Kids today, eh?
I mean, what's up with that? With them?
Selfish, self-centred, self-involved little teen-zine freaks. More money than sense, less taste than Thrills gum, with attention spans that rival a goldfish in a teeny tiny fishtank.
Actually, (which is word one of the schools I attended didn't think was appropriate for use until at least the age of sixteen) I'm crazy about kids. Big fat juicy ones, little skinny slimy ones - whatever's on offer, I'm up for. But their heros and heroines leave a very great deal to be desired - who can blame kids for not having all that very much to aspire to?
Reams have been written on the horrors of pre-pubescent girls gasping after the lifestyles and wardrobes of Brittany, Christina and Jessica; the attentions of Justin and Lance and Nick; not to mention the wealth of Mary Kate and Ashley.
And now little Hilary Duff, a fluffier little teen idol than whom there has likely never been seen, has just launched her very own fashion empire (at Zellers here in Canada) and standards for integrity, style and excellence have just dropped that little infinitesimal bit lower. A plague on her and all her bendable-limbed, lookalike doll-inspiring cohorts.
It's time to introduce the younger set to those whose words and acts and gestures evoked mystery and magic, rather than cheap perfume and sleazy clothes.
There's no law that says we have to admire within the bounds of our own generation or time.
When I wanted to find someone of substance - and fire and music and magic, I went back about seventy years and an entire century (which I assure you was before my time; all my crowd had to look up to was Laurie Partridge and Marie Osmond... we was robbed) - to a time when female role models were more likely to spit in your eye than sell you their eponymously named scent; to Carole Lombard and Vivienne Leigh - and my personal favourite - Bette Davis.
Still modern , still fascinating, still with something to contribute, even dead and even after all these years.
But I'm not gong to justify my love - I'll let the words of the grand dame speak for themself. Because when all is said and done ('at the end of the day' having been done to death) it's what we say and how we say it, that's left behind to remind us of who we once were - and who we could inspire others to be.
Bette Davis is such a one.
From her films:
"Funny business a woman's career. The things you drop on your way up the ladder-so you can move faster-you forget you'll need them again when you go back to being a woman. That's one career all females have in common whether we like it or not. Being a woman. Sooner or later we've got to work at it, no matter what other careers we've had or wanted. And in the last analysis nothing is any good unless you can look up just before dinner-or turn around in bed-and there he is. Without that, you're not a woman. You're something with a French provincial office-or a book full of clippings. But you're not a woman. Slow curtain. The end."
"Oh, Jerry, we have the stars, let's not ask for the moon. "
"Infants behave the way I do, you know. They carry on and misbehave-they'd get drunk if they knew how-when they can't have what they want. When they feel unwanted or insecure-or unloved."
"What a dump!"
"I'll admit I may have seen better days... but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut."
"Heaven help me. I love a psychotic!"
"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!"
"I'd like to kiss ya, but I just washed my hair."
And from her own life:
"Love is not enough. It must be the foundation, the cornerstone - but not the complete structure. It is much too pliable, too yielding."
"This became a credo of mine...attempt the impossible in order to improve your work."
"I am doomed to an eternity of compulsive work. No set goal achieved satisfies. Success only breeds a new goal. The golden apple devoured has seeds. It is endless."
"I was thought to be 'stuck up.' I wasn't. I was just sure of myself. This is and always has been an unforgivable quality to the unsure."
"My passions were all gathered together like fingers that made a fist. Drive is considered aggression today; I knew it then as purpose."
"To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to seat over lonely labor, to be given the chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy. As everyone else, I love to dunk my crust in it. But alone, it is not a diet designed to keep body and soul together."
Now that's a role model.