#Cancelled: What the Center-Right is Missing

[the people’s] object is more righteous than that of the nobles, the latter wishing to oppress, while the former only desire not to be oppressed.

Machiavelli

Cancellation Online

When #cancelculture first entered the vernacular, it was perhaps only deserving of an eyeball-roll. An adult comparable to cyberbullying–where the solution was either to turn off one’s device for the day or simply refuse to apologize until the digital mob dispersed–it arguably provided a Rightwing comparable to the whiny complaints of “triggered snowflakes” on the Left. The endless fodder it lent to Rightist talking heads such as Ben Shapiro and Stephen Crowder even rendered it rather insincere–everyone needs a hobby, and complaining about affluent conservatives being #cancelled (or jeering at Lefties being “DESTROYED with FACTS and LOGIC”) was ours.

Other than a few worst-case exceptions, wherein said mob went after the #cancellee’s very livelihood by doxxing them and pressuring their employers, this state of affairs appears to have continued uninterrupted until 2018’s Alex Jones affair (here and here). In roughly a day, the internet’s most infamous Rightwing conspiracy theorist was expunged from all significant social media platforms–only his homebase at Infowars.com was left intact. In a single-stroke, the single-mindedness of Big Tech was confirmed, and with it, the defense of “Platform-Not-Publisher” was called into doubt.

Said defense, briefly, is as follows. If social media companies are platforms, they are not responsible for what individual users post, which is a great legal boon whenever content of questionable legality ends up on said platforms. If they are publishers, they are responsible for all content on their platforms. The definition becomes very murky indeed when the platform acts like a publisher by deciding to remove that which it does not like, even though that content is perfectly legal. In the common tongue, this subject is most often invoked when an average liberal defends platform #cancellation by saying, “they’re a private company; they can do what they want” (the one and only case where you will find the Left habitually defending/shilling for corporate rights).

An even simpler way to put it may be found in the statement, “Don’t love it? Leave it.” Such was the implication whenever social media companies appeared to be biased against the Right; you may not be allowed on Twitter or Facebook anymore, but you are perfectly welcome to build your own platform that will be hospitable to your views. This continued to have some validity even after Alex Jones’ and David Icke’s #cancellations; their personal websites were left up, their products available for sell, etc. It diminished the size of their soapbox in the public square, but it didn’t cut out their tongues.

However, this too was shown to be a sham during early 2021’s Parler incident (here and here). Parler was one such case of literally “not loving it and leaving it” and “building one’s own platform”; it quickly became a refugee camp for all of the center-Right that had been #cancelled off the larger platforms. When Amazon Web Services, the provider for Parler’s very website, decided with very little warning to discontinue business with Parler, the entire platform was (temporarily) relegated to Winston’s memory-hole. The message was clear. Big Tech has no intention of letting its ideological opposition build their own platforms if they can help it, and, emboldened by the refusal of incompetent or insidious U.S. leadership to enforce anti-trust / anti-monopoly laws against them (or legally define them as publishers), they no longer have any incentive to hide that fact.

Cancellation Offline

Still, one may continue to sleep well at night with the knowledge that all this drama and political pettiness is confined to the internet–right? Unfortunately, #cancellation has escaped the lab of the internet and begun to spread IRL (in real life). Indeed, it is a massive mistake to assume that such segregation between unreal and real, digital and analog, still exists in a reliable, predictable, or enforceable sense. And even if it does, it is certainly not long for this world.

Some of my favorite recent examples, other than the pulling down of monuments, are the #cancellations of Shakespeare (here and here) and Dr Seuss (here and here and here). Roald Dahl’s family also got in on the fun by self-flagellating over their cash-cow’s wrongthink (here and here), while the likes of Disney and HBO have wishy-washily began removing or at least restricting some of their classics, ranging from Peter Pan to Gone with the Wind.

