It's Alive! And Coming for You in '22

  
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Hail, darlings! Before I sued Donald Trump, and got fired from Elle, the Ask E. Jean advice column solved five or six problems a month in the magazine. Now, just for the Queenhell fun of it, we’re solving gobs of dilemmas each week, poking bad men in the testicles, and cheering one another on!

Today’s Quagmire: We Have Everything to Fear


A few days ago, I ran into a friend in New York City, and we fell into the same conversation I’m having with everyone.

Friend: Oh my God, this is terrifying!

E: Scary as hell.

Friend: We’re thinking of leaving the country.

E: What countries are you lookin’ at?

Friend: A lot of people are saying Portugal. Any suggestions?

E: Write to Ask E. Jean and I’ll give you a few.

Friend: Ha. And ha.

E: Seriously! I’d love to answer a letter about this!

Friend: No… No… [Backing up and laughing.] Don’t make me write a letter. I… 

E: It would help a lot of people.

Friend: I… I… can’t…..

E: Wait, you’re afraid to write an email to Ask E. Jean about being afraid . . . because you’re too afraid?

Friend: [Frowning.] Well, who has time to write emails? We’re all gonna be dead by 2022.

All that is just to say, dear Readers, that I don’t have a letter today.

But I do have The Fear File. It’s not all your fears. Of course! It’s just a few of the biggest fears Ask E. Jean correspondents have mentioned since I started this sublime Substack party six months ago, and every one of ‘em is an amazing insight into the psyche of 2021 Americans.

So, strengthen the sinews, Reader! Summon the blood! We live in a world that actively hates women, in a time when our vote is being suppressed, our black brothers and sisters are shot on sight, our rights are being snatched away, and anti-vaxxers threaten at every corner to cough on us. Despite that hall of horrors, the Ask E. Jean correspondents also have other fears . . .

The Overflowing A.E.J. Fear File 

I’m afraid I’m doomed to die alone with my cat.

I’m afraid to write my masterpiece because I’ll become famous and have to leave my husband.

I’m afraid my fiancé will try to force me to get bigger lips.

I’m afraid I look like a mess and don’t know it.

I’m afraid that guy in the office will send me a dick pic.

I’m afraid of blowing $100,000 on J-school.

I’m afraid I’m too old to start over and try to save the world.

I’m afraid I’ll never sleep again.

I’m afraid my husband is gay because he wears women’s panties.

I’m having a hard time finding a girlfriend and I’m afraid I’ll have to become an asshole to get one.

I’m afraid people will despise me cuz I don’t want kids.

I’m afraid of the DOJ butting in on my case.

I’m afraid my wife will be very, very mad if I don’t agree to adopt Martha the Dog.

I’m afraid because I can’t get my slob of a husband to take a shower and he keeps telling me to go back to France.

I have orgasms all the time, but I’m afraid I’ll never have one with my boyfriend pounding up and down like post-hole digger.

I’m afraid I look like an idiot because I lost my temper, threw a vase, nearly removed my boyfriend’s ear, and may get him fired.

I’m afraid the woman I love needs a lobotomy because she keeps a life-size cutout of Donald Trump in her bedroom.

I’m afraid I’m slowly crumbling and losing my looks.

I’m afraid to tell my boyfriend I’m rich as shit.

I’m afraid that God is a big, evil clown, and I'll never trust my husband after he cheated on me and I’ve been diagnosed with a new cancer.

Once I was hot-to-trot, but now, eh.

I’m afraid of what an astrologer told me, and now all I want to do is suck on a tailpipe.

I’m afraid I’ll never get the $8,500 back that I gave THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, because he spent it on an engagement ring for the woman he was cheating on me with.

I’m afraid I’m weird.

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When Fear Strikes

Intrepid Reader! I’ve had many a bout with Mr. Sweat Gland, a filthy little rascal I picture wearing a homburg hat, a violet tie with a scorpion stick pin, and lilac spats. Right now I’m afraid, for instance, I won’t get this newsletter done. Mr. Sweat Gland keeps telling me he’s read the first 171 words, and can’t stop “puking up his guts.” So here’s my advice for dealing with fear. It works pretty well, and, incidentally, Mr. Damp Palms, fuck you.

