I *May* Have *2* Novels Done By July 22

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s possible — not probable — that I may have not one, but *two* novels done by my hard deadline of July 22. It’s possible. Definitely possible. And the reason is I’ve spent many months working on the first act of a novel that has been split into two — so the first act is now two thirds of a novel unto itself.

I hope the heroine of my first novel is as interesting as Lisbeth Salander.

Meanwhile, the two thirds of the beta draft of the novel I was working on is still there, ready to be rewritten. And I MIGHT be able to get that done too by around July 22.

But I just don’t know. I will be grateful to wrap up this first novel by then, much less two. And there is the THIRD novel — a scifi Western — that I’m interested in working on, as well.

Anyway. Things are move really, really fast with this first novel. I’m very pleased. All my work — even if it was drifting work — of the last few years is finally beginning to produce some creative fruit. In hindsight, I wish I had not told anyone about what I was working on, but lulz, I’m 100% extroverted, what else was I going to do?

‘What A Weekday’ But More Snarky & Devoted To New York City Media Is The Vision I Have For A New Podcast

By Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The closest approximation to the type of podcast I want to listen to every day would be much like Crooked Media’s new What A Weekday podcast that Jon Lovett hosts. But my vision for a podcast would be centered around NYC life, entertainment and media, rather than the vaguely political vision of WAW.

We need a NYC-based podcast obsessed with Julia Fox’s every twitch.

I don’t even live in NYC, but it sure would be fun to have a podcast based out of NYC that was completely obsessed with the constant power struggles at The New York Times. Or be obsessed with whatever weird thing Julia Fox is doing at any particular moment.

Maybe Crooked Media could make my dream come true?

Most of all, it would be snarky. It would have that sharp comic edge that Late Night with David Letterman had as did Spy Magazine and Gawker. That’s why the Lovett show is very close to what my vision is, it just isn’t as focused as what I think my specific vision for a NYC-centric podcast would be.

Anyway, I hope someone does something with this idea before the window of opportunity closes because AI has taken over everything and we’re all consuming media via our AVP.

‘A Snarky Morning Zoo Podcast Devoted To NYC Media’

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The thing I’ve noticed about a lot — A LOT — of podcasts is how somnambulistic they can be. It’s just two or more people talking in a very languid way that makes you want to go to sleep.

This is a really good book by Ben Smith.

So, my vision for a Gawker-like podcast (which you are free to steal!) would be something like this — you live stream a two hour podcast three times a week (if not more) then edit it down to an hour for the rest of the day for non-live listeners.

I would want the podcast to be snarky, fun and energetic. It would be a bunch of (hot?) young people talking about Emma Chamberlain, Julia Fox and the Dune 2 popcorn bucket that everyone wants to fuck. You know, the type of bullshit Gawker was ranting about in 2003-2004.

The key could be who your hosts — and guests — were. I would grab some hip, just-out-of-college neo-club kids and with great personalities and throw them together into the Thunderdome. I would try to have at least one more “conservative” person on a panel of three to mix things up. But they couldn’t be a knuckle dragging MAGA person, but someone who thinks SNL is too woke or something.

But it would have to be genuine and not forced. And that would be the hardest part of the whole thing — how to get the spark of people who had actual witty banter on the fly and who knew the zeitgeist well. In that respect, I guess you might need to find some young stand up to be one of your three?

The first guest for this podcast would need to be someone like Sarah Squirm of SNL. She would be the perfect person to establish what the podcast was going to be about.

Why *Isn’t* There A Buzzy Gawker-Like Podcast Covering NYC Exclusively?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

One of the things I think got me blocked by Gawker founder Nick Denton on Twitter — other than my puppy-dog, obsessive interest in him — was I noticed an old YouTube video of him blathering on about how he had some sort of cohesive vision about Gawker’s inevitable “piviot to video.”

It was all bullshit, of course and nothing came of it.

After I brought a minor amount of attention to the video, it was mysteriously taken down.

Anyway, I still admire Denton a great deal — despite his obvious character flaws — and I thought a lot about him when I was bootstrapping ROKon Magazine in Seoul. I find myself thinking about all of this because I’m reading Ben Smith’s book “Traffic” and I’m learning a great deal about the rise and fall of Gawker.

Flash forward to today and it definitely seems as though podcasting is the new blogging and it’s just about mature. We’re just a few months, of course, away from its demise at the hand of some combination of LLMs and Apple Vision Pro. But, for a brief moment, there’s still a bit of time for someone to do something cool with podcasting.

I say this because there is one niche that hasn’t been filled yet — the buzzy NYC-based podcast. Or, there isn’t one relative to my little corner of the center-Left media bubble. Maybe one exists, and I just don’t know about it.

My favorite photo from the good old days of Gawker.

There’s The Town, which covers LA. There’s The Powers That Be, which covers a huge swath of things, but there’s not a popular, mass appeal NYC-centric podcast that deals with what Gawker covered — the NYC media world.

