If you’re reading this, which would thrill me, I know you’re expecting a vitriolic or at least tedious experience. I would never forgive myself if the two most brilliant, crave-inspiring fashion-genius sisters on earth had a tedious experience with something I created, when your creations have illuminated my everyday life, ever since I bought my first Spell kimono — the Desert Wanderer. Emerson put it best: The sense of being perfectly well-dressed gives a feeling of tranquility that religion is powerless to bestow.
I love all my Spell, but my Desert Wanderer has been with me through so many adventures, all across the United States and Mexico. Frolicking in the equatorial surf, certainly, but also on long summer night drives in the fuel truck, going from one wildland fire to another, at incident management campsites all across Colorado, New Mexico, Utah; shielding me from sun and mosquitos, billowing behind me in an infinitely satisfying way as I stroll to do something mundane, for mundane reasons. I never feel mundane, in my Spell; I know I’m special. I mean — why else would I be in this kimono.
So, I was talking yesterday with some of your biggest and most financially invested fans here in the US — 23 of us, to be precise — and I’ve been elected to advance our perspective, in the aftermath of what I’m sure was a frustrating social media experience for everyone involved. The 23 of us represent your conservative American base, let’s say, who tend to buy from every drop, wear Spell every day, and hashtag you up, all over our social media. I mean, one among us has been creating such beautiful images with her Spell, over the years, that she’s been featured on more stockist retail sites than the actual models. She’s your official unofficial Spell model. But we’re all pretty out-of-the-closet about our relationship to your label, let’s just say.
And when I say “conservative”, you know — I didn’t even realize I was a conservative until this year. Not sure what it implied before, but right now it means: desiring our originally intended form of governance, the Constitution, to protect our rights. Desiring our leaders to work within the boundaries laid out by the Constitution, in the event of political disagreement. Not wanting to start the whole country over with a new idea, a Marxist fantasy of redistributing wealth, etc. I mean, if a government official came to my house to “redistribute” my Spell dresses, one of us would leave dead and that’s all there is to it. Wanting our press to actually reflect and amplify the competing views and concerns of the population, not simply hammer us with one single narrative and one single mandate. You get the picture.
Now, I’ve never fully agreed that artists and people with platforms must keep their politics to themselves; I believe everyone has the right to find their tribe, forever, evolvingly. Ironically, I’ve found mine, in large part, through my sisters in Spell. We are, in most basic terms, women who love our country, our freedom, and pretty dresses, in seemingly equal measure. If your relationship to Orange Man Bad ideology feels more important than your relationship to us, that’s fine — we’ll see our way forward and so will you, and that’s just how it goes. But because you’ve created not only individual garments that we love so much, and not only a thriving, woman-affirming aesthetic, but also an entire community that has launched so much beauty and camaraderie in our lives, we wanted to come together and clearly tell you why we reacted the way we did; to more clearly Spell out some of the specifics of the situation we’re faced with, here across the ocean.
I prefer analogies, because they allow us to think more clearly outside of our cultural brainwashing. So, let’s say, relative to this most recent election, that it was instead that first profoundly exciting Unicorn Tears drop you guys organized. Many of us had missed our chance at some lifetime heirloom garments, and we were thrilled to have an opportunity to weigh in on what we’d like to see, and to have another shot. I know for me, personally, I left a studio recording session that day, and drove to a parking lot where I had wi-fi, logged in, and bit my nails until the minute and second it launched. I snagged both HP gowns and checked out in seven seconds, and it was a good thing, because they both sold out within fifteen seconds, I believe. I had to just lay there in my car and recover from the adrenaline. That’s what Unicorn Tears meant to us.
But let’s say, instead, that the question of what gowns to re-cut was on the ballot, and out of nowhere the garment manufacturer just dictated that for us — not chosen by us, the customers, and not by you, the designer, but chosen by the place where they sew things — and that this choice was dictated well before our input had been collected, despite our input having been openly solicited. Whether the garments offered were to our preference or not, every single woman in the community and I’d think your leadership team as well would recognize: the wrong entity just made this call. Something went terribly sideways, here. Since when does the manufacturer decide these things of great importance? The answer is, they don’t.