The common motives shared amongst these scatter-shot #cancellations are fairly well-established. It’s usually one of two things. Either, Representation Of is being confused with Endorsement Of, or one is engaging in Presentism (judging the past by present standards). However, I do not wish to dwell overly-long on either as many center-Right pundits do, because I do not believe the cultural upheaval these varied instances indicate is merely due to such logical inconsistencies and fallacies. It appears to me that the issue at hand is infinitely larger than a mere misunderstanding.

#Cancelculture did not happen in a vacuum. Like everything else of importance, it has a history and a legacy that can be traced. In some sense it has always been with us; the devices of rhetoric to strawman and ad hominen one’s enemy are older than the ancient Greeks, and Machiavelli enshrined such political machinations in his The Prince. Acolytes and aftermaths of Marx such as the Frankfurt School and Vienna Circle were quite open about the ways in which Reality Itself must be made utterly pliable and redefinable if the revolutionary utopia is to be achieved. Nietzsche, the leftist existentialist who accidentally inspired Hitler, taught that humanity’s only “salvation” is to generate its own meaning(s)–an ahistoric and quite possibly apocalytic proposition. Saul Alinsky, political mentor to the Clinton dynasty, modernized Machiavelli in his Rules for Radicals by summarizing that the whole of politics is to A. have no rules of one’s own and B. make one’s enemy have, and live up to, their own rules. This can be witnessed in real time as shrewd Democrats politically beat clueless good-ole-boy Republicans to a bloody pulp.

Additionally, every American and European college student for the past half-century has at least been cursorily initiated into the postmodern/deconstructionist cult of Foucault and Derrida, whose teachings can be rendered roughly as this: in the godless Darwinian universe, there is no objective Truth or inherent Meaning; therefore, every attempt to proclaim or even suggest such Truth or Meaning, be it in civilizations, artworks, or language itself, is a manipulative lie–a stratagem of game theory to move bananas from one ape to another. Therefore, “salvation” is to destroy all such constructs, leaving ourselves enlightened from any such value judgements. I refer to the latter two in particular as the “Evil be thou my Good” crowd, after Milton’s Lucifer.

So, while we continue to mentally masterbate to the cheeky cleverness of Shapiros and Crowders, who snicker at the (admittedly, very many) “useful idiot” leftists who spend their whole lives effectively defending the proposition that “the truth is that there is no truth,” we are utterly missing the fact that whether they are right or wrong does not matter. Debate itself is predicated on the good-faith principle that one idea can be shown objectively superior to another. The postmodernist/deconstructionist dwells in a subjective, Lebowskian universe wherein absolutely everything is “just, like, your opinion, man.” Their credo is that of morose gods and mediocre parents: it is, because I say so. This is a mindset that quite literally cannot be reasoned with. And it is being wielded to great effect by big-brained ideologues who are more than willing to let resentful plebeians parrot such soul-destroying propaganda. These elites’ own children, of course, will never be exposed to it–or, if they are, it will only be as an opportunity to gloat at how the low IQ may be incentivized to kill themselves.

So, I humbly suggest that we stop marveling at what our postmodernist/deconstructionist neighbor or nephew or niece or cousin or child has just posted to Facebook, and start thinking about what to do when they eventually send armed thugs to our doorsteps. If you think that is not the trajectory we are currently on, it’s time to be an adult, hit pause on Netflix, and read The Gulag Archipelago. “It could never happen here” is a fallacy as bad or worse than those the far-Left have pledged allegiance to.

“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

Solzhenitsyn

On Dr Seuss’s #cancel-ling

Are you worried, dear, about Doctor Seuss,
When there’s a Hunter Biden on the loose?
He’s a bagman all across the land
From swampy D.C. to old Iran
And he belongs in a pillory
Right next to Hillary
For the unencrypted emails he did type
While puffing upon his crack pipe

Are you worried, dear, about Doctor Seuss,
When there’s a Joe Biden on the loose?
When not sniffing little girls’ hair
He can be found, oh, where?
Excusing Chinese genocide cuz
Things are just different over there

Are you worried, dear, about Doctor Seuss,
When those who don’t read or write rule the roost?
You’d never trust them to babysit
But for sending teens to war they’re fit?
Their money-laundering puts the mob to shame
But for their trite speeches we give acclaim

Are you burning, dear, the Doctor’s books
Because you crave approval, and adoring looks?
Then you are the history we repeat
For we read it only by flame in the street.

