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.

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.

Am I ‘Woke’ *Enough* to Get Traditionally Published?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m just a smelly, middle aged CIS white male with a looming 50th birthday coming at me at an alarming rate and, as such, I worry about my ability to get traditionally published. I worry about this to the point that I sometimes idly muse that I should concoct a new identity that fits the agenda of the “woke cancel culture mob.”

I’m well aware that, in real terms, CIS white men as the Youngs call people like me, continue to dominate the publishing world. Ok, I get it. And, yet, I’m an old white man in the middle of nowhere struggling to get traditionally published for the first time. It sure would be nice to suck at the teet of the orthodoxy of the “woke cancel culture mob” with a personal story that they found appealing.

If I was a 24 transgender Latino, I suspect my novel would be a lot more warmly read than it would be as me coming at them from my sad reality. I can’t help how old I am and I need all the help I can get to get published traditionally. The more I know about what it takes to get traditionally published, the more alarmed I grow.

And, yet, I have made it my life’s passion to be wilfully delusional. Acting like I might actually have a chance of getting traditionally published given how much delusion that is going to require, is kind of my thing.

When it comes to how easy or difficult it is for people like me to get traditionally published a lot of it comes down to perception. Leftists point out the cold hard reality that old white men tend to get published, while it “feels true” to Right wing nutjobs that CIS white men simply can’t get a fair shake in the deep Blue publishing industry.

Lulz. Who knows. With me luck in my active, wilful delusion.

Everyone In The Publishing Industry Seems So Fucking Bitter

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Long ago, my dream was to work at either Media General or The Richmond Times-Dispatch. Sadly, it took me about a decade to realize I was being extremely delusional to think that was a possibility for me. I’m just too creative and don’t have the intense, introverted personality that most successful journalists have.

The great irony of it all is that being a successful journalist — or someone in the media — isn’t really that hard. You often have to take something akin to a vow of poverty to pursue the career starting off, but many people go straight from college into a job at a daily like The Richmond Times-Dispatch. That makes me sad that I wasted so much time being oblivious that if I ever become a success, it will be through telling the “truth” through a novel or screenplay rather than the “facts” of journalism.

Over the years, I have seen plenty of cases where people went straight into a daily newspaper environment out of college, grew disillusioned and moved on to something else. This smarts because they so casually were able to drop my dream because they saw what it really took to be a journalist and even though they could do it, just didn’t want to.

I monitor the chatter within the publishing industry through chatter and it’s shocking how bitter people who are far more advanced in their novelist career than I am. Many of these bitter people are “mid-list” authors who have had some success and now are being screwed over in various ways. I totally get that, but I’ve been an aspiring novelist for so long that I would be grateful at this point to be a mid-lister.

All of this happens in the context of me being concerned that not only am I too much of a drunk crank to ever get a literary agent to begin with but that cold, hard fact that I simply can not, will not abide by the strict orthodoxy of the “woke cancel culture mob” that seems to be mainstream among many successful novelist these days.

I know my truth north and if you don’t like it — fuck you. I try to be as empathetic and understanding as possible but when people tell me they will ding my storytelling ability because I don’t have two women having a conversation among something other than a man — Jesus Christ.

I fucking hate this test.

While I don’t support or defend JK Rowling’s anti-trans stance, the mentality of the people who would “cancel” her for having concerns me because, as I keep saying — it’s shit like that that drives Traditionalists in the arms of fascism.

Anyway, I just hate how hysterical both the far Right and the far Left are these days. They have a symbiotic relationship at the moment because they force “radical moderates” like myself to defend the most extreme policy aims of whichever side I am forced to align with.

Since I fucking hate MAGA fascism, I have to defend some pretty kooky woke ideas to my Traditionalist relatives whenever we discuss politics. But, as I keep saying, we all have to pick a side, or a side will be chosen for us. To be a “centrist” is to be complicit in the rise of fascism. Post-truth is pre-fascist and all that.

There are no easy answers and all I want to do is give my audience the best possible story with most fleshed out an interesting characters possible. It will be interesting to see if me being a “delusional jerk with a good heart” will get in the way of that dream.

Sometimes, The ‘Woke Cancel Culture Mob’ Is Full Of Shit

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m far more anti-MAGA than Leftist and, as such, sometimes I’m aghast at the hot takes emanating from “cultural Leftists” who Right wing nutjobs would call the “woke cancel culture mob.”

All of this is happening in the context of the United States cleaving into two nations, one Blue, one Red. Usually, Leftist bullshit is a rationalization for why some of the more extreme behavior of going on within Blue circles is a lulz. All of this is very corrosive because it makes it way too easy for my Traditionalists relatives to lean into the extensive permission structure surrounding supporting American fascism.

