After Trumplandia — The New Modern Era: Postmodernism & A Potential Pop Culture ‘Reset’


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Being old sucks. You can’t date cute 24 year old women without seeming like a creepy old man. You face ageism at every turn. And you’re left with a lot of wistful memories about this or that thing you could have done better or different a decade ago.

And, yet, at the same time, being older does give you some perspective on life. You start to be old enough to see macro trends that were once completely obscured. So, let’s talk about pop culture over the last, say, 50 years.

For me, the “Modern” media world starts with the films of the late 1970s and early 80s. That was Modern. I was too young to understand what was going on, of course, but those films like Being There, Annie Hall, Manhattan, The Empire Strikes Back and All That Jazz established the “modern” world. Such films established what was “real” for my little developing mind.

On a personal level, it wasn’t until Neo took The Red Pill in The Matrix that we entered the modern post-Modern era of media. (I say this only because, as I understand it, the original post-modernism happened in 1968 when the French intelligentsia grew disillusioned with Communism after the invasion of Czechoslovakia.)

After The Matrix, I would say the modern post-modernism was epitomized by The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. What a great film.

The point of all of this is, because of the Rona, it’s at least possible that we’re in for something of a reset in media. There will be the New Modern as opposed to the Post-Modern. There are a shit ton movies that have been delayed because of the Rona, so it’s possible that as all those movies get unclogged from the system that one of them might be That Movie that makes a huge impression on the tinder minds of Gen Z and starts the whole process over again. I would note in passing that one might point to the extreme post-modernism of Fleabag as a sign that such a reset is just about to happen.

Or not. Who knows.

But the Rona is such a huge macro event that has put a pause on the media world, it definitely seems that if any such reset is going to happen, right about now would be a great time for it to happen. And if you throw in the ultra-extreme post-modernistic nature of the Trump Era — and it’s rather abrupt conclusion, that, too might indicate Something Big in pop culture is happening.

It make take us years to see it, though.

Fourth Reich: Hitler, Trump & The Rise Of The Patriot Party


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

In the spirit of wanting to be where the puck will be, not where it is, I’m reading a great new Hitler biography. It’s part of a two book biography and talks about Hitler’s rise to power up until 1939. It’s a very easy read about a very dark and deep subject.

As I have predicted for some time, the United States is now in political neutral and will likely be so for about two years until Congress flips to the Republicans again. This, of course, will be the setup to Trump or someone like Trump becoming president in 2024.

Enjoy your liberal democracy while you can, America, things are about to get dark. Really dark.

The only reason why liberal democracy survived is because Trump is an idiot. He had the entire nation prone before him, ripe for the taking and he totally, completely blew it. He was all impulse and no follow through. He just isn’t as smart as Putin or as bloodthirsty as Hitler.

So, this brings us to the prospect of The Patriot Party, which be, at first, simply the MAGA subset of the Republican Party. I’ve seen some Twitter liberals gloating about how great such a historic cleaving of the Republican Party would be and all I gotta say is — slow your roll.

If Trump did pull the MAGA element away from the Republican Party to start the Patriot Party, any victory that liberal-progressives would get out of such a situation would be fleeting. Maybe one election cycle. The macro trends that have the United States lurching towards an autocracy are just too powerful. Either we become an autocracy under Republicans in 2024 or one under The Patriot Party in 2028.

You pick.

So, in a sense, the American First Republic has already fallen, history hasn’t caught up yet. The Patriot Party is going to be like that slutty girl who will do the political buttstuff that our old girlfriend won’t do. Broken free from the moderating force of the National Review wing of the Republican Party (the “establishment”) The Patriot Party is going to break any law, destroy any norm, do whatever is necessary — even violence — to obtain and keep power as soon as possible.

I still think in hindsight Qanon will serve as the basis for a new Holocaust. This time, the United States will implode like Cambodia in the 1970s and there will be American Killing Fields filled with…gulp…people like me. It’s going to all happen so fast, it’s going to be a political history suckerpunch.

I just don’t see any way this doesn’t happen. Something I just can’t predict would have to step in and prevent it from happening. I’m thinking something like a limited nuclear exchange with the DPRK or something. Something big. Something so big it would overshadow the rise of fascism in the United States on a macro political level — or at least punt the problem down the road until, I don’t know, the Singularity or First Contact happens.

So, in short, read up on Hitler’s rise now to prepare for how you, on a personal level, will address something similar in the United States at some point in the next decade.

Good luck.