-CLW

Moral Tourism: A New Hobby at the Edge of History

Many have pondered whether George Floyd would have received any justice if his death hadn’t been recorded. I’m tempted to take this question a step further: would it have received any indignation at all if it hadn’t been recorded? As I’ve stated previously, it seems as though the Silent Majority of Americans (and perhaps the developed world entire) are incapable of mustering up emotion for anything except the most gruesome of imagery–the towers’ collapse during 9/11, for example, which garnered just enough outraged enthusiasm for ‘W’ to invade several countries that had nothing to do with it. If Floyd’s death had not been captured on video, the newspaper synopsis likely would have read: intoxicated man with extensive criminal record dies after chokehold arrest; police were alerted by a cashier after he passed a fake note. With the race of killer and killed expunged, it seems doubtful any further information would have been demanded.

Being moved solely by imagery is a consummate example of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Thus many a Westerner has suddenly, almost miraculously realized their deep-seated feelings of empathy (or guilt) towards African Americans in the late hour of 2020; unfortunately, they have not yet discovered it for any of the people-groups whom are actually enslaved TODAY. That realization would require effort beyond scrolling through social media feeds, and it might prove inconvenient indeed, for one would risk realizing that the Iphones which captured Floyd’s death were made by ChiCom slave labor on Apple’s behalf. But, since enslaved Chinese, including the Hong Kongers currently being divested of their liberty, and the Chinese-Muslim Uyghur minority currently being tortured in ‘reeducation camps,’ have little relevancy to ousting Trump, they are for some strange reason not receiving the same funding as BLM & Antifa from the likes of George Soros. Could this explain why the last time anyone heard these organizational acronyms before Floyd’s death was 2016?

One may rightly note that none of this changes the fact that African Americans have been treated unfairly. Indeed, it was very unkind of the likes of the Ashanti dynasty (of that textile design), or the Muslim pirates of the Barbary Coast, to auction their fellow Africans off to white traders. To see the stain of sin solely upon white hands during these sordid transactions is willful, expedient ignorance. If there is anything exceptional at all about the role American whites played in the vast history of slavery, it is that they were willing to fight & die over the matter in a Civil War. And in order to extrapolate a truly exceptional racism from this, one would have to believe that the majority of Southerners who risked their lives in that war were willing to die for an economic luxury they themselves did not possess. If you are not in the mood to risk your neck for billionaires’ right to keep their private jets, then you have understood my point. Those mystified should reread the 10th Amendment.

My intent, beyond the pleasure of snark for its own sake, is not to dissuade the newfound champions of civil rights; merely to ask that they remain consistent instead of, I don’t know—taking selfies at a rally, donating once or twice, then getting back to the ole Netflix binge with fresh assurance that they are a good little boy or girl. For the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. If we are going to give free money and emotional support to African Americans, I expect to see the same for interned Japanese and the truly decimated Native American tribes next, to name but a few. The business of righting historical wrongs is never-ending, and likely to bankrupt us all—but private & central bankers have already done that in slow-motion, so what the heck?

However, good luck parsing out which pale boogeymen are actually responsible, because, being Emma Lazarus’s melting pot, there are plenty of white Americans walking about whose dust-reduced ancestors were never afforded even the theoretical opportunity to own slaves, either because they were too historically late, or impoverished, or were themselves looked upon as inferior to W.A.S.P.s (see Catholics of all stripes, especially the Irish). I would also like to meet the daring soul who will audit African American ancestry to make sure none of the families of those freed slaves whom then purchased slaves for themselves are afforded a piece of this immaculate pie. Heritages of mixed race will also prove difficult in this regard (will it be the Leftwing that instigates a ‘one-drop rule’ this time around?).