But if the Orange Man is so Bad, what does it matter (abandoning the analogy for now)? Well, if you think about it for really any amount of time, you’ll realize that every American, indeed every citizen of every country who’s watching, ought to be rejecting this development, regardless of their preferred candidate. How are we supposed to ever trust our election process again? And if we can’t trust our election process, then the drift from our American founding principles is much more severe than anyone should be willing to tolerate, on any side of the aisle.
Be that as it may — isn’t the Orange Man so especially Bad, though, that even strategic Constitutional oopsies ought to be forgivable, in light of the alternative?
Well…let’s look at that. Introducing my next analogy: that of the insufferable physician. Let’s say all the career doctors in your area have come together to denounce a newcomer, who has a terrible bedside manner. He antagonizes the patients, dismisses and indeed openly mocks his more established peers; litigation and conflict seems to follow him wherever he goes. Why on earth, you think, do they allow him to practice medicine at all? You haven’t met him personally, of course, and god forbid, but his license should be revoked, you feel certain, and he should be driven out of town if not tarred and feathered!
But let’s say your loved one falls ill, and you’re frantic. You go to the doctor you trust and they only make it worse. You try again with a different doctor; same result. You begin researching the best possible care for this person, you discover one physician whose track record is remarkable; nearly miraculous. Guess what: it’s the insufferable guy. Under his care, people’s vitals stabilize and improve, their health markers become optimal, the quality of their lives is returned and restored to even higher levels than before, and their families are able to enjoy their presence for years, decades to come, after having received a veritable death sentence from other doctors.
Suddenly, this physician’s insufferable nature matters much less and his ability to treat serious affliction matters much more. So, tight lipped and white knuckled, you take your loved one to their first appointment.
Oddly, it’s not bad. I mean — he’s abrasive, but in the way of someone entirely focused on getting to work, treating your loved one. Suddenly his lack of social niceties is re-contextualized for you. The other doctors seemed very interested in your financial reserves, or the social connections you have that they might massage to their benefit, yet somehow this didn’t seem amiss to you at the time. They were well-spoken, eloquent even, and made you feel you were in very good hands. There was just one problem — the affliction didn’t improve. Yet here, now, under the care of the insufferable, abrasive, and widely disliked physician, it all starts turning around.
And you begin to wonder: what’s the real reason the establishment doctors don’t like him? Is it because of his manner, or is it because he makes them look bad? Before he came to town, it was easy for them: if they succeeded in treating a patient, they’d declare it was due to their intervention; if the patient worsened, they’d claim it was because the affliction was incurable, or too-far progressed. “All we can do now is make him comfortable.” But more and more, you’re second-guessing all that. The vitals continue to improve; the cheeks grow rosier; the cough goes away.
Oddly, though, as you move through town accomplishing your tasks, you find that the same complaints about the insufferable physician that you absorbed and echoed, previously, feel exceptionally hollow, now; you notice for the first time that no one criticizes his results because, in fact, no one mentions his results. It doesn’t occur to them to even ask; it never occurred to you to ask. All the assurances of his terrible manner and personal shortcomings distracted you from realizing that, frankly, you don’t give a damn what details of etiquette any given doctor has or doesn’t have; you care that they’re good at their job. The insufferable physician certainly cares only for that, it’s obvious.
These rumors you’ve heard of him firing his secretary, haranguing his nurse staff, insulting the chief cardiologist at his own dinner party — suddenly these instances of boorish behavior become potentially reframed for you. You do a little digging and discover — his secretary was stealing money! His nurse staff was under the impression they could lounge around and be ineffectual, but the physician reminded them they could take care of patients or find a new job. The chief cardiologist had a track record of killing more patients than he saved, but thought it safe to pull rank on the new guy, due to his wealth and status, and it didn’t go well. You find you privately approve of the physician’s abrasive nature, which you’re beginning to see is always and only in service to his primary goal: patient care.
