Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How Dare You?

Dearest Mongolian Girl, would you write a review for us? Because there's all this sex I've been having, and I forgot how to read. Thank you kindly, you are the tele to my vision. LYLAS.

In 1976 I was in 5th grade and my teacher, Mrs. Lowrey, took time to explain how the election of a US President happens. She then broke us up into ‘Camp Carter’ and ‘Camp Ford’ and explained how to campaign for our candidate. I was the ‘Camp Ford’ campaign manager. I organized my team, created posters, talked about the benefits of Candidate Gerald Ford to any elementary school kid who would listen, and did my best to inspire ‘Camp Ford’ to generate a Ford voting frenzy on the day of the election.

Everyone should vote! It’s your right to do so! Exercise your power by casting your vote! I won’t understand it if you don’t vote! I once had a fight with one of my Aunts because she doesn’t vote! Who doesn’t vote!? It’s crazy!

The end!!! (I think this little blurb was confusing, but am posting it anyway. Hope you don’t mind. Sorry about that.)

See how that works? See how I did that?
  1. I’ve got a little story I want to tell you
  2. The way I write this little story wouldn’t know depth if depth back handed it in the face with a crow bar
  3. Since I know the way I’m presenting my story has no depth, I’m going to get all lazy and try to make my point by highlighting the shit out of my point with bold-ness and italic-ness
  4. Also, I’m going to highlight my point even more by telling you I’m willing to fight with my Aunt about it
  5. And then I’m going to let myself off the hook for posting my little depth-free story by saying I’m confused, saying I’m sorry, and asking for your forgiveness

Whatever happened to writing that tells the truth - gets down into the guts of it? The truth is that my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Lowrey, was a tyrant that often had scotch for breakfast and had exactly 10 polyester pant suits that smelled so deeply of cat piss, scotch and cigarette smoke that, to this day, I can close my eyes and catch a whiff of it. It is also the truth that my rise to campaign manager of ‘Camp Ford’ was one of the first times in my young life that I was fully aware I was degrading myself by doing well at something I did not believe in. The fact is that I was a huge fan of Jimmy Carter but was afraid to say it after having done so once and getting a quick slap in the face from my mother as she yelled the word ‘stupid’ in a way that seemed to stab the four walls of the living room we were standing in.

Cee Kay is the author of “My Two Cents: Take it….. Or Leave It!!”. Even her description of herself leaves me wanting. She calls herself an optimist and opportunist and tries to back her claims by describing life handing her lemons and not only making lemonade, but also selling the lemonade and making air freshener from the lemon peels. Color me utterly unimpressed, uninspired, uniformed about who she is and bored silly.

Throughout her blog I found myself consistently thinking, “How dare you?” Honestly, Cee Kay, how dare you? How dare you bring to the fore such intricate, important, deep, and even bewildering topics and then lambast us with some kind of exercise in your ability to use the bold and italic features of your word processor.

From what I can gather (though it’s nearly impossible to be sure), Cee Kay and her husband and two daughters are from India but live in the US. She manages to make it clear that she is consistently negotiating and considering the fact that she is straddling two cultures, two generations and two realities. She describes the worthlessness afforded Indian women here and here, but then dissolves into some sort of finger wagging bravado that carries no weight. She doesn’t even bother to tell us how painful it must have been to realize the seriousness of what she is dealing with; how mind numbing and crushing it must have been when she first realized she was in disagreement with an entire culture.

Did you read that, Cee Kay?

Let me put it into language you seem to understand:

You tell us you are in disagreement with an entire culture, but the way you write about it DOES NOT inspire, inform or impress.

Let’s get to that letter you wrote to your daughters as a place to start – to see if we can’t rattle your cage a little bit. I actually kind of like that letter. It has some good points, but reads like one of those little books of inspiring quotes I pick up at the corner convenience store when I need a birthday present on the quick for someone I don’t know very well. (I swear, by the time I’m 70 I hope I’ve lost enough of this proper shit I go through on birthdays and spend one year buying everyone I know a giant dildo and some lube as a present.)

Your kids are cute as the dickens. And I know you love them and want to do well as a mother. But what is that letter going to actually do for them? What is it doing for you? I propose it does nothing in either case. It’s a bunch of empty, albeit well intentioned, gibberish about ‘Stand up for yourself’ and ‘Don’t take any shit’ and ‘Respect yourself’ that includes nothing about what it’s like to actually do those things when it’s the hardest thing in the world.

What would it be like if you revisited that letter and wrote about each of those things from the perspective of making them happen even when you’ve been alone, filled with rage, just been betrayed by someone you love and want to give up? What if you wrote about respecting and standing up for yourself even when you’re in the middle of an entire culture that completely disagrees with you? And please, if you intend to respond with some more of that tripe about making lemonade out of lemons, don’t bother. Just keep writing in capital letters and practicing being able to use your word processor’s bold and italic features.

