The Fall Of The First Republic

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

There comes a point when you have to finally admit that the Trump is not a cause, but a symptom of deep-seated, existential problems with the United States’ political system. As such, the moment Trump’s acquitted by the Senate, the Republic has effectively fallen.

At that point, it’s simply a matter of how bad things get and for how long. This is when you have to take a deep breath and realize that there’s a real risk that MAGA will rapidly mutate and go full Nazi very, very soon. If The Kooch or Kris Kobach becomes Trump’s Veep, not Pence, this is all but assured. All Republicans have to do is get Trump past Election Day 2020 and they’re set for a generation, if not more.

They can weaponize ICE camps, round up everyone they don’t like and start the American Killing Fields. I wish this was hyperbole, but, alas, it’s not. It’ll happen in fits and starts, but it will happen. Once Trump — or his successor — starts ranting about the need for a Constitutional Convention to “pass a balanced budget amendment,” then, well, American Carnage is here for good.

There are any number of really dark scenarios you could pace out at that point. The literal end of the world. Millions dead. A Thousand Year Trump that lasts at least until global climate change shakes things up enough that the regime buckles.

I wrote all that to lay out what I believe will, in fact, happen, over the course of the next few years. But there’s one major unknown unknown — Trump’s mental state. It’s rather dark and tragic that in the short term, the only way that the Republic stands is not because we all come to our senses, but because Trump loses his so quickly — and manages to bring Pence down with him in a very quick series of events — that President Pelosi serves as a caretaker president simply for there to be a free and fair election in 2020. But that is so completely unknown — he could simply be a puddle in 20202 and still re-election — that I would not bet on it as saving us.

But it is, at least, something to think about. I just hope ICE lets me finish the novel I’m writing before they drag me out of my bed in the middle of the night.

Constructing A Believable Heroine For This Novel Is A Real Challenge

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I did not go into this trying to write the novel this has become. I was trying to write a novel with a proxy-ME in the center of it. But gradually, I realized it was far more practical to make a young woman at the center of the story. But one of the major issues I’ve had to deal with is the appearance of my heroine.

The market wants her to be a sexxy slutty assassin, while the audience, not so much. And the more I read about how the woke blue check liberals of, say, Vox, view story telling the more angry I get. It seems as though the smug liberals of Vox have completely come to see any sort of universal story as illegitimate. Or, to put it another way, a middle aged white man can’t tell the story of anyone but middle aged white men. Slay the patriarchy and all that.

I say this as someone who in the never ending hellscape of Twitter probably is a lot more liberal-progressive than the above paragraph might suggest. Also, I have to lower my expectations and be more frank with myself about how likely it is I can even sell this novel whenever that point in the process comes.

I have spent hours and hours tying to figure out what my heroine looks like and the specifics of her ethnic background. It’s crucial, at least to me, that I’m able to balance the needs of the marketplace with the expectations of the audience. It’s a lot of fun, but also a pretty tough challenge. Right now, writing this novel is like really hard job that I love.

I’m writing this for myself and to simply go through the process of writing a novel. That’s it. If anyone who doesn’t know me reads it and likes it, then that would be one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Or, put another way, you write your first novel for yourself. I can’t help how old I am. I know that would be a part of the story if it became any sort of success. And, really, the entire point of this novel is having some sort of outlet for my rage against MAGA. The plot is really just an excuse to run around an allegory about the Trump Era.

Hopefully, the story is entertaining enough just on its surface that even if people are hate-reading it, they will enjoy it.

YouTube Has A Real ‘Red Pill’ Video Problem

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

One of the biggest threats to the Republic outside of fucking MAGA is its ideological nasty little brother the “Red Pill” video that I keep getting bombarded with on YouTube. I guess some of the research I’m doing for the novel I’m developing makes YouTube think I’m a would-be incel-altRight-MAGA friendly or something. Fuck that.

I hate all that bullshit and I hate that I keep seeing these videos by Scott Adams acolytes that vaguely and barely hide their racism and misogyny in the guise of telling me the “truth” about the things the evil main stream media is trying to hide from me because of the influence of SJWs and “woke” “cancel culture.”

Ugh.

I have some very, very strong political views. A lot of my political views probably would not fair well in the eyes of “woke” blue check liberals on Twitter. But my hatred for MAGA is so absolute that I’m willing to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune from the Left simply for the sake of having someone to help me destroy MAGA as a political and social movement.

It’s somewhat amusing how passionate these Red Pill videos are about how Kathleen Kennedy is the George Soros of Hollywood out to crush Baby Yoda or whatever other fuckwit theory.

