SAD TO SAY, OUR TOWN: The Ghosts of Christmas Trashings Past!


An exceptionally stupid tradition: To his credit, Stephen Kurutz ventured way out on a limb of his Christmas tree.

Kurutz was meeting a challenge. At the most famous newspaper in Our Town, he'd drawn the assignment of reviewing Melania Trump's Christmas decorations. 

At a time of widespread Covid death and corresponding political turmoil, it wasn't clear why any serious news org would be wasting everyone's time reviewing Christmas decs. But by now, this was a Yuletide tradition. 

Kurutz found himself charged with the task.

Authoring a profile in courage, the gentleman rose to the challenge. Defying expectations, he said the first lady's tinsel and baubles actually weren't half bad. 

He also dared to mention the works of the commentators in our town who have come to be known, though mainly in the future, as The Werewolves of Christmas Past. Shaking a dust of snow from his tree, Kurutz penned such remarks as these:

KURUTZ (12/3/20): The bold aesthetic choices that drew so much flak and snarky memes in Christmases past are noticeably absent. There are no blood-red trees, as there were in 2018, which various news outlets called “creepy” and “deeply haunted.” There is nothing akin to the icy, underlit branches of 2017 that turned the East Colonnade into what some likened to a barren, dystopian landscape.


Even outlets that have been harshly critical of Mrs. Trump’s take on the holidays couldn’t work up the energy this year. 

In such passages, the Timesman almost seemed to criticize the observers who had described earlier decs as creepy and deeply haunted. He almost seemed to dismiss such analyses as "snark," even as he engaged in some possible snark of his own.

In fairness to Kurutz, past reviews of the Christmas decs hadn't always been glowing. In 2018, the Christmas dec review at Vox had described a new journalistic tradition. Double headline included: 

Melania Trump’s White House Christmas decorations have become a horror meme yet again  / Your new holiday tradition: A Very Scary White House Christmas!

The White House has decked its halls for the holidays. And just like last year, its trimmings look more frightening than festive at first glance.

If you were one of many people who thought last year’s White House Christmas display was bizarrely ominous, moody lighting and barren tree skeletons looking like the backdrop of a horror movie—well, then, I can’t wait to hear what you think of the 2018 holiday look.


Perhaps determined to continue signaling disregard for her critics, Trump has repeated the idea of horror-tinged White-House decor in at least one corner of the place, lining an entire hallway with blood-red Christmas trees that immediately reminded gawkers on social media of fun holiday movies. Like Stanley Kubrick’s Christmas classic The Shining!

Horror movies and Handmaid’s Tale references reigned, but even the more whimsical takes on the return of the Evil White House meme tended toward darkness.

The horror meme response illustrates just how embedded the divide between the Trump administration and the public has become

As it did last year, the Evil White House Christmas meme speaks to the broader polarization between the public and the presidency, and the sense that the White House itself has become a visual representation of what many people view as the real-life horror being carried out by the Trump administration.

Since Donald Trump took office, it’s become commonplace to comment on his administration through horror memes...and now it looks as though turning the White House Christmas display into an annual grimoire is slowly becoming an unexpected tradition.

"Culture reporter" Aja Romano included oodles of tweets from the gawkers on social media. Their posts compared the 2018 decs to scenes from The Handmaid's Tale and The Shining, but also of course to Carrie.

The culture reporter explained the reason for this "unexpected tradition." All around the streets of Our Town, criers were finding new ways to sound off about the Trump administration's frequently gruesome policies. 

When they saw the Christmas decs, they thought of little else. Romano added a bit of mind-reading; she said the first lady might be repeating the previous year's "horror-tinged decor" to show her disregard for the viewpoints of our town!

That was Christmas 2018, and a new tradition was busy being born. Last year, our favorite headline from the works of the werewolves appeared in the Washington Post. 

It topped a piece by Robin Givhan. Here's what it actually said:

The Washington Post, 2019: Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations are lovely, but that coat looks ridiculous

Seriously! That's what the headline actually said as the trashing tradition continued.

In his review in the Times, Kurutz  indiscreetly mentioned this widespread prior conduct. But later, for some undisclosed reason, he began to dream peculiar dreams about the work of the werewolves this year: 

KURUTZ: Even outlets that have been harshly critical of Mrs. Trump’s take on the holidays couldn’t work up the energy this year. Consider this tepid headline from Mashable: “Melania Trump unveils her final White House Christmas decorations and they’re fine.”

