Wednesday, September 25, 2013


I hate ellipses. They are the worst and I would like you to stop using them. Some people agree. They're particularly upsetting to me in written dialogue (as in books) and are right up there with double punctuation (??/!!/?!), which is sloppy writing at best.

That is all.


Friday, September 20, 2013

Cate Has (Unfavorable) Opinions About Amazon

Tax evasion. Monopolizing. Stock prices out of line with actual profits. Predatory business practices. This all sounds pretty diabolical, yeah? But if you shop through Amazon, you're supporting these things.

My friends all know that I have opinions about things, and that some of those opinions are strong. This is one of my strongest ones. Normally, I don't spend much time discussing it online, because I'm not a business blogger. However, given that I muse about writing and books, I feel this is a germane topic.

I won't say much, beyond the fact that I believe Amazon is an evil empire engaging in activities that are detrimental to publishers and writers--particularly emerging writers and small presses, who stand to lose more in a deal like this. Amazon also harms local businesses by taking money (and tax dollars) out of communities. Moreover, Amazon is less than friendly to its own warehouse workers, while CEO Jeff Bezos is worth over $25 billion (of course, this isn't an uncommon dichotomy in corporations, but it's worth noting as our middle class continues to shrink).

Yes, I enjoy free shipping as much as the next girl, and I have been known to turn to Amazon in times of desperation, such as locating essential research materials. However, I realize that it is important, now more than ever, to be a conscientious consumer and hope you will do the same.



Monday, September 16, 2013

I Went to College, or, Feminists Ruin Everything

You remember over the summer how I had all those opinions about Twilight? Well, buckle your seat belts, kids, because that was nothing compared to what I'm about to say.

One of my friends recently shared--and, in her own commentary, refuted--an article called, "6 Reasons (+2) to NOT Send Your Daughter to College." There are tons of things in here worth responding to, so of course I'm going to do that.

Let me preface this by saying that everyone must choose his or her own path in life, and if a person believes in a certain thing, I'm down, so long as it isn't detrimental to other human beings or the world in a larger sense. Having said that, I believe that the things Mr.

First, Alleman writes, "Today, anyone can learn anything they want with the vast library system across the country and with the easy access of the internet. So the real reason girls go to college is for a degree, not an education." Surely this isn't true of all women, but my mother and I went to college in order to get an education in our chosen fields, which led to degrees--five between the two of us. I'm reasonably certain Mom could not have learned how to be first a nurse and then a social worker from a library or the Internet, had it been available when she was in school. 

Furthermore, I'm satisfied with the education I received while pursuing my undergraduate degree, as I attended a liberal arts institution that taught all of its students to be well-rounded individuals, and I would hate to have pursued my passions without the invaluable guidance I received from my professors. Not only that, but the friendships I made in college are very important to me, and I know I never would have met these people in the library in my hometown, which is where Alleman would prefer I live until someone married me. (NB: my parents like me, but I don't think they would have wanted me hanging around and twiddling my thumbs for the past nine years.)

In the same paragraph, Alleman mentions that, "College may be necessary for the provider of a family depending on the vocation God is calling them to or for those who are called to the Priesthood, both of which are intended for men." I hate three things about this assumption of Alleman's: first, that marriage should be allocated for heterosexuals only; second, that every marriage necessarily leads to children; and third, that there are things "intended for men" only. 

I'm sure that lady politicians, lady astronauts, lady scientists, lady writers, and other ladies with jobs would be thrilled to know that people they don't even know are judging them for 1) being ladies and 2) daring to do important jobs that are "meant" for the guys. Alleman continues on by saying, "The Church teaches that husbands and wives are of equal dignity, but with different roles." He sounds like someone who never got the message that "separate but equal" never allows for true equality. 

Alleman then says of the ministry with which he's invovled, "We believe in women making wise prudent choices for themselves.  The indoctrination of the feminist culture and the practicing of a sexually promiscuous lifestyle severely cloud, practically blind that good judgment." THOSE DAMN FEMINISTS, RUINING EVERYTHING. Oh, wait

Meanwhile, I'd like to think that I am capable of being reasonably coherent in my decision making processes, in spite of my long servitude as a student in a higher education setting. More than that, because I care about my friends, I want to believe that they can do the same. Lady Gaga sums up how I feel about being told otherwise:

Schei├če, indeed.

I'll quote a huge chunk of one of Alleman's paragraphs here and attempt to respond to all of it:
Generally women will marry and have children so are gifted by God with the natural abilities to nurture (feed and raise) as well as educate children.  Today’s society has a very accessible conduit for that ability that is very conducive to family life:  homeschooling.  Educating and caring for children is the most valuable calling of a married woman and requires accomplished abilities.  These are no small matters.  But mothers often say they could not stand to be with their children all day.  What?  Just stop and think about that sad sad statement.  If that is the case, why did they have children?
Let's work backward, shall we? Why did they have children? Because they were "gifted by God with the natural abilities to nurture [...] as well as educate children," apparently, or at least indoctrinated to believe that they had no choice but to give birth, because someone told them that contraception is sinful, except that it's actually good for the world, not only in terms of empowerment for women but also in terms of the reduction of STD cases

But the most offensive thing to me in this block quote is the part where Alleman asserts that "Educating and caring for children is the most valuable calling of a married woman." Never mind any ambition she might have for herself, never mind supporting her spouse, never mind taking care of her own well-being first. None of that matters, amirite?

