For The Resistance, Trick Is To Accept The Trumplandia Era Without Normalizing It

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The fact that the most recent Congressional races have not gone The Resistance’s way, has caused a lot of consternation on the part of its members. There is a lot of finger pointing and a lot people saying we’re doing everything wrong. I believe we should finally accept that this is a new era where the surreal is common place. But I don’t think we should normalize it.

There is a fine line between accepting the Donald Trump era and normalizing it. In other words, if we don’t all take a deep breath and realize we’re in a new normal we’re apt to burn our selves out. We can still rage against all the totally bizarre things going on while still engaging people with opposing views to ours.

Or, to put it another way, we have a long time before the 2018 mid-terms. And it could be even longer than that before The Resistance finally gets its act together through effective leadership. It takes time for leadership to bubble up to the surface and it could be 2018 or 2020 — or even longer — before someone is willing to step up to the plate and give The Resistance the vision it needs to finally overtake Trumplandia.

Part of the problem is, at least for me, that I struggle to make historical comparisons. What, exactly, is Trumplandia? Is it an updated Nixonland? Is it an updated Reagan Revolution? Or is it something even darker? Is this the late 1850s and Trump is John Buchanan? Is an actual Second Civil War on its way in 2020, should a Democrat win? Or could it come even sooner should it become obvious that Trump will be impeached and convicted?

As I have frequently said elsewhere, a president sets the tone of his era and Trump has done a good job of turning half of America in to thin-skinned crackpots just like him. It seems as though there really are two Americas. This has come about for various reasons, including technology and economics. I have suggested in the past that maybe some of it has come from a slow movement towards a technological Singularity. We may have reached a the event horizon of a Singularity that will appear in 20 or 30 years from now.

That would make a lot of sense, given how adept Trump has been in using Twitter. That, of course, raises the issue, yet again, of The Resistance coming up with a Twitter replacement. Something that did much of what Twitter does, but forces longer-length conversations. That, at this point at least, is just an idle daydream because I, personally, can’t do anything about it because I have no money, can’t code and don’t really want to learn. But you’d think someone out there might decide to do it. I know I would use such a service.

Regardless, we have to accept that nothing is going to change politically anytime soon. That’s the key. The Resistance can’t risk burning itself out. I say instead of just flaying around with rage, use your energy productively but engaging people who you disagree with and thinking of creative ways to help the movement. That makes the most sense, at least to me.

I just worry that if we don’t do as I suggest, The Resistance will be totally burnt out when the time comes in 2018 or 2020 to do something that requires a lot of energy.

‘Summer Solstice’ — Lyrics To A Woke Pop-Rock-Rap Song Of The Summer

These lyrics are meant to be set to a song of the summer kind of beat. I am using the events floating around right now. But given that no one listens to me, really I’m just trying to tell a story in verse for my own enjoyment. This song is meant to be a homage to The Temptations’ Ball Of Confusion.

Summer Solstice
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

the world is growing warmer by the moment
the days are growing hotter every day
the days seem to be growing longer too
there’s nothing to stop our doom
we need to address the change in climate
but Trump just sits on his tiny, tiny hands

[chorus]
summer solstice
the longest day of the year
summer solstice
the longest day of the year
is full of fear
is full of fear
is full of fear

a billion here a billion there
the Man is making more and more
while you and me are growing poor
they want to defund everything we need
23 million to lose their health care
all because the powers that be
want to annoy people like me

[chorus]
summer solstice
the longest day of the year
summer solstice
the longest day of the year
is full of fear
is full of fear
is full of fear

[bridge]
voter rights
are fading fast
racists delight
guns on the streets
people wanting to regulate us
beneath the sheets
it’s all happening
on summer solstice

[chorus]
summer solstice
the longest day of the year
summer solstice
the longest day of the year
is full of fear
is full of fear
is full of fear

Talk To Me Internet: Art In The Age Of Trump, Redux

By Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The issue of how to deal with Donald Trump as president is a tough one for art. Art is usually the thing that autocrats first attack and Trump has set the tone of his era such that even Shakespeare is under attack. I don’t know what we’re going to do about it. I do my little part through writing song lyrics and struggling with a novel, but not much — at least right now — is happening either.