The website gave grudging respect to Mrs. Trump, and seemed almost disappointed not to carry on the recent holiday tradition, undertaken by much of the media, of skewering the White House Christmas design choices.

Even Mashable had come around, Kurutz strangely said. He linked to a very short Mashable post which had instantly offered this: 

CONELLAN (11/30/20): It's the very last year of Melania Trump's Christmas decorations in the White House, before the Bidens take the reins to the sleigh, and that means it's the last time we'll be gifted a weird, cheesy trailer with Melania thoughtfully, earnestly, pensively wandering through the newly bedazzled halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (despite reportedly giving zero f**ks "about the Christmas stuff"). [Our asterisks]

The part about giving zero farks remains to be explained. Let it be said that Mashable's full review of the decs had appeared that very same day. As we noted yesterday, the headline it carried said this:

Mashable 2020: Melania's f*cking Christmas decorations, ranked [Their asterisk]

We'll only suggest that this review continued that new tradition. The piece had been penned by another "culture reporter." This particular culture reporter is five years out of college.

The werewolves have prowled the streets of our town for the past several years. Despite Kurutz's peculiar claim, they were out in force this year.

Nowhere did the beasts prowl more than at the Washington Post. Amazingly, four of these creatures emerged in the pages of that famous paper. Tomorrow, we'll show you what they said about the decs this year.

As we do, we'll turn to the audience, just as the Stage Manager does in Wilder's version of Our Town.

"Could this be why we aren't well-liked?" That's the question we'll pose to the werewolves, and the werewolf-enablers, of our own very dumb town.

Tomorrow: Zevon's reporting trip


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  2. "As we do, we'll turn to the audience, just as the Stage Manager does in Wilder's version of Our Town.

    "Could this be why we aren't well-liked?" That's the question we'll pose to the werewolves, and the werewolf-enablers, of our own very dumb town."

    So the journalists are bad for criticizing Melania -- Melania is not bad for giving zero fucks about Christmas and her duties as First Lady. Melania in effect gives the middle finger to her public every year, but journalists are bad for pointing that out and complaining about it!

    Somerby has things turned around. It wasn't "style" when Melania wore a coat proclaiming her lack of caring while visiting immigrant children, and it isn't "style" when she deliberately decorates the White House in an in-your-face inappropriate manner because she is peevish about having to do the things a First Lady does for her country.

    The trees were fine this year, but the black urns were not.

    Somerby is again borrowing from Warren Zevon, who was too messed up to have a coherent political ideology, but would most likely not defend Melania's choice of Christmas decorations in any year (were he still with us). Zevon is, however, the king of nihilism, which may explain his appeal to Somerby. Werewolves of London has nothing to do with Christmas or this topic of Melania's terrible performance as First Lady (which matches Trump's awfulness as President). But Somerby has no shame in his borrowing and pays no attention to the intended content of those he borrows from. He is just too lazy and insufficiently creative to think up his own colorful language.

  3. “Could this be why we aren't well-liked?"

    Sure, Bob. A handful of pop culture writers being snarky about Christmas decorations is a very valid reason for conservatives’ dislike, or towering hatred, or performative dislike or performative hatred - take your pick.

    It could possibly almost seemingly justify Bannon calling for Fauci’s head on a pike or DiGenova calling for Krebs to be shot, drawn and quartered, or that kidnap/murder plot against Whitmer or the GOP calls to overturn the election.

    Somerby is doing little more than publicizing right wing grievances against liberals/Democrats. It is as if he thinks his readers are unaware of why Republicans dislike (or say they dislike) liberals.

    And he is adding no nuance to the discussion. He doesn’t explicitly say it, but he seems to agree that the right wing grievances are justified.

  4. Somerby asks "Could this be why we [liberals] aren't well-liked?"

    Answer: No, this is why Melania is not well-liked.

    Even if "we" were not well-liked, it is the journalists making the criticisms. They are a conduit for information and ideas, not anyone you care about sufficiently to like or dislike. But are liberals really saying this bad stuff about Melania? And do they say it to conservatives or Trump voters? Not much.

