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

by Shelt Garner

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

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.

I Want To Go To NYC Sometime Soon In Honor Of My 50th Birthday

by Shelt Garner

I’m pretty much a starving artist at the moment so it definitely looks as though my upcoming 50 birthday is going to be extremely uneventful. It will come and go without any thing of note happening. I will note, however, that it was my 31st year, not my 30th that was Big for me — I went to South Korea the summer of my 31st birthday.

As such, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for being a broke ass motherfucker. At some point this year, I’d like to take a quick trip up to New York City. What I really want to do, of course, is return to Seoul for about two weeks.

But that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

And, yet, I do hope to return to Seoul one last time before I drop dead. There are very few expats still in Seoul from my time there, so I could pretty much jump right in and stir up trouble in the expat community without anyone realizing who they were dealing with.

The question, of course, is when that visit might happen. At the moment — I just don’t know. And, really, the world is so big that I probably shouldn’t limit myself to just visiting Seoul. But I have a very strong personal attachment to Seoul.

Ideally, I would do a round robin of East Asia, starting in Tokyo, then flying over to South Korea then finally going down to Southeast Asia before flying back home. That’s the dream, at least.

But, of course, a lot is going to have to change for such things to happen. If I managed to write a breakout first novel then, yeah, I might be able to return to Asia. For the time being, though, just being able to visit New York City again for a weekend would be pretty cool.

There remains a part of me that is idly interested in visiting not New York City or Seoul, but LA. It would be a lot of fun to see if my hunch that I have a very LA personality would pan out the way I think. I think I’m probably be willfully delusional on that front, but I am, as the late Annie Shapiro said, “a delusional jerk with a good heart.”

So, lulz.

I do have a little bit of a hunch that Something Big is going to happen to me later in life. Of course, some of that is just me being my usual delusional self, but I do know my personality and skillset well enough to know that I might manage to pull off a third “hat trick” of some sort.

Only time will tell exactly what that hat trick might ultimately be.

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

by Shelt Garner

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.

Why I Don’t Want To Self-Publish My First Novel (At The Moment)

by Shelt Garner

It’s very possible that, in the end, I self-publish this novel I’ve been working on for a number of years. And, yet, at the moment all I can say is fuck off to all the self-publishing advocates on Tik-Tok who want to bring me down and shit on my dreams of getting traditionally published.

The whole point of this project, from the beginning, has been to see how far I can get before I have to resign myself to self-publishing. I have improved so much as a writer and a storyteller because I have set my expectations so high. I know how difficult it is to get traditionally published but, as I keep saying, no one ever got anywhere by playing it safe.

So, here I am.

The reason why I keep writing about this is I feel insecure. I keep doing a gut check to see if I do, in fact, really want to go the traditional publishing route. And, to date, I continue to believe that I do.

It’s just I keep seeing Tik-Tok after Tik-Tok from self-publishing advocates who want to make me feel like shit for going the traditional route. Ugh. Fuck those guys.

I have found that self-publishing people are extremely touchy. When they’re not shitting on my dream of getting traditionally published, they freak out if you even so much as suggest that that that route is not for you. They seem absolutely convinced that anyone who doesn’t go the self-publishing route is a fool.

Well, as the late Annie Shapiro said of me, I’m a “delusional jerk with a good heart” so maybe I am a fool — but I know my true north and I’m willing to risk failure. But I absolutely believe in myself and, as such, I would at least like to see how far I can get before it hits me that getting traditionally published is out of the question.

I have to admit, of course, that it is rather disheartening when it sinks in that I could be in my mid-50s before I get published — and that’s if I stick the landing. But some of that angst is out of my control. I can’t help that I let my age slip up on me.

I’m 20 to 25 years older than the typical person writing their first novel and Just have to deal with my status as a late bloomer. I can’t go back in time and change when I decided I had something to say to the point that I was willing to throw myself into the process of writing a novel that I wanted to publish traditionally. The whole debate over being self-published or traditionally published gives me a headache.

I know my vision for this project and I’m willing to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune associated with the struggle to get through the gatekeepers.

American Democracy’s ‘Death By Vibes’

by Shelt Garner

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.

Self-Publishing Advocates On Tik-Tok Sure Do Love To Shit On People Like Me Who Want To Attempt To Traditionally Publish Their Novel

by Shelt Garner

I totally validate anyone who wants to self-publish their novel. If you abide strictly by the cold, hard metrics of the real world, self-publishing definitely makes a lot of sense. You have to be wilfully delusional to believe you can get traditionally published — especially if you’re an old, CIS white male like me. But, guess what — I am wilfully delusional.

What bothers me is many self-publishing advocates on Tik-Tok seem to want to go out of their way to shit on my dream of being traditionally published. They pick apart all the problems with getting traditionally published. I’ve seen everything from how statistics are against you to the fact that you can’t pick your cover being cited as reasons to go the self-publishing route.

Jesus Christ is it all very annoying. Fuck off, you assholes.

I have a huge chip on my shoulder when it comes to my writing, so huge, in fact, that I’m willing to risk everything to pursue my dream of proving a point by getting traditionally published. From the very beginning, the point of the project has been to see how far I could get into the traditional publishing process before it became absolutely clear that I was going to have to self-publish.

The reason why this is at the forefront of my mind is not just the fact that I’m gradually leaving the “wilfully delusional” stage of the march towards attempting to be traditionally published, but I am constantly bombarded with a deluge Tik-Toks by self-publishing advocates who keep going on and on about how I’m an idiot to even attempt to get traditionally published.

I know one of the reasons why I keep seeing these self-publishing advocates on Tik-Tok is there is a massive cottage industry around self-publishing and so people are trying to make some money by facilitating others following them down that path. Even though I know this, I’m still fucking aggravated by how insistent all these self-publishing advocates are that I should give up my traditional publishing dream.

A big part of the whole process of going the traditional publishing route is how difficult it is. I’m going to be forced to go outside my comfort zone the moment I finish my novel and have to convince a gatekeeper that my “baby” is good enough to actually get traditionally published. The whole thing is exciting and dangerous and risky and I often find myself feeling pretty insecure about it all — hence how much I bitch and moan about self-publishing advocates shitting on my dream.

Anyway. I’m not ruling out going the self-publishing route. That may, in fact, be what ultimately happens. But not yet. I’m prepared to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in my quest to be traditionally published. It’s definitely going to be interesting to see which comes first — civil war or me seeing my novel in the hands of readers.

MTG: Trump, Part Duh

by Shelt Garner

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

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

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.