In the meantime, a word of friendly warning to anyone who hopes to live to spend their reparation money. No law enforcement means no enforced laws (beyond whatever local protection rackets pop up). So, good luck enacting anything involving reparations at the same time that law enforcement is abolished. (Cue ‘Defund the Police doesn’t mean Defund the Police’). Furthermore, seeing as how the African American community is beset on all sides by ‘institutionalized racism,’ I should take great care to be sure that there is not some ulterior motive behind banishing police from all communities that cannot afford private security as a substitute. Now, I’m not saying that Margaret Sanger’s eugenics program, aka Planned Parenthood, has proven too slow for Them, and thus They (They being whoever institutionalized the institutions, I suppose) have resolved to speed up the process with some variation in stratagem…but I am saying, stranger things have happened. And this would be a particularly effective approach since no one seems to care about black-on-black violence. Indeed, even citing it currently merits a one-way ticket to the Racist category. For example, a journalist was recently pilloried for reproducing this quotation from an African American he interviewed:

I always question, why does a Black life matter only when a white man takes it?… Like, if a white man takes my life tonight, it’s going to be national news, but if a black man takes my life, it might not even be spoken of…

The answer, of course, is that our concern is not Justice (for she is Blind), only social justice. We care not to rectify present evils, only those which are already long passed. This is textbook, almost passe, Divide and Conquer–to agitate and foment historical resentment between different tribes to distract from current wrongs and lay the foundation for even worse ones in the future. I’m reminded of a Frankie Boyle joke that went something along the lines of:

Black and white people shall finally live together in harmony…in Chinese concentration camps.

I’ve tried holding off comparing our current state of affairs to the Maoist Red Guard’s Cultural Revolution, but a recent anonymous letter from a Berkeley history professor has caused me to think it might be now-or-never. That this ‘person of color’ (God, what a horrendous expression–does that mean I am a ‘person of non-color’?) knows they would lose their job for signing this piece is bad enough. The individual points themselves seem to terminate inexorably at the question: if a violent far-left ‘cultural revolution’ were to occur in the United States, what other warning signs would you possibly desire?

However, if that is in fact what is occurring (and I certainly hope it isn’t), I remain skeptical that it will ‘work’ as any of its adherents would wish. As I understand it, even the likes of Antifa merely want a political ‘anarchy’ in which they are still alive and fairly well. But any earnest attempt to force the U.S. in a socialist/communist direction that involves discomfort on the part of taxpayers would assuredly result in a distinctly apolitical anarchy. If some puppet-master would take the pains to…

  • automate, outsource, or otherwise disappear the majority of American jobs
  • prevent the federal government as-is from instituting a reactionary Universal Basic Income
  • THEN use leftist students to rabble-rouse ala Les Miserables

…we might see a homogeneously far-left USA. Otherwise, any such all-or-nothing bid is simply going to burn the whole place down like the Biblical Babylon due to the populace having not been disarmed beforehand.

Assuming (perhaps out of wishful thinking) that this unthinkable outcome will not occur, I maintain two assumptions about the future. The first is thanks to the astute commentary of @Cernovich ; the second is my own.

  • Urbanization is finished; anyone with a fulltime job, or a family, or a base-level appreciation of survival is going to flee for the suburbs or country and buy guns.
  • BLM/Antifa is but the first wave of a new hobby at the edge of history: moral tourism. The social media zombies, rather than craving brains, crave crisis. This is the only stimuli sufficient to jolt their fried nervous systems into feeling alive, however temporarily. Faux-outrage at spoon-fed, IV-dripped realizations that the world is imperfect will be their pastime in lieu of productive or lucrative work, in-person or functional families and friends, or any socio-cultural-historical value system whatsoever. Eventually no statues will stand, for they will all have been pulled down by the suspicion that anyone who did anything worth remembering must have been evil, compared to the immaculate innocence of their utter, grave-obliterated mediocrity. The rich (meaning anyone with private property) will horde the books which this mob would burn, having discovered a new status symbol on the grounds that ‘this, at least, cannot have been tampered with.’ It is even possible that the use of social media (I would not yet go so far as to say the Internet entire) will grow akin to being a Prodigal Son. ‘Poor child, they chose that poison over Real Life.’

