home Commentary, North America, Politics, Society Our pick for Person of the Year: Louise Linton

Our pick for Person of the Year: Louise Linton

If you are, for some reason, not a fan of American exceptionalism, you ought to be a fan of Louise Linton. Who else is there to make Central Asian dictator clans finally feel that they are not unique in their crassness?

I know what you’re going to say — we already have Ivanka and Melania for that — but the former is frequently too bland and the latter has too much of the ennui associated with fairy tale princesses trapped in towers about her.

Louise Linton is different. Marina Hyde has coined the term “Treasury Barbie” in her honor, but I have to say that this is hurtful and unfair. Would Barbie ever be badass enough to write a fake memoir about surviving the dangers of the Congolese war in the Zambian jungle, when Zambia did not participate in the Congolese war and doesn’t have a jungle? Let us all admit that Barbie is too basic for this shit.

Most Americans know Linton, a sometime actress from a castle-owning Scottish family, as the wife of Steven Mnuchin, our fantastic and not at all corrupt Secretary of the Treasury. She first made it big on our political scene when she decided it would be a good idea to combine the concept known as “government-chartered plane” with the concept of “Ima going to show off my designer threads and tag a bunch of brands now” — and go on to argue with her critics about it.

When she later decided to dress up as Kylo Ren and pose with a Kylo Ren-looking expression next to the love of her life (and also her husband) at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, everyone also took it as a faux pas of sorts:

The thing is, why criticize Linton when she is only telling us the truth about her life and, by extension, about the age we are living in?

Every movement and every epoch needs a symbol. Think of France’s Marianne, symbol of liberty and reason and the republic, with her bare breasts and bravery.

Linton can be our own Marianne.

Because we’re too hypocritical of a society for bare breasts — being both obsessed with them titties and terrified of them — we can have Linton put on 47 different items of designer of clothing and jewelry at once. I know you might think that 47 is excessive, but considering just how much Linton loves bling (seriously, her descriptions of her own jewelry are poetic), it would be unfair of us to make her choose.

Instead of leading the people into battle, she could be pictured storming the nearest Apple store at the exact time that the latest gadget drops. I know what you’re thinking: “Natalia, don’t be such a clueless pleb. A classy lady like Linton would never wait in line for her own gadgets.” Duh, I know that. This is why she would be actively leading a charge on the premises, possibly after her beleaguered personal assistant — think Anne Hathaway in “The Devil Wears Prada,” only with dead, vortex-like eyes bereft of hope — screwed up her online order and was dismissed and/or stabbed to death with a diamond hat pin.

Or forget the Apple store. Have Linton storming a college campus in order to relieve those entitled, good-for-nothing grad students of their deductions after the latest GOP tax cut. Have her storming a community health care center and shaking seniors on Medicare out of their state-subsidized wheelchairs.

For the purposes of realism, Linton should not be holding an American flag. The flag of Panem would be more appropriate, though I don’t know if there would be copyright issues. Maybe she could hold a flag featuring a screenshot of a GoFundMe page for a low-income cancer patient with the word “LOSER” scrawled on top of it.

When we bring back serfdom — and we definitely will, because as the middle class continues to disappear all of those new poor people will need to find something to do and just having them out in the wild, stalking the lawless expanses between fortified luxury estates, would be trouble — Louise could become Secretary of the Serfs.

I know the official title might annoy and/or confuse her, “a secretary to serfs? Lolol…?”, but she would ultimately come to enjoy her position, which would consist of parading her worldly possessions in front of people who plant turnips for a living and get their extra protein from snacking on garden insects, all day, every day. Think of it as Linton’s ultimate revenge on relatives who probably didn’t pay enough attention to her and didn’t think she would amount to much. “Who’s laughing now, huh? The U.S. is a dystopia and I’m queen of it! Well, a queen, not the queen, but still! I’m queen of my district, all the way until the nearest shantytown! I make homeless people dance for old pizza crusts and my personal amusement!” You know she wants very badly to be able to say these words at some point in her life and we’re the land of opportunity so why not give the opportunity to her?

Considering that we currently have a president hell-bent on making the entire world pay for the wounds of his own childhood in fire and blood and tears of children forcibly separated from their immigrant parents, Linton should be easy to accommodate. Think of her not so much as the lesser evil, but the better dressed one.


Natalia Antonova

Natalia is a writer and journalist. She's the associate editor of openDemocracy Russia and the co-founder of the Anti-Nihilist Institute.