Everything from “drag queen story hour” for little kids to men wearing skirts is dismissed by the Left as something we all must accept without any question. It’s that inflexible orthodoxy that alarms me because it allows Traditionalists, the bedrock of any functioning democracy to “both sides” things to the point that when the time comes they will willingly vote to give up their American democratic birthright.

I am growing more and more concerned that Something Big is going to happen in late 2024 — early 2025 between Election Day and Certification Day. All the conditions are there there to be a National Divorce which will, in turn cause a Second American Civil War.

Of course, it will only be hindsight that we will look back and go, “Well, OBVIOUSLY there was going to be a 2ACW.” Some of what Leftists cling to so tightly is just dumb. While gender has always been a fluid thing over the generations, everything is happening so fucking fast these days that I continue to fear that 2024 – 2025 could see autocracy, civil war or military junta.

But these are macro issues. I still believe it all boils down to income inequality. One might make the case that the current crisis of masculinity that we’re experiencing in the Western world is pretty much the result of how difficult it is for men to get a good education and, as such, a good enough job that they are seen as valid mates for women who are growing in economic freedom.

One thing I struggle with is the rise of “hot lesbians.” I am well aware that on a basic level women are by default bi-sexual. My own theory on this is that the biological imperative is so absolute when it comes to raising babies that evolution would go so far as to want women to have sex with other women if that ensures that children have a loving home and support.

That’s probably delusional bullshit on my part, but it definitely makes a lot of sense. To me, there is a connection between “hot lesbians” like the singer Fletcher and the model Cara Delevingne and the fact that women demand some very specific metrics when it comes to sperm donors.

Fletcher and Miley Cyrus

Growing numbers of modern women are tired of the bullshit of broke fuckboys and they would rather be treated right by another woman. And since there is little or no taboo surrounding lesbianism (especially among elites) an eye-popping number of traditionally attractive women just don’t find their male counterparts all that attractive.

All of this spooks Traditionalists who see any form of homosexulaity as a “sin.” So, as such, the rest takes care of itself. People like fucking fascist Ron DeSantis demagogue the “gay agenda” of the “woke cancel culture mob” in an effort to goose the base and get votes.

Again, these are macro issues, things beyond the control of any one individual. And to my mind, it all comes to a head in late 2024, early 2025. There is, of course, the possibility that I’m wrong and we’ll punt all these structural problems down the road one more election cycle.

But the conditions are there for something very, very dramatic to happen to the most powerful democracy humanity has ever seen. And, as such, the likely of a “Fourth Turning” or “Great Reset” is real.

No one can predict the future — least of all me –but I am feeling an unease about the next few years.

I Got Attacked From My Political Left!

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Sometimes, even I wonder why I even bother. For some reason, I have the trans movement on the brain and, as such, I did a Tik-Tok trying to give an equatable, nuanced explanation of my struggle to figure out how to deal with the whole thing.

I knew going into it that it would be controversial and, soon enough, a trans person flipped out on me in their own video. I watched the whole video and was impressed with how passionate and cogent the argument was.

And, yet, the freak out kind of proved my point — I fucking hate orthodoxy of any sort and if you stake out an extreme political orthodox you’re only setting yourself up for an eventual downfall. It all goes back to John Lennon saying in Revolution, “if you talk about distruction, you can count me out (in.)

Or, to put it another way, I have a vested interest in hating orthodoxy because if you have one, I’m probably going to violate it eventually, whatever it is. That’s just my nature.

Anyway, the only reason why I even continue to talk about something as controversial as the trans movement is if the trans orthodoxy becomes so taboo to even address then, well, we are lurching ever closer to a fascist state. If we had a functioning democracy, there would be some give-and-take and, ultimately, the exact place of trans people in society would be sorted out and we could move on to cursing the meat.

But because we DON’T have a functioning democracy, we find ourselves with a Gay Scare and the whole issue of trans people even existing at all becoming a hot political potato that is used by both sides (I hate that term) to juice the base whenever an election is coming up.

The Struggle Of Writing Female Characters As An Aspiring Male Author

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I’m extremely self-conscious about writing a novel that repeatedly has me writing from a female POV using third person intimate. There are even some “woke” Youngs who would say that, by definition, I shouldn’t even do such a thing. Slay the patriarchy and all that.

But if Stieg Larsson can sell millions of copies of his novels doing just that, I don’t see why I can’t. I suppose the case could be made that with the rise of the “woke” movement that audience expectations have changed since he did all that, but fuck it, I have my vision and I’m going to stick to it.

And, yet, I validate how often female readers complain about how bad male authors can be at depicting their female creations. I think a lot of this comes from over-excited authors who see writing from a female POV as their opportunity either be a woman or to design a character they want to fuck. This is very sloppy and lazy writing and only causes you to make a fool out of yourself.

So.

It’s one of those things were you just try to do the best you can and see what happens. No matter what you do as a creative, if you put yourself out there, someone, somewhere is going to complain that you’re not doing it right. All you can do is expect the absolute best of yourself and see what happens.