I suppose this is a dare, but I’m not sure if I care to really make it. So many bloggers submit to AAYSR and then thank us for encouraging them to dig deeper; making grand statements of turning over a new leaf and then go on blogging with their half-witted, uninspiring drivel as if the whole thing never happened.

Maybe, Cee Kay, you will be different. Goodness knows you have enough grist for the mill.

Whether you do it or not, I promise I will be contemplating being 70 and buying everyone I know a dildo and lube on their birthday.

for knowing what you're dealing with.

for not having the guts to really write about it.


  1. I'll get in line for one of your b'day gifts!

  2. I did the same project in 5th grade social studies only I was captain of team Carter. I remember my opponent arguing that Carter didn't deserve to be president because he admitted he had committed adultery in his heart (with his eyes, so to speak). I looked at my male teacher, Mr. Graham, and said correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what ALL men do? I won the debate. Think of how far we've come from those innocent days of only looking at sexy interns.

    I always want you on my team and I want one of your birthday presents when I'm 70.

    I love the review as well. I like this blogger, especially "The Hurt Stays". She has captured a side of loss we don't often think about.

  3. Thanks for the review. Even though it is hard to accept frank criticism, I'll say you hit the nail right on its head. I know I don't write everything that I want to, or exactly the way I wish to. I am too afraid of what my friends and family reading the blog will think or feel. Plus I feel I don't have a dexterity with words that good writers have. If I were confident of my writing skills, I wouldn't have requested a review anyway.

    But are you sure about the italics and the bold letters and the capitalization?? A 100% sure? I thought people LOVED that!!! (Just kidding :D) Thank goodness you didn't say anything about the smileys and exclamation marks. Which means I can use those in abundance, right? Right!! :D:D

    I might post a reply to your review on my blog and when/if I do, I will leave a link here.

  4. GTN/Cee Kay - I will get down on my knees and praise all that is holy if you really do knock it off with that italic, bold, smilie face crap.
    And why not migrate your blog posts to a new address and leave the family and friends out of it? You can always use Facebook or another blog for keeping folks updated about your kids and other family things.
    Worrying too much about your writing style is going to tank you. I swear. Yes, you could edit yourself, shorten posts, and stop trying to address so many topics in one post. But your writing isn't awful by any means. My guess is that getting a private place to write from your guts is going to make all the difference.

  5. Red: Sure, but it's gonna be a while. Unless I get over this proper birthday shit sooner than expected.

    ZM: I've always suspected Jimmy was just referring to his fantasies of good ol' Roz with a giant dildo and tub o' lube.

  6. I agree, giving up the accolades(and judgment) of people near and dear to write somewhere private will allow you to stick your big toe into the waters of true expressiveness. It doesn't make it magically easy to open up and write from the gut, I think as women we have been so conditioned to be pleasing that we fight that impulse even in anonymity.

    She has potential.

  7. FF: She really does. Almost all of her posts go right up the edge of kicking the world in the balls and then turning tail and running away in a flurry of bold and italics. I hope she'll migrate that shit to a place that her husband, family and friends won't read.

    Dildo? Lube? Pumpkin muffin? Anyone?

  8. MG: I do want to write seriously so I will give it a try (migrating to another blog). Thanks. Oh, and I'll take a pumpkin muffin please. Dildos don't quite do for me what my husband can ;)

    ZM: Thanks!

    FF: "as women we have been so conditioned to be pleasing that we fight that impulse even in anonymity." - so true! (I would have capitalized the "so" but MG has forbidden me from doing it :P)

  9. Cee Kay - let me know when you migrate. Email the url to
    I'm not joking when I tell you I will read if you find a way to get private and kick some stories out. I think you have them in you.
    Oh, and I don't forbid anyone to do anything. I just think you're better than all of that word processor crap.

  10. Thanks MG, I will. I really do appreciate this offer.

  11. I could really use a pumpkin muffin about now.

  12. About that privacy thing...

  13. Yeah, me too HIF. It's like I'm taunting myself with them right now though. I keep thinking about them and massaging memories of their delightful goodness - but not making any. It's like I'm window shopping at the sex toy shop, but not quite prepared to go inside. They are just that fuckin' good.

  14. Cee Kay - the offer is actually one you will be making to yourself. I truly hope you do. You have a story to tell.

  15. Oh Mongo - Jimmy wasn't thinking of Roz and a big ol' tube of lube. Southern women do not behave that way. Right HIF? At least not in public.

    I loved your advice for Cee Kay to go Rogue. I've often thought of doing that myself as my writing is generally tempered by, not family, but career people who know about it. I wanted to be all out there but when it comes down to it, I push the lines of tolerance here in my community. Freedom comes from the dying of a lessor self. Let the old blog die and set yourself free to express.

  16. Awesome review, Mongo.

    Bold and italics are the inbred children of exclamation points.


Grow a pair.