A long empty hallway, lined with dead white leafless trees, more starkly underlit than Bela Lugosi’s nostrils. Thin twisted branches throwing eerie shadows, reminding us of the trees that attacked a terrified Snow White as she ran through the forest at night. Merry Christmas, America!
Melania Trump, in a white costume with sinister sleeves borrowed from Narnia — always winter, never Christmas — stares glassily at something just out of focus. Perhaps her gaze is falling on some immigrant reindeers about to be eviscerated in front of a handful of visiting carol singers.
And who is the man-baby on a tricycle pedalling furiously up and down the bleak corridor, perhaps muttering “Whites rule, whites rule”, instead of “Red rum, red rum”? Is that you, Mr President? Or is the entire festive décor an elaborately stylised scream for help from inside a building where, just like The Shining, a woman and her child are trapped, the father having gone psychotic?
Meanwhile, Twitter has been on form. “Glad she’s understood the aesthetic of the long national nightmare we’re in,” someone tweeted. “I’m so sorry for your loss. Prayers for whomever died. Props for the super creepy funeral tho,” tweeted another. And another: “Honestly in awe of the scope and intensity of Melania’s cries for help.”
Starkest of all, however, was the juxtaposed image of President Obama walking through a Christmas White House garlanded in traditional green and red, glowing with warmth, twinkling with fairy lights and fat Christmas trees, instead of sharp skeletal twigs of sprayed white.The caption? “From light to darkness, an American Horror Story.”
From hygge to horror, the current occupants of the White House have taken the cosiest time of the year and transformed it into something as cold and dead as Melania’s eyes. Because nothing says peace and goodwill to all men (although not women, unless they’re a Ten) like her husband, the commander and chief, retweeting hideous videos from Britain First.
Britain First is a neo-Nazi group. So Mr President, endorsing a far-right extremist group, whose deputy leader was recently arrested for hate speech, just in time for Christmas. This is your festive message to the world?
Brendan Cox, whose MP wife Jo Cox was murdered by somebody who shared many of Britain First’s views, tweeted to Trump how “spreading hatred has consequences”. The Ku Klux Klan endorsed the US president’s retweets, lending a whole new layer of horror to the whiter than white White House Christmas theme.
There is a fascist living there, and democracy is living through the nightmare before Christmas. And during. And after.