James Bond’s Future

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The world is descending into fire and brimstone at an alarming rate, to the point that we may not live to see the next James Bond come out. But, just for fun, let’s mull how we might revamp the storied franchise.

A new Lisbeth Salander in the Bond universe?

The obvious “woke” answers are — a female James Bond. Or a black James Bond. Or an Indian female James Bond? But I think all those ideas kind of miss the point and might even kill the franchise.

What we need to do is for three movies turn Bond into the bad guy — sorta.

Use his status as the ultimate “legacy brand” to allow you to wallow in all the unwoke elements of his character one last time before even Bond is finally enveloped by the all powerful embrace of Hollywood wokeness.

Here’s how I would do it.

Have Bond up against a woman who wants the same McGuffin that he wants — or whatever. Someone who is his equal. While I think it would be neat if his foe was a Indian woman named Raj, I still believe that pulling Lisbeth Salander into the Bond universe would be a great way to juice the franchise in an interesting way.

My favorite Bond.

Get some young, tiny actress to play Salander and then let these two de facto superheroes have at it for three movies. I could see the whole thing being based on some sort of misunderstanding between the two of them. Bond does his usual Bond shit with a Bond girl…but…he’s a little too rough with her maybe? And this accidently roughed up Bond girl complains to Salander who decides to come after Bond with everything she’s got. Throw in them both wanting something from SPECTER then you really do have a three movie franchise on your hands. It would be so cool!

Given Salander’s absolute mortal code, having her fight it out with the old school, rakish Bond would be very entertaining. Salander could be a proxy for “woke Hollywood” sensibilities. Or something.

Anyway, the point is, doing something to put Bond in a bad light and then have him fight it out with the equally alienating Salander would be really fun because you could have people who took Bond’s side and people who took Salander’s side. In the end, of course, the misunderstanding is fixed and the two former rivals come to respect each other as they go their separate ways.

Don’t Worry Olivia Wilde

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Let me begin by saying I’m always wrong. Always. And the following is just for fun because I find myself thinking about what the fuck is going on with Olivia Wilde and this is what I manage to come up with.

Here is what might explain Olivia Wilde’s career path — she really resents how much emphasis has been placed on her good looks over the years. I think she is very tired that people think she’s hot to the point that they ignore any of her other talents.

This aggravation has driven her to be “woke.” And she has even said in at least one interview that what I propose about her motivation is right. She recalled that early in her career she was told to “sex things up” if she wanted to get an acting role.

Anyway. Just had to get that off my chest.

A Sly Way To Make $1 Billion In Hollywood

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

If you wanted to make a quick, massive return on an investment and you happened to be MAGA Republican oligarch, here’s a way to both stroke your conservative ideological cock and make a lot of money — finance a series of middle-tier “anti-woke” movies with big name stars.

America can’t even agree on what’s funny.

But the key issue is you can’t be conspicuous about how you are actively being “anti-woke.” Not only is there a huge, huge audience for natively conservative songs, TV shows, movies and, hell, even comedy, but the country is tearing itself apart at such an alarming rate that all you have to is build your conservative media and they will come.

It’s not like this sort of sly messaging hasn’t happened before. As I seem to recall, there were a series of movies — Blood Diamond among them — that each addressed some sort of political cause as the basis of their plot. So, what you do is you, maybe find someone like Clint Eastwood and give him a three picture deal to essentially make a series of “anti-woke” movies that would be designed from the ground up to appeal to MAGA Republican (fascist) sensibilities in such a way that is so subtle that the average person isn’t alienated.

I’m not advocating this, but I am pointing out that money is being left on the table by Hollywood by not doing this.

Have I Accidently Red Pilled Myself?

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

So, I decided to buy JK Rowling’s self-indulgent mystery tome out of spite towards the “woke cancel culture mob.” I have a feeling, given my dissipated youth that if I manage to miraculously sell my first novel, I’m probably going to get canceled pretty quick.

But, who knows, maybe I’ve overthinking things.

