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 ‘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.

I Was A Centrist For A Day & All I Got Was A Headache

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

When I was a wee young thing, I discovered a collection of the works of conservative thinker George Will and for a few days I was a nascent Young Republican. This soon faded, however, and I reverted back to my usual center-Left ways.

I find myself thinking about that event after spending a lot of mental energy mulling the political concerns of my Traditionalist relative. I have spent a lot of time weighing all of his legitimate criticisms of the center-Left and ultimately the whole thing just left me with a headache.

The reason is — he, along with the entire MAGA echochamber — conflate the soft power of Twitter with the hard power of the U.S. Government. What’s more, MAGA — especially its “thought leaders — have a huge fucking chip on their shoulder. They want to shit on smug Twitter liberals while at the same time they crave the validation of those very same people.

It’s like a high school nerd who would do anything to sit with the “cool kids” but if it ever happened, all they would do is bitch and complain about how the “cool kids” were idiots.

That contradiction combined with the not-so-latent racism, misogyny and bigotry of the MAGA movement makes me snap back to my usual center-Left anti-MAGA ways no matter how much my Traditionalist relative rants about the Biden Administration may have gone overboard in its efforts to crack down on COVID disinformation.

The issue is — MAGA and its Traditionalists allies are so alarmed by the rapid demographic changes in the United States population that they will do anything to maintain power. Even to the point of actively working to establish permanent white minority rule in the context of a Christian ethnostate.

I’m just not all that worried by the browning of America and I’m not all that worried about women having more economic opportunities. Sounds like a good time to me. I’m far more worried at the moment about the rise of chatbots and the possibly Singularity happening in the context of a moderate to severe recession in 2023.

That is something to worry about, not how fucking annoying it is that the woke cancel culture mob has an orthodoxy about the proper use of pronouns.

Chatbot Regulation Is Looming

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I spoke to my Traditionalist relative today who is by nature 100% against any form of regulation and was taken aback by how open he was to regulating chatbots. Now, the subtext of this is not so much saving jobs as it is, of course “bais.”

I’m sure in his MAGA podcast echochamber they’re all aghast that ChatGPT is too “woke” simply because it doesn’t validate their MAGA agenda about such hot button topics as “What is a woman?” So, the whole issue of how chatbots could radically transform our economy in a very short amount of time is a lulz, but a chatbot not validating the policy goals of MAGA is a bridge too far.

It will probably start with hearings in 2023 by the Republican House looking into how powerful ChatGPT is in education overnight. And, along the way, it will become a MAGA Nazi talking point as chatbots grow more culturally potent that they need to be regulated to stop the “woke indoctrination” of America’s youth because it won’t let little kids learn jokes about women.

It all goes back to something I think about all the time — MAGA Nazis love to conflate the soft power of smug Twitter liberals with the hard power of the government that they want to control so badly. MAGA Nazis have gone from 2016’s “Fuck your feelings” to 2023’s “ChatGPT is hurting my feelings by not agreeing with me so it has to be regulated to do so.”

And all of this is going to happen really, really fast. It might even feel like it just snapped into place overnight. ChatGPT is definitely a ping from the a possible Singularity. None of us are prepared for how radically our economy may be changed

I Am Not Perfect

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Occasionally, I find myself daydreaming about writing not just under a pen name, but taking up an assume identity to get these novels published. I am so woefully imperfect that as this first novel gets better and better and I come within — at least in my own mind — shouting distance of getting published I review in my mind all the very flawed-human things I’ve done over the years.

I’ve managed not to do anything illegal over the years, but I have done a lot of things — usually because of booze — that make me wince now that I am an old, wiser graybeard. It just seems if I came up with the character of a 24-year-old transgendered Hispanic girl then maybe I could somehow find success without instantaneously being canceled for stupid shit I did in Seoul nearly 20 years ago.

Whenever I think shit like this, two things happen.

One, my ego kicks in and I’m like, “Fuck it, we’ll do it live.” Meanwhile, I also think of the old saw, “It’s better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.” So, yeah, I know I may be courting disaster by putting myself in the public eye by writing a really great pop novel — but at least I will have written a really great pop novel.