‘Denial’ — Lyrics To A Woke Pop-Rock-Dance Protest Song

I have mixed emotions about Selena Gomez’s song Bad Liar. In some ways it’s the song of the summer, and in other ways it kind of gets on my nerves a little bit. But it’s definitely got a beat and you can dance to it. But it has gotten me thinking about a similar song with more, um, “woke” lyrics that would be a sly take on climate deniers. At last, that’s the aim.

Denial
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

with you in control
the world continues to spin
but you have to admit
you’re doing nothing to stop
nothing to stop, nothing stop
how quickly it’s growing hot
and what not
so you can deny it all you want
tell me to slow my roll
but it’s clear
the world is getting hotter
it’s hot as can be
now what baby

[chorus]
stop denying what we all can see
stop denying what we all can feel
the world’s growing hot, hot, hot

those around you refuse to see
what is right before your face
your skin sweats just like mine
the summer seems to last all year long
the sun ain’t getting closer
but when I see you my blood seems to boil
we’re all going to suffer
the people across the globe can see
what we both know is the truth
you need to stop denying the facts

[chorus]
stop denying what we all can see
stop denying what we all can feel
the world’s growing hot, hot, hot

[bridge]
things are changing so quickly
the ice caps are melting at a rapid pace
what are you going to do when
there’s no ice left to rub across your face

don’t be in denial
don’t be in denial
don’t be in denial

Write What You Know

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am struggling to write a mildly satirical speculative fiction novel about this crazy era we live in. I am writing my outline out in long hand because that seems to work the best for me. It’s a struggle though, for several different reasons.

I keep screwing up — at least in my own mind — and I start from scratch over and over and over again. I am trying to draw upon my personal experiences in Seoul about 10 years ago to give myself a plot, but even that’s difficult. I am juggling several different things in my head at the same time. The general crazy — if strong — high concept and then the more specific plot of what happened in Seoul.

So, I don’t know. I am trying to fuse the two things together as best I can, but it may take a lot longer — and require a lot more thought — than I ever imagined.

It’s fun, though. It’s fun to see if I can pull it off. I find myself doing a lot of pondering of both my high concept and what happened to me in Seoul. Only time will tell, I guess

Is Trump The Only Thing Stopping A Second American Civil War?

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I am concerned that in hindsight, this decade will be look back upon as the same as the 1850s. During that decade, the United States was tearing itself apart slowly and in hindsight it seemed obvious that a Civil War was in the making.

I worry that maybe the only thing stopping a bloody Second American Civil War is the simple fact that the surreal, extreme bizarre Right is content with the president. If something happens to Trump politically, is it possible that all bets are off? Is it possible there will be real bloodshed?

It definitely seems as though should a center-Left person win in 2020 or 2024 (more likely) that the same forces that elected Donald Trump in the first place will destroy the United States. And, really, at that point it’s a question of if our elected leaders are up to the challenge or not.

Nothing indicates right now, alas, that they are .

‘The Ballad Of Otto Warmbier,’ — Lyrics To A Pop Folk Song

Now, let me stress from the beginning that this entire situation is tragic. It’s tragic what happened to this poor boy and it’s even more tragic that there’s weirdly enough some traction when it comes to war talk as part of his death. I find this all weird. But his death is so tragic that it seems it warrants an attempt at a folk pop song. No one pays any of my lyrics any attention, so this is just me yelling out into the void my sadness at what happened. I don’t want war with North Korea, and it’s really sad that poor young Warmbier had to die at the hands of that horrific regime. This would be a folk pop ballad.

