Hollywood, Think About A ‘Caine Mutiny’ Remake

by Shelton Bumgarner

I found myself watching the end of The Caine Mutiny today and it was chilling. Something about how everything we assumed about the mad Captain Queeg was wrong seems eerily appropriate for this ear of Trumplandia. Or, put another way, I think if you made a remake of that movie modern audiences would get the connection between Queeg and Trump.

That’s the way art is supposed to act, at least in my opinion.

But the odd silence on the part of Hollywood when it comes to Trumplandia is enough to give me pause for thought. Maybe it will take years, if not decades before Hollywood gets its act together and helps explain the Trump situation to us in ways we can easily process. Oh well.

Talk To Me Internet: Today Has, To Say The Least, Been Surreal

by Shelton Bumgarner

Today has been surreal and it’s not even over yet. So, maybe it will get worse, maybe it will get better. Who knows with this age of Trumplandia.

Revolution Article 5: Yo, Trump, What Is Going On, Brah?

r Article 5 of the NATO treaty, the article that is the essence of the treaty because it says an attack on one is an attack on all, was all Donald Trump’s. In fact, he didn’t tell anyone he was going to do it beforehand.

This is all very surreal.

What is going on? What would Trump do such a thing? This is an example of how the possibility of there being collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians is having very real consquences. This is, needless to say, a nightmare situation for American foreign policy because it really disrupts the very foundations of the United States’ relations with its European allies.

What happens if, say, Russian invades Ukraine in a general ground war. What do you say to Poland, which might grow understandably nervous at all of this. Or, God forbid, what happens to a Baltic state should Russia invade it. There is now no assurance that the States will swoop in to save the day.

These are scary times and there are no easy answers, especially since the party you would think would be the mos upset about all of this, the Republican Party, is now Vichy, callow and prostrate at the feet of the quisling Donald J. Trump. It’s a tragedy and there is no easy way out. None at all.

Only by removing Trump from office might this nightmare be over and things might snap back into place. But that is a fanciful daydream at this point. We’ve got a solid 18 months of Trumplandia to deal with, if not significantly longer.

I wish there was something I could say that would make sense of all of this, but I am at a loss for words. A lot can happen in 18 months and we’re one major incident either domestic or foreign between ourselves and a major catastrophe.

Jesus, Hollywood, Wake Up: Donald Trump Is ‘The Mule’

By Shelton Bumgarner

As anyone with some knowledge about The Foundation Saga will tell you: Donald Trump is The Mule.

Let’s review exactly why this is the case. According to Wikipedia:

The Mule is a fictional character from Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.[1] One of the greatest conquerors the galaxy has ever seen, he is a mentalic who has the ability to reach into the minds of others and “adjust” their emotions, individually or en masse, using this capability to conscript individuals to his cause. Not direct mind-control per se, it is a subtle influence of the subconscious; individuals under the Mule’s influence behave otherwise normally – logic, memories, and personality intact. This gives the Mule the capacity to disrupt Seldon’s plan by invalidating Seldon’s assumption that no single individual could have a measurable effect on galactic socio-historical trends on their own, due to the plan relying on the predictability of the actions of very large numbers of people.

In the Foundation universe, there is the notion that Hari Sheldon came up with something called The Sheldon Plan that predicted a way through which what would otherwise have been 10,000 years of darkness after the fall of the Galactic Empire could be reduced to 1,000 through the use of two Foundations.

Now, as told in The Foundation Saga, The Mule is a comic character who has the ability to subtly influence people’s minds. He is a threat to the Foundation and the Shelton Plan because he disrupts the Sheldon Plan’s basic notion that no one person can disrupt history significantly.

In my reading of all of this, the American Constitution is analogous to The Sheldon Plan. One of the interesting plot points of the novel’s universe is that a hologram of Sheldon pops out at crucial junctures in the plan’s progression to reaffirm its success. So, in my imagination, it’s kind of like if James Madison was to pop out steampunk style ever four years and tell us, in general terms, who had just won the presidential election and why.