At this point, the object of writing this novel isn’t so much to get rich and famous — even though that would be great — it’s to prove a fucking point: I don’t suck.

I can tell a great story, if nothing else. So I’m willing to risk the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune if it comes to that.

Wait, What? The ‘Woke’ Criticisms Of ‘Avatar – Way Of Water’ Have Gotten Even Worse

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I fucking hate MAGA Nazis. I really do. But cultural Leftists really get on my fucking nerves sometimes. I see the growing chorus of “woke” hate for Avtar — Way of Water and I find myself becoming more and more enraged. Apparently in the post “Get Out” world a movie like “Way of Water” is unacceptable and this is why we can’t have nice things. Something about this really annoys me — I haven’t seen “Get Out,” but I didn’t even think about that element of alleged “cultural appropriation.”

It’s because of such “woke” hate of a movie that is actually reasonably entertaining that most of the movies that are probably going to get Oscars this year either suck or are so obscure and “woke friendly” — at the expense of the story — that no one has actually seen them.

Excuse me. I’m cranky.

I’m cranky because I see the dumb, woke criticisms of the latest Avatar movie and I worry about how the novel I’m writing, which has a lot of organic representation — will be picked apart because I’m a “CIS white male” writing it. The thing I’ve noticed about cultural Leftists is they simply refuse to admit that maybe….they need to tone it down a little bit in name of saving democracy, if nothing else?

While I don’t fucking hate Leftists as much as I fucking hate MAGA Nazis, Leftists — especially cultural Leftists — really grind my gears because of how self-defeating they can be. But getting into the weeds about “what is a woman” they pretty much hand a loaded rhetorical handgun to MAGA Nazis whenever the issue — which shouldn’t be a big deal, but is — comes up.

The whole situation is intractable and difficult to do anything about. America is increasingly becoming two nations, one Red, one Blue and as much I hate to say it “both sides” really do have a fucking problem with very nasty extremists.

Scriptnotes: How I Would ‘Fix’ Avatar — Way Of Water

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Ok, I’m working on my first novel and, as such, I’m completely consumed with storytelling — to the point that it’s almost impossible for me to sit through a movie that I feel fails to match my personal high expectations for what makes a great yarn. (Why waste my time?)

I saw the most recent Avatar movie and I could definitely see that there was a little bit of pandering to the MAGA Nazi set in it — but not enough to drive the box office to $2 billion like James Cameron needs. When I was working at a movie theatre, the one movie that drove the most crowds was the Sniper movie because it fit the MAGA Nazi midset so perfectly that they came to see it in the theatre in droves.

Here’s what I would have done:

First, if the movie must, for the sake of James Cameron’s ego, be three hours, I would slice the “woke” Gaia-on-another-planet part of it down to a spare 1.5 hours. All the rest of the screen time would be filed with fleshing out the motives and aspirations of the “star people.” Don’t make them smug Blue caricatures of MAGA Nazi, but fleshed out people who think they’re the good guys for various reasons.

And, more importantly, I would really have do a lot more with the relationship between Spider and the bad guy. There was a lot of traditional heteronormative heart that could have been built around those two characters. Maybe it was there in the 7 hour cut of the movie, maybe it wasn’t. But it definitely seems as though Cameron could not figure out what to do with Spider.

There was a pretty deep, profound epistemological thing going on between Spider and Bad Guy and…it wasn’t really addressed at all. I know maybe that would have made the movie a little TOO different…but it would have made the proxy MAGA Nazi badguy at least a little bit less one dimensional and would have gotten MAGA Nazi asses in seats.

Anyway, I only even bring this up because the structure of the movie definitely might have allowed Cameron to have appeased both Red and Blue with two parallel storylines that intertwined at the end.

It’s When People Come At Me From The Political Left That I Don’t Know What To Do

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I continue to brood about what, exactly, is the “woke cancel culture mob” and if it even exists. At the moment, all I know is that being “woke” simply means whatever it needs to mean so Ron DeSantis gets closer to being POTUS. That’s it — it means everything and nothing.