If one exists, please forgive me. Or, put another way, I’m sure one DOES exist, it’s just not as popular enough for me to know about it. I would try to create one myself, but for where I live and how much work it would involve to zero outcome.

I do have a novel to write, you know.

But I do think Puck and The Ringer should look into it. Or, alternately, maybe Crooked Media could do it and have Jon Lovett run it (though I doubt he would leave LA do to it, even though I suspect it would be tempting to him to get out from under the shadow of Jon and Tommy.)

It is curious, however, that NYC doesn’t have a popular podcast devoted specifically to it, while LA does.

Saturday Night Dead — Is SNL…Bad?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I know we’re in one of those periods in Saturday Night Live’s existence when it’s kind of at a low point because while I look forward to it when a new episode is scheduled, I don’t actually watch any of it. That this lull happens just as we’re all holding our breath to see if it continues past its 50th season is…not good.

Sydney Sweeney was on SNL recently.

When the buzz around the show is so potent that I actually watch it, then I will know it’s “back.” The show has been on for so long that there is a well known ebb-and-flow to its quality. Just about when everyone thinks its down for the count, some amazing new cast member swoops in and saves it from itself.

The thing about SNL is it serves a very, very important meta cultural function — it introduces young comics to older, more established entertainers for a week. That generates professional relationships that can last a lifetime.

But all good things must come to an end, the show has been on for a long time and Lorne Michaels is getting old…so lulz? It could be that SNL will end after its 50th season and that will be that. Something new will take its place and we will all move forward.

I just don’t know. Just as we find ourselves facing autocracy or civil war / revolution a political basis, and the AI transformation on the technological side, it could be that traditional entertainment is about to go through a rough patch, too. The end of SNL would be a part of that.

And all of this is happening in the context of even human being torn asunder by our partisan divide. SNL has always been the Bob Hope of comedy and I just don’t know if that play-it-down-the-middle style can survive while the country is not-so-slowly tearing itself apart.

It will be interesting to see how things work out, I will say that.

AI’s ‘Oracle Problem’

I was feeling lazy, and got ChatGPT to write this for me.

As we marvel at the wonders of artificial intelligence, we often overlook the profound philosophical and ethical questions it raises. One such dilemma is what I like to call the “Oracle Problem” – a conundrum that sits at the intersection of AI’s predictive capabilities and its impact on human decision-making.

At its core, the Oracle Problem encapsulates the challenge of navigating the fine line between prediction and determination. As AI systems become increasingly adept at forecasting future events based on vast datasets and complex algorithms, they inevitably wield significant influence over our choices and actions. This influence can be both empowering and unsettling.

On one hand, AI oracles offer invaluable insights into potential outcomes, enabling us to make more informed decisions in various domains, from finance to healthcare. They can uncover hidden patterns, identify trends, and even anticipate risks with remarkable accuracy. In this regard, AI serves as a powerful tool for augmenting human intelligence and enhancing our ability to navigate an uncertain world.

However, the flip side of this predictive prowess is the potential for undue influence and loss of agency. When we rely too heavily on AI predictions, we risk abdicating our responsibility for critical decision-making to machines. This raises fundamental questions about autonomy, accountability, and the ethical implications of algorithmic determinism.

Moreover, the accuracy of AI predictions is not infallible. Biases in data collection, algorithmic design, or interpretation can lead to erroneous forecasts, perpetuating systemic inequalities and injustices. As we increasingly entrust AI with shaping our futures, we must remain vigilant against the pitfalls of unchecked reliance on predictive models.

Ultimately, the Oracle Problem underscores the need for a balanced approach to AI integration – one that harnesses the benefits of predictive analytics while safeguarding human agency and ethical values. It calls for interdisciplinary collaboration among technologists, ethicists, policymakers, and society at large to establish norms and regulations that guide the responsible development and deployment of AI systems.

In navigating the complexities of the Oracle Problem, we are challenged to embrace the promise of AI innovation while upholding the principles of human dignity, autonomy, and justice. Only through thoughtful reflection and collective action can we harness the transformative potential of AI for the betterment of humanity.

‘Kavanaugh’ — An AI Generated Parody of Van Halen’s ‘Panama’

Now, if only I could play guitar.

(Verse 1)
Kavanaugh, a man of the law
But did he really chug brews like a pro?
From Yale to the bench, he’s under the light
But did he party harder than he fights?

(Pre-Chorus)
Oh, Kavanaugh, with his calendar in hand
Every party, every keg stand
He’s got his robes and his legal mind
But does he have some tales he’d rather unwind?