There’s a scene where Sheldon does this and everything is out of whack because of The Mule. It seems as though if you know anything about The Foundation Saga that the similarity between Donald Trump and The Mule is painfully obvious. In the context of fictional Foundation history and real American history, the two characters are almost completely identical.

If someone in Hollywood doesn’t have the wherewithal to do something with this obvious comparison, I give up on the whole industry. A great screenwriter and director could do something really, really powerful with The Mule in the context of Trumplandia. I struggle to understand why no one in Hollywood has yet to notice this and begin production on a movie or even a TV series that addresses this point. I know that HBO, was, at some point in the recent past supposed to be working on something like what I suggest, but I haven’t heard anymore about it.

I, personally, can’t do anything about it because I don’t have the rights to the book and even if I did, I know my limits and I’m struggling to write a novel about the zany nature of Trump’s era. A screenplay would definitely, at this point, be a bridge too far.

But we’ll see, I guess. It still find myself waiting for all the great art to come out of the Trumplandia era. It will happen, eventually, of course. I just worry it may be too late.

The Madness Of King Trump

even though for various unfortunate reasons he grew completely daft in his old age.

Alas, that is not the case with our own mad king.

When the Madness Of King Trump is written in the history books at some point in the future, tweet storms like the one below will be used as exhibit A in how civil society struggled to understand what the hell was going on.

Take a look at these tweets with as clear a mind as possible and try to explain to me how the should be treated. Are these the president just shouting out into the void? Are these the rantings of a potentially unhinged global leader or what? How serious are we supposed to take these and how are we supposed to process them.

The point is, it’s all very surreal. There is no honest way for American civil society to comprehend what is going on. The president’s tweeting is unprecedented in the annals of American presidential politics and it will take decades for us to process it all. I mean, just the fact that there will be entire books written on just one or two of Trump’s tweets at some point in the future is enough to give you pause.

But people apparently wanted excitement in their politics and they’ve gotten their wish. It all kind of blows my mind. At least with Richard Nixon you had to wait for the National Archives to transcribe the Nixon Tapes. Now, we get the tapes — and worse — in real time every morning when we wake up. Sheesh. It’s enough to leave you scratching your hand as to what will happen next.

I just hope there is a next. I hope we’re not all doomed. For real for real, folks. For real for real.

The Big Sigh: If We Prove Trump Colluded With The Russians, It Won’t Matter

By Shelton Bumgarner

If the rise of Trumplandia has proven anything, it’s that a fool and his nation’s self-respect and autonomy are soon departed. That core 30% of the electorate who is Donald Trump’s base simply won’t care if we prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his 2016 campaign colluded — hell, even co-ordinated — with the Russians. It’s just not important to them as they sit back in their recliner threatening to smack their wife and drinking a cold one as they think about the job at the coal mine.

The Tsar-a-Largo scandal that is rattling its way through Washington is pretty much a Washington issue. And there is a real risk that even if Trump is impeached and convicted that instead of going the fuck away,he, like Richard Nixon before him, will become some sort of warped martyr for the those people who are so extreme in their conservative world view that down is up and hot is cold.

And that wouldn’t even begin to address the fundamental crisis that the American Republic current is suffering. Trump, a racist, bigoted, misogynist demagogue managed to make his way through the system and not only survive but prosper. Something is not right with this picture.

Additionally, there is no sign that the Vichy Republicans have in any way grown a backbone. They are still callow, complicit and prostrate before King Trump I, Autocrat of All The American States. It seems as though history is moving at light speed these days and we simply don’t have time to catch up.

It is very possible that we’ve entered a new, dangerous dystopian epoch in our nation’s history and it could be a very long time before we can look back and have some frame of reference to figure out how fucked up things are. There are some basic questions that I simply don’t have the answer to. Will the Vichy Republicans ever care about the nation and its Constitutional order? What will be the ultimate outcome of this chronic Constitutional crisis that seems to flare up every few weeks?

I just don’t know the answer to these and other questions. And, just like Watergate, people could still be puzzling over how it all happened and why decades after the fact. Given how elaborate and epic this imbroglio is, it is probably very likely that many, many, many books will be written about Tsar-a-Largo, regardless of the outcome.

