John Mulvaney, Olivia Munn & SNL As Celebrity Dating Service


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The news that John Mulaney is Oliva Munn’s new baby daddy has got me thinking about how old this whole imbroglio has me feeling. Though, given Munn is 41, I think it’s safe to say what happened was she wanted a baby and she “accidently on purpose” get pregnant while she still could. (You go, girl.)

Anyway. I feel old because when I was growing up, SNL was just a TV show. Yes, I remember in the late 70s staying up way, way, way past my bedtime to watch the original Not Ready For Primetime Players, but otherwise, this business of Lorne Michaels becoming a celebrity matchmaker leaves me scratching my head.

What the what?

What about my old cultural friend would lead it to be some sort of celebrity dating service? All I can think of is a LOT of celebrities like having a direct link to the show given how culturally important it is now and how pretty much every celebrity alive passes through its doors at some point in their career.

And, for some reason, SNL’s behind the scenes office politics is legitimately interesting. I have no idea why, but I think some of it has to do with it’s interesting to hear the wild behavior of the show’s larger-than-life cast members.

Though, in passing, it’s so interesting that Great Britain doesn’t have an SNL-like show. Or, put another way, there’s no live show in the UK that is so good that it has become a cultural touchstone for global English speakers.

Second American Civil War: A State By State Breakdown


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Macro trends are not on America’s side. As I keep saying, 2024 is going to be it. It’s the year when either the United States turns into a Russian-style “managed democracy” or there’s a civil war. Now, this isn’t going to be a complete list of the 50 states, but I am going to highlight some of the states that may be more problematic should a Second American Civil War erupt.

Oregon
The state is really two states and, as such, is probably going to be a major flashpoint in any Second Civil War. What’s likely to happen is Portland will buck any attempt at a putsch on the part of bonkers Right wing nutjobs in the rest of the state and, as such, either there’s a really blood struggle in the state or there are a massive amount of political refugees from the Portland area as the rest of the state sides with MAGA.

Virginia
Again, this is really two states. There’s the NOVA-Richmond-Hampton Roads urban corridor and everything else. It’s very easy to imagine a situation — especially with Virginia’s historic ties to the first Civil War — where the state implodes as we grow closer and closer to a Second Civil War. Too many good old boys in the rural areas of Virginia might get wrapped up in the “Lost Cause” mythos and decide to seize places like Danville (the last capitol of the Confederacy) or Richmond (another Confederate capitol.) If nothing else, simply because of the larger population of the “Blue” parts of the state, there will be significant violence and political refugees as the Blues consolidate power.

Michigan
I don’t know as much about this state, but it definitely seems as though once the pre-war process of coups and political consolation begins that there will be at least a coup attempt on the part of the Far Right. Again, don’t underestimate how once you actually start murdering people that the dynamics of things change significantly. It’s very possible that there would be a coup in the state, it would fail, and there would be significant political violence as the state’s Blue population fought back and put the state firmly on the Blue side.

New York
Yet again, we have a situation where once politics fails us that the otherwise banal regional differences in a state tears it apart. New York City is far more progressive than the rest of New York State and, depending on how things work out, it’s possible that New York City could become a revolutionary hotbed to the point that is tears itself away from the rest of the state and proclaims itself a Free City. This almost happen during the first Civil War. If nothing else, there will be a serious jiggling of the relationship between NYC and the rest of the state to the point where it aligns itself in any Second Civil War with New Jersey and Connecticut in a way that update New York does not. Or, again, there could be significant political consolidation as Blues from all over the northeast flee to New York and the MAGA-friendly natives of the state flee elsewhere.

Maine
I really don’t know that much about this state other than a vague belief that the northern part of the state is far different than the southern part. It’s very easy to imagine significant consolation in the state one way or another as people flee to it as the rest of the country buckles. The state is big — if sparsely populated — and it’s strategic location near the Canadian border might be enough for it to be the home to large refugee camps.

Texas
Texas would be in an odd situation as the country fell into civil war because its long-term political trend is shifting Blue, but it’s part of the South and a lot of people consider themselves Southern and MAGA. So either it simply buckles into its own intra-civil war or the MAGA cocksucker fucktards push out all the Blues who flee to Blue States nearby. The end result would be a lot of pissed off former Texans who would be of great benefit to the Blue cause.

California
In a sense, the whole fate of the United States rests on what California does. If it simply bolts from the Union, then that significantly hobbles the Blue cause on the ground. California sitting on its hands and become its own nation in the event of a Second Civil War makes it far more likely that either Red states win or there is some sort of half-ass balkanization of the United States. But if California stays and fights, then they could provide not only the necessary economy and population for a Blue state victory — after many, many dead — but also something of a vision for what America would look like after we’re finished bombing ourselves into oblivion.