And, yet, from my own personal experiences on Twitter, there definitely does seem to be a small, but vocal, group of people who would fit the description of being “woke.” I think a better description of them would be “cultural Leftists.” They tend to be extremely touchy about things like pronouns, being “triggered,” the broadest, most complex definition of a what a “woman” is, all the while being totally oblivious to the rise of cold, hard MAGA Nazism.

They’re so busy making people like me who are generally on their side feel bad for not following their very strict orthodoxy about this or that “woke” thing that they totally miss that, in the end, both they the “woke” and me the “unwoke” could endup in the same Trump branded weaponized ICE camp. I’m sure I’m stumbling across some sort of political rule of thumb about how fascism takes over a democracy.

I think what’s most important is that, in general, the center-Left really needs to work on its messaging. When I have to spend five minutes wading through the “anti-MAGA people are all woke members of the cancel culture mob who want to turn everyone gay” narrative from my Traditionalist relatives whenever I try to talk to them about politics — American democracy has a problem.

It’s so bad that it is literally impossible for my Traditionalist relatives to distinguish between Democrats and pretty much the spawn of gay satan…oh boy. All I know is, the “gay scare” of 2022 – 2023 is alive and well in my little corner of the universe. I just want my otherwise sane Traditionalist relatives to help me defeat MAGA Nazism…but they’re just too consumed with the cultural wars to even think about it seriously.

All of this is very touchy and difficult to write about because, well, the “woke cancel culture mob” is known to fly off the handle if you don’t totally, absolutely agree with them on their most extreme positions. Which, of course, proves me point.

Anyway, I fucking hate MAGA Nazis. I just wish cultural Leftists would be willing to cool it and work with more centrist people like me to defeat the rise of fascism in the United States.

The ‘Woke’ Tik-Tok Critiques Of ‘Avatar 2’ Are Bonkers

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Let me first say that I’m not a perfect man. In fact, relative to the purer-than-Caesar’s -Wife expectations of the “woke cancel culture mob” I truly have fallen short of the glory that is Christ. I have drunk too much in the past. I have gotten drunk and ranted about things in a way that did not fit the established media narrative. Also, before I start — fuck MAGA Nazi cocksuckers.

I was rather aghast at the “woke” critique of Avatar 2 — The Wave of Water on Tik-Tok. The Leftist critique, apparently is that the movie wallows in “white savior” tropes and does a lot of cultural appropriation. I am aghast because I was so busy generally enjoying the movie that neither one of those “woke” Leftist criticisms even entered my mind as I watched.

Not that I didn’t notice the underlying pandering to both Red and Blue in the movie here and there. It was definitely there. The bad guys were cool in a “Reds with a cultural chip on their shoulder” way and the good guys were definitely downlow woke.

But the idea that you ding the movie not for being too long and too self-indulgent, but rather for the more esoteric “white savior” trope and cultural appropriation seems a little bit of a reach. Not that I’m not validating those “woke” criticisms. Ok, I get it, but if you’re all that wrapped up in something like that that the vast majority of your average American middle-of-the-road viewer in a suburb won’t notice — you’re the reason why most Oscar movies are a just not that popular with the average person.

The point is to tell a good to great story. That’s it. When you’re done with your story, is a good one? Did you, using subtext, get your point across? Did people leave the movie entertained? I mean, if you really wanted to all fucking woke about things, you would definitely trash Top Gun: Maverick because it glorified the military in a very unwoke manner — even though it definitely told a great story that really entertained people.

I say all this because I’m hard at work on my own story — a novel. And I have done everything in my power for their to be “representation” in the novel, for it to feel inclusive. And, yet, because the country is so fucking divided into Red and Blue, half the audience will probably think it’s too “woke” while the other half will scream at the top of their lungs that a middle aged CIS white male has no right to write from the POV of a non male, non white person.

We’re so fucking divided that you really, truly can’t win. I am again reminded of the MAGA Nazi fascination with the question “What is a woman.” They love the question because it’s an easy bludgeon to use against woke people who have to pause for a moment before they answer the question. So, of course, Nazi MAGA cocksuckers hone in on that question, wallow in it, in an effort to make the center-Left look as out of touch as possible.

Anyway, there comes a point when you just have to accept to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.