Just the idea that the Republican Party, the party not only of Lincoln but of Ike, Nixon and Reagan would kowtow to a foreign power so willingly — especially Russia! — simply for the sake of obtaining and maintaining power boggles this child of the Cold War’s mind. This is seriously fucked up, is all I gotta say.

It’s a modern historic tragedy, on a par with Vichy France, and because it’s happening to us right now, we can’t make sense of it all. We live in extraordinary times and my only suggestion is that perhaps this is a knee jerk reaction against eight years of “No Drama Obama.”

But, regardless, as I’ve said before, American civil society continues to reel from the growth and power of Trumplandia and we just have to have hope. We have to stop raging at the insane things that happen as a part of Trumplandia and we need to start engaging with its citizens to try to figure out what makes them tick.

Only then, maybe we can bridge the gap between us and figure how to get them to take Tsar-a-Largo as the serious threat to the Republic that 70% of the electorate thinks it is.

Playboy Needs To Get Woke Like Teen Vogue

By Shelton Bumgarner

Teen Vogue has won itself all kinds of accolades and buzz for becoming “woke” in the face of Trumplandia. People have given what could otherwise be sort of a teeny-bopper version of the adult Vogue some real respect for its willingness to get political in an unexpected manner.

I have suggested on more than on occasion that Playboy Magazine should follow a similar path. Now, I know Playboy is doing something akin to what I suggest already. It’s always had progressive leanings. And it’s different for a traditional men’s magazine to bask in the buzz of being woke than it is a young women’s fashion magazine.

But I guess why I keep talking about this is it seems of all the legacy publications with legacy brands that could benefit from being woke, Playboy seems the most in dire need of it. Yet it wouldn’t be easy. It would really have to shake things up for my proposal to be effective. They would need to poach the best writers from, say, Jezebel to really get the buzz machine going.

The only reason why I even mention any of this is that now that Gawker.com no longer exists, I really don’t have a brand that I have a personal affinity for other than Playboy. I really like how cool Playboy once was, way back in the 50s and 60s before it lost its way in later years. So, I want Playboy to thrive and prosper and it seems as though it being exceptionally woke would do the trick.

If Playboy.com became the personal one-stop-shop for woke news on the Trumplandia experience, then it would be serving both an audience and a marketplace that is woefully under served right now. People like me are so desperate for what I’m talking about, that we feel forced to do it ourselves with blog sites like this one.

Regardless, it’s fun to think about. I doubt seriously that Playboy will ever know of my suggestions, but it would be so cool if I woke up and the media world was buzzing about a new, woke vision for Playboy. If Playboy was able to start to be relevant again, I think it would reap some great rewards and it wouldn’t risk simply drifting off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

All of this, of course would depend on how much power and vision young Cooper Hefner has. Cooper Hefner apparently has gotten more power of late and he seems like just the young, brash fellow who might follow the vision I have articulated. But anyway. No one is listening to me and all of this is little more than mental masturbation at this point.

Trumplandia Has Scrambled American Civil Society ‘Bigly’

by Shelton Bumgarner

It goes without saying that we live in surreal times. As Trumplandia makes it seemingly inexorable march through the American political landscape, some pretty surreal things have happened. Chief amongst them being the center-Right’s Never Trump movement has almost completely joined forces with the center-Left’s Resistance.

So, for the duration, at least on Twitter, you have a lot of people who would otherwise disagree with each other, agreeing one one thing: Donald Trump is a menace to the Republic that both sides hold dear. It’s a very surreal moment in our nation’s history and a testament to not only to not only the weird nature of Trumplandia but to the power of America’s civil society.

Trump is 70 years old, and simply isn’t going to change. In other words, you can put ice cream on crap, but in the end you still got crap at the bottom of the ice cream cone. So, the warping of our political debate is going to continue for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, I have found myself listening to a lot of podcasts and while I listen to some you would expect of someone like me, namely the pods of liberal leaning Crooked Media, I also find the pods associated with the Lawfare blog really insightful and addictive. I sometimes have no idea what they’re talking about, but often I can glean a little bit of insight into how dangerous Trump is to the Republic from a legal standpoint.