(Chorus)
Kavanaugh, woo!
Like a frat boy, but with a gavel too
Kavanaugh, oh yeah!
Supreme Court justice, with a wild side to bear

(Verse 2)
From “Renate Alumnius” to “Devil’s Triangle”
His yearbook’s got jokes, but can he untangle
The truth from the brews, the tales from the haze
It’s a high-stakes game in the judicial maze

(Pre-Chorus)
Oh, Kavanaugh, with his beer-stained past
Did he really party hard and fast?
He’s got his speeches and his legal highs
But can he prove he’s more than just a frat guy?

(Chorus)
Kavanaugh, woo!
Living large, but with laws to pursue
Kavanaugh, oh yeah!
Supreme Court justice, with some stories to share

(Bridge)
He’s got his Senate hearings and his FBI checks
But can he dodge the questions and the barbs from his ex?
With the weight of the country on his judicial chair
Will he rise above or will he sink in despair?

(Guitar Solo)

(Chorus)
Kavanaugh, woo!
Like a rockstar, but with laws to construe
Kavanaugh, oh yeah!
Supreme Court justice, with some tales to declare

(Outro)
Kavanaugh, oh yeah!
Supreme Court justice, with a wild side to spare

The Vision Thing: Successor To Spy Magazine & Gawker Edition — Julia Fox Would Be Key

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It is clear to me that all of this is just so much mental masturbation. Even if I somehow stick the landing with the novel I’m writing and it’s a breakout hit success, I would not have the funds necessary to do any of this until I was nearly 60.

Oh well.

But I’m young at heart, so here goes.

As I’ve written before, if I was going to do a successor to Spy Magazine and Gawker, I would make it some sort of podcasting network. And the person I would want to build the snarky podcasting network around would be some like Julia Fox.

Emma Chamberlain

She’s got a knack for generating buzz by just being herself.

A person I would also fixate on would be Emma Chamberlain.

I would be obsessed with Fox in a fun way and with Chamberlain in a snarky way. Chamberlain is a gorgeous young woman, but she would be really easy to tease because she’s so iconic to young people with thin skins.

I think some sort of podcasting network that had a lot of savvy young people as hosts who churned out a number of podcasts a day would be a hit. The vibe I am thinking of would be a snarky, non misogynistic version of Barstool. Something like that, but done in a way that would not drive young, well educated women away.

The goal would be for those types of young women to be in on the joke, once they realized that all the snarky comments about Chamberlain were done in good fun. And I think if the podcasting network was really, really obsessed with Julia Fox’s every twitch that that, too, would be something both men and women would enjoy.

But, again, the Internet of 2024 is very very very very different from the Internet of 2004. Even podcasting is a mature market and media landscape is so diffuse these days that it would be difficult to generate the type of buzz that Gawker did back in the day.

And, yet, the counter argument is that the dynamic that made Gawker so popular — that of media outlet that was totally consumed with the goings on of the media and entertainment elite in NYC that we plebs could enjoy — is still a viable option.

I’m not saying that there aren’t podcasting networks that don’t do some of what I’m talking about. But there’s not ONE network that replicates the vibe of Gawker from 2004. I would want the morning podcast of the network to be something that media professionals streamed every morning on the their way to work, and so on.

But, again, lulz. It’s over. This is the twilight of the type of media I love.

We Need A New Gawker

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Reading Ben Smith’s book “Traffic” has really riled me up on a daydreaming basis. It seems like with the rise of Xinnals that the time is ripe for a online publication that would follow in the footsteps of the 80s Spy Magazine and the early aughts Gawker.

Something snarky that would take the “cool kids” of media, culture and entertainment down a notch every once in a while.

And, yet, there are a lot — A LOT — of problems with this idea.

One is, lulz, something like a Gawker is quaint and moot in the age of AI. We may all be talking to our Digital Personal Assistant in the metaverse using our Apple Vision Pros and the whole idea of “reading” will be cast aside like cursive.

So, I think this is it. We’re never going to get punk back. We’re never going to have another a late night TV talkshow host who is like a young David Letterman and we’re never going to have another Spy or Gawker.


The economics just aren’t there.

I can tell you one thing, though, if I had the means to at least attempt a startup that was meant to follow in the footsteps of Spy and Gawker, I would do it. But it wouldn’t be as much fun as Nick Denton back in the day, though, cause I would be 20 years older — or more — doing it.

I hate being old.

Well, Being Sober Is Making Me A More Productive Writer

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I fuck hate being sober. I really do. But here I am, feeling obliged to be sober because, well, I would like to live. No longer living in an alcohol induced haze has caused me to be a more productive writer.

My novel’s heroine sports a sleeve tattoo much like this one on Megan Fox.

Maybe not as creative, but at least more focused and productive.

I hope to get a lot of writing done in the near term. Things are moving really fast with this new iteration of the novel, to the point that I may soon be working on the NEXT novel in what I hope will be a series.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the scifi Western I want to write. All of this is happening, of course, in the context of the looming Fourth Turning and or Petite Singularity making all my hard work writing these novels rather quaint and moot.

Anyway, wish me luck.