Something about why Rowling has been so vehemently “canceled” doesn’t set well with me. Her “cancelation” because of viewpoint that a lot of average people have is very troubling for a number of reasons. It’s because of shit like that that we got Trump.

When the average person begins to believe they risk their entire life being ruined for holding a view that seems pretty obvious and simple — then you have a serious problem. That’s when they start to doubt the very legitimacy of democracy and fascism becomes more and more appealing to them.

And I say all of this as someone who fucking hates the MAGA New Right. I suppose you might call it a little bit of political tough love. In the end, I think the “woke” era is going to end either when we have a civil war or when we turn into an autocracy.

The Existential Nature of a CIS White Male Writing a Novel With an Amerasian Heroine

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

The more I learn about how novels are actually bought and marketed the more I begin to realize there may be some existential issues that I just can’t wiggle my way out of.

There are two such issues that are giving me serious pause for thought. One is that my protagonist is a POC — specifically Amerasian. The idea that THAT would make it more difficult to sell my novel kind of boggles my mind. Any modern American story has to address that American is browning and, as such, not every story can be just a bunch of white people talking to each other.

Having a non-White heroine — who, in my mind, looks a lot like Olivia Munn — is existential to the story I want to tell. And I’ve come up with a really interesting, clever story that I think is engaging and will appeal to people who liked stories like Mare of Easttown and Stieg Larsson’s stuff.

The other existential issue is, of course — me. The idea that a middle aged CIS white male would write a novel with a non-white heroine as its protagonist is, unto itself a big issue with the “woke cancel culture mob.” And the fact that I would write in the third person intimate POV and I shift POVs is another issue that could cause a lot of problems. Or not. Maybe I’m being paranoid.

This was a huge issue in the controversy around the novel “American Dirt” which was written, as I understand it, by a white woman. It told the story of, I think, an undocumented Latinx.

There are two lesser issues. One is, well, how I hope to make it clear over the course of these six novels how much I fucking hate Trumplandia. I hate it with the hate equal to the center of the sun. I suppose if I actually sold this first novel, my political views would become known and that, unto itself, might turn some people off.

Meanwhile, there is the still very nebulous prospect that Something Big and Bad might happen in late 2024, early 2025, to the point that it will be difficult for any novel I sell to actually be read because either people will be dodging explosions or a weaponized ICE will start to knock heads.

But I would like to think that, maybe, if I manage to write a good enough story that all of these obstacles might not be such such an issue. I am also the first to admit that this project is based on delusion and me having a huge ego. And, yet, lulz. Why not?

All of this gives me something to think about. Something to focus on other than how I’m about to be 50 and have nothing to my name other than a failed expat magazine in Seoul.

‘Lightyear’ As a Woke Deconstruction of The ‘White Savior’ Trope

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Ok, I’m working my way through Disney’s “Lightyear” and I’ve reached a pretty woke aspect of this movie — its determination to attack the “White Savior” trope for the benefit of the plot. They even go so far as to say, at one point, “we don’t want us to save us, we want you to join us.” (Or something like that.)

Let me be clear — I’m anti-fascist and I fucking hate MAGA. But I’m not oblivious to what’s going on. Lightyear is, in a sense, woke propaganda for the benefits of the browning of America. I’m indifferent to the browning of America and definitely wouldn’t even notice this attack on the “White Savior” trope if the movie was…good.

But the movie isn’t very good. It’s boring. I just don’t care. I don’t know how much of that is it’s meant to be a kids’ movie and how much of it is, well, it really is just boring.

If Lightyear was a better movie, I would be so engaged by the plot that I wouldn’t have time to notice the “woke” elements of it all. But, lulz, nothing matters.

I suppose the point is — give me a good plot and I won’t care how woke your story is.

‘Wokeism’ Is Extremely Corrosive To Democracy

by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

At it’s heart, I think it’s possible that what we call “wokeism” is part of a soft Singularity that causes culture to move at such a fast pace that Olds can’t figure out how to adjust to a strange new world. Add to this that something about the second Obama Administration broke the brain of the Right and we’re really careening towards a dark and uncertain future.