The Deep South
It’s very easy to imagine at the onset of a Second American Civil War most of the old Confederacy on a political level getting extremely excited and having a massive amount of momentum to either leave the Union outright or support the Republican controlled Congress’ attempt to brazenly steal the election. Then reality would sink in — all of the Southern states have significant African American populations and once politics is no longer a viable method of solving problems then the far more brutal dynamics of realpolitik would kick in. I just can’t imagine millions of African Americans lulzing a return to the Confederacy, no matter how badly the white political establishment of those states may want it. So, even though the South has a lot of people and a big economy, it would be, on a regional basis, too busy fighting a race war to really help the Red cause all that much. If things really grew as radical as I fear they will — probably because WMD are stolen and cities start to get vaporized — it’s the Deep South where you’re most likely to see some WW2 level atrocities as radicalized whites begin to murder blacks en mass.

As for the rest of the states, their ability to pick one side or the other is probably far easier and their biggest problem would be dealing with political refugees.

America’s Surreal, Pre-Second Civil War Politics


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

As I keep writing, all things being equal, rolling political violence should begin any moment now in the United States. Red people in Blue states and Blue people in Red states should flee their homes in search of safety. This would cause the two sides to grow more radical and their state governments to harden their views of states with opposing political views.

And, yet, to date, there is no real sign that this is going to happen. Not that it won’t, but there would have to be a catalyst. What’s more it would have to be something that caused people who obviously want a revolution or civil war — like all the people from South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama who keep looking at this blog — to take the next step and to actually start hurting people they disagree with politically.

MAGA 2020.

It appears there’s a reason why, to date, we’ve escaped such a civil war — Trump is such an lazy opportunist that he simply doesn’t have the leadership skill to force the issue. That, and how the court system surprised us all by not playing along with MAGA’s attempted coup there.

But we’re not out of the woods yet, I’m afraid.

Between now and around April 2021, any number of random events could occur that would push us into civil war. Sorry Neo-Confederates, I just don’t see there being a right wing revolution. You might secede, but an actual Right Wing revolution based on a hatred of woke liberal-progressive cancel culture….just doesn’t seem within your ability to pull things off. You can have all the fucking guns you want, but you’re too busy sucking Trump’s cock to actually use them on anyone.

But I will give you the possibility of a secession crisis in the near future. And, yet, you would need leadership to pull that off. And the Dear Leader just isn’t up to it. If Mike Pompeo or Tom Cotton was president right now, yes, but they’re not. We got a ding-dong as president who if he does manage to start a secession crisis it will be out of a weird mixture of spite and simple blundering into the situation by accident.

America right now.

While the Proud Boys are scary, they’re not as organize or as popular as, say, the Brown or Black Shirts of the 1930s were. This could change extremely quickly, but, still, Trump is very lazy and very incompetent. He has autocratic impulses, but, to date, he just can’t follow through.

And thus we have this surreal situation where we all know a civil war may happen at any moment — like a real, honest-to-God shitshow civil war with millions dying — but because the one person who has the means, motive and opportunity to actually start it — Trump — is a lazy idiot…it’s not happening.

So, either gradually over the next few years some Man on a Horse bubbles up to the political surface and pushes us into civil war, or, well, we just kind of drift in neutral until something happens I can’t predict.

It could be that it won’t even be MAGA at all that pushes us into political violence, but it’s successor. My guess it will be some sort of radical neo-Ludditism caused by Elon Musk burning the trucking industry to the ground virtually over night.

The point is — the United States is extremely unstable right now. And it’s only going to get worse. So, it’s possible Trump leaves office peacefully and the actual civil war happens officially on Biden’s watch because something totally unexpected happens.

My Hot Take On Kyle Rittenhouse


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Where to begin on this one. It definitely seems as though if you want something that encapsulates what’s going on in American politics right now, you need look no further than Kyle Rittenhouse murdering people in cold blood and the American Right rallying to his support.

There’s no defense, none what so ever, for what Rittenhouse did, and, yet, here we are with people spotting him his $2 million bail so he can get endorsements from a gun manufacturer. It’s completely bonkers. The only thing I guess you might use to explain this otherwise surreal behavior is Rittenhouse is now something of a John Brown figure.

He did what a bunch of grown men think they wanted to do, and so they bought into his martyrdom and here we are. I’ve come to believe that barring something pretty spectacular, that there isn’t going to be a civil war. Any violence is going to come from Trump’s use of the Insurrection Act — probably because of mass protests from him staging A Very American Coup.

But, otherwise, meh. Just don’t see it.

Or, put another way, it’s possible the far Right is going to start murdering people, the government will support it and then, and only then, will there be something marketed as a “civil war.”

For the time being, however, we’re heading towards something of a stalemate, not civil war. A lot of protests, maybe, and the occasional bonkers Right wing person like Rittenhouse killing innocent people, but otherwise, not a lot is going to happen.

I’m willing to revise that assessment as a events warrant.

Things Are Going Well With The Novel At The Moment


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

For the moment, at least, I’ve kind of gotten into a groove with the novel. I’m averaging about one chapter a week, but I think some of that comes from how hot it is. Once it gets a little cooler I may get closer to my goal of three chapters a week.

