Identity Politics & The Destruction Of Storytelling

by Shelton Bumgarner
Instagram: WriterShelt

I’m trying to write a pretty breezy, accessible “thriller” that deals with some pretty deep concepts as subtext. And, yet, I’m a little — ok, a lot — nervous that because the story deals with characters who are brown, members of the LGBQ+ community and women that, well, a lot of the intended audience won’t even read it.

The reason is — dun dun dun — identity politics.

For me, identity politics is corrosive because it gives a huge pass to fuckwits like Trump to promote identity politics among white straight people. What’s worse, taken to its extreme — which is almost always is — identity politics divides the center-Left to such an extent that shithead MAGA people can walk all over them.

Is there a solution?

Probably not. Things have simply gone too far. All I can do is just write the novel I want to write and see what happens. That doesn’t stop me from being annoyed, though.

Why I Walked Out Of ‘Booksmart’ (But You Should See It)

by Shelton Bumgarner
Instagram: WriterShelt

I hated Booksmart.

I hated it — and hate it — so much that I begin to seethe with rage at the idea of it. And, yet, it’s nothing personal against Olivia Wilde and the movie itself is probably pretty good — if you’re a woke, bi curious Generation Z girl taking your SATs for the first time.

I walked out of the movie at just about the inciting incident because first I despised that clueless rant about lesbian sex, I hated how bad some of the acting was obviously going to be — Billie Lourd, sigh — I hated how much of an updated rip off of Heathers the movie was and I hated the entire premise of what I was expected to sit through for the next hour and a half.

So I bounced.

This is coming from a person who bounced from an equally critically acclaimed Bird Man. I hated that movie and walked out of it, too.

Now, the reason why I even talk about any of this to begin with is while movies like Booksmart serve an admirable purpose and help proto-lesbians see representation in film, they also have a corrosive effect overall. What I mean by this is Booksmart is a prime example of how Hollywood — or at least a woke subset of it — apparently has completely given up on 48% of the audience and just wants to suck its own dick (to quote The Mooch.) There’s a reason why Sniper was such a huge hit — there’s a pretty big untapped market for center-Right heteronormative storytelling. (Not to cast aspersions on non-heteronormative stories, just to observe what’s going on.)

Again — I was not the audience of this movie and only went because I keep seeing ads for it in my center-Left social media echo chamber. It was like I was being guilt-tripped into seeing it. I did not want to see it, knowing I would likely hate it. But I decided to give it a chance. And, guess what?

I fucking hated it.

The great sin this movie committed is it allowed its ideology to take over and warp the narrative of the movie to such an extent that I couldn’t get pass the inciting incident and left the theatre altogether.

But given that I was not the audience and I did not see the entire movie, I still feel comfortable recommending it to other people. If you’re younger than me, or more of a Leftist, you probably really will love the movie as much as the entertainment-industrial flack complex tells us you will.

Anyway, I’m writing a novel that deals with a lot of the same issues as Booksmart. But, given that I’m a smelly brutish male, I’m sure even if I’m as empathetic as possible to the stories of people don’t look like me, someone, somewhere, will discount the novel as simply another member of the patriarchy exploiting the lives of women, minorities and members of the LGBQ+ community for their own gain. (I’m being a bit sarcastic, dummy.)

All I can do is keep my head down and try to tell the story I want to tell. I think Wilde did a great job, you should go see Booksmart and ignore everything I just wrote.

Who would listen to me, anyway?

The Themes & Subtext Of The Novel I’m Writing

By Shelton Bumgarner
Twitter: @bumgarls

Instagram: WriterShelt

Here is a list of some of the issues I hope to address in the novel I’m writing currently.

— Global Climate Change
— Systemic racism
— Systemic misogyny
— Extremism in the Age of Trump (Both the Left and the Right.)
— The Lead Up To The Release of The Muller Report

I hope, though, that the story itself will be so accessible and universal in a timeless manner that you can read it Memorial Day Weekend 2020 and it not even really register that all these deep things are being addressed in what is marketed as a “thriller.”

That’s the hope, at least.

V-Log: A Depressing Trumplandia Future

Some thoughts.

Some Gentle Career Advice For Billie Eilish

by Shelton Bumgarner

Let me be absolutely clear — no one listens to me and this is just me talking to myself in the darkness of the Internet.

But having said that, I might gently suggest to Billie Eilish that she take a page out of Amy Winehouse’s career and do an album of throwback music. I might suggest she cover some of the jazz and blues greats of the past such as, well, Billie Holiday.

Eilish is already half way there with her current singing style. It would take very little effort on her part to simply sing the songs that obviously are influencing her now.

Imagining A New ‘Video Gawker’ #startup

by Shelton Bumgarner

When I was in Seoul, there was this nebulous little group of creative-types who were doing Broad City-like videos with their phones 15 years ahead of their time. It just occurred to me that it would be cool if you did something like that today. Or, put another way, I think there’s both an audience and a marketplace for something of a micro-video version of Gawker.