The Ballad of Otto Warmbier
lyrics by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls
please give credit if you produce or perform

the land of the morning calm is still
divided in two with dreams that are now nightmares
things are about as bad as they could be
and tragically, I am forced to sing
of one more thing, one more thing, one more thing

Otto Warmbier a young man just out of school
pulled down a banner like a fool
but nothing he could have done
nothing under the great big sun
could possibly merit his unjust treatment
he was beaten to an inch of his life
the North Koreans beat him again again
put him in a coma now he’s dead
put him in a coma now he’s dead
put him in a coma now he’s dead

there’s talk now of bombings
more dead, more dead, more dead
but what are these people thinking
don’t they know the list is long
as the people of Operation Paul Bunyon
and the crew of the Pueblo
can attest, the wicked North Koreans get no rest

so history will remain frozen I’m afraid
nothing will happen to avenge young Warmbier’s name
the millions that would die should try
is a cost far, far, far too high
though let us never forget what the North Koreans did
they beat poor young Warmbier again and again
put him in a coma now he’s dead
put him in a coma now he’s dead
put him in a coma now he’s dead

The Resistance Needs An App To Use Instead Of Twitter

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Now, I have gone into great detail about my personal vision for a “Twitter killer,” but because I don’t have any money, can’t code and don’t really want to learn, it’s just a daydream. But I can, at least, give some sense of what I think would be effective for The Resistance when it comes to defeating Donald Trump at his own game.

We need a service like Twitter, only better. We need a service that encourages longer, more in depth discussions. Now, I am WELL AWARE that Reddit exists. But I find Reddit too inward looking, difficult to use and from a design standpoint, kind of ugly.

So, I want an app that maybe is a fusion of the old IRC with the old Usenet. That probably makes no sense to most people, but it will to a few people. I have mapped out that vision in great detail on Instagram, but no one has taken me up on it and I should probably just focus on writing my novel.

Anyway.

Snark, Trump Era Zeitgeist & The Resistance’s Need For An Anti-Axios

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Sometimes, the absence of something can oddly be just as noticeable as the presence of something. It wasn’t too long ago — less than 10 years ago — when the nattering nabobs of the New York media world were aflutter over snark, smarm and the the difference between the two.

At the center of this debate was the late, sometimes-not-so-great Gawker Media. It is interesting that Gawker was at its best in the 2003-2004 era when it was new, just starting and was commenting on the early George W. Bush era. It was the age of the Second Iraq War and for people like me, Gawker.com really tapped into the zeitgeist.

It did, at least, for people like me.

In those early years of Gawker as we settled into the long war of Iraq, the site was a place to go and get a good chuckle over the foolishness of it all. In 2004 Wonkette was still under the Gawker Media umbrella at it, too, was really cool. It was really snarky and fun and was talking about stupid shit that the Bush Administration was up to.

But gradually, things changed. Some of it had to do with the loss of focus on the part of Gawker Media founder Nick Denton and some of it had to do with, well, Obama being president. It was difficult to be snarky and mean about how stupid The Powers That Be were when, like, we had a Cool Dad as president. The battle over snark versus smarm was joined and the issue became so muddled that eventually the lights got turned on, the beer drained and the party was definitely over.

Flash forward to now and it seems as though we’ve entered the post-snark era. This is really, really odd because there’s so much to be snarky about. If ever there was something to be unabashedly snarky about, Trumplandia is definitely it. The absence of any real snark as practiced by Gawker.com and before that Spy Magazine and Late Night With David Letterman is a quite a head scratcher.

Some of it, probably has to do with demographics. The people who most likely be the generators of snark — young people — are probably just a little bit too young to reach that 20-25 age era of their life when they want to crack wise at everything. Or not. I don’t know. It is interesting that the closest thing to any kind of protest or snark in pop culture is the pretty bland “woke” pop music you hear every now and again. Pop culture in general really hasn’t changed much since Trump’s victory. There are a few pings here and there of Hollywood getting its act together and helping people process Trump’s ascendance, but not nearly as much as you might think. Some of it is that it takes time to develop scripted material, I know, but still. You’d think they’d fast track that shit or something. Times are kind of desperate.

