V-Log: An Update On #Writing a #Novel & Maggie Haberman’s Weird Twitter Flex On Me


Well, THAT Was A Fucked Up Online Outreach By The New York Times

Wow. Not cool.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I have simple needs. I get to write my novel in peace. I get write mean tweets to Maggie Haberman about being The Trump Whisperer. Well, tonight I got tag teamed by two New York Times reporters — Haberman included! — about me being angry about a tweet on her part.

I don’t what’s going on with those guys. My only experience is just a small town community newspaper reporter but boy did Haberman come off as strangely passive aggressive and punching down. The few times I’ve talked to New York Times reporters they were gracious and personable. This time, however, they totally flexed on me in a counter-productive manner.

But, you know, the more I think about it, the stupider it becomes. It’s actually rather humorous. The thing about people like Haberman is they kind of want it both ways — they want to get upset with the use of “access journalism” but then they turn around and do exactly that.

Anyway, no harm no foul. But I’m not going to forget this. Putting people like on blast to prove a point that may — or may not — be what’s actually going on is a dangerous social media thing to do.

Whatever. I don’t care. I have a novel to work on.

V-Log: Idle, Incoherent Rambling About #Writing A #Novel

Some thoughts.

Of Seeing ‘Zombieland: Double Tap’ & Improving The Novel

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I went to see the newest Zombieland today and was pleased. It was worth the price of admission. Definitely got the impression Emma Stone HATES Jesse Eisenberg. She’s a good actor, but she’s not that good.

Not really related, but has an update on the state of the novel.

Going through the process of seeing the movie that I came up with some really great scenes in the latter pages of the first half of the novel. These scenes are so good, in fact, that I had a momentary bout of existential creative angst. I started to think maybe it should be TWO books with the first book ending on a cliffhanger. But since then, I’ve thought better of it. I really like the idea of just writing one novel that’s really accessible and fun but actually has something of a deeper, darker meaning.

One issue I keep toying with is how much to ground the story in a specific year and how much I should just make it “now” and have it run as a scenario. I’ve long called the novel a political fairytale for woke Park Slope moms and there is something to be said for making it a gauzy story that is simply set in the modern era. I worry it will come off as dated if I make it specific to an exact time.

And, yet, given that it’s meant to be my own person indictment of the clusterfuck that is the Trump Era, there’s something to be said for setting in in a specific year of that clusterfuck. If people go into it knowing that it’s set in a specific year, then it won’t feel dated (I hope.) It will simply feel like a way to have catharsis about about the Trump Era which, hopefully, will have come crashing down by the time this novel is set for me to pitch it to an imprint. If it HASN’T come to and end by about August 2020 then, well, I’ll just roll with the punches. The moment it sank in that wasn’t going to be able to finish the novel in time for it come out in summer 2020 when people would be thinking about the presidential election, I became a lot less concerned about being rushed.

I’m well on track to finish this novel by August 2020, but it’s my impression there is a good six months of post-production after you actually sell a complete manuscript. Of course, it would be like winning the lottery if I actually was able to sell the damn thing at all. I’m not the greatest writer in the world, but I am a decent story teller.

One thing I’m a little uneasy about is how cinematic some of the cooler scenes are. I mean, does that mean I should just write a screenplay? I quickly push such thoughts aside, however. All of Michael Crichton’s books pretty much read like a movie treatment as it is. I think I can forgive myself if I come up with a scene or two that depends on you knowing a song well enough to have it playing in my mind as the scene unfolds.

Anyway, I continue to worry that Phoebe Waller-Bridge is going to steal a creative march on me. But that’s just being really paranoid. My story is uniquely American. It wallows in its Americanism. Though I definitely admire and gain inspiration from Waller-Bridge because of her creative courage. I’ve made some creative decisions on this novel which are potentially fucking huge risks for any number of reasons.

But watching Zombieland today, I took note of how the were able to give what an mainstream audience wants. It’s because of how entertaining and, well, good, Zombieland was that I am reminded of how much I fucking hated Booksmart. That movie insulted me with its contempt for middle-American values and its absolute need to cram it’s desire to be comfort food to a 17-year-old bi-curious girl who goes to like, fucking Hollywood High down my throat. Sometimes, you want shit to blow up, people fall in love in a traditional manner and to hate on hippies like was found in Zombieland.

I am quick to note, however, that I was definitely not the audience of Booksmart, so go see it! I guess if I was in the mood to see a movie like Booksmart, I would just watch Heathers again. Now THAT was a good movie. Also, I like political subtext. In these divided times, it’s nice to put your politics in your work on the sly as a treat to people who agree with you. That way people who don’t agree with you politically, who don’t have the same cultural touchstones, still get to have a good time.

Everybody having a good time reading my novel is a big deal for me. That’s why, yes, there are plot points that are pretty conspicuous, there’s at least a small chance a MAGA person will at least enjoy themselves should they hate read it because Don. Jr. won’t shut up about it.

I am going to stay humble. There’s just too much that can go wrong. But I refuse to make decisions on what I don’t know. I’ve gotten this far and the story continues to entertain me, the writer, so I keep going. I’m well on my way to wrapping up the first half of the novel pretty soonish. I just keep making the specifics of the novel better and better, often because I distract myself for a few hours by watching a movie.

