I Really Struggle With What The Fuck ‘Being Woke’ Means

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It seems as though “wokness” means everything and nothing to MAGA people. As best I can tell, “woke” is simply a shorthand for “things we don’t like” in the minds of MAGA cocksuckers. They believe this to the point that people like Rep. Jim Jordan, when asked how Republicans are going to balance the budget, simply say, “we’re going to eliminate wokeness from the government.”

What does that even mean? And how would you do that without slashing things like Social Security or even the defense budget?

In a sense, it all boils down to white Christian Republicans doing a “vibe check” and whatever rubs them the wrong way is….”being woke.” The definition of “being woke” changes as necessary to help Republicans win votes. In general, I suppose “being woke” is when you don’t think being gay is a sin, you believe that systemic racism exists, you believe when should have bodily autonomy and believe that the tax system should be equitable. (The list goes on, but those are the main points.)

Anyway. For being, “wokness” is more about when someone has a very strict Leftist orthodoxy that they adhere to, to the point that they attack people like me simply because I don’t even know what the proper Leftist orthodoxy is — even though we’re on the same fucking side when it comes to begin against MAGA.

Regardless, we’re fucked. I still think we face the existential choice of autocracy, civil war or military junta in late 2024, early 2025. But, then, I am always wrong, so lulz.

The Bullshit That Is Destroying American Democracy

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

So. One of my Traditionalist relatives — who I love dearly — was quick to point out that a “transgendered rapist will be housed with women” headline in the New York Post as yet more proof that the “woke cancel culture mob” is destroying white, straight Christian America. All she did was read the New York Post headline at first until I asked her to the entire article.

As I suspected, turns out this particular instance of the “woke cancel culture mob” had nothing to do with the United States, but rather Great Britain….specifically Scotland. But plenty — PLENTY — of other readers of the Post headline will not read the article and assume that all of this yet more proof that the “woke” are putting their knee on the neck of God fearing, common sense white people.

“Probably some state like California,” these clueless MAGA cocksuckers will think to themselves.

The fact that the Post failed to mention that this particular situation — which is a huge controversy across the pond — did NOT happen in the United States is a prime example of how God-awfully fucked the United States is. We are heading towards the existential choice of autocracy, civil war or military junta with our eyes wide open.

The two sides have hardened their political stances to the point that either MAGA turns us into an autocratic fascist state, or we have a civil war because Blue States refuse to “bend a knee” to Red States. (We might also have a military junta for a while, but that is just “in theory” type of thing.)

But I am the first to admit that I’m ALWAYS WRONG. So, lulz. It’s possible that we’ll just punt this particular problem down the road again another four years. Or, more realistically, we’ll become an autocracy under President DeSantis or President MTG but it will happen so gradually that it will LOOK like I was wrong, when, in fact, I will be right but we will only notice it when we, I don’t know, invade Canada in 20 years.

Buckle up.

My Never-Ending Angst Over Being A Male Author Writing From A Female POV Using Third Person Intimate

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

A certain segment of the “woke cancel culture mob” believes that, by definition, a male author writing from a female POV is illegitimate. These are the same people who believe that The Bechdel Test is an immutable law of storytelling and if your story doesn’t pass it, you might as well just give up.

When I started working on my first novel, I was completely oblivious to the controversy over this subject. I just read Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series and really liked it. I liked that he wrote in third person intimate and when the time came, I just adopted the way he did things because it seemed to fit my personal writing style.

As this novel project has progressed, however, there have been a few times when I have been very clearly admonished against writing from a female POV using third person intimate. Being the ornery person that I am this has only served to make me angry.

Not only is the point to tell a great story, but I find it unfair to presume that just because I’m a man that I can’t write from a female POV. Of course, to some members of the “woke cancel culture mob” that’s not even the point — it’s not so much that I can’t write from female POV as a man, it’s that I shouldn’t.

I fucking hate this test.

Fuck that. And fuck you if you believe that.

It’s because of thinking like that we got Trump. Ugh.

As I’ve written before, I hate orthodoxy of any sort because it restrains one’s ability to think freely, to admit when you’re wrong and to see the world for what it really is.