    Judging other people's Christmas decorations is a longstanding tradition in "Our Town" neighborhoods. There are contests in some suburbs. People drive around or stroll past other people's houses just to see their choices. Somerby, living in Baltimore, perhaps doesn't know about that, when he stupidly asks why journalists are writing about White House decorations. This is part of Christmas tradition across much of the nation.

    Liberals get blamed for their supposed war on Christmas, but today Somerby is warring against the way middle America celebrates Christmas, considering it an unearned attack on Melania (a symbol of conservative virtue? not exactly) instead of a part of what people do during the holidays.

    Somerby could be listening to carols at this time of year, but instead he is channeling Warren Zevon, a tragic dissolute drunk with little to say to anyone, but undeniable, largely wasted musical talent. My husband loved Warren Zevon too, but he didn't listen to him for yuletide cheer. There is something seriously wrong with Somerby.

  5. "The part about giving zero farks remains to be explained."

    This doesn't remain to be explained to Democrats. We mostly know what she said, and it wasn't "fark".

    Melania is participating in a "folie a deux" (ask Bandy Lee what that means) with her narcissistic husband. Her affection for military-style clothing reflects her propensity toward authoritarianism, which she encourages in hubby. She dislikes the people because they are inconvenient and interfere with her enjoyment of whatever she does for fun. Some of us might gripe about hauling out the Christmas lights, but who says that out loud? Only someone deeply stupid and as self-involved as our President.

  6. Melania looks and acts great. I don't see why people don't like her. She's right about people obsessing over her fucking Christmas tree. Who cares? Get a life fat, TV watching American pigs.

    1. She would look and act greater if she ever smiled.

      "fat, TV watching American pigs" -- Now you sound just like a bot from a Russian troll farm.

    2. The question is, where does Slovenia land on Trump's shit-hole country list? Do we want Slovenians storming our borders and marrying our billionaires and bringing their strange tastes in Xmas decorating? Also, it's population is overwhelmingly Papist. They don't speak in tongues like Trump's favorite spiritual advisor Paula White does. If she wasn't married to Trump, it's a certainty that most of the residents of "Their Town" would want to see her deported.

    3. I think she's great. I see you are snarky and hostile towards her which puts you in the majority.

    4. I believe in open borders for the top 1% of beautiful women of all countries. But I'm not sure that MAGA nation would agree with me.

    5. @4:45, since you think Melania is great, I've posted a link to some photos for you to enjoy -- not safe for work or family viewing.

      Are you proud that this person is our First Lady? Do you know that Trump owned an Escort business that imported such women from Eastern European countries, so he could have his pick for future first ladies.

      Instead of calling others "snarky" etc., why not tell us what you find great about her, besides her obvious physical characteristics, that bought her a ticket to America and ultimately citizenship through visa fraud.

    6. 7:13. Hi. I think she's great because she worked her way out of a tiny, shithole Yugoslavian factory town to the lower ranks of the top ranks of American society which takes more determination and guts that you probably are willing to give her credit for. It takes more than good looks to make it that far. Much, much more!!! You probably don't know a damn thing about how difficult that is. That's an extremely difficult journey. She has great style. No, those photos for GQ Magazine are not offensive to me. In the context of our culture, they are not offensive at all except to maybe some people who feign being offended by them for political and psychological reasons. If she was a Democrat, you would rationalize them as not being a problem just like you rationalize Biden rape charges and Bill Clinton's chronic sexual predations etc. Your faux Puritanism is boring.

  7. This post makes a valid point that could have taken a paragraph to note. By belaboring it, it becomes part of the problem....

  8. From Palmer Report:

    "Melania Trump is already figuring out what to have sent from the White House back to Mar-a-Lago, and is already trying to figure out how to have some kind of post-White House life, according to CNN. Moreover, she must not be doing it in particularly discreet fashion, or else CNN wouldn’t know about it.

    In other words, Melania has given up the ghost of Donald’s fantasy that he somehow secretly won the 2020 election. Notably, CNN is also suggesting that Melania has no interest in playing along if Donald announces a pretend 2024 campaign in order to fundraise money. Of course Donald will be in prison long before 2024 anyway."


    Obviously, Melania is just going through the motions of being Donald's wife, just as she was just going through the motions while First Lady.

    This is what happens when you marry women as trophy wives, instead of finding a soul mate and help meet, or marrying a woman with brains and an interest in helping others.

    1. Wasn't Melania once the centerfold for "Vapidboy"?

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