None of this is going to change as long as Trump is president. It’s only going to get more and more surreal. It will be interesting to see how long the weird alliance between Never Trump people and The Resistance will continue once Trump is no longer president. Given that that maybe be significantly longer than any of us may hope, the political ramifications of that alliance may be potentially more powerful than we imagine right now.

Resistance Real Talk

by Shelton Bumgarner

Here are some things to think about if you consider yourself a member of The Resistance and you think any type of saving event may be around the corner.

1. We’re in the wilderness
We need to accept that there’s no Blue Wave that’s going to save us anytime soon. Even though Donald Trump is at 36% approval right now, that is the base and it has absolute power over the Vichy Republican party. So, we have at least, at the very minimum, two years before anything will happen to Trump in real terms. Trump could literally, and I’m not joking, strangle someone live on 5th Avenue on FOX News and the Republicans in Congress would say the victim had it coming.

So, save your outrage.

2. Don’t Rage, Engage
This is probably the most important thing. I keep saying this because I believe it. If we don’t engage with people who we disagree with, then tribal politics will win the day and Trump will only grow more powerful. It’s tough to this, of course. It’s too easy to just get mad, stay mad and not really do anything to do the very basics of democracy and civil society: talk to people you disagree with.

I have to admit that I’ve not really gotten to this point myself. I’m still too angry. But it’s something to strive for. That’s my goal down the road. Hopefully in a few months I won’t be as angry anymore and I’ll be able to do as I keep telling everyone else to do.

3. A dystopia may be around the corner
Another reason to engage, not rage, is that there is dark, dystopian future ahead of us should there be one major terrorist attack on American soil while Trump is president. This is a very real possibility. We may find ourselves in a truly fascist state a lot sooner than we realize. People are already commenting that Trump seems to almost baiting terrorists to attack the States. Probably because he is. He wants it. He really does.

4. Stop re-ligating the past
Lastly, we need to stop talking about the past and how things were different under Obama. That era is over. Those days are over. We’re now out of power and what’s worse, things are so extreme that we have to call ourselves The Resistance.

All of this boils down to a tough, narrow road ahead for The Resistance. History does not go in a straight line and we’re going to suffer a lot of setbacks before anything tangible happens that we can hang our hope on actually happens.

America Is 1 Major Terrorist Attack On US Soil From A Dystopian Nightmare

by Shelton Bumgarner

Given the surreal nature of Donald Trump’s tweet’s this morning about the terrorist attacks in London, it is pretty obvious that we’re all one major terrorist attack on US soil from a dystopian nightmare. I’m being serious.

It’s almost as if Trump is itching for the worst to happen so he can tap into the fear and anger such an event would evoke to really fuck things up. It’s almost beyond our worst nightmares that such a thing might happen. But’s very obvious that it could, in fact, occur.

Trump has always been more of an opportunist than a populist and he would quickly use a 9/11 scale attack to do a mind-boggling amount of damage to American civil society. Things that we only read about in dystopian novels, may, in fact, become a reality.

I guess the whole point is I don’t have much hope right now. I need something I can point to, something actionable and real that shows there even is a Resistance at all. But the sooner the Resistance realizes it’s in the wilderness for the long-term, the sooner we’ll stop being outraged by every horrible thing Trump does and start to think about how we can engage people who we disagree with in a substantive manner.

Only by engaging people from Trumplandia will The Resistance eventually be victorious. It’s not an easy path. It’s a narrow, difficult one because it forces us to come out of our “safe spaces” and to stop worrying about being triggered. We have to figure out how someone could vote for a racist, bigoted, misogynist in good faith. Because if we don’t they will do it again in 2018, again in 2020 and yet again every other opportunity they get.

I have no easy answers. I don’t know what the answer is. But we have to realize that should there be a major terrorist attack on US soil over the next four to eight years, there may be no looking back. We may enter an era unlike any other we’ve experienced as a nation to date.