The Academy Needs To Give Up On The Oscars

by Shelt Garner

I love movies and I love the Academy Awards. Growing up, they were one of the highlights of my TV watching year. But now, in our hypermedia Tik-Tok, post-Slap era…the Academy Awards finds itself at a crossroads.

My favorite podcast about Hollywood and showbiz.

The Academy needs to give up. Give up on broadcast TV. Give up on trying to appeal to anyone but the base. Just wallow in why people watch the show to begin with and move on.

Move the Oscars to a streamer and let the thing run for four or more hours. No more playing people off when they give their acceptance speech. Just let the Academy Awards evolve into the niche product that it inevitably will become anyway.

The media world is just so diverse and fragmented that the Oscars don’t have a chance. They’re never going to garner the huge audiences that they once did. The mainstream audience has moved on. The Oscars should, too.

The Lingering Political ‘Truther’ Discourse Over ‘The Slap’ Is Outrageous

by Shelt Garner

The issue of what really happened with “The Slap” has established a minor cottage industry of “truthers” who think it was all some sort of evil Leftist plot to fool God fearing MAGA people.

Or something. I’m not quite clear as to what the motives of the such a plot were.

Anyway, people who buy into such bullshit are part of a broader problem whereby people in the center-Left are assumed to be the scum of the earth by MAGA. The whole thing Slap Truther concept is part of a broader effort to dehumanize people on the liberal-progressive spectrum.

The idea that Leftist so evil and powerful that they could stage something like The Slap and get away with it kind of boggles my mind. It’s extremely aggravating and an indication of how fucked we are politically as a nation. The MAGA New Right continues to lurch towards being outright Nazis.

The moment a MAGA person becomes POTUS, that’s the end of American democracy. Or we have a civil war. Take your pick. Things are very fucked up politically in the United States. I don’t have any ready answers.

Leave the country if you can, I guess?

The Evil Leftists’ Plot To Help Will Smith’s Career By Destroying It

by Shelt Garner

One of my Traditionalist relatives “joked” that The Slap was all a big Leftist plot to help Will Smith’s career. This, on its face, is completely totally fucking bonkers. And, what’s more, it makes me very angry because it’s such thinking that gave us the whole fucking Qanon situation.

And the fact that anyone would think that Leftists have the wherewithal to conceive of a plot complex enough to destroy Will Smith’s career short term and potentially help it long term(?) gives us some insight into what the Right thinks of the power of the Left.

It’s all very fucking bonkers. The center-Left is completely powerless while the Right is ascendant. The whole thing is very frustrating. At its core, the Right will not stop until they establishment permanent white minority rule. Then, in their paranoia about the all-powerful Left, they’re going to hunt down Leftists and murder them in cold blood — or put them in a camp, or whatever.

If that sounds hysterical — it does — then what about how another thing that we thought sounded hysterical, the end of Roe, is now here? So, we need to admit that our future is pretty dark.

How SNL Should Open This Weekend

by Shelt Garner

Given that The Tonight Show choked on Monday night when it came to addressing The Slap, I have every reason to believe that SNL will be similarly subdued on the subject.

And, yet, this is a great opportunity for some historic TV on the part of SNL. Here’s what I would do for the snow’s cold open:

We open with Lorne Michaels standing next to Chris Rock. The entire cast of SNL stands behind them. The two crack some jokes and Michaels gives Rock some words of advice and maybe a hug.

Then they all say “Live, From New York, It’s Saturday Night!”

The other option is the same open, but they give Rock a five minute set to address what happened.

I would be pretty amazed if anything like this happened, however.

Vanity Fair Has Some Splaining To Do

by Shelt Garner

Now that we’ve all had some time to think about what happened on Oscar night, I think we need to turn our ire to Vanity Fair. I love the magazine, but for them to allow Will Smith to “get jigging with it” at their afterparty as if nothing happened is a head shaking moment.