In his last paragraph before he starts in on the actual list of reasons not to send your daughter to college, Alleman writes about women afraid of their husbands leaving them, "the possibility of being left in such a state would make a woman MUCH more careful about the man she decides to marry.  Think about it.  If you know you're throwing your COMPLETE trust and future on a man, you'll want one you can certainly rely on." Unfortunately, Alleman's logic is not sound here, because all adults should know that they can only rely on themselves one hundred percent. 

Besides, I'm sure that the majority of people seriously consider their decision to wed and take the step in good faith. As the saying goes, shit happens, and the fact is, people change. Divorce isn't always caused by unreliability. Sometimes life throws things at us that send us on different trajectories than our spouses. Sometimes you grow apart. There is no shame in realizing these limitations and addressing them; if the problem cannot be solved, no one should be afraid to fix things by divorcing. 

I know, I know. There I go with my logic. As Cher Horowitz would say,

Other people who are wiser, or at least funnier, than I am have already responded to this issue, of course. I realize I'm not doing much good by adding my voice to the din, but damn, it feels good to get this off my chest.

And since I'm really riled up, I thought I'd show you where some of that attitude comes from. Below, you'll see my mother's response to the whole article:

1. I am glad I sent you to public schools and didn't home school you. Less stress on you (and me) to prove that you were well educated.
2. Although I went to a Catholic University (which BTW promoted the education of women), I felt I came away bett
er knowing myself and what was best for myself AND my family.
3. I am so glad I didn't subject you to all the bullshit in this article and sent you to a Presbyterian college where you learned to (even more than you had previously) think for yourself.
4. And finally, I cannot imagine you EVER marrying an idiot of ANY variety.
5. And your father agrees. He is also happy to see that stupidity is not solely concentrated with one particular religious group.

In case anyone was wondering, my parents are kind of awesome, and I thank them for not being crazy. At least, not in a religious sense.


PS Mom asked me to make sure that I tell you she was educated at the aforementioned Catholic university by the Felician Sisters. On their North American website, they say that they strive "to live as women of hope in a world so greatly in need of hope." They also note that they try to "lead and teach in our institutions of higher learning, where students come to receive a distinctively Felician Franciscan education--where they are inspired by Franciscan values, encouraged to be intellectually curious, and dedicated to serving others. Each school embraces and celebrates its commitment to service, remaining continually responsive to the needs of its students while giving them opportunities to serve the needs of others by always challenging students to extend their reach." I don't see anything in there about teaching only men. Do you?

PPS On a minor note, I'm not sure why the formatting here is all jacked. I fought with the post for two days in an attempt to make the font a normal size, but it wasn't meant to be. Apologies!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Coming Home

Some of you know that I grew up in Michigan. In elementary school, I thought I was exotic for having been born in North Carolina. But then I met N, who had spent a significant chunk of her childhood in Mexico, and S, who I think came from Illinois but looked as if she'd arrived straight from Bollywood. They were the exotic ones. They were the (not actually foreign) foreigners, and for awhile, I realized how normal I was.

Funny thing about that, though. When I returned to North Carolina--the prodigal daughter--eighteen years after my departure, I felt strange all over again, as though I was entering a foreign land. Of course, I was, in a way--crossing the Mason-Dixon Line always means something, though I still haven't worked out what it is, exactly. Being a suburban girl meant I was a little out of place in my new rural surroundings. Unfortunately, I still wasn't an expat.

The good news is that I know now that America is a big, exciting place that allows for people of all types, which is a cool thing, when you think about it. The better news is that I know now that I am both Northern and Southern; suburban and rural; and all Cate, all the time, no matter where I am. And if that means being less than exotic, or even downright commonplace, that's okay. Besides, it means I sound like this, which truly cracks me up.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wakey Wakey

My family has a pretty legendary streak of insomnia, and its fair share of night owls. It is not at all unusual for my maternal grandmother to fall asleep after 4:00 AM and wake around noon. My paternal grandfather was known for his late-night forays to 24-hour donut shops or, you know, Kentucky. My father freely admits that his genes have played a large part in my own sleep troubles. While I appreciate the fact that he doesn't try to deny his culpability, I sure do wish he'd passed on some other DNA. Why not the one to make me a little bit taller? He doesn't have it. Or the one that makes me a baller? Absent, as well. (Skee-Lo feels my pain.)

So here I am, exhausted and blogging at 5:30 in the morning because I haven't gotten my forty winks yet. I'd like to keep reading the book in which I'm currently entrenched--Gone with the Wind--but it requires focus that I don't possess at the moment. If I had some energy, I'd head over to Waffle House, grab myself a chocolate chip waffle and a side of bacon, and work on a short story I started and am now required to finish. The petulant child part of my brain wants to call Dad and wake him up, but I won't do that, because he's my father (and also because he knows where I live).

Instead, I'll finish this post, crawl back into bed, and hope for the best. Sweet dreams, my slumber-challenged friends.