Melania can’t get the optics right, you say? A failure in optics for whom, exactly?

Let’s see…

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Donald and Melania, striding through the night with a wind machine at their backs, like characters from an 80s action movie come to save the day in their matching jackets and kick-ass teamwork.

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Donald and Melania, descending from the clouds along with blue skies and a break from torrential rains, showing unity as they draw attention, resources, and strength to the Houston area.

Huh, that’s some spectacular failure right there. Looks pretty good to me.

The divisiveness over Melania’s shoes is yet another symptom of the divide that has been growing wider and wider in our country for quite some time now. Scott Adams likens it to seeing two different movies on the same screen.

I see it as upside-down world and rightside-up world. In my world, up is up, and I orient myself accordingly. In a leftist’s world, up is down, and they also orient accordingly. But when I talk about “up,” and they talk about “up,” we both think we are talking about the same thing (“up” relative to our own self) but we are objectively talking about two entirely different things altogether.

As people the post-Trump world has gotten less and less inclined to talk rationally to each other, the poles pretty much flipped. Sometime in 2016, I would have said that they were at right angles to each other — or at least not so far apart that you couldn’t connect on some level — but there was a point, probably 2 months before the election, when something clicked and we’re 180 degrees apart in perception.

So you have two audiences for Melania Trump’s optics:

  • Upside-Down World, who will always hate her no matter what because she’s married to the evil racist scary bigot orange unpresidential monster, and
  • Rightside-Up World, who are inclined to like her or are indifferent — or won’t judge her harshly simply because of who she’s married to.

Citizens of Upside-Down World don’t like that Melania wore stiletto heels on the plane and wish she would have worn something more appropriate.

Citizens of Rightside-Up World are wondering what the big deal is, and why the media is detracting from important issues like, say, catastrophic flooding in a major American city, in order to talk about a woman’s fashion choice.

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I like this photo of her both wearing the shoes and carrying her own umbrella.It’s satisfying. Upside-Down Worlders seem to think that if a woman is wearing stilettos, she can’t do anything for herself.

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So which is more truthful?

“Hi, I’m Melania Trump, former model who speaks 5 languages and is married to an incredibly successful and wealthy man who also happens to be President of the United States. Like most former models, I like expensive clothes. I’m in a non-flooded area wearing the type of outfit that reads ‘utilitarian’ but only on a fashion runway. These are shoes I typically wear.”


“Hi, I’m Melooneeoy Troomp, a beaten and broke down woman who is trying to rehab her image in the eyes of ‘the people.’ Even though I’m not going to be anywhere near the Cajun Navy, and literally nobody expects me to do that, I’m going to dress up in a costume like I’ll be out on the boats rescuing people anyway. Because optics.”

People in Upside-Down World need Melania to wear the sartorial equivalent of a lie, because it looks better, rather than her wearing what she would normally wear as the person that she is. Perhaps it is less of a need than a want — they want the photographic illusion that someone is helping. (Really though, they just want to nitpick and complain.)

Most of the people in Rightside-Up World understand that the President’s help is mostly on a ceremonial level — he will not be helping personally, but with policy and money and manpower and influence — and that dressing up in honest-to-goodness work clothes for a photo op would be patently ridiculous.

What Melania wears in this situation is mostly secondary, but she — as always — chooses clothes that are tasteful, that suit the (real) occasion, that align her with Trump as a team, and that project elegance.

Her outfits are so well chosen it seems like her team is a bit prescient to how the press will react. If I didn’t know better, I’d think this was planned.

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Melania would kindly remind you who she is, and — more importantly — who you are not.