The Algebra Of Being A DivaPosted: August 12, 2013
The term diva has become fashionable in pop culture. Shirts, jewelry and bumper stickers are all available to help one declare herself a diva.
Ahh, and there lies part of the problem with diva-dom, the self-assigning of diva status.
My understanding of the word is that it comes from the world of opera. Diva was a term used by others to describe an immensely talented female performer who displayed temperamental behavior. Opera producers and fellow performers put up with outbursts and unreasonableness for the privilege of working with a gifted performer.
The meaning of the term has degraded in recent years. It started being applied to pop stars who prove that talent is not a prerequisite for getting a recording contract. The talent requirement eroded. That is when the trouble started.
When the term got tacked on to performers of questionable talent, those whose gifts were even less significant took note. They felt free to call themselves divas. This cycle of devaluing talent continued down the short road to those who had minimal talent. Minimally talented, self-assigned divas validated decisions by those who totally lacked talent to declare themselves divas.
So now we have a word, diva, that has moved away from its meaning. Today’s “diva” is unrecognizable to most because of the factor of missing talent. Where the diva of the past knew that it was simply understood who and what she was, today’s diva must endlessly tell others. She tattoos it on her arm (or worse, her neck), emblazons it on her 10-year-old Pontiac, buys jewelry that declares it.
Diva By Numbers
I’d contend that if you’ve got to tell me you’re a diva, what you’re really telling me is that you’re misusing the word. Let me define the word diva as a math problem to sharpen my point:
e – t + (d/w) = diva
e represents exceptional talent
t represents temperamental behavior
d represents desire to enjoy the talent
w represents willingness to put up with her crap
The wonders of algebra prove that being a diva is a balancing act. Being a pain in the butt is counter-balanced by the exceptional talent, the desire of others to enjoy that talent and their willingness to deal with negative behavior to do so.
Now let’s examine the equation that represents the more modern, pop culture diva:
t/w = diva
The formula for the new diva is simpler. Temperamental behavior divided by the willingness of others to put up with her crap equals a diva. Where is the difference in these two equations? Talent is no longer there. Without talent, how willing is the average person to put up with difficult behavior from another person?
I’d have to say that average person is not very willing at all. I should know. After all, who is more average than me?
But wait, there is more. I recall that my algebra teacher said something about reducing fractions to their least common…least common something or other. T/W (or temperamental behavior divided by willingness to put up with it) is a fraction that we can reduce. When we do, we find that:
p/z = diva
where p is being a pain in the butt and z represents that folks have zero desire to put up with such a person
a pain in the butt = diva
Based on that indisputable math, we can reach the following conclusions:
- If you know you are a pain in the butt, you might try to label yourself a diva;
- If you are calling yourself a diva, we all know that is simply code for pain in the butt;
- Being a diva or a pain in the butt is not an excuse for poor behavior.
Give It Up, “Diva”
Yes ma’am, we are on to you. The rest of us see what you’re doing, just as we see right through your counterpart, the gentleman who tattoos “only God can judge me” on his bicep. You’re making a pitiful attempt to exempt yourself from the rules the rest of us play by. Unfortunately, all you’ve accomplished is letting everyone know that you intend to act the fool.
Thanks for the warning.
The difference between you and the rest of society is that you believe that we not only respect you for “keeping it real” enough to put the world on notice that you are rude, but we are willing to tolerate you because you wave your little diva flag.
Well we don’t, nor do we tolerate you.
Get over yourself and be nice; you might get somewhere.
And lose the neck tattoo.