media are trying to paint a picture of Doug as an unreliable, lying, hate-filled, punk who's testimony can't be trusted. Not that I'm surprised at all considering the parties involved. However, what I do find interesting are the pieces of evidence for making these insinuations--factoids that when looked at together, point to someone I might know and like and want to include in my circle of friends.

1. Doug's dislike of Martha. Uhm, hello? I know for years I've been fascinated by my distaste for the queen of taste. I've kept in readily accessible memory every story of her bitchiness and cruelty--from the published gossip column tales of her poaching her daughter's fiance to stories told by my family members and friends unlucky enough to have lived in Westport and crossed paths with her wrath--and her weird rise to fame--the Polish girl from Nutley, NJ with the overly poofy wedding gown who comes home from her first book-signing tour to find her husband in bed with his secretary and then ousts him from the company he built--to the New York Times letters to the editor from grateful Westport residents bidding Martha not to let the door smack her on the ass when she moved to her New York loft.

So Doug sent emails to his friends describing Martha's unpleasantness, even before the current set of miseries. Per MSNBC today

“Martha yelled at me again today, but I snapped in her face, and she actually backed down! Baby put Ms. Martha in her place!!!”

Uhm. Wouldn't you? I mean really? I know I would have been blaring it from the rooftops if I'd had the chance to give Martha some whatfor after bitching me out. Can you blame the kid? And further, per WNBC

Bacanovic's lawyer, Richard Strassberg, went so far as to describe Faneuil as "fixated" by Martha Stewart, bragging to friends about even the most casual contact he had with her at Merrill Lynch.

Strassberg suggested Faneuil, hoping to impress Stewart, decided on his own to tip Stewart about the Waksal sales -- sales Faneuil knew about from calls earlier in the day.

"He did it because he was trying to be the big man," Strassberg said. "He did it out of inexperience, he did it out of foolishness. But he did it -- not Peter."

Here we have a serious jump in logic. Now, I know I'd be all "dude, I just talked to Martha again and you know what the bitch said" quite a bit in that situation, but trust me, impressing her would not be the foremost thing on my mind. Again, it's just that morbid fsacination thing. I've no doubt Doug did get a kick out of telling his friends about these moments. Young, cynical, New Yorkers who also find Martha both appalling and appealing, not unlike, say, a David Lynch movie. That don't mean he gonna stick his hand in the fire to make her happy.

2. Doug's drug problem. Which amounts to, apparently, having taken ecstasy a few tmes and smoking pot once in a while. Again, I have to point out the obvious--he's a young, hot, (and until this all broke) seriously upwardly mobile professional in New York. Oh my god, you mean he went clubbing? Oh my god, he took club drugs at times? Stop the presses! He's just like everyone else in his demographic!

3. The photo of Doug on the New York Post today. Which Dan Abrams of MSNBC seems to think makes him look bad, untrustworthy, and skanky. Now, granted, it was taken at a costume party last year (damn that kid, going to parties again) and the tattoo was fake (which is a shame, because, well, tattoos are cool), but my first thought was, ooh, la, la. I always thought he was cute, but now I'm really disappointed he's gay. Damn.

Given the way the media tries to breed mass distrust of anyone too intellectual, I'm surpised they haven't tried to use against him his degree from Vassar as a reason not to trust him. Maybe that's next.

Yeah, so basically, we've got a graduate from a top school, who has a good job, enjoys a night out on the town and have a little fun, dresses in character for Halloween parties, and finds the whole cult of Martha a source of entertainment. Yeah. I guess he doesn't sound like anyone I would want to know.

Posted by paulette at February 5, 2004 04:24 PM | TrackBack
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I'll also say that, I want it to be clear that everything (and I mean everything) I said about Doug in this piece I got from reading or watching new accounts. Sounds paranoid, I know, but this is a public forum, and it should be clear that none of the statements, assertions, or facts listed here came from anywhere but the media.

Posted by: paulette on February 5, 2004 05:34 PM
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