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Blogsy DeVos

By F+

 

Animation by Annie Leue.

 

I found a blog today, a bloggy blog. The kind of blog that a wealthy mom of adult children who lives full time at her vacation home on the shore would write. The kind of blog that’s 5 years too late to get its big break on Pinterest. The kind of blog whose design clues you into exactly what kind of person runs it, and they’re not a great person.

A picture of a blonde woman (Mom) in her late 50s with her obviously wealthy husband, probably named Dick or something like that, is plastered across the front page. Based on the image, it is unclear whether they actually still like each other or have deeply rooted monetary reasons for staging couple pics. 

The photo, taken on a porch swing, could easily be mistaken for a Pottery Barn lake house decor ad. Mom and Dick wear cool, neutral tones with giant watches that cost more than my entire net worth. Mom has big ass rings with big ass rocks on BOTH hands. Clearly, they’re very down to earth. They want you to know that they’re cool, artsy, well-read parents, who also happen to be billionaire and heirs to the Amway fortune. #Relatable, right?

In terms of color, the website features three key tones: teal, white, and cream. You might know these colors as the palette of private school parents.

The fonts used throughout the site probably once appeared on a sorority rush invitation, or a Ralph Lauren outlet store sign, or an invitation to a plantation wedding. As you scroll down the homepage, you’re greeted by photos of Mom laughing at a desk, listening to someone — who happens to be cut out of the photo — and admiring art. Clearly, being very rich is very hard work!

Alongside these photos are paragraphs describing Mom, which resemble the introduction of a 17-year-old’s cover letter. The occasional pull quote stands out from the rest of the site: They achieve peak vagueness. What does “fighting to remove barriers” mean when no barriers are mentioned? The answer is nothing.

Mom’s site has a few pages full of vague descriptions that aim to make doing nothing look like a world-changing activity. The “Education page is rather long for someone with no teaching or public school experience. But her inclusion of the phrase “broken education system” basically negates any need for actual knowledge or experience, right?

On her “Policy & Involvement page, Mom manages to make her lack of government experience look like a resume for Secretary of Education. She names no legislation but remembers to include #hipster words like Philanthropy, The Arts, and Entrepreneurship. Oh, and she is totally gonna gain a young, millennial following thanks to a pull quote that advertises her “numerous Republican leadership roles.”

The best worst section of Mom’s website is her “Q & A page. The easiest way to understand this page is to imagine what would happen if Sean Spicer did a vlogger-style YouTube Q&A. There are no helpful answers and only three questions. Mom does use the word “boondoggle” on the page, so I guess that’s a plus.

Mom’s “News” page features links to stories about the ways she’s spent her money, and how she wants taxpayers to spend theirs. All of the articles are over a year old, and I’m sure if you Googled Mom’s name almost all of the “news” you’d get would be bad.

In case you need photographs of a person your kids should definitely avoid, the menu on Mom’s website features a link where you can download photos of her “for editorial purposes.”

You may have figured out by now that Mom is U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. DeVos, the extremely unqualified, super-rich Trump appointee who is currently working to dismantle Title IX and send taxpayer dollars toward private schools, called upon the Windquest Group to design her website.

Windquest is an equity investment firm owned by Betsy’s husband, Dick DeVos, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Windquest’s website only shows involvement in four companies — including Boxed Water — and fails to mention Betsy.  However, its leadership team consists entirely of Betsy’s family members and a few of her children-in-law. Fun fact: Board member and nephew to DeVos, Rick DeVos, created ArtPrize.

These two revelations essentially void the majority of Betsy’s “arts” achievements. The financial investments of the creator of ArtPrize — Betsy’s nephew — are controlled by her husband and children. The majority of Betsy’s leadership and arts involvement came from ArtPrize. Clearly a conflict of interest.

DeVos’s terrible website is both surprising and expected: Surprising in that the aesthetic is horrible for someone claiming to be an intelligent, qualified political official with apparently seismic artistic interest; not surprising in that there’s no way she’d admit to being incompetent.

So, Betsy, while your website may keep you from having to actually let people know that you don’t know what you’re doing but still plan to funnel their taxpayer dollars towards private schools and sexist old men, it could use an update and aesthetic facelift. But, I guess you lose aesthetic value when you throw out funding for arts education.

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