Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Attitude is in the Eye of the Beholder




Has anyone ever told you that you have an attitude problem? Did you know that if that has happened to you, I probably envy you?

Attitude is a huge catch-word in this culture. "You need an adjustment in attitude." "I don't appreciate your attitude." "You'd get much farther faster without that smart attitude." "Your attitude is your biggest problem." If it's true that attitude is such a problem, how come it's such a celebrated character trait in so many of our TV shows, movies, and books (not to mention our celebrities and rock stars)?

Back when Harry Potter was still in awe of being at Hogwarts, who provided a lot of the fun? The Weasley twins, of course, with their flippant, humorous attitude toward the world at large and Hogwarts in particular. Anybody out there think Wolverine doesn't have an attitude? Or how about Spiderman? On TV, the Winchester brothers, particularly Dean, survive because of it, and if you want the man whose picture is in the dictionary next to the A-word, try watching House.

In real life, attitude is corrected, quashed, curbed, and sometimes punished. But everyone must be sporting a little bit of rebel in them, or all of these characters would have faded into the woodwork or been tossed onto the scrap heap of the soon-forgotten, and that's just not the case. In the anonymity of a movie theater, or in the privacy of our own homes, we celebrate people with attitude. What else could possibly explain Eminem?

And I, with my polite, old-fashioned, all-girls-Catholic-school education, not only celebrate attitude along with the rest, but also admire. I sometimes wish I had that kind of attitude -the quick razor wit that's a weapon when need be, the thick skin that would allow me to let put-downs and unkind comments slide off my back like so much water. Sigh. I probably wouldn't want to work in the same department as House, but boy, I sure could use some of what he's got. Attitude? Me? Don't I wish.

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