Now, before I continue, I’ve made my choice. I’ve picked my side. For all the bullshit that the “woke cancel culture mob” generates, I’d rather side with them than the fucking tyrannical, fascist MAGA New Right. I know this is negative polarization — something I often bemoan with others — but everyone seems to be dipping into the poison well of negative polarization so I can feel only so bad.

But, in my experience as middle aged “CIS white male,” there are, in fact, people who are too “woke” for their own good and that wokeism is extremely corrosive to our democracy. Things have obviously gone too far at this point for us to fix anything, but it’s a shame that that is now the case. If only we had collectively decided that we shouldn’t make conservative men feel bad for being conservative….then we wouldn’t have fucking MAGA to worry about.

Because, from my discussions with my Traditionalists relatives — who I love dearly — they believe that they risk being “canceled” by the “woke cancel culture mob” simply because they don’t follow the “woke media narrative.” Now, obviously, things are far more complicated than this statement might suggest.

There is a whole cottage industry of Far Right podcasts devoted specifically to banging MAGA talking points into the minds of very receptive conservative white men. In fact, I would even go so far as to suggest that conservative podcasts, more so than talk radio or FOX News (or OANN or NewsMax) is where the real damage is being done.

Even though my Traditionalist relatives would not admit to being Good Germans in waiting, that’s what they are — they are willful in their desire to live in a white Christian autocratic fascist state with white minority rule. That’s what they want, damn the consequences.

And it definitely seems that we’re going to turn into an autocratic state starting the moment a Republican is POTUS again. It’s an asymmetrical attack on our democracy — they only have to win once.

I don’t know what to tell you. We’re fucked. And I know that there’s a good chance I’m going to run afoul of ICE once President DeSantis is president and forces through some sort of dystpian “Second Bill of Rights” that will be, in fact, enabling acts that will assure Republican minority rule for at least the rest of my life, if not far beyond.

Good luck.

The ‘Woke’ Agenda Is Extremely Corrosive To American Politics


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

Let me be clear — I fucking hate the MAGA New Right with a white hot rage. And think of the following as gentle advice to people I otherwise agree with. I’m far more anti-MAGA than I am liberal, progressive or Leftist. But I’m willing to make common cause with liberals, progressives and fuck, even Leftists if that’s what I have to do to destroy the MAGA New Right as an American political movement.

But we have to talk about how corrosive the “woke” agenda is to American politics. It’s corrosive because it’s being used as a political bludgeon by the fucking fascists to destroy any chance that Traditionalists will ever do what is necessary to save American democracy — make common cause with anti-MAGA forces.

In fact, in a way, I fear that ship has sailed. The MAGA New Right is ascendant and dominate when it comes to the hard power of passing laws. As it stands, in real terms, woke people are just annoying. But we have to address that a lot of well meaning Traditionalists feel that because of the “woke agenda” they risk being “canceled” — having their lives ruined — simply because they’re conservative.

This is a real concern on a personal basis for the conservative Traditionalists in my family. The idea of something they say or do being recorded then going viral and they having their lives destroyed is constantly at the forefront of their minds. This ever-present terror is one of the central reasons why they will never, ever make common cause with Anti-MAGA forces.

So, in a sense, we’re fucked. Fucked. Fucked. Fucked.

The two sides haven hardened their stances to the point that either we become an autocracy or we have a civil war. In either stance, I suspect the whole “woke agenda” will drift out of existence and into the aether. Being woke is a luxury of peace, prosperity and a properly functioning Western democracy with a civil society.

If you’re too busy either evading ICE or bombs, well, quibbling over your pronouns isn’t something that’s as at the front of your mind. Twitter is to blame for this cluckerfuck, to some extent.

Twitter always takes the most extreme position of any issue and then people on either side have that have to fight over it. I just don’t see any “normal” ending to all of this.

Things are going to get bumpy, staring the moment Republicans take the House and Senate in January 2023.