Anyway, now I feel very self-conscious, insecure and paranoid about what I’m doing — but that won’t stop me from continuing to do exactly what I’m doing. Some of this comes from I’m simply unwilling to bow to the “woke cancel culture mob” this late in the process and some of it comes from I know I can overcome the obvious obstacles of writing a female character in a compelling, honest way as a male author.

At this point, my biggest fear is that writing from a female POV as a male author will just add to the already nearly impossible odds I face when it comes to getting traditionally published. But no one ever got anywhere in this world without taking a risk. So, here I am.

Only time will tell if the risk I’m taking pans out or not.

American Democracy’s ‘Death By Vibes’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Something I’ve noticed about talking to Traditionalist relatives is they often can’t really tell me what they’re upset about. They are, in abstract terms, alarmed at the prospect of being “canceled” by the Woke Cancel Culture Mob because they believe being gay is a “sin.”

But that’s about it.

So, in a sense, the fate of American democracy rests on “vibes.” White Christians don’t really know what is bothering them other than they do a vibe check and don’t like where things are heading. Usually their rage at the rapid changes in America causes various keywords like “pronouns” and “trans rights” and “wokeness” to pop out during the conversation and but I just don’t believe they they even really understand what makes them angry.

For various reasons, there is an extensive permission structure for Traditionalists to slip into supporting the autocratic fascism of MAGA. Things are changing too fast for their liking to the point that they’re willing to use the hard power of the state to crush the “vibes” they feel the “woke cancel culture mob” is making them endure.

One thing that bothers me is the Left continues to play into this “death by vibes” that American democracy faces by having such a strict, touchy orthodoxy about certain things. Hollywood continues to make “woke” movies for itself, not realizing that the average person in the suburbs of a swing state just want to watch a good movie with a compelling story.

So, when someone who lives in one of the 5 presidential swing states goes to see a movie that is so “woke” that it distracts from the plot of the movie, those ever-important undecided voters feel the vibes are all wrong and think seriously of voting for a fucking MAGA person.

That’s an extremely simplistic description of what’s going on, but it’s something to think about. America continues to cleave into two nations, one Red, one Blue and the key question of the moment is will we continue to drift peacefully into autocracy, or are we going to have a civil war.

For purely selfish reasons, I prefer we don’t have a civil war. Not only do I not want to have to dodge explosions, I would also like the opportunity to try to get my first novel published. Ugh.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. The two sides are receding away from each other at an alarming rate and at the moment it definitely seems as though we face the cold, hard choice of autocracy, civil war or military junta in the late 2024, early 2025 timeframe.

But, thankfully, I’m always wrong. So, we’ll see.

MTG: Trump, Part Duh

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m growing more and more alarmed that everything we were afraid malignant ding-dong Trump was going to do, malignant ding-dong Marjorie Taylor Greene will actually do. I’m beginning to think that given the dynamics of modern American politics that it’s not Ron DeSantis we have to worry about, but MTG.

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Dalton, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2021.

A lot of conservatives — especially my Traditionalists conservative relatives — love the *idea* of DeSantis. But, from all the accounts I’ve seen, DeSantis doesn’t have much personality. He’s all thug and no fun. It’s just not very entertaining to the great unwashed masses. MTG, meanwhile, is just like Trump only younger and just enough more focused to be really, really dangerous. She’s got a craven nature to her that is alarming. She wants power and once she gets it, she could very well know how to weld it in a way that lazy, stupid Trump never could.

It’s easy to imagine Trump picking MTG as his veep, him winning in 2024 — if he doesn’t manage to start a civil war along the way — and because he’s so fucking fat and old that he shuffles off this mortal coil and MTG becomes POTUS.

So, I think we should definitely take the threat of MTG seriously. The same metrics and corruption in our system that put Trump into the presidency could very well do the same thing with her. If it happened, all everyone will talk about is how much it’s just like Trumplandia, only worse because MTG knows what’s she doing and has the energy to implement her dystopian vision.

America is in big trouble and I have no ready answer as to how to avoid autocracy or civil war between now and, say, spring 2025. Good luck.

Endgame 2025: Managed Democracy

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

While I continue to vacillate widely between thinking we’re going to have a civil war in late 2024, early 2025 and thinking we’re going to simply give up and become an autocracy, I see clear path towards the latter at the moment. Given what happened to the Roman Republic, I think there is a really good chance we’ll become a zombie democracy.

