Some of us wait until December 1st to start decorating for Christmas but Melania Trump’s got a different agenda. Sending the message that ‘tis officially the season to celebrate ‘America’s Treasures’, The White House twitter released a video tour through the First Lady’s overtly patriotic and bizarrely dystopian decoration choices. Melania is seen walking through an empty hall, filled only with glistening red stalagmites. Either a repurposing of the leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving or, as Solnit describes, “bullet wound plugs”.
As if last year’s white Christmas decorations, weren’t eerie enough. Since the post went up yesterday the internet is already a wash with comments including GIFs of The Shining’s blood-filled elevator behind Melania’s drenched evergreens, and the cinematic parallels with The Handmaid’s Tale. The violence these hall decorations evoke is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine (except MAGA hat owners), but so much more in this video can be unpacked.
Skylines of America decorate baubles and New York sits atop the fireplace, for Melania to gaze longingly at – she’s clearly still not over the move. These business blocks are one of the American Treasures being celebrated. The classic American Dream hung on the fern branches, wishing you a Classic American Neo Liberal Christmas. It’s a reminder that if you ‘BE BEST’ as the baubles and stationary scream, you can claim your own tower and then the White House for yourself. Melania looks up in aware at the meritocratic agenda she has proudly turned into a wreath of pencils, obviously they’re Christian, but their real god is the Free Market.
Clearly the repetition of red, white and blue (like that of Trump’s wardrobe) wouldn’t clearly demonstrate their true patriotism, oh no, Melania needed to add something else. Yes, how about an eagle atop the Christmas tree! Emblematic of the United States of America, it’s values and it’s freedoms! Reminiscent of any other eagle perhaps? A possible reason for past presidential terms having refrained from adorning their trees with great gold eagles, is because whilst it is a classic American symbol making up the Great Seal, when taken away from the rest of the true American imagery on said sigil, it reminds the viewer of the Reich.
If you think that’s a reach then wait for this… I’ve been trying to think of a reason why amongst the purely AMERICAN treasures, they have not only chosen to include a EUROPEAN football but also focus in on it in the video. Is this a nod to their British allies? Like a wink wink nudge nudge to May, once you’ve left the EU come deal with us. Is it a show of solidarity to the rising far right across Europe? Or even more specifically, are they sending Christmas wishes to the Democratic Football Lads Alliance. Perhaps, it’s a mixture of all three.
You can say I’m reading too much into some gaudy decorations if you want but let’s not forget that both Melania and Donald Trump are master image manipulators. They know that the political gaze observes and dissects a political figure’s fashion, and interiors. That’s why the MAGA hat is a trucker hat. It’s aiming to appeal to the everyman, the one who wants the business success, the money and the girl that Trump has.
We know that Melania had no desire to be the First Lady, and whilst I’m not advocating for her or wishing to inspire pity, at least give her credit for her image control. Let’s not pretend that her fashion choices are accidental ditsy moments. She knows who she is appealing to and it’s not the progressive media that takes offense to public displays of disrespect or imperialist references. Melania Trump gives the finger to America’s expectations of the First Lady, she is parodying the figure she is supposed to represent.
Words, Billie Walker @queenfeta