The more action we take when we’re afraid, the less afraid we will be. And how do we lash ourselves into action in the sneering face of Mr. Sweat Gland? Being in powerful physical shape gives us bravura. Karate is good training. As is fencing. Ping Pong. Boxing. Bowling. Badminton. Tennis. Tag. Tug-of-War. Any sport that conditions us to project our fear onto our opponents helps us get ready for battle. If we spent as much time making our bodies strong as we do making them beautiful, each of us would be a tour de force.

But most action is mental. Kicking Mr. Sweat Gland in the shins requires a brain that’s had some good food, some good sleep, a good game of chess, and/or a workout on Twitter. (Between A.D. 54 and 68, according to Joyce Carol Oates, women aristocrats trained and performed as gladiators in Rome. Studies show gladiators slept 10 or 11 hours a night.

Here’s my Twitter warmup workout today: 

Slipping the grip of fear (physical, psychological, emotional) does not mean, however, that we have to constantly flog ourselves into kiester-kicking & ball-busting mode. 

One well-aimed laugh can carry the force of a cannonball to the solar plexus. A soft voice works as well as a bellow. If we speak quietly from the private heart of our true convictions, if we repeat to ourselves, "I will do what I am afraid to do," Mr. Sweat Gland will turn tail.

And when all else fails, and it’s three in the morning, and Mr. Sweat Gland is crawling out from under the bed, we will turn to our holy saviors. With the covers over our heads, we will call our girl-friends and they will tell us we’re cool, and they will say, You got this, and don’t we know it’s three in the damn morning, and we are goddesses and we are a queens, and to shut the hell up, go to sleep and all will be well.

And now…. here are the famous “eight minutes.” You may loathe or love Bill Maher, but nobody makes the case for the coming insurrection like Oh-Maher:

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Transcript

New Rule: Don't make me say “I told you so again.” You know I was a young man of 59 when I started using the term “slow-moving coup,” and it pains me to have to report it's still moving. A document came to light a few weeks ago called the Eastman Memo which was basically a blueprint prepared for Trump on how he could steal the election after he lost it in November 2020.

00:21

It outlined a plan for overturning the election by claiming that seven states actually had competing state slates of electors which, while not even remotely true, would have given Mike Pence the excuse to throw out those states and thus hand the election to Trump. But, of course, the plan required election officials in those states to go along. Trump thought the ones who were Republican would. Most did not and that's what he's been working on fixing ever since.

00:54

No. Not a good thing. Some presidents spend their post-presidency building homes for the poor, or raising money for charity, or painting their toes. Trump has spent his figuring out how to pull off the coup he couldn't pull off last time.

1:17

Here's the easiest three predictions in the world: Trump will run in 2024. He will get the Republican nomination, and whatever happens on election night the next day he will announce that he won. I've been saying ever since he lost. He's like a shark that's not gone, just gone out to sea; but actually he's been quietly eating people this whole time. And by eating people I mean he's been methodically purging the Republican party of anyone who voted for his impeachment or doesn't agree that he's the rightful leader of the Seven Kingdoms.

1:54

Yes we're going to need a bigger boat. There was a grand total of 10 Republican congressmen who voted to impeach Trump, and by 2024 even those will all be gone. One of them was liz Cheney, arch-conservative, daughter of Darth Vader and yet now politically dead in Wyoming. Another of the ten was Anthony Gonzalez. He's already bowed out for running for reelection because he can see opposing Trump means you have no chance. The other eight will either like him (Gonzalez) not run; or they'll get primaried by a Trumper; or they'll have a sudden epiphany about how, “come to think of it Trump did win that election.”

2:39

The purge is also at work in Republican legislatures as several states are already in the process of changing election laws so that they—not nonpartisan election officials are in charge of certifying the results. Two weeks after the 2020 election Trump famously called the Republican in charge of elections in Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and told him he just needed to find an additional 11,000 Trump votes. Raffensperger refused. But he's not going to be there next time

03:15

Of the 15 republicans running for secretary of state in the key battleground states only two concede that Biden won that election. These are the people Trump is going to call on in 2024 when he's a few votes short and these people are going to give it to him.