We’ll see. It will be interesting to see if I manage to pull this off or if I wake up one day and see someone has completely stolen a creative march on me. But, again, make decisions on what you know — not what you don’t know.

It Doesn’t Matter If There Was A Quid Pro Quo, YOU IDIOTS!

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Republicans’ messaging is this — if you can’t prove a quid pro quo then…four more years! This Big Lie is starting to gain traction as an effective messaging of the base. It gives Republican MAGA mouth breathers a talking point they can use to “own the moment” with people who disagree with them on Twitter.

But there’s one little problem with it — it’s entirely a construct of their messaging. The rough transcript of the call we have in black and white lays out all the impeach-and-convict behavior we need. But Trump’s rapidly falling back to Moscow if you will. He’s willing to cede whatever is necessary to simply stay in power. That’s it, that’s his endgame — stay in power.

I don’t what to tell you, folks. We’re in an existential political war with stakes that haven’t been higher without states leaving the Union.

Good luck.

Karen Tumulty, May I Suggest You Remember Mstislav Rostropovich?

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

A real problem with Twitter is you have a very short space to articulate what can be very complex issues. I consider myself a journalist — I was at least trained to be one — and I love the trade and the people who make it up. But we’re in a crisis — the worst political crisis since late 1860 — and the manner in which the Press is covering it is, frankly, embarrassing.

Today I got into a minor Twitter-spat with Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post. She put me on blast to poo-poo my suggestion that them doing yet ANOTHER story about Hunter Biden’s vaguely unethical business dealings from half a decade ago might not be the best use of the paper’s resources right now.

I’m so jaded at this point that her putting me on blast to “put me in my place” evokes nothing more than a lulz from me. Ok, you got me. You have a huge Twitter following and I’m just a rando you feel you can use as a rhetorical foil. The point I was trying to make, however, is valid. Rather than aiding and abetting the destruction of the Republic in the name of “objectivity,” might I suggest she — and the rest of the press — remember Mstislav Rostropovich.

There’s an iconic picture , which, for the life of me I can’t find, of him holding a Kalashnikov during the segue of the Russian White House about 20 years ago. Rostropovich wasn’t a solider — he was a well known orchestra conductor — but in a moment of crisis he took up a weapon and decided to attempt to defend liberty in the nation he loved.

So, I would suggest to Ms. Tumulty she think of Rostropovich when she crows about how I should subscribe to the paper to get the “full context” of their reporting. Trump wants to turn the United States into an autocratic “managed democracy” hell bent on putting Ms. Tumulty herself into jail for during her job.

If that isn’t enough to give her pause before crowing about discovering “important” information about Hunter Biden’s unethical behavior five years ago, I don’t know what will.

Republicans Now Have A Cogent Messaging Strategy … But Trump’s Still President

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

After letting a number of precious days slip past them, the Republican Party now has something akin to an overarching messaging strategy. Remember, the whole thing is based on an arbitrary Big Lie. It’s not as though facts are important or that anything they’re doing is thought up in good faith. They have one goal and one goal only — keep Trump in power.

With that it in mind, it seems as though Republicans have finally established their bullshit conditions for them to alledgly take impeachment seriously.

Quid Pro Quo Has To Be Established.
This is complete bullshit because Trump and his cronies keep giving up the game on this one. But this is a key talking point right now. Even though we have all we need to prove an impeachable offense in rough transcript — quid pro quo or not — Republicans have set an impossible standard that they can then hammer home whenever asked. They’re messaging to the base that only if Trump actually uses the actual words quid pro quo does the House investigation into this situation come close to not being a “witch hunt.” This is total bullshit on their part because they honestly don’t give a shit about anything but keeping power and grifting. So Trump himself could do exactly this one thing they absolutely demand and they would simply pivot to the next talking point. They just don’t care. They don’t care about liberal democracy anymore. Fuck you, see if you can convict Trump in the Senate is their real agenda.

After this main talking point, they seem to have a hodge-podge of other, less important ones they reference as needed to “own the moment.” They rant about Schiff “lying.” They think it’s all a Deep State con job – entrapment. Everything they say is complete bullshit because we have Trump dead to rights and now it’s simply a matter of waging a pitched political war for the next few weeks. Republicans will destroy the Constitution, the Republic and whenever the fuck else they have to do keep Trump in power, even if he finally goes completely fucking insane.

As I’ve said before, I always though Trump would lose his mind in private and then a secret Regency would be set up. Now I realize Trump could very well snap and we’ll have a madman as president until the wheels of government finally grind towards some sort of endgame. Trump is obviously bonkers now, but he’s a least reasonably cogent and reasonably in control of his absolute worst instincts.

It definitely seems that Republicans are also doing their best to egg the base on into some sort of violence. They really, really, REALLY want MAGA people all over the country to start killing members of the media or Democratic member of Congress. They, of course, will say these people are mentally ill and it’s not their fault. But they will also use the death and destruction as a cover for telling us we have to end impeachment and “let the people decide” in 2020. This is fucking bullshit not only because Trump will simply bribe Electors or directly conspire with the Russians, or the Saudis or the fucking North Koreans to hack into the voting booth, but there’s a good chance that even if Trump loses fair and square, that they want violence then, too, so they can keep power.