If there were going to be any consequences for Smith, it was going to be the night of the event. For Vanity Fair to lulz such a shocking act of violence after the event itself only gives gist to the Right wing nut jobs who want to burn everything to the ground and take the liberal elite with it.

In fact, had Vanity Fair barred Smith from their party, that would have at least been some sort of accountability for Smith. In fact, that might have hurt Smith a lot more than anything else Hollywood could think up. As it is, Smith still has his Oscar and he still has the largely positive memories of what happened.

So, this is all proof that we live in a post-accountability era. Smith is going to get away with it without any consequences and the whole event will fade. Just like Trumplandia, The Slap will be something we all saw happen in real time and…yet…nothing really happened because of it.

There may be some subtle changes in society here and there, but The Slap at the moment is completely value free.

Was I Too Hard On ‘Don’t Look Up?’

by Shelt Garner

The media reaction to The Slap, especially on YouTube, has me wondering if I was too hard on Don’t Look Up. I didn’t finish the movie because I found it very aggravating, but from the clips I’ve seen of the movie after the point that I seen are eerily similar to what happened in the days after The Slap.

There’s a huge “but” involved.

And that “but” is Don’t Look Up got so wrapped up in the over-the-top parody that it missed the point of the story. Or, put another way, there was definitely a modern day Network somewhere in Don’t Look Up, but the actual movie is so muddled that it’s grating on the nerves.

But some of the media commentary that the movie has is spot on. I guess it’s aggravating on what we missed out on. We deserved a new Network, but about global climate change, and we got Mars Attack update about politics.

Anyway. I have my own take on global climate change rolling around in my mind, but I’m so wrapped up working on this five novel project to get around to it. I wish I could do both, but I can’t.

Good Grief, I Agree With Joe Rogan About ‘The Slap’

by Shelt Garner

I actually agree with Joe Rogan’s hot take on The Slap, but I hate myself for doing so. All the problems that exist with Rogan and his podcast still exist, but I have to agree with his views on The Slap. (The context of what we believe is totally different, but I agree with the basic premise of his views on the issue.)

But that agreement highlights how fucked the United States is over the course of the next few years. An array of macro trends are all coming to a head between now and Certification Day 2025 and, as such, we’re careening towards an existential choice — autocracy or civil war.

For the time being, I think we pick autocracy.

I say this because for the average American the “autocracy” is currently such an abstract concept that they don’t really understand what it would mean to them on a personal basis. So, what’s most likely to happen is either Trump or A Republican will become president and gradually over the course of a few years American civil society will be snuffed out.

Then, when the time is right, there will be a Constitutional Convention and we’ll finally become identical to Russia.

I mention this again because Joe Rogan is the tip of the spear of this gradual transformation in the United States. He articulates for a lot white men the general unease about what’s coming out of the center-Left these days. Of course, he totally ignores the flaming pile of shit that is the MAGA New Right. He couches everything about the MAGA New Right in such a way that he serves as a gateway drug to MAGA.

Or, put another way, I agree with Rogan about The Slap, and it takes a lot – and I mean A LOT — of thinking to keep myself from buying into his broader bullshit message about MAGA. But I’m of the opinion that you need to expose yourself to views you don’t agree with to build up the mental antibodies over the long term.

Anyway, man are we fucked. The chief unknown at this point is if we have a civil war or if we just peacefully slip into autocracy. At the moment, I just don’t know which one we’ll pick.

Why Is Everything So Dumb: Of The Slap, Dave Chappelle & The ‘Fourth Turning’ Of 2025

by Shelt Garner

It definitely seems as though the United States is collapsing before our very eyes. I just don’t see how we make it past 2025 without some massive changes, be it a civil war or a final lurch into autocracy.

There are pings that point to this catastrophe all over the place. When you talk to your Traditionalist relatives and they embrace the idea that all Republicans have is the culture wars and, oh boy, do you have a problem on your hands.