So you mildly attest to these first-hand impressions at least, as conversations arise, and you find that not only is no one interested, but they are in fact willing to immediately demonize you for speaking against their impressions.
“But my loved one is doing so much better,” you say, nearly apologetically.
“Anyone who supports such an outrageous, unprofessional man isn’t someone I’m willing to hear from!,” they respond.
“But look at his track record with patients,” you say, feeling confused now.
“I know everything I need to know from hearing him insult the chief cardiologist at his own dinner party,” they sniff. “He was so mean; you have no idea how much he hurt everyone’s feelings.”
“Well — okay,” you acknowledge, “but maybe the chief cardiologist could have cared about his patient outcomes a little more, and his own hurt feelings a little less, right?”
“HOW FUCKING DARE YOU,” they reply, and then the conversation is over.
And, terminate analogy sequence. That’s pretty much where things are at, right now. Look, I don’t blame you for having the impression of Trump that you do — I mean, the press, left right and center, never agrees on anything, correct? So if they all agree on Orange Man Bad, how could 23 American Spell Sisters be right, and the entirety of the media establishment be wrong? Or more to the point, how could the tens of thousands of Americans at a time, millions every day, tens of millions in all, that not only showed up to his campaign events but even spontaneously generated grassroots campaign events of their own, such as nearly 100 mile long Trump convoys, the largest civilian flotillas ever assembled in the form of Trump boat parades, etcetera and so forth, be warranted? I know you’ve been assured that it’s only because we’re all white supremacists, which the black people and brown people and yellow people and rainbow people in the crowd are always tickled to hear. I’ve met white supremacists, in the deep South in my early days of driving 18-wheelers around the country when I was 22. They’re missing teeth and they can’t form complete sentences and no one likes them. That’s not us. We can’t prevent you from characterizing us that way, but that’s not us.
So you can be happy about the media’s unhinged declaration of Joe Biden and the widely acknowledged feminine savior of humanity, Kamala Harris, whose chameleon ethnicity shifts daily in order to remain the ineffable thing we’ve all been needing, as the PROJECTED new Presidents, plural, of the United States (and yes, even Siri was a little confused on that point yesterday, offering Kamala’s information when questions about the President were asked, until someone somewhere realized Siri was giving too much away too soon). I saw from your social media that you are happy about it, and were only chagrined to have launched the predictable “complaining” that did, indeed, occur.
But here’s our situation: in the wake of the fake election’s fake results, an open source document listing known Trump supporters is being assembled for the purpose of harassment, cancellation, and implied violence. The list includes names and home addresses. Attacks on people wearing MAGA hats have spiked, including victims as young as 7 and and as old as 77. People are being kicked off airplanes, kicked out of restaurants, fired from their jobs, and banned from their campuses for supporting the insufferable physician and standing by his results. Quite a number of the 23 Spell Sisters I represent have asked not to be named, due to their unfortunately accurate sense that they may lose their livelihoods over it. We feel so strongly about it, though, because it’s not just a competing candidate with competing ideas for our nation — the Biden platform represents a danger to our democracy as we’ve known it. There’s a lot at stake for us, both ways, and we find ourselves flummoxed in an ironically ultimate way by having our one, cherished, non-political community, Spell, openly declaring for the side that’s already eroded our civil liberties, and promises to erode them more.
Now, why should any of this pocket change matter, in a nation where black people are hunted for sport by roving bands of thugs armed with not only deadly force but also shiny badges; emboldened and indeed exhorted to ever greater depravities by a racist president who personally thrives on violence, dissent, anguish, and injustice? Well…I hate to break it to you, but it just ain’t so. You might feel even a little silly, upon deeper reflection, being sold such compelling ocean-front property in Arizona. If you don’t hear any other thing I’m saying, please hear this: who controls the narrative controls the people.