My absolute deadline for the first draft is Thanksgiving and I just can’t be this slow. I really need to speed up. There are, of course, remaining holes in the outline I’ve been using, but hopefully as I write I’ll be able to fill them. I may just say “screw it” and write something anything in those “holes” in the outline just so I can finish a first draft of some sort.

But the story in general is so strong — and so lets me vent about the Trump Era — that I keep going. I keep having a lingering interest in writing a screenplay, but that’s just creative restlessness. Though I do think I have the skillset necessary to be a success in Hollywood, I’ve invested so much into this novel that I don’t want to take away any mental energy for a SECOND delusion.

Anyway.

I’m still at the point where I am allowing myself to be as delusional as possible. It’s not until the second draft that I’m going to take a deep breath and start thinking about the cold, harsh realities the marketplace. Things like word count and character names being “normal” will come to the forefront of my mind then. But some stuff I’m not going to change, even then.

I have a very specific vision. Some elements of the story are existential and if I can’t sell it if I have them in it, then I’ll just self publish.

It’s Surreal How Much My #WIP’s #MC Looks Like #Zendaya In My Imagination



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


First, let me stress I fucking hate it when aspiring novelists preen about this or that actor would be perfect for the movie adaptation of the “work in progress.” Oh, Jesus. Just shut up and write.

But, I will note, in passing that the heroine the novel I’m working on IS Zendaya in my imagination. It’s not a perfect one-to-one for a very specific reason, but it’s spooky that I would independent of being any sort of Zendaya fan come up with a character that resembles her so much.

This is a novel, not a screenplay, so lulz. And I’m just an anonymous middle-aged man in the rural part of a flyover state so the probability of selling this novel is about the same as me winning the lottery.

And, yet, it is fun to occasionally daydream about such things. It’s all very much mental masturbation, of course, but no one reads this blog an I’m just talking to myself at this point.

It’s The Title of Jessica Alba’s Netflix Vehicle ‘Trigger Warning’ That Is Making Me Nervous



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


The novel I’m developing is very personal. It’s also very much something of my autobiography in a gauzy, fictional form. But Jessica Alba — the Taylor Swift of major Latina movie stars — has a project with Netflix in development that’s really making me nervous.

It’s called Trigger Warning and when I heard the title my heart sank. It would be very easy for it to be essentially the novel I’m writing. In fact, Trigger Warning is one of several discarded titles I’ve mulled for the novel over the last two years.

But the once I learned what few details I could about Alba’s project, it just doesn’t seem I have THAT much to worry about. Yes, the two projects are similar in some respects, but I THINK that has more to do with simple form follows function than anything else.

And, yet, as I’ve said, should something happen, I’ve developed this novel far enough that I can pretty easily use the characters I’ve come up with for a different plot.

I hope it doesn’t come to that, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Sometimes, you just have to believe in yourself.

Of Someone Writing A Screenplay Inspired From My Development Writing Online



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


I vacillate dramatically from assuming that, of course, someone is going to use all my development on this Website to write a screenplay that “steals” my idea to wondering, how, exactly, they would do it.

I guess you could get the general gist of the concept if you looked at what I’ve been writing about and talking about the last 18 months, but even if you did do that, your interpretation of the concept and mine would likely be dramatically different.

I keep seeing people poking around this Website in my Webstats and that alarms me because I assume that of course my worst fears are being realized. And, yet, really, the idea I am working on is so expansive and ambitious that a screenplay would be, by definition, dramatically different than the novel I’m writing.

If I had, like, friends and stuff, then this wouldn’t be an issue. I would talk to them about what I’m working on and I wouldn’t have this problem. My only hope is that even if people were actively stealing from me at this point, it would still take actual physical time to develop the screenplay. And the subject matter of this novel is such that I find it dubious that even if someone could somehow accurately reverse-engineer the concept from what I’ve done here, I’m not so sure they would actually steal the story beat-for-beat.

Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s exactly what’s happening.

But I’m of the opinion that you make decisions on what you know, not on what you don’t know. I could just give up and assume someone is going to steal this concept from me, or I can work harder and faster so at least I finish something sooner rather than later.

If you are trying to “steal” my story — fuck you, you hack.

Outline Rambling



by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner


Things are moving a lot faster because I’m doing an outline of the novel instead of putting all that much work into fleshing out individual scenes. This process allows me to get far further into the novel than I usually do before everything falls apart and I have to start from scratch.

The downside of this is I realize what a massive task I have ahead of me. I have a very complex plot with some pretty huge structural issues that I continue to bump up against as I develop. The biggest problem is how ambitious this novel is. I’m trying to explore the entirety of the Trump Era through allegory. There’s just so much going on, that it’s a struggle to make it all easy to understand. And, really, the only thing that allows me to keep going is I know how great this story is.

I’m willing to throw my heart into this project because I know I can produce something pretty cool — an entertaining — if I just keep at it. I have to believe in myself. I can’t give up. I’ve gotten this far, I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to herd it to completion.

I’m trying to move as fast as I can on this outline. I hope to start writing again no later than June 1st.