A Trump…er POTUS…By Any Other Name #AmWriting


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Now that I’ve finally finished a solid outline and am really throwing myself into writing a great first draft…we’re no longer in Trumplandia. Ugh. One of the things that I’ve repeatedly said is I don’t plan to ever use Trump’s name in this novel, even though, in a sense, my rage against the era that fucker caused is the beating heart of the work.

Now that Trump is out of office — at least for the fucking time being — I wonder if I might at least be a bit more specific who “POTUS” in the novel is. And, yet, I really don’t want the whole thing to be dismissed as a liberal fever dream or screed. It’s just meant to be a fun, thought provoking novel in the tradition of Stieg Larsson’s work.

That’s it.

Nothing more complicated or deep than that.

But my rage against Trumplandia is so white hot, so totally consuming on a creative level — and I’ve gone through so many hoops to get here — that it does make me wonder if maybe it’s ok to go beyond simply a “Individual #1” level of description as to who the “POTUS” in question is.

One solution, of course, would be to cut the POTUS angle out of the story altogether. But that part of the story is existential. That’s the whole point of the story. I can’t help that it took me three years to get to the point where my novel raging about Trump won’t be finished until well into his successor’s term in office.

So, I think I’m going to continue to look at this as just a scenario. It’s not THE POTUS it’s just A POTUS. Who the POTUS at the time in question happened to be is pretty obvious, so that should be enough.

I like the idea of using proxies to rant about MAGA-Qanon-Patriot Party cocksucker fuckers. My goal is that simply by what I bring up in the novel, I will definitely give you some sense of what’s really going on. There shouldn’t be any need to be explicit about it.

You’ll know, if you’re not an idiot.

Or, put another way, the more I use subtext to explain how enraged I continue to be about Trumplandia, the better the story will be. It won’t be preachy and — hopefully — even center-right people can read and enjoy the novel as a novel and not some sort of Atlas Shrugged for liberal-progressives.

I just want to write a novel that’s not embarrassing.

Hollywood, ‘Fleabag’ & The Strange Case of The Dog That Didn’t Bark


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Looking back over all my ranting about Trumplandia, there’s one thing that really shocks me — we never got a “Network” for that era. It’s surreal. It’s almost as if Hollywood was scared to touch the epic shitshow that was happening all around us for four years.

For much of Trumplandia, the case could be made that it just takes time to develop and produce a movie. But in the four years of Trumplandia, we never once got a movie that directly referenced the insane situation we were in. And, really, in a sense it was Phoebe Waller-Bridges’ “Fleabag” that gave us the catharsis we needed.

How many times during Trumplandia did we collectively want to look at the camera of life with one of Fleabag’s expressions?

Now that Trumplandia has fallen, it does raise the question of will art ever address it. The novel I’m developing and writing hopes to do that, but the context growing very, very different every day. I struggle with how to tell the story I’ve always wanted without it seeming extremely dated.

The issue, I think, is to make the story a good as possible and also to really lean on character. If I can just make it a good story set in a specific moment in time — like, say “Ladybird,” then some of the more potentially dated aspects of the story will be “hidden” by how good the story is unto itself.

I really have a huge amount of reading to do, but I also have to put-up or shut-up. They say your first draft is meant to be shit, and so now that I have the structure of the story down pat, as soon as I’m mentally in the right space to do so –which should be very, very soon — I’m going to sit down and start writing a serious first draft. One, I hope, is the best first draft I’ve attempted to date.

But I must admit that I’m on a hair trigger to do something different if I feel I’m forced to. I have maybe three or four solid novel or screenplay concepts rolling around in my mind and if this current novel becomes untenable, I’m going to move on — even if it sucks and will hurt like a bitch.

Yet, that hasn’t happened yet. Gotta keep moving on.

I still think there will be an audience for a novel that wallows in the conventions of Trumplandia.

Trumplandia Has Fallen — Now What


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

One of the stranger political events of my life is what didn’t happen — Trump turned out not to be an autocrat, but just a lazy idiot with autocratic impulses. Or, put another way, everyone — even me — fell into the trap of ascribing to Trump political acuity that he obviously did not, in fact, have.

So here we are.

Within a matter of days, something we all assumed was the “new normal” — Trumplandia — has vanished. The person who was in the center of the American experience for about five years, has dropped off the face of the earth. What I think will happen is we’re going to be in political neutral for about two years until the Republicans come back to power in Congress and the whole cycle starts up again.