There is no telling how many the moral tourists will kill in their first few bouts of Dionysian frenzy, but eventually this new class-based segregation will solidify. Suburban and rural taxpayers will learn to defend themselves, and tax-dependents will stay in their rotting cityscapes except when paid or goaded into kamikaze attempts with political motives. We’ll have done all those sci-fi/dystopia authors real proud.

For those regular persons of any race or creed wondering what to do in this chaotic interim, I recommend consulting Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago (even the Harper abridged edition to save time). It’s a masterful summary of how these waves of memetic violence ebb and flow, and it concludes on the whole that the only way to prevent its worst potential outcomes is total noncompliance when and if Someone shows up at your door. In hindsight, it is painfully obvious that WW2’s Russian kulaks and German Jews should have put their axeheads between the eyes of anyone who came to round them up; if they had done so they would have saved millions of lives and perhaps even their own. In the case of the United States, no force on Earth can forcibly subdue such an armed citizenry–eventually you run out of people willing to volunteer for the abduction detail, since their zealot friends keep coming home in boxes. Farmers with rusty rifles and makeshift explosives have kept the world’s best killing force occupied in the desert for decades now–if we do not do better, it will only be by choice.

How to Lose when You’re Ahead

Roughly 48 hours ago I predicted with confidence that police would emerge from the George Floyd backlash empowered, due to the dismal optics of protestors-as-thieves-and-arsonists. However, I did not account for the post-traumatic collage of excessive force that they have since gifted to the media. A male-on-female groping, resulting in her recoiling, which provokes a beating; shooting out the eye of a homeless wheelchair-bound man with a rubber bullet; shoving the frail Martin Gugino to concrete for daring to stand in their presence, & then quitting to show solidarity with those officers disciplined for said action.

I have since watched the latter clip in slow motion several times, transfixed by the body language and telegraphed motion of an officer who appears to want to beat Gugino with his club after he has fallen, only to be casually dissuaded by another. Not only is Gugino in no danger of getting up; blood is clearly flowing from his ears. Nonetheless the instinct is to ‘finish the job,’ like a rule from Zombieland.

How could anyone want to show solidarity with that? The answer is, I fear, quite simple. The officer is genuinely ‘just doing his job.’ He is an outsourced violence specialist, salaried with the tax dollars of American citizens who would rather not do their own dirty work. It is not we who should be mystified by his actions. It is he who should be surprised that we have so suddenly resolved that we no longer require his sanguine services.

Or so we like to tell ourselves. In truth, the average American citizen has never been further removed, logistically or mentally, from the actual monstrosities that we have (up to May 25th, 2020) tasked our law enforcement with facing. Some of it, certainly, can be remedied in a more intelligent fashion (drug legalization would evaporate drug cartels, for example). But the fact remains that there is a massive ‘out of sight, out of mind’ at play here. Having police be little more than glorified customer service representatives may work in homogeneous and/or unarmed populations. But to defang and declaw law enforcement in a country as contentious and heavily-armed as this is, at best, a way to make sure only robots are crazy enough to take a policing job. At worst, consider what happened in Little Village, a predominantly Hispanic portion of Chicago, but on a much larger scale. Seeing no particular reason why their stores should be emptied and burned, or their Abuela terrified in her own home, just because George Floyd was killed, the Village quickly became a No-Go zone ala Europe–except those who were being ‘told’ No were African Americans and white Antifa instead of police.