Who controls the narrative, controls the people.
It’s no accident that your emotions have been manipulated, even from continents away, to assume that Trump must be removed by any means necessary. He absolutely does represent a threat; a threat to the mediocrity and comfortable corruption of our establishment system. And yes, he must be removed by any means necessary — because he’s got the parasites on blastthat have been preying on us, the American people. Why would I wake up at 3am to write this letter, why would I risk anything, why would the 23 of us American Spell Sisters come together in this fashion, why are truck drivers going to strike on Nov. 29th, why would any of us lay it on the line to defend a categorical villain? Why have establishment politicians and media journalists, left right and center, who haven’t agreed on anything ever, unite for once in their lives to non-stop smear and slander a leader whose vision HAS improved everyone’s safety, security, economy, opportunities, health care, livelihoods, industries, and global prospects? We are Trump supporters; please notice that we are all colors, all creeds, all flavors of humanity. Who controls the narrative controls the people, and the one thing we all have in common is that we are Americans, and our country was founded on the ideal that we control our government; not the vice versa. Not ever the vice versa.
Any jackass with a marketing degree can trot out a narrative. And anyone with a brain and an internet connection can do some digging and find out if it holds up to scrutiny. The narrative is big but the truth is bigger.
Probably the most ironic part of all is that — remember the establishment doctors who set the tone, denouncing the abrasive and insufferable physician from the outset? Well — they didn’t denounce him from the outset, one discovers. So long as he was safely off in another town, practicing medicine in a way that didn’t challenge their racket, he was the darling. The socially liberal and ahead-of-his-time inclusive practices and policies that characterized his business dealings, for decades previously, were well known and well-admired. It’s only when he came to this town, challenging these quacks, that the rumor mill set itself against him. Really makes you think, right? Especially once you find out about the decades of corruption, graft, and personal advancement to the detriment of the people in their care. And that’s saying the least.
You don’t have to take my word for any of this. It’s all available, researchable, although our major tech platforms are bulldozing free speech and free thought as fast as they can. We still live in a free country — a country which I can’t help but notice, you’ve both idolized and made iconic, through your imagery and editorials. My favorite red, white and blue snap front singlet was from the Route 66 collection. We have something important, here, something precious, and despite representing only a fraction of your customer base, I think the 23 of us are, or at least should be, very important people to you. We represent the spirit of what your art has so brilliantly embodied: the beautiful, unconquerable, and essentially feminine manifestation of the American spirit. We ramble the roads of the dusty Southwest and we watch the sunrises and sunsets in Zion and Joshua Tree, we put on our prettiest dresses and our muddiest boots to celebrate outdoor music with our friends, and we go two-stepping on Saturday nights. We live in our silver and turquoise, we grow our own food, we splash in the oceans and the muddy swimming holes and the secret nighttime hot springs of our wild, argumentative, richly abundant country, and we choose to give our money — quite a bit of it, anyway — to you.
Our demands are simple: we’d like a Trump gown. Some of the girls said they’d like to see a hidden image of Joe Biden behind bars, sewn into the armpits, but I think that’s better left to the imagination. We cannot commit, in an organized fashion, to a hard boycott of your brand — that’s for each of us to determine — but most of us are feeling as I do, which is that…I’ve gotta find my tribe. Like I said, I certainly understand how the concentrated energies of a threatened media and comfortably corrupt government establishment has the power to convince those, whose interest remains peripheral, that the Orange Man is very Bad. So I don’t fault you for it, but I do think I’m in a unique position to better acquaint you with, as we used to say in the military, the boots-on-the-ground situation, here. It’s quite a situation.
We’d appreciate your open-minded consideration of our claims, here, since it’s YOUR brand that launched so many of our friendships and the likeminded oasis we represent, to one another. So yes, we’d appreciate that, but what we *want*, is a Trump gown. At a time like this, there’s nowhere to be except on the leading edge, and you always, or almost always, are.
Hannah and the other 22