Twin Peaks fans who have been going through withdrawal since last year’s Showtime revival ended might do well to check out the Lynchian hellscape that is the 2018 White House Christmas decor. First Lady Melania Trump followed last year’s unofficial dystopian Fortress of Solitude theme with an “American Treasures” motif which, according to the official statement from the White House, celebrates “the unique heritage of America” and “shines with the spirit of patriotism.”
That’s one way to interpret the blood red Christmas trees devoid of any decorations or gifts that line the hallways. A video of the decorations shows the first lady stoically parading through the East Wing, occasionally pausing to adjust a wreath or stray sprig of mistletoe. Trump saunters through her labyrinth of yuletide cheer with the cold detachment of a lioness creeping up on an unsuspecting gazelle. Shots of “Be Best” branded tree ornaments and a wreath constructed entirely out of promotional pencils serve as a nice reminder of that time the first lady launched a (grammatically awkward) policy initiative designed to tackle a vaguely defined spectrum of issues, including childhood bullying and opiate abuse.
The first lady’s holiday motif is a valiant effort in bringing a warm and inviting feel to the home she shares with the president, but so far, the receiving line of blood-red trees have drawn comparisons to “Voldemort’s bathroom,” the red-caped captives of The Handmaid’s Tale, and the bloody elevator tidal wave enveloping the hallway at the Overlook hotel.
Sure, all those comparisons work, but for me the crimson trees evoke the red curtains in the Black Lodge, and with them, all the confusion and dread Agent Dale Cooper must have felt while trapped in it for 25 years. All the White House needs is a black and white chevron floor pattern and a low buzz of ominous background noise that underlines the profound isolation of being trapped in an alternate dimension with only a talking tree and the occasional visit from a dead prom queen to help make sense of being stranded outside of space and time while your doppelgänger is wreaking havoc on Earth.
Granted, it’s hard to make the White House look festive and cozy when the administration dropped tear gas on migrant children less than a day ago.