The ‘Woke Cancel Culture Mob’ Is Doing Itself No Favors By Going After Mindy Kaling

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I have no skin in the game when it comes to how the Twitter hivemind has decided to make Mindy Kaling the service’s Main Character for this Friday the 13th. Whatever. So what. Meh.

“Velma”

And, yet, there is a certain meta political element to it all that I find alarming. There is a good Scooby-Doo-Without-The Talking-Dog cartoon to be made that would appeal to the adult sensibilities of the people who loved the original Scooby Doo as kids…but I’m not so sure Kaling’s effort is it, from what I have seen.

I’ve often thought about how Olds struggle with the legacy of Scooby Doo because, in a sense, we remember the show as being a lot more serious than it actually was. So, what Olds want from an updated Scooby Doo is something like The Simpsons meets Arrested Development, only with a talking dog. And, yet, because it’s a cartoon…you also have to placate little tykes, too.

But the issue at the moment is — the fact that Twitter is freaking out over Kaling’s show “Velma” is yet another thing that Right wing people with a huge fucking cultural chip on their shoulder can point to and say, “the woke cancel culture mob is at it YET AGAIN.”

And this is happening in the context of the “woke cancel culture mob” absolutely INSISTING that the Velma character is a lesbian. What the what? That certainly isn’t going to help my Traditionalist relatives who think being gay is a “sin” stop having a chip on their shoulder. I really don’t care if Velma is a lesbian or not — more power to her if she is — but, yet again, the fact that it’s the orthodoxy of the “woke cancel culture mob” that a children’s cartoon character is a lesbian is alarming to Traditionalists…which forces them into the arms of fucking fascists.

Yet I must point out that Kaling must be doing something right if both political extremes are angry at her. Lulz, nothing matters. The Right things she’s woke and the Left thinks she a tone-deaf stooge for the anti-Trans movement.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

The Fucking Woke Hypocrisy of FilmTok Gets On My Nerves

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Ok, I got beef with the film reviewing community of Tik-Tok. Too often, they go out of their fucking woke way to shit on movies like Avatar — Way of Water for some bullshit woke reason.

Fuck this test.

And, yet, they liked Babylon?

I don’t get it. I really liked Babylon, too, but you would think the tender hearted people of woke FilmTok would not be able to bear how gratuitous and over the top the movie was. I’m reminded of the one time I used Twitter clone Mastodon, only to be driven off the service by fucking woke cocksuckers who jumped on me the moment I didn’t follow their strict woke orthodoxy. They, too, did not see the contradiction when they told me they like Dave Chappelle and Richard Pryor.

It’s because of bullshit like that that we’re probably going to lose our democracy. When “cultural Leftists” have such a strict orthodoxy that they attack anyone who doesn’t know the ends and outs of their “woke” agenda that the efforts to keep America a democracy falls into serious, serious trouble.

I just had to get that out of my system. I fucking hate the woke orthodoxy because of how dangerous it is for democracy. Sometimes you want to tell a story that will “trigger” people — because that’s the whole point! The issue should be telling a great story, not if two women have a conversation about something other than a man.

Fuck that.

My frustration with the “woke” agenda grows the better my first novel gets. Given how much representation there is in this novel — and who I am as a CIS white male — half the readership will think I’m too woke and half its audience will think I’m an evil representative ogre of the patriarchy because I’m writing from a non-white, non-male POV at times. (Ok, maybe a lot.)

But that’s my vision and I’m willing to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune over it.

The Struggle to Develop An Iconic Heroine

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

As I continue to improve this novel as I transition from first to second draft, something really is hitting me in the face — I’m going to up my game when it comes to the framework supporting the personality of my heroine. The reason is, she can’t just be a Mary Sue that is “strong” because that’s just the way she is. Ripley (below) from the Alien franchise is a good example of the ideal type of “strong female character” in fiction.

I have give her flaws and establish that there are consequences for her being who she is. That’s the thing about Lisbeth Salander — she was very strong but she also was so whacked out that if you met her in real life she would scare the shit out of you.

I know the general plot of the story I’m working on very, very well. As such, I find myself ruminating on some of the crazy things I need my heroine to be able to do. She can’t be any wallflower. She’s got to have true grit. To the point that that, unto itself, will bring with it character flaws and conflict with other characters as she moves the plot along.

I really enjoy developing female characters because it’s such a challenge and is so fraught with the potential for me to make a massive fool and or asshole out of myself as a CIS white male (as the hep cats say these days about people like me.)

I’m beginning to grow a little nervous as to how late in the game this realization is coming to me. I’m going to have to rework a lot of the story so my heroine is moves the plot along and isn’t so fucking passive as she is currently. Anyway, I have a long ways to go and a short time to get there.

Wish me luck.