If I lived in New York City (which I don’t) and if I had money (which I don’t) I would found a Website devoted to combining the best of The Daily Show and Broad City. Instead of fictional little adventures around New York City, I would find really funny young people to do field pieces about “real” street news.

These field pieces would be no more than two or three minutes long and would have a blog post associated with them that would flesh out the story for nerds who would actually like to, like, read and stuff. The trick is, of course, to find really funny young people who are so young that they aren’t already going the YouTube star route out of UCB.

Anyway, absolutely no one listens to me and I’m just letting off steam while I charge my batteries to get back to writing my novel.

Here’s the video where I gradually came up with this idea.

Deconstructing Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’

by Shelton Bumgarner

I really like Taylor Swift’s latest song. But while I won’t call it derivative, I will suggest that it’s heavily influenced by two other songs.

One of the songs is Lily Allen’s “Straight To Hell.”
The other song is Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For the Boy.”

Swift’s song has been slowed down, however. So it’s not a one-to-one. But if you listen carefully to the background music, the “wall of sound” if you will, you can definitely hear the Allen song floating around.

Now, when it comes to Williams’ song, I think the producer of Swift’s song simply wanted to evoke the feel, the vibe of that song. But that sound was all over the place in 80s music so hearing it in Swift song is kind of driving me crazy.

Thus Swift’s song is a mixture of this song slowed down a lot:

And a big chunk of the sound of this song used as something as both a tone setter and a “cover” for the use of Allen’s song.

Both those two songs together, throw in some awkward modern lyrics about haters and…ta-da!

A Theory About Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’

by Shelton Bumgarner

As I’ve written before, I think Taylor Swift decided to use Lily Allen’s “Straight To Hell” as a musical blueprint for her song, “You Need To Calm Down.”

The more I listen to the two songs, it’s a much more subtle similarity than I originally thought. I guess what I’m hearing is there’s a background sound in the new song that is very, very similar to the Allen song. And the beat is very similar, if in a very garbled way.

Here’s what I think happened:

Swift is really mad about getting it from both gay people and Right Wing nutjobs. So, she found a song that expresses her view on the subject: Straight to hell.

So, her song should really be entitled, “Go Straight to Hell Haters.” But, as I said, there’s another song’s sound being used as something of a cover in the Swift song. It’s such a direct lift, in fact, that given enough time and thought I can probably figure it out.

It’s an 80s song, I think. It’s conspicuous as to be pretty self-evident. I just can’t think of the song right now. Whatever the 80s song is I’m hearing the influence of, it was a pretty big hit.

This is Strange: Taylor Swift’s ‘You Need To Calm Down’ & Lily Allen’s Version Of The Clash’s ‘Straight To Hell’ Have The Same Beat Structure

by Shelton Bumgarner

I really like Taylor Swift’s latest song, “You Need To Calm Down.” But something about it reminded me of something else. And it just occurred to me what it is — Lily Allen’s version of The Clash’s “Straight To Hell.”

Here’s take a listen for yourself:

There’s another song floating around in Swift’s song, though. It’s got a very 80s New Wave Electronica vibe to it. But otherwise, I sense a very, very strong influence on Swift’s song from the Allen song.

Or not.

Just an observation.

Wait, What? Taylor Swift Is A Very, Very Strange Person

by Shelton Bumgarner

Tay-Tay, we love you, ok?

Taylor Swift’s latest single, “You Need To Calm Down” is the lyrical equivalent of her puting some random Twitter troll with a few followers on blast. It is a deeply weird song.

She explicitly responds to some pretty dumb criticism against her…I think?..from some of the darker corners of the Internet. Musicians are notorious for running around naked on an emotional level in their music and this latest single from Swift is a prime example of that behavior.

It’s almost as if she, like, uh…needs a hug?

So, the song is a response to some gay haters who think she’s….what? Not gay friendly enough? (In hindsight, I think I may have misinterpreted the meaning of the song. I took the lyric “casing shade doesn’t make you any less gay” to mean she was telling her gay critics to cool it. But the lyric is probably meant to be more about homophobes who are generally assholes. )The deeply weird thing about the song is if she’s responding to one specific person on Twitter that got into her craw.

I simply have no explanation for how this song got produced in its current form. Generally, the idea for pop songs is to be timeless and universal and use subtext. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga are pretty good at this.

But Swift has a history of writing songs about and or directed at one specific person. Usually, in the past, it’s been boyfriends. This song, though, whoa buddy. I don’t get it. Weird, man, weird.

I think it’s safe to say that Swift is an extremely — EXTREMELY — sensitive person. She still needs to go rock in my opinion, though. But I think that says more about my craving for main stream rock music more than anything else.

Anyway, I generally like Swift’s latest stuff. I just wish she would chill out a little bit and have a little bit more self-confidence. We love you, ok? We really do.