An would-be autocrat (Trump? Pompeo? Cotton? Hawley? etc, etc, etc) will arise, use their base of support in Congress to win the election one way or another. All our fears will come true, just a few years late.

Enjoy your liberal democracy while you’ve got it — barring something pretty historic, the macro trends that caused Trump in the first place will cause a Trump-like figure (only this time younger and more focused) to win election and strangle it.

I keep saying — we’re an autocracy without an autocrat.

The moment the inevitable autocrat takes over, then, well, that’s it. We’re going to be no better than Putin’s Russia. And loudmouth people like me, who, to date, have had the luxury of a liberal democracy to allow us to shoot off at the mouth without the fear of the jackboot…will just fade away.

Sometimes, They Come Back


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

As of Monday (at the latest) I’m throwing myself back into the novel I’ve been working on the last few years. Everything is in place — I should be able to write the first draft very, very quickly.

I’ll always be the guy in the circle. Me, 2032

What started as me raging against the Trump Era now has a very different context — it’s going to be a lot more character based, a lot less preachy and…also a warning of what might be to come.

I really just want to forget the Trump Era ever happened. And, yet, given Trump’s apparent interest in the “Patriot Party” concept, I have decided to read up on Hitler. My fear is because of the “megatrends” that caused the rise of Trump in the first place, that he and his movement will come back in a big way far, far sooner than any of us might otherwise believe.

So, in preperation for the rise of honest-to-God-American MAGA-Nazism, I’m going to start to study Hitler, his rise and his use of power once he got it. My fear is that Trump — or a “velvet fist” of, say, President Lara Trump and Vice President Mike Pompeo — may finally turn us into an autocratic managed democracy like Putin’s Russia.

America is currently an autocracy without an autocrat and something pretty huge would have to happen for our democracy not to go the way of the Weimar Republic within no more than 10 years. But, let me make it clear — Trumplandia’s Fourth Reich wouldn’t be expansionistic. It’s not like Trump or Lara Trump would want to take over the world.

It would be an implosion, not an explosion.

The United States would collapse in on itself, maybe even to the point that there was a complete re-imagining of the world order. The United States would leave NATO, pull all its troops out from South Korea, etc and also have some sort of “Final Solution” for the “Liberal Problem.”

Or, to put it another way — there are some fucking dark forces at work on a macro level in the United States.

Weirdly enough, there really hasn’t been much discussion about how Elon Musk is just a few years away from ending the trucking industry as we know it. When 3 million high paying blue collar jobs fashion overnight, there are going to be a shit ton of angry men and women who might embrace neo-Luddism. And that would cause a massive jiggling of our political economy.

The Patriot Party might fuse the far Right and the far Left into an anti-technology party while the corporate elements of the Democrat and Republican parties might fuse together in response.

Anyway.

The point is — Trumplandia ain’t dead yet. Sometimes, they come back.

Holy Shit: Trump May Found His Own NSDAP — The Patriot Party


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Well, if you want to get in on the new Trump grift, I suggest you become active in the founding of The Patriot Party. History may not repeat, but it does rhyme, so it’s very possible that Stephen Miller will ghost write a Trump book called “My Struggle” then in four years we’re going to look back at the events of January 6th as Trump’s “Beerhall Putsch.”

Trump — or some member of the Trump family — will win in 2024 and we’ll go full Nazi. Though, I doubt The Patriot Party will be expansionist. It will be more about the country imploding into itself and doing away with the “liberal problem” once and for all.

Now, history rarely goes in a straight line, so it’s very possible that the Republican Party is going to tear itself apart for one election cycle. So, in that case, it would be closer to 2028 or even as late as 2032 when Der Fuhrer assumes control.

Though, at that point, Trump himself will be so fucking old that it might be something more along the lines of a the “velvet fist” — Lara Trump as POTUS and Mike Pompeo (or whomever) as Veep. There are now a half a dozen would-be autocrats waiting in the wings to finally strangle American liberal democracy.

It’s only a matter of time before one of them becomes president or vice president. No more than, say, a decade. Probably closer to four years. The macro trends that brought us this point of being an autocracy without an autocrat aren’t going anywhere.

The United States is going to be in political neutral for about two years no matter what. We’re just going to be in something of a political daze until the Republicans — or Patriot Party? — take over the Congress and we really REALLY have something to worry about.