But there’s no site right now that is tapping into the anger that a lot of people are still feeling from the events of November 2016. What’s weird is, we have Axios. Axios relies upon “access journalism” for its scoops on the Trump Administration and it plays it right down the middle. No snark, no quips, no figurative raised eye brows, no anything. Just plain, boring facts about the insane clown shit-show that is the Trumplandia era. I guess what I’m suggesting is that The Resistance needs it’s own version of Axios. An anti-Axios. Something that does for The Resistance what Axios does for Trumplandia. It would be irreverent, snarky and cool like Spy Magazine was 30 years go.

You’d think that someone, somewhere would see what I see — that there is both an audience and a market for a snarky site like the old Gawker or Wonkette. Something for people like me to read and have the occasional cathartic laugh through. The closest thing we have right now is the podcast company Crooked Media. The only problem with Crooked Media is it always leave me wanting more. I listen to Pod Save America or Pod Save The World and I get so stirred up, so angry that I want to read articles about what they’ve been talking about. But, to date at least, they haven’t started to generate that kind of content. That would be the obvious thing for them to do to take their site to the next level, I must note.

This brings up the interesting idea of what my would be neo-Gawker would be like. In my imagination, it would be a lot like the Gawker.com of 2003-2004, but with a lot more video. Like, I would like most blog posts to have a 2 minute clip from the writer of the post explaining what they have written. I would also like regular video podcasts. Though Trumplandia has caused me to become addicted to podcasts, I think video podcasts are the future. I used to do one on the now defunct Blab platform and it was a lot of fun. If you’re all that interested in what I did, you can samples of my “show” on my YouTube channel.

I have suggested on more than on occasion that of all the existing media companies out there, that Playboy has the biggest vested interest in re-tooling itself as something of a neo-Gawker. I’m sure it’s a lot more difficult for them to do this than I think, but they have the means, motive and opportunity to do as I suggest. They are a legacy brand with a history of progressive leanings and they’re desperate to be relevant again. It would make a lot of sense for them to poach lot of Jezebel.com writers and completely retool Playboy.com to become the site that people like visit to process what is going on with Trumplandia.

Another thing I might suggest is having someone, say, Ilana Glazer, be a roving reporter for the site. I really liked what Gawker did with Julia Allison way back when and it would be fun to recreate that silly experience of having a young, attractive woman running around the streets of New York City having zany hi-jinks. I just think that’s really cool. I really like the concept.

Regardless, maybe the media world has changed to such an extent that what I want simply isn’t possible. It could be that the amount of money needed to start a major blog is now such that the whole endeavor is cost prohibitive. That makes me sad. It would be so much fun to have one site that was the go-to site for The Resistance. Something that really tapped into this anger that many of us are feeling.

I would start such a media company myself — The Trumplandia Report is kind of my vision of what it would look like — but, alas, I don’t have any money and generally no one listens to me. But I need somewhere to vent, so I write here whenever the mood strikes me. I hope that doing my little part for The Resistance helps in some way.

Shelton Bumgarner is the editor and publisher of The Trumplandia Report. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail.com.

It Was Inevitable That Obamacare Was Doomed

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

While Obamacare was a bad bill from the beginning, it was for most people at least a lot better than what existed before. But I’m enough of a student of history to know that it was inevitable that it would be repealed.

Republicans are so surreal in their hatred for everything connected to Obama that once they got power — however long it took — they were going to get rid of the legislation. So, we are on the cusp of just that happening.

So, I don’t know. What will be interesting to see is if once they do repeal it if the pendulum will swing by the other direction and we’ll go to a single payer format. That’s a very real possibility. Though, it’s also very real that we’re just doomed and we’re stuck with this soft dystopia for a few years.

History does not go in a straight line. The good guys don’t always win. So, this could be it. This could be the end of not only Obamacare, but the end of America’s liberal democratic republic. At least, for as long as I live.