Or, put another way, if we’re able to avoid a civil war as part of the next election cycle, it seems logical that we’ll continue to ostensibly be a democracy but, in reality be anything but. We’ll become a legalistic, autocratic “managed democracy” like they have in Russia. A lot of how this goes down exactly will depend on if it’s Trump or DeSantis who is the GQP’s 2024 presidential nominee.

If it’s Trump, then, lulz, the possibility of the United States having a civil war grows significantly. If it’s DeSantis, then, yeah, we’ll probably lurch towards a few presidential cycles where we all think we’re a democracy, but, in fact, we’ve finally transitioned into autocracy. I just don’t see DeSantis ever peacefully leaving office.

He’ll pull a Putin and be POTUS for eight years, then become Speaker of the House and be the power behind the throne until he gets around to having enough power to call a Constitutional Convention. All of this would be happening in the context of millions of smug Twitter liberals fleeing the country for the four corners of the globe.

Our current political situation is very unstable and untenable. Something’s gotta give. This is very much the quiet before the storm. And as I keep saying, the only thing that really worries me is America’s original sin, race. It’s because of race that I could see us zooming past Russia’s form autocracy into something a lot closer to Nazi Germany.

I’m A Survivor

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

While I’m not prepared to go full prepper, I do think that we have to take the idea of Something Big happening between now and, say, spring 2025 seriously. I don’t quite know what that Something Big might be, but, whatever it is, it will be pretty bad.

To the point that I — and millions of other Americans — may become domestic political refugees. I’m really concerned that the hyperpolarization we’re experiencing at the moment is precursor to a National Divorce and, as such, a Second American Civil War. And if it happens, it’s going to happen like a thunderclap.

In fact, if I had the means, I would already be back in South Korea living as a long-term expat again. I’m that concerned about what’s about to happen to the United States. Though, I have to admit that if the United States goes belly up that WW3 would probably break out and being in South Korea when that happens probably isn’t ideal.

If the worst happened, I would use the existing refugee infrastructure that would have sprung up by that point to head north. My ultimate goal would be somewhere like New York City where I think I would be able to make the most difference. U.S. Grant did a whole lot of nothing for most of the 1850s, who knows, The Finger of God might point at me as part of a Second American Civil War and I might be able to make the best of a very bad situation.

That’s me being extremely delusional, I know, but it’s better than moping about how it’s possible that instead of struggling to get my first novel published soon, I’m going to be struggling just to survive.

MTG’s ‘Velvet Fist?’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I really don’t know what to make of Marjorie Taylor Greene. If there was ever a ping from an extremely dark future, it is the rise of MTG on the political scene. Apparently, MTG has Speaker McCarthy by the short ones and he is something of her plaything.

The thing about MTG is she seems just a tick or two away from being just as bonkers as Trump. And, yet, she also far more focused and power hungry in an actionable way than Trump. While Trump pretty much just flails around, not really doing anything, it seem as though given actual power that MTG might be actually be the autocrat that Trump wants to be.

As I have often said, the issue of the moment is not so much Trump as who he will pick to be his veep in 2024. Trump is so old and fat that if he manages to become POTUS again without causing a fucking civil war, then whomever is his veep could very well be on the fast track to becoming POTUS.

As such, I’m growing more and more alarmed with MTG. It could be her, not Trump or DeSantis who will be our first autocrat. But she would have to win the veepstakes first. There are any number of fucking would-be autocrats who Trump could pick. Everyone from Pompeo to Hawley are chomping at the bit to be Trump’s veep and, as such, our first autocrat.

I don’t think people really appricate who primed and ready the United States is for the type of legalistic autocracy that Russia has. In my mind, by definition, our next Republican president will be our first autocrat. A sizeable chunk of the American population — mostly white Christian men, natch — are all-in on the idea of autocratic MAGA fascism. They may not really articulate it that way, but from my conversations with my Traditionalist relatives — they want autocratic MAGA fascism.

What’s so comical about all of this is, of course, that when you press them on the consequences of what they want — that I would inevitably run afoul of the autocrat they want so much — they get really upset. They don’t seem able to connect the fact that while they would be Good Germans under the Fourth Reich, I, alas, am such a drunk loudmouth crank that it is inevitable that I would endup with an ICE bullet in the back of my head.