‘New Masculinity’ & The Zelensky Zeitgeist


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

American men have, for about a generation now, been derided and castigated as part of the monovalent “patriarchy.” It all kind of creeped up on us. Now, I’m coming at this issue as a rabid anti-MAGA New Right person. I fucking hate MAGA with a white hot rage, to the point that I’m writing five novels that lay out — in subtext — how and why I fucking hate the movement so much.

Zelensky

Anyway.

The point is –I’m very empathetic to women who want to “slay the patriarchy.” And, yet, the point could be made that “slay the patriarchy” is kind of like “defund the police.” It is a slogan that is easily used to get a crucial element of the body politic — “Traditionalists” to join the fucking MAGA New Right and destroy that precious commodity known as democracy.

And, remember, it is actually pretty rare for there to be a “vibe shift” in the way men perceive themselves. The thing that would tip off a vibe shift — how men appear — isn’t really applicable. Dudes are dudes. Either you’re wearing a suit to work and have power and influence or you don’t.

So, I’ve sat up and taken notice at how it’s beginning to look as though the standard, traditional masculinity of Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky is beginning to show results. What’s key about all of this is he doesn’t follow the current American media narrative about what it means to be masculine. If this was a Hollywood movie, Zelensky would be a woman struggling to run a nation while “slaying the patriarchy.”

But, surprise, he’s a dude doing traditional dude things in a traditional dude way. There’s no plot twist or flipping the script. It’s the traditional narrative of a man rising to the occasion on the world state in an effort to protect the collective home and hearth of his besieged nation.

So, we now have something of a cultural and historical question before us. Is this just a blip as part of a broader, macro trend towards traditional male values continuing to be disparaged or is there a change that we’re on the cusp of a “New Masculinity” that harkens back to the leadership of Lincoln, FDR and Churchill.

I honestly don’t know. For that to happen, I think we would have to actually have, like, uh, WW3. Only a major global war would force us to appricate the value of traditional male roles and concepts. I’ve already suggested something along these lines when I posited that our current “woke” culture will end around 2024 – 2025 when we decide as a nation if we’re going to be an autocracy or have a civil war.

So, I don’t know. It’s all very much up in the air. It could go either way.

How The ‘Woke’ Era Ends


by Shelt Garner
@sheltgarner

It’s self-evident that not enough people remember how much war really is hell. Over two generations of Americans have gone without the fear of a draft. As such, we’ve grown too fat and sassy.

We quibble about the stupidest shit. The Left, rather than making common cause with Liberals and NeverTrumpers to defeat the rise of fascism in America are willing to die on the hill of TERFs, pronouns and transgender kids. (Not that those aren’t all valid things to be concerned about in the modern world, but we do have honest-to-God fascists to deal with at the moment.)

My point is — woke culture is a luxury provided by decades of living in a stable, peaceful liberal democratic nation. The moment things grow existential for people in the center-Left, be it because we turn into a civil war or we transition into autocracy, all of the more annoying elements of being woke will simply burn off.

I keep thinking about how we seem to be at the end of an era. While I’m still not convinced that the Fourth Turning is a real thing — seems like a reversed engineered pseudoscience to me — we definitely are running on fumes as a nation. And that sense of running on fumes applies to both culture and politics. We’re at the end of one era (Turning?) and just about to begin another.

As such, it would make a lot of sense for everything to change one way or another between now and January 2025. If we turn into an autocracy, then there’s a good chance that Hollywood will decamp, en masse to Great Britain or Australia. I keep saying — Perth would be perfect for New Hollywood. It is in the middle of nowhere, but everyone I’ve ever met from Perth was extremely creative and interesting, just the type of creative pool of people that a moved Hollywood want to tap into.

And, God forbid we have a Second American Civil War, everything really would be thrown into the air. The nightmare endgame is the country doesn’t re-unite and we just bomb ourselves into the Stone Age for no damn reason other than Traditionalists are afraid of losing political power to secularists, scary brown people and economically liberated women.

Anyway. I just don’t see the Woke Era lasting beyond 2025. Something’s gotta give. When you’re worried about ICE blowing your head off or a race war because a civil war has broken out and WMD are being used, then, well, the issue of pronouns won’t be QUITE so urgent.