Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Old Diva

Old Diva (20002)

New Diva

New Diva (2002)

From the we make it up as we go along Wikipedia:

A diva is a female opera singer, but now the term also refers to a popular female performer of non-operatic works. The term was originally used to describe a woman of rare, outstanding talent. The term derives from an ancient Italian word meaning "goddess", which, in turn derives from the feminine form of a Latin word divus, meaning "divine one".


As with the earlier "prima donna", which was also derived from opera (lit. "first lady"), the term has slipped from its trade origins and come to be used in any theatrical or performance setting. In particular, because of marketing efforts, the word "diva" has come to be applied most often to popular female performers. In order to qualify as a diva there must be one, or both, of two dominant traits present: a broad and expansive voice and/or a thoroughly captivating and commanding presence.

The term has slipped much further than our Wikipedia scribes admit. More than the voice is now "broad and expansive." Today's divas are now known for expansive egos, drug habits, temper tantrums, creature comforts, and reality disconnect.

I see divas falling into three categories:

The Real:

My abdomen contains jewels...

Diva Plavalaguna from The Fifth Element

[Photograph seen here.]

Hmmm. Ironic that my choice for a real diva is a fictional, blue-skinned alien.

The Unreal:

No, I'm not a drug addict, and neither is my husband. If that were so, you'd get a lot less work out of me...

Diva Whitney Houston

[Photo seen on BBC.com]

Poor Whitney has her ups and downs. Here, amazing voice notwithstanding, she appears to be either keeping granules in her nostril or her fake nose on her fake face.

The Surreal:

But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best.

Diva George "The Decider" Bush

[Image seen on discobug]

An odd selection? Not at all. Review the criteria I established above:

Expansive ego?

If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator.
--George W. Bush

Drug habit?

Bush says he isn't going to play the rumor game -- specifically, the rumor that he was born with a silver spoon in his nose.
--Mark Russell

Temper tantrums?

[President Bush]'s out of control,” one White House aide says privately. “There’s no other way to put it. His anger spills over in meetings. He berates anyone who brings him bad news but there's not a lot of good news we can bring the President right now. He calls other Republicans 'motherfucking traitors' and it is becoming more and more of a challenge to keep that anger from showing in public.”
--Doug Thompson, "Government by Temper Tantrum"

Creature comforts?

Q: This is manmade, this lake?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I made it. I paid for it. Obviously, with no rain, it evaporates. And we've had some good rains.

There are pumps over there. We keep it pumped because when it does rain, it fills up that little island and we don't want to kill those oaks.

But it's stocked. I bought a little bass boat. It's stocked --

Q Very little.

THE PRESIDENT: It is. It's perfect for that size lake.

It's stocked with a lot of bait fish and I put in 600 fingerlings. So we started -- didn't put any big bass in to begin with. And I've caught nearly a pound in size.
--from The White House home page, "President Gives Tour of Crawford Ranch"

Reality disconnect?

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
--Ron Suskind, "Without a Doubt" in The New York Times

I rest my case...and take the fictional over the surreal/actual every time...


Bert Bananas said...

A tremendously insightful post, well crafted. But...

Doesn't everyone try to mold reality into what they'd like it to be? Given that kind of power, wouldn't any President (aided & abetted by aides, aka suck-ups) end up believing destiny is under his control? Or her control?

cruelanimal said...

I can see your point. A guy in an information bubble -- surrounded by fawning fops -- never reading and trusting his gut over his intellect (assuming one exists, of course) -- hearing the voice of God and believing himself to be a divine agent is probably going to forge ahead on autopilot and try to "mold reality."

My gripe here is that BushCo seems unable to comprehend or accept the reality they are molding. Are they politically myopic? Blinded by greed? Just don't give a shit? Whatever the reason, Americans are increasingly seeing through the catapulted propaganda of turned corners, last throes, staying the course, cutting and running, married gays, burned flags -- all the Rovian feelgood rhetoric and culture wars red meat.

Do I want a passive, timid slacker running the country? No. But a cautious, thoughtful, informed, compassionate, selfless, honest, AND decisive president would certainly be a welcome change. That kind of reality-based community? Bring it on...

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