03:34

So here's what's going to happen: 2022 the midterms Republicans win big. Why? Because the out-of-power party always does in a country where the electorate can't think past “throw the bums out.” So the Republicans take back the House where disputed elections are decided, and the speaker is Kevin McCarthy, a man with all the backbone of one of those inflatable tube men outside a car dealership.

04:06

Republicans will also have more key governors. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan all had democratic governors who protected the vote in 2020; but they're all up for re-election in 22. At least two will lose.

04:22

2023 Trump announces his candidacy and starts having large rallies across the country which become increasingly angry and threatening as Trump indulges his love for inciting violence: [Clips of Trump calling for violence.] “Knock the crap out of him.” “they'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks.” “Throw ‘em out.” “I’d like to punch him in the face.”

04:44

You know and I know the Hitler analogy is over the top in many ways. It is. I don't think Trump hates jews. There are too many rich ones. And I don't think committing genocide is in his future. But the mentality of how to take over a country is exactly the same.

05:02

Play on this feeling of we have been “cheated, robbed, betrayed, and now we're going to take it back.” Two-thirds of Republicans believe the election was stolen. 21 million believe force is justified to restore trump to office. A majority want to secede—whatever the hell that would entail.

05:23

And yet 2024 comes and Democrats treat it as a normal election year. They are living in a dream world where their choice of candidate matters, their policies matter, the number of votes they get matters. None of it does.

05:39

I won't even predict who the Democratic nominee will be because it doesn't matter. It could be Biden. It could be Harris. It could be Amy Klobuchar. Could be Timothy Chalamet. As long as they have a “D” by their name they will be portrayed as the leader of the Army of Satan.

05:59

But even if they win, Trump won't accept it. But this time his claims of illegal voting by immigrants or “mail-in ballots coming in after the deadline,” or the “system was hacked by Venezuela,” or whatever Giuliani comes up with on the fly—they will be fully embraced by the stooges he's installing right now.

06:22

December 16, 2024. This is the day electors gather to vote for president. Arizona and Wisconsin both send a slate of bogus Trump electors setting up a showdown on January 6th, and daring Kamala Harris to do what Trumpers wanted Mike Pence to do throw out election results.

06:42

The difference being: This time those results really are phony, and this time it's not just 600 diabetic Fox News junkies and a nut and a Viking helmet. 10 million Trump voters have signed a pledge to come to Washington. Of course, millions will flake; but half-a-million still show up. And they're heavily armed and incensed when Harris does what Mike Pence wouldn't. Demonstrations grow in the streets. The kind of Antifa versus Proud Boy violence we've seen in Portland erupts across the country. People are afraid to go out anywhere where their political tribe isn't in the majority, which hurts commerce. The stock market is spooked by the unrest. It tumbles as Inauguration Day approaches. President Biden is under extraordinary pressure to do something to stop the coup before his authority over the military and the justice department evaporates at noon on January 20th.

07:45

What happens when two presidential candidates show up on Inauguration Day both expecting to be sworn in like a bad sitcom pilot? The ding dongs who sacked the Capital last year? That was like when Al Qaeda tried to take down the World Trade Center the first time with a van. It was a joke. But the next time they came back with planes.

08:09

I hope I scared the out of you.

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And, at last! Here’s the Fearless Conflab to kill you softly with their good sense….

The Conflab is where we hash over the questions sent to Ask E. Jean—and where our boisterous community regularly rescues mankind. Today, we’re looking at the A.E.J. Fear File.

So, Conflabbians! We need some of your celebrated advice here. How do you deal with your Mr. Damp Palms? Your Mr. Nerve Rack? Your Mr. Clinch Poop? What do you say to yourself? How do you get a grip? How do you banish fear? What’s your biggest fear right now?

And what do you think of Bill Maher’s prediction?

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Photo of your advice columnist on a bus, Robert Wright; Photo of nincompoop in helmet, AP, Manuel Balce Ceneta; photo of Joshua Matz, E. Jean, and Robbie Kaplan walking into Federal Court: Jefferson Siegle for The New York Times.