Earlier this month, because the Internet is a wondrous place full of mystery and magic, Martha Stewart took to Twitter to share her thoughts about drones. You see, Martha had recently acquired one for her own personal use, and was just over the moon about it after taking it for a test spin. A sampling:
“Controversial but fabulous, drones do a good job.” That’s just a great sentence, especially if you imagine, like, the Secretary of Defense using it during a Senate hearing to try to justify the military’s use of their own drones. Or if you replace the word “drones” with something else and use the sentence to review the performance of other things or people. “Controversial but fabulous, Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel does a good job.” See? Terrific.
But if you thought those tweets were Martha Stewart’s last word on the usefulness and efficiency of drones, whoa Dolly, were you ever wrong. So very, very wrong. Take it away, Martha.
There’s been a lot of discussion and a tremendous amount of speculation lately about the nature of drones and their role in our society as useful tools and hobbyist toys.
This is the first sentence in an opinion piece Martha Stewart wrote for Time Magazine, titled “Martha Stewart: Why I Love My Drone.’ Martha Stewart wrote an opinion piece for Time Magazine titled “Why I Love My Drone.” This is happening. Some excerpts:
In near silence, the drone rose, hovered, and dove, silently and surreptitiously photographing us and the landscape around us. The photos and video were stunning. By assuming unusual vantage points, the drone allowed me to “see” so much more of my surroundings than usual. The view I was “seeing” on my iPad with the help of the drone would have otherwise been impossible without the use of a private plane, helicopter, or balloon. With any of those vehicles, I would have needed a telephoto lens, and all of them would have made an unacceptable commotion on the beach.
Want a fun little window into Martha Stewart’s life? The two main CONs in her PRO/CON list under the heading “Should I acquire a private plane, helicopter, or hot air balloon to take pictures of my beach party?” are “Would need to get a telephoto lens” and “unacceptable commotion.” This is fascinating.
Here’s where this really gets good, though. Buckle in. It’s time for a history lesson.
So much has been done in the past without drones, airplanes, hot air balloons, or even extension ladders. It is hard to imagine André Le Nôtre laying out the exquisite landscape designs for Vaux-le-Vicomte, and later the magnificent Château de Versailles, with no high hill to stand on, no helicopter to fly in, and no drone to show him the complexities of the terrain. Yet he did, and with extreme precision, accuracy, and high style.
“Did you know people used to make picturesque gardens and other landscaping creations without the use of unmanned flying cameras piloted from an iPad? It was awful. #TeamDrone”
Earlier, Henri IV drew up complicated plans for the immense and elegant redesign of Paris, capital of France. In England, Capability Brown somehow had the innate vision and perspicacity to reconfigure thousands of acres into country estates fit for royalty. He and Sir Humphry Repton invented an entirely new style of landscape design that had little to do with the grand châteaux of France.
Fun fact: Martha Stewart did not just make up the name “Capability Brown.” Lancelot “Capability” Brown was a real person who lived in the 1700s and is described as “England’s greatest gardener.” Here’s an actual sentence from his Wikipedia page: “His influence was so great that the contributions to the English garden made by his predecessors Charles Bridgeman and William Kent are often overlooked; even Kent’s apologist Horace Walpole allowed that Kent had been followed by ‘a very able master.’”
We are learning so much today.
My mind started racing and I imagined all the different applications for my drone. I knew that every type of use had already been thought of by others (governmental agencies, businesses, Amazon.com, Google Maps), and I knew I could not even begin to fathom even a fraction of the social, ethical, and political challenges the widespread use of drones would create.
Do they raise legitimate privacy concerns? Should they be regulated? Should we have a national debate?
I don’t have all the answers.
So I guess we should tread carefully instead of forging ahea-…
But I forged ahead, using a Parrot AR Drone 2.0, photographing my properties, a party, a hike in the mountains, and a day at the beach.
Someone please give Martha Stewart and her drone a travel show.
One of my farm workers used his drone, a DJI Phantom flying camera, to capture amazing images of my 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York.
What is your favorite part of this passage? Is it the thing where even Martha’s farm workers have drones, or is it the thing where she keeps name-dropping brands and models of specific drones throughout the piece, like she’s a paid representative for a drone lobbying group. The correct answer is “both.”
Anyway, anything to add in closing, Martha?
Drones can be useful tools, and I am all about useful tools. One of my mottos is “the right tool for the right job.”
Well, if nothing else, we found one thing Martha Stewart and the terrorists from this season of 24 can agree on.