And, as I’ve mentioned before, if Trump was smart — which he is not — he would put his political puck where macro trends suggest we WILL BE not where we ARE: he’d really try to rearrange American politics by banking hard LEFT when it comes to technology — become a neo-Luddite. Remember, Elon Musk is just a few years away from destroying 3 million (!) high paying trucker jobs via self-driving semis. If Trump — or someone in the extended House Trump — could make saving those 3 million jobs part of a political platform, well, you got yourself a powerful political movement.

It would have to be Steve Bannon to think that up, though. Trump, himself, is an idiot.

We now know what’s potentially ahead of us now. All the overblown fears that people like me had during the first Trumplandia Reich will be a lot closer to coming true once Trump founds the Patriot Party and we have our very own Red Hats (as opposed to Brown or Black Shirts) running around, beating the shit out of people like me around election time.

Pray.

Some Idle Biden Era Predictions


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Biden Will Be Impeached
The moment the House flips, Biden will be impeached over simply being Biden. That’s an absolute at this point.

Kamala Harris Will Face Pressure To Use The 25th Amendment
As we grow accustomed to the Biden Era, Biden will set the tone of his era, just like Trump did. And, as such, we’re going to notice that he IS a little bit senile. The FOX News bullshit echo chamber will latch on to this, and turn it into a regular Benghazi 2.

President Harris?
I have high hopes for Biden, but he’s old as hell. I wish him a long life and eight years in office, but he IS 78. So, somehow, some way, I just don’t see him lasting through his first term. I hope I’m wrong. I usually am. Harris will be a great president that will really shake things up — and, as such, get her into a huge amount of political trouble.

A Jarring Transition
We’re just not prepared for the Biden Era. It’s going to be a bumpy first few days and weeks after Biden is sworn in. We’re just not going to know what to do.

The Trump Deep State
One of the biggest problems for Biden will be The Trump Deep State. All those MAGA hacks now “burrowed” into the Federal government are going to come after Biden and his policies in a big way. By July, that could be what we’re all talking about.

Runaway Jury?
If Trump doesn’t play his cards right, his second impeachment trial in the Senate may serve the purpose of a Trump Era Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the sense that before we know it, folks like John Bolton and Don McGahn will be testifying at it in a new political Trial of The Century. The whole thing will drag out as each side throws more and more firepower at the issue.

Comparative Political History: The Paris Commune And The American Capitol Riot Of Jan. 6th, 2021


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

I barely know anything about the Paris Commune, but I know enough to know that it may be the closest comparison one can think up when it comes to the Capitol Riot of January 6th in Washington.

But there are some pretty big differences.

If you look back at what happened on January 6th, we were extremely lucky for a number of reasons — the riot didn’t really have any leaders and it didn’t really have any long-term agenda or ideology. It was just a smash-and-grab coup attempt.

But imagine if there had been some sort of leadership on January 6th. They could have established a security perimeter around the Capitol. They could have taken hostages and they could have formed a “government” at the Capitol building.

If they had had any organization or forethought, they could still be there right now, hold up at the Capitol in their own “commune.” I doubt they would have called it a commune, but that’s what it would have been.

They had a very specific historic opportunity and — thankfully — they completely blew it. They “caught the car” and then didn’t know what to do with it. There won’t be a next time.

Any coup-like event that occurs in the future is going to require a shit ton more work by those involved. I still think given macro trends that while there may still be significant political violence in the coming years, it’s the 2024-2025 period we need to keep an eye on.

‘Catching The Car:’ The Capitol Riot, Reassessed


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The key thing we have to appreciate is what a fluke the riot at the Capitol was on January 6th. While future history may prove me wrong — I’m often wrong — it definitely seems as though a lot of things went wrong at the same time on that date.

What happened January 6th was a classic instance of “catching the car.” How else do you explain how gleeful many of the people who participated were? In the moment, most of the people involved had no idea the gravity of what they had gotten themselves into. It was all a big party.

Or, once the beating the shit out of people phase was accomplished by nastier aspects of the mob, it was a party to everyone else. I almost went to DC to “cover” the event for myself and I now find myself sheepishly blanching at what I might have gotten myself into had I gone. I probably would have charged into the Capitol to cover such a historic event, only to get arrested for trespassing, etc.

So, in a sense, I dodged a bullet.

Anyway, I think, in a sense, the terrorists have won in the short term and we’re all terrorized while the actual threat is back to near-zero. So, we’re going through all this pretty much for no reason. The moment people started getting arrested for their participation in the Capitol riot, I think the threat evaporated.

There may be isolated political violence over the next four years, but the Big Ugly has been punted down the road to the 2024-2025 time frame for a number of reasons. A civil war / revolution is coming…just not right now.