Anyway. What do I know.

The Appeal of ‘The Fourth Turning’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

While I believe the historical concepts posited by the book The Fourth Turning to be nothing more than astrology for men who listen to Joe Rogan, I definitely get why the some people have really bought into the idea. I occasionally find myself walking around, say, buying groceries, when I think about what it would be like to walk into the store in the middle of a civil war.

I imagine some day in the near future where I’m scavenging for what food I can find in a trashed and ransacked store. I think this because I see how, on a macro level, the conditions for a Fourth Turning or Great Reset are floating around. I was alarmed to see a young man wearing a shirt advocating extreme guns rights.

I was reminded of how America is cleaving into two waring camps, one Red, one Blue. The issue is, of course, will we manage to muddle through this particular problem like we have since 1865 or if we’re going to implode into a Second American Civil War.

The idea that there is such a thing as a “Fourth Turning” plays into how a lot of other people are seeing what I’m seeing. The human mind is designed to see patterns and, as such, the idea that there is a regular pattern to history “feels true” and we use it as some comfort that the world around us isn’t as completely random as we fear.

But, as alas, the world, in general, really is random. Even the writers of The Fourth Turning admit that their all-powerful theory doesn’t explain why the American Civil War happened when it did. A charitable explanation would be a few Wig presidents died and, as such, the Civil War happened earlier than it might have happened according to the book’s historical dictate.

Or, you could say that the whole thing is bullshit and the authors of The Fourth Turning are giving meaning to the pretty meaningless ebb and flow of macro historical forces. We know the general movement of those forces, but we don’t know their destination. The interaction between Great Men (and Women) and macro historical forces is what makes it impossible in real terms for anyone — least of all the authors of The Fourth Turning — to predict what the fuck is going to happen.

The key thing when thinking about a Fourth Turning in the United States is it actually possible that Blue States, when faced with the prospect of being forced to “bend a knee” to autocratic MAGA fascism will actually be willing to secede from the Union? That is pretty much the whole shebang when it comes to how likely a civil war is anytime soon.

Given how politically ascendant they are, there really isn’t much reason for Red States to leave the Union. If it happens, it’s going to be Blue States. But I’m always wrong. Aways. So, as such, I think we’ll just muddle through and gradually transition into some sort of legalistic autocratic fascism like they have in Russia at the moment.

The only thing I worry about is America’s original sin, race. If the United States turns into an autocratic fascist state, there is every reason to believe it’s very possible we may zoom past Russia and turn into a Very American Fourth Reich. But I still don’t know — it could go either way at the moment.

‘The Culling’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

No matter how much people like Peter Thiel may believe they are going to be immortal by regular blood infusions from fucking virgins, we all eventually kick the bucket. The interesting thing is, we’re just about at the moment when a number of really old, really powerful people are probably going to shuffle off this mortal coil all at once.

Just a back-of-the-envelope survey of Silent and Greatest Generation people in the public eye suggests that the next few years could be quite dramatic for no other reason than nobody lives forever. We haven’t reached the Singularity yet, folks.

Take, for instance the two remaining Beatles. Both Paul and Ringo are now in their 80s and just because they’re rich and active doesn’t mean they can escape basic elements of human existence. There’s a reason why they say death and taxes are the only two things that are inevitable in the world.

And, remember, we may be about to experience a Petite Singularity in conjunction to a moderate to severe recession in which AI causes the economy to shed an unprecedented number of jobs in a very short timeframe.

The is all happening in the context of the looming so-called “Fourth Turning.” I still think the Fourth Turning is astrology for dudes, but is definitely a thought provoking concept given how the United States is careening towards a very dramatic 2024 – 2025.

We’re definitely are heading towards something akin to a Perfect Storm. A part of me believes that 2024 – 2025 could be a historic period equal to 1917 – 1918. A lot of things we take for granted on a macro scale could very well collapse into chaos. Even though I’m always, always wrong, the case could be made that there really could be a Second American Civil War in late 2024, early 2025 that will, in turn lead to WW3 as the post-WW2 global order is destroyed because the United States is too busy destroying itself to do anything about the rest of the world.

I am well aware of how hysterical that sounds. But, lulz, that’s just a possibility at this point. The conditions are there for such things to happen, it doesn’t mean they actually will.