One interesting thing is how Dave Chappelle of all people has a lot of respect within the MAGA New Right. They have no idea about who Chappelle is other than Joe Rogan loves him. That’s it. That and how Chappelle has been “cancelled” by the “woke mob” for his reluctance to follow the establish media narrative on the transgender issue.

I get where this is coming from, but it’s also unnerving. It’s unnerving because it seems as though there’s a chance that because of this same dynamic that The Slap is going to be adopted by the MAGA New Right as vessel for them to pour all of their hate and racism into.

They will be completely oblivious to the broader implications or complexities of what happened. It will simply become a shorthand for the grunt that is their political worldview.

I continue to look around the United States and see a lot of signs that we’re in Weimar America. The months between now and January 2023 when the Republicans gain control of Congress again may be looked back upon as the final twilight of the America we’ve known for centuries.

Beginning in January 2023, we either lurch toward autocracy, or things begin to move towards a civil war. Despite everything, Trump is still probably going to win in 2024 and then we sit around and wait for his handpicked successor to become America’s first autocrat.

If we do slip peacefully into autocracy, there is likely to be a huge American Diaspora as thousands and thousands of wealthy liberals of all stripes simply leave the country until the rules are changed by the autocrat so they can’t anymore.

Things will get worse and worse until politically the United States will be identical to Russia. Or, as I mentioned, we have a civil war and bomb oursleves into the Stone Age using WMD.

I wish I had a simple solution to this problem. Sadly, I don’t.

‘The Slap’ Was Really Fucked Up

by Shelt Garner

Now that we’ve all had a few days to process what happened, it seems as though pretty clear that Will Smith and Jade Pinkett Smith have a unique relationship. All of the hot takes influenced by racism and identity politics obscure how fucked up what happened was.

The reason why The Slap is so shocking is if you simply take what happened at face value without applying any particular agenda to it — Will Smith was way out of line.

But it’s difficult for us to come to that conclusion because of racism on one end of the spectrum and identity politics on the other. Or, put another way, as I’ve said before, because there is no “center” anymore, it seems as though the African American community wants to handle this as a family matter and, as such, they’re defending Smith even though we all saw what happened with our own two eyes.

And that’s a totally valid thing to do.

I don’t know. The broader implications of The Slap continue to be processed. It’s just sad that the same problems that led to the rise of MAGA are also muddling the waters to such an extent that it’s difficult for any broad consensus to be developed as to What It All Means.

We’ve Entered The Bonkers Stage Of Our New Post-Slap Era

by Shelt Garner

It was inevitable, given how awash America is with both racism and identity politics, that we would reach a point where all of the hot takes on The Slap were bonkers.

It’s been a few days and I’m still obsessed with what happened because of how shocking it was. As such, I keep looking at Tik-Tok and YouTube to see if there is some new angle that someone has squeezed out of the event.

The growing conventional wisdom is there is no conventional wisdom. The Slap is being processed by every little identity group in its own way. But, in general, the African American community will not brook any outside criticism of Will Smith — even if it comes from someone like Zoe Kravitz. I still don’t get why Black Twitter was filled with rage at her hot take. But, again, I don’t really think it’s my place to comment beyond that.

Anyway, it seems as though the other conventional wisdom is made up of older white and African American thought leaders who are joining forces to take Chris Rock’s side. This comes, I think, from a sense of shock that basic civility was broken in such a shocking way. Being an Old myself, the idea that basic public decorum would be violated in such a random, unexpected way is something that really bothers me.

There is a chance that as Olds — regardless of race — begin to properly process what happened that we might see some sort of accountability. This happens almost every time there is a major crisis like this. At first, people are in too much shock to take the consequences of the event seriously. Then, gradually, it dawns on people in Power, The Powers That Be, that Something Has To Be Done.

So, that seems to be where things stand at the moment. There is a shoe that hasn’t dropped, however — and that’s what Chris Rock has to say about things. He is supposed to have a standup set in Boston tonight and I think whatever he says there will open the next phase in this clusterfuck.