I’m not a huge fan of Ms. Kennedy, but, come on guys. Your misogyny is showing.

Alien’s ‘Ripley,’ & The Struggle To Tell A Universal Story In The Age Of Trump

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m trying to distract myself so I can come up with a different take on specifics of the novel I’m developing, so I’m writing about whatever pops into my mind to that end.

So, Ripley. Ripley was originally written for a man. It’s a testament to how great an actress Sigourney Weaver is that her interpretation of that character is such a universally loved icon. I keep thinking of Ripley as a character build my heroine. I want a strong heroine that women like because she’s strong and complex and men like because she’s hot and they feel she would kick their ass if they crossed her.

Having said that, the issue of my heroine’s appearance has been the subject of much, much, much, much internal debate and struggle on my part. The issue is the market wants her to be a sexxy slutty assassin, while the audience — especially women — wants something far more complex. Things get even more complex when you factor in that while many vocal feminist actresses in Hollywood want strong, complex heroines, they at the same time seem to have very strict and narrow demands about what that means. The character can’t be too hot. She has to want to slay the patriarchy. She can not fit any trope that has ever been articulated by anyone at any point in the past. And, really, I sometimes think they don’t even want a man — especially a middle-aged white male like me — to write the damn story to begin with. They think only women can tell a female story and fuck you, you creepy old dude in a flyover state for wanting to try your hand at it.

My reaction to this problem is it sobers me up. I take what I’m doing far more seriously. I’m lower my expectations. I’m writing the story for myself. If it happens that someone else — anyone else — likes it, then that’s great. But there are some existential issues that I simply can’t avoid — one is I hate MAGA with a white hot rage and, well, I’m also a middle aged white man. So, in real terms, it’s unlikely that the more “woke” members of the intended audience will be all that thrilled with it given that they liked the movie Booksmart and the novel The Female Persuasion. Identity politics narrows who will be willing to give me a chance in the first place. The very people who I will need to generate buzz — blue check liberals — are the very people the most likely to scoff that someone like me could write the type of novel I want to write in the first place.

But we’ll see, I guess. The story is improving greatly right now. It will be interesting to see how embarrassing the product is when I finish the next draft and let Beta Readers look at it.

The Demise Of Universal Truth

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

It’s difficult to have a story that evokes emotions on a mass level when there’s no universal truth. If every single option you have as a storyteller is simply reduced to this or that “trope” then, well, now what. There’s a reason why they say there’s nothing new under the sun.

Yes, tropes and cliches exist and should be rightfully avoided. And, yet, there comes a point when you’re so wrapped up in smelling your own farts when it comes to pointing out tropes that you miss the entire point of telling a story in the first place. My current irritation is something evoked by a Vox article I stumbled across. It goes on at great length about how, essentially, any time a woman’s life is put in danger it’s a variation of the “fridging” trope and thus to be poo-pooed. I find this very fucking annoying as a storyteller because while, yes, it is easy to use violence towards women as a plot device to move a male character’s arc along, to simply dismiss its use altogether as lazy is a fucking dick move. It’s because violence towards women is so fucking bad that it’s an effective way to engage readers and get them interested in how everything is going to be wrapped up.

It should be use sparingly, yes. It should not be used gratuitously. It should be avoided, but not eliminated altogether. I guess the Vox article was trying to say that specifically sexual violence towards women is a lazy trope not to be used if its solely for the purpose of moving a male character through his journey…and….yet, they seemed to have a very, very broad interpretation of the “fridging” trope. So broad as to suggest using it at all is, what, being done to the benefit of the patriarchy that we keep being told is supposed to be slayed?

While I hate MAGA with a white hot rage, I think the proof is in the pudding when it comes to pop art. The average person just wants an interesting story with interesting people put in intriguing situations. If you do the hard work have character development and plot, if something bad happens to a woman then it’s not some meta-experiment in keeping women subjugated by the patriarchy on a societal level, it’s simply the story you, the artist, want to tell. As such, a lot of stories that may not pass the Bechtel Test (fuck that test, by the way) or the “slay the patriarchy” test are rather popular with both men and women. And by “popular,” I mean make money and have some sort of cultural significance.

All of this is making me much more serious when it comes to write a novel. I realize that there’s at least a 99% chance I’m going to fail on a pretty monumental level. But I started this adventure for two reasons 1) to have a creative way to rant against MAGA 2) to go through the process of trying to develop, write and sell a potential pop work of art novel.

Anyway, we’ll see. I still have a lot of work to do. But it’s fun. A lot of fun. Wish me luck.