I would like to humbly suggest that causing heavily-armed white areas to ‘police themselves’ by dint of defunding actual police, is probably not the best way to reduce racial violence.

Political Paradox & What Lies Beneath

I’ve long held, somewhat in keeping with the Eastern idea of yin and yang, that extremes on opposite ends of the political spectrum will eventually become indiscernible. They do, after all, share an inherently extremist nature, and the personalities drawn to extremism are usually slight variations upon one another, whether their wide-eyed, tight-fisted credo be religious or atheist, fascist or communist.

This, coupled with my general sense that the politics of the developed world have become almost entirely faux (more on that in a moment), has caused me to anticipate the day when Rightwingers would espouse liberal ideas, and Leftwingers would espouse illiberal ideas, without the slightest hint of irony. (Self-awareness, after all, tends to put a damper on extremism). Based on myriad recent articles, this wait may be over.

Let me briefly summarize what I mean by faux-politics. I believe the developed world has become jaded and trite to the extent that no significant political change is possible in the absence of mortal danger. To those who live with universal access to indoor plumbing, grocery stores, and libraries, much less the internet, no amount of self-righteous political indignation is going to inspire them to take action in a meaningful (and thus difficult or risky) fashion. Workers of the World Unite, right after I finish this Netflix series! Or, to put it another way, the Orange Man may be bad, but not so bad that it’s worth risking my precious life over.

The only genuine exceptions to this rule are, unfortunately, the lone mass-murderers of the past two decades, who conduct their ‘revolution’ against the entire species. I suspect there is some terrible truth undergirding these madmen–perhaps a mere sense that we have transcended race, class, and all other metrics by which to accurately apportion political blame, since we have all contributed whatever dollars we had to turning God’s creation into one big theme park. One cannot help but notice that they seem to have more-or-less replaced the serial killers are of the ’70s and ’80s. The attitude, the stance, of the contemporary killer is fundamentally different. Theirs is not crime to be gotten away with, but a gospel to be shouted from the rooftops.

I turn, for my examples of this political paradox (illiberal liberals and liberal conservatives) to two articles in particular. The first is by a feminist group attempting to goad governments into banning sex robots before they become as commonplace as Iphones. And while the article is quite old in internet time, their cause is just now gaining traction. Herein we witness persons ideologically liberal calling on the government to ban a sex toy, condemning pornography entire, and opining that there is a

crisis brewing in human attachment. Attachment is the ability for humans to form stable, long lasting, meaningful interpersonal relationships that support mutual co-existence throughout life.

Let us scan the horizon for flying pigs upon the realization that leftists are now worrying about ‘family values!’ One has to wonder how many snide comments were made by these very campaigners against Christian conservatives for the identical hand-wringing and pearl-clutching that they are now frantically engaged in decades later? It appears they who made the promiscuous beds have realized they must now lie in them. One can almost picture their heads spinning ala The Exorcist as they unsuccessfully attempt to figure out how to undo male sexual liberation without curtailing female sexual liberation. Consider these passages:

Hierarchical male loss of power that is organised through traditional power structures have been diminishing over the last 100 years, the 1960s which marked the rise of feminism aimed to improve equality between the sexes, yet a commercial prostitution and porn trade grew up in parallel, that was open and legal…In the 1960s and 1970s, women had less representation in political life to stop the legalisation of pornography and an expanding commercial sex trade. Women are not on the margins any longer, and we can face head on this attack on female humanity by male dominated robotics, AI and sex industries.

To recap:

  • sexual liberation occurred “in parallel,” but had nothing to do with, “commercial prostitution and porn”
  • the empathetic, ethical half of the population would have stopped these things if they could, but couldn’t, because reasons
  • But now they can! And it will be a full-on Luddite crusade! Deus Vult?