The sooner we realize that the entire Republican Party is now a criminal fascist organization, the sooner we can be honest with ourselves about the stakes we face and what really is actually likely to happen.

And, really, the entire fate of the United States as we know it now rests on Trump losing his mind in some manner that is so completely fucking spectator that somehow 20 Republican Senators miraculously decide maybe Pence wouldn’t be such a bad president after all. That’s it. That’s all the hope I got right now.

The Republicans hate democracy so much that they will fight dirty, they will lie, they will cheat, they will burn everything to the ground simply to keep power. They are only interested in democracy as a transactional event. They want to abuse it to regain power if they lose it.

I don’t know, folks. Now what.

‘Thank, You Next’ — Mick Mulvaney Edition

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Mick Mulvaney is seen as something of a Little Big Man in the eyes of Donald Trump. Mulvaney is who Trump thinks he is. But today, Mulvaney has proven himself to be a big old doofus.

Let’s set the scene. Mulvaney came out today and attempted to update 2016’s “Fuck your feelings” with a “Get over it” message when it comes to a quid pro quo. He made it very clear that it happens all the time and “elections have consequences.”

He said it on tape. We have him absolutely dead to rights.

Now numbskull is saying he didn’t say what he explicitly said. I know I say Trump’s criminally incompetent, but there’s no taksies-backsies for confessing to Big Boy Crimes. I guess he’s going to get away with it. They always do. In fact, if he DOESN’T get away with it, that would be so out of the ordinary that it would be a datapoint that would make me re-evaluate my belief that only the absolute-worst scenario can possible by the endgame to all of this.

I got a good chuckle out this fuck up, if nothing else.

James Mattis, Political Coward

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Let me be absolutely clear — I have only the highest respect for the Marines and Sec. James Mattis. At the same time, on a political level, Mattis is a coward.

The only person I can compare him to in this political war we find ourselves in is George McClellan. McClellan found himself on the wrong side of political history and he paid dearly for it. So spare me your indignation over me being shocked that Mattis continues to be mum about Trump’s attack on the Republic.

If Mattis joins William McRaven in addressing how bad Trump is, then I take back everything I just said. But, for the time being, Mattis is a political coward. He may be the best general since Patton on the battlefield, but he is not showing much vallor on the field of politics. And it would be so easy for him to fix this situation. Go on TV and simply tell what is self-evident. He would instantly be a civilian political hero.

Again, I’m just a global cuck. What do I know. I think I’ve made myself clear about exactly what I’m trying to say. The time for silence is over Mad Dog. The people need to hear from you.

President Nancy Pelosi Must Be Our Endgame Now

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Let me be clear — I’m no big fan of Nancy Pelosi. Even for me, she’s a bit too “woke” for modern American retail politics. But she is a leader and she does have what it takes to be a caretaker president simply so we can have a free-and-fair election in 2020.

If this was a normal Watergate-level scandal, then I would be content with President Pence. He’s conservative as hell, but for the sake of the country, simply pushing Trump out politically would be enough to right the ship of state at last. But, given that this is the biggest existential threat to the Republic since states started leaving the Union after Lincoln’s election, President Pence won’t cut it.

He’s too wrapped up in the criminal fascist conspiracy that is the current Trump Administration. Pence needs the old heave-ho too. I have no idea how this could possibly happen given that Pence has no shame, but sometimes it’s good to dream big politically. We need to set our sights on getting Pelosi into the White House as soon as possible using the framework that exists within the Constitution. In fact, I only even suggest this because it’s the only acceptable outcome if you take this clusterfuck seriously.

It’s too easy to imagine that Pence becomes president and lulz, Barr and Pompeo remain in office and we simply slide into a theocracy. I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those “secularist” Barr and Pompeo bemoan and I don’t particularly feel like finding myself in a weaponized ICE camp in some sort of surreal mixture of The Plot Against America and The Handmaid’s Tale. Pence’s vision of America is based on hypocrisy and the enslavement of women. If that’s not enough to actively work to politically shank him, I don’t know what is.

But, to be honest, the only way we get a President Pelosi is a Radical Resistance. We throw down the gauntlet. Pelosi takes up the moral mantle of the show president by pounding away at the entire corrupt, fascist Trump Administration on a daily basis. We’re in enough of a crisis that she needs to scare the shit out of people. Use inherent contempt to arrest Rudy. Lobby Obama to speak out. Maybe even get Jon Stewart to go on an impassioned rant on The Late Show.

Or, put another way, Pelosi needs to set the national agenda everyday. Trump and Pence are like characters from the movie Scream. They are attempting to tag-team the destruction of our Republic into some surreal dystopia.

I have my doubts, however, that Pelosi is up to it. She’s too conservative on a Constitutional level. Too reluctant to be political aggressive in any way beyond her status as a Constitutional officer. We’ll see, I guess. Stranger things have happened. Maybe she’ll at last rise to the occasion in the manner the nation needs her to.