Martha Stewart, André Le Nôtre, and an examination of how drones might improve your life


The best headline you will read today. (Screenshot/Time.com)

“So much has been done in the past without drones, airplanes, hot air balloons, or even extension ladders,” writes Martha Stewart, accurately, for Time.com. “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.”

Time on Tuesday published an essay by Martha Stewart about why she loves her drone. It was headlined: “Martha Stewart: Why I Love My Drone.” We’d strongly encourage you to read it now. Read it twice. It’s that good.

If I were to write an essay about why I love Martha Stewart’s essay about her love for her drone, the obvious starting place would be the quote above. Martha Stewart breezily name drops a 17th century French landscape architect as she opines on the advantage of incorporating unmanned air vehicles into our everyday lives, demonstrating once again why she is an she is an inspiration to us all.

“Henry Alford wrote a satirical essay about me and my drones in The New Yorker that was really funny but missed the point about why I love my drone,” Martha Stewart continues. “Drones can be useful tools, and I am all about useful tools. One of my mottos is ‘the right tool for the right job.’ ”

I, too, am all about useful tools. Poor André Le Nôtre! He really missed out. Who are some other people who could have seriously used a drone? It’s hard to say, mostly because our reference points for drones have thus far been pretty grim.

But we have looked around the corners of human civilization — contemporary and historical — to find more positive applications. Drones have improved taco delivery and sea lion studies. Where else might they be of use? Here’s a short list we compiled:

Dudes and Ladies Who Would Have Been All About That Drone Life
• These people who got lost in a corn maze and had to call 9-1-1 (They are okay now!)

• All the die-hards in Section 201 at Yankee Stadium. (Sorry, guys.)

Amerigo Vespucci (And really all other cartographers, sorry, I just know the one OH DON’T EVEN PRETEND LIKE YOU KNOW MORE.)

• Pittsburgh Penguins center Geno Malkin (It just seems like he’d have a good time with it.)

“Do they raise legitimate privacy concerns? Should they be regulated? Should we have a national debate?” Stewart wonders, before effortlessly shifting the essay toward happier topics. “I don’t have all the answers. 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.”

You can see more of the photos Martha Stewart took with her drone on her Web site. They’re pretty solid! But can a drone be used to improve any situation? Maybe not, says Martha.

“The shots of my farm were breathtaking and showed not only a very good landscape design — thanks to the surveyors and landscapers who worked with me on the overall vision, much as le Notre worked with Louis XIV — they also showed me what more I can do in the future, and revealed unexpected beauty,” Stewart wrote. “An aerial shot of the vegetable garden looked very much like my Peter Rabbit marzipan embellished Easter cake, which was designed without the help of a drone.”

BOOM. Take that, drones. When it comes to Peter Rabbit marzipan embellished Easter cakes, Martha can handle things herself, thanks.

Though she does thank you kindly for unearthing the majestic matching beauty of her vegetable garden from on high.

Sarah Larimer is a general assignment reporter for the Washington Post.
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