The second, far more logical article is called The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake. For clickbait purposes, the title is far less compelling, and even does a disservice, to its own excellent article. And while the author is clearly no ideological extremist, I believe his piece can be taken as another sign of political paradox simply because The Atlantic so proudly published it. Herein we are advised to return to the clans of yore–extended, multi-generational families–rather than the mom, dad, two kids, and a dog model caused by the urbanization of the Industrial Revolution. I would have thought that, clickbait title or no, such a wholesome suggestion would be taboo among journalism’s usual individualism-at-any-cost crowd. But apparently even they have stared into the abyss of San Francisco and recoiled at what they saw there. Put down the fentanyl and get thee to a nunnery–or at least the suburbs, for Chrissakes!

Meanwhile on the right, we find the “alt-right” and the “Intellectual Dark Web” irreverently championing free speech while the far-left embraces censorship in the name of anti-fascism and combating “hate speech.” Thus a Canadian professor of psychology became American conservatism’s figurehead. I am reminded of the scene from The Simpsons Movie, wherein, at the apparent End of the World, everyone in the bar runs over to the church, and everyone in the church runs over to the bar (11 seconds in).

If I could boil this phenomenon down to a single word, I think it would have to be decentralization. Yeah, “everything’s coming apart,” but not in quite the apocalyptic way. It may feel like there are more extremists than ever before, or that they are getting louder–but this is not a sign of their strength. It’s a sign that even they are having a hard time taking themselves seriously anymore. The ego of the developed world is in its deaththrows. This process can be halted by catastrophe. But in the absence of any real problems, we are jousting at windmills. The Right is worried about free speech when there’s never been more of it; the Left is worried about violence when there’s never been less of it. We’re continuing to take turns in a game that no longer exists. I think it’ll end when we really and truly realize that we don’t need each other anymore. Necessity has been removed as a factor. We’re about to find out who we really are, and we’re going to do it alone.

Preview of my Upcoming Novel

The first draft began around Christmas 2018, but the idea is much older. It came to me in Calhoun, Georgia around the age of seven or eight. It must have been informed by my mom telling me that the land we lived upon had once belonged to the Cherokee natives. We were, after all, only five minutes’ drive from where the Trail of Tears began. I remember ranking Andrew Jackson as my least-favorite president after I learned the back-stabbing role be played in the Cherokee removal. And I also vaguely recall being awed by Sequoyah–whom the sequoia redwoods were probably named after–an illiterate who made a written language from scratch to preserve what was left of his people’s culture.

The idea, quite simply, was of a sickly medicine man teaching his apprentice everything he knows before he dies. Eventually, a secondary layer was added: how might a powerful medicine man have tried to prevent the Trail of Tears if he had foreknowledge of it?

After a decade and a half of letting this concept simmer in the subconscious, my two main characters eventually let themselves in and began telling me their story. It seems that theirs is a sort of American Divine Comedy or Cherokee 300–romanticizing yet simultaneously reappraising the mythos of the United States in all sorts of unexpected ways.

Understanding them has so-far required two feet-worth of reference books. Cherokee culture is singular and thus challenging to learn; the lingering presence of any inapplicable “Cowboys and Indians” tropes (teepees, horses) is disastrous, especially when the story’s main setting predates Columbus and De Soto. My general ignorance of forestry/ecology has also had to be addressed. The goal, of course, is to notice all that they would have noticed.

IMG_3006

Without such details–simply jotting down the 5 W’s of the plot–their story is novella-length at roughly 15K words. But I will not be content until it’s a seething mass of fever-dream-like attention to detail at least in the neighborhood of novel-length. As far as timing, I am intentionally maintaining a slow-and-steady pace, because if I have one complaint with my previous self-publications, it’s that I was in too much of a hurry and it occasionally shows. Because this one will be pitched to literary agents or at least small third-party publishers, I am taking my sweet time and will continue redrafting until I’ve read something that could at least shiver in the shadow of American Greats like Jack London or John Steinbeck.

That being said, my best guess is that I will finish in 2020, which puts publication into 2021 or 2022. Now that I am well into the third draft, I not only hope but expect that it will be worth the wait.

-CLW