opinion

GEEZ LOUISE

Louise Linton Somehow Manages to Make It Worse

After much consideration (and a look at her sham apologia with a Beltway lifestyle mag), I must recommend that it’s time for Mrs. Treasury Secretary to shut the f*** up.

Louise Linton has had an impressive run in her brief time in the public eye. She’s gone from being an F-list actress whose credits include an unnamed skin-care consultant role that was cut from a Tom Cruise film to writing a fabricated book about Africa that was so offensive it was pulled from bookstores to her new role: the woman in America who should shut up the most.

The latest Lintonian troubles started last month, when the newly minted Mrs. Treasury Secretary posted an Instagram flex in front of a U.S. government plane #hashtagged with the designer brands she’s not famous enough to get sent for free (in fact, the move was so repulsive that fashion designers distanced themselves from her; truly a feat). A mother in the Pacific Northwest couldn’t help but notice how tacky Linton’s photo was, and remarked as much. In response, Linton lashed out, berating the woman for not being as rich as she is or sacrificing as much for the country as she and her husband have. She said this despite the fact that Linton’s wealth is more dependent on who gave birth to her and who agreed to marry her (based on her thin acting resume), that her husband is a multimillionaire hedge-fund manager, and that neither have served in the armed forces. A social-media firestorm burned for a full 24 hours before Linton issued a hostage-video-style apology in writing. She also made her Instagram account private.  

Unfortunately, Linton wasn’t done. In the newest issue of Washington Life, which I’ve recently learned is a magazine, Linton is pictured in an array of ballgowns alongside an interview in which she again apologizes. The fretful writeup that prefaces the interview does its best to humanize Linton. The ballgown photo shoot occurred before the social-media firestorm; the interview occurred later, after Linton rescheduled it twice. Linton wore exercise clothes during the interviewer’s first meeting with her. She has rescued Chihuahuas. She likes tea with soy milk, a weird detail to include because it’s so aggressively basic.

In the interview accompanying the photo spread, Linton offers a compelling apology. She takes all the blame onto herself, she says she learned her lesson, she says she’s growing as a human being. She pauses, “overcome with emotion.” She realizes the irony of apologizing while wearing a ball gown. She’s not a spoiled rich girl lording her wealth over others as though it imbues her with moral superiority; she’s a sweatpants girl!

A nearby caption reads, “Louise Linton, seen here in her living room, wears the Easton halter neck trumpet gown with exaggerated bow back detail by Ines de Santo.” That particular line of dresses tends to cost from the upper-four to lower-five figures. The red dress spills lavishly across her living room’s white carpet like the iron-rich blood of peasants.

The problem with this sort of attempt at humanization is that it’s impossible to tell if the apology is sincere or performative and, given Linton’s history of being fucking terrible, it would be reasonable to assume the latter until proven otherwise. The way a person behaves when they’re unaware they’re being watched is a better indicator of a person’s true nature than they way they behave when they know all eyes are on them. Linton knows she’s being watched, she’s on the biggest stage she’s ever been on in her life, not for lack of trying.

It is with a heavy heart and after much consideration that I must recommend that Louise Linton shut the fuck up. I’m a woman, and I pay a lot of attention to the way other women are treated; I’ve written, for years, from a mental space that believes sincerely that society as a whole would be better off if no woman had to worry about having her thoughts or opinions discounted or shouted down simply because of her sex. But being a feminist also means accepting the fact that women can be just as terrible as men. And Linton has proven that she’s terrible, and the media noise is slightly more grating because she is in it.

Perhaps Linton serves an important function in the current administration—she somehow, miraculously makes the other women in Trump’s orbit look good. Ivanka’s toothless, ineffective advocacy that amounts to little more than a transparent attempt to preserve her brand looks like the founding of the Betty Ford clinic alongside Linton’s dead-behind-the-eyes fashion spread. She makes Kellyanne Conway look like Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Melania Trump, with her Fuck You hurricane rescue shoes and flaccid anti-bullying campaign, looks like Florence Nightingale.

Rather than spending her energy on rehabilitating her public image in an interview that reads like it was ghostwritten by Olivia Pope, Linton should practice what she preaches. She claims to be an advocate for animals; there are plenty of places in need of able-bodied people who are interested in helping make the world a better place, where her alleged animal advocacy would be useful. Texas comes to mind; next week it might be Florida.

Where is Louise Linton? In a ballgown crying about her hurt feelings? The world’s wet enough.