Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Cloud that is "Cool"

My very first blog EVER, my very first thoughts about my Honors class. Seems appropriate. Last night’s discussion about the essence of cool opened my eyes to how limitless and encompassing the definition of “cool” actually is. Is cool the jock who owns the high school hallways? The rocker who inspires love for music every time he hits the stage? Is cool the rebel who challenges social norms and gains respect by doing so?

 I enjoyed hearing about F.John’s scale between Dissident Cool and Transcendent Cool. I had never really considered there to be dynamics of cool. However, after last night I recognize that there ARE different types. The more intriguing for me is the Transcendent, simply because these people take what is common and elevate it to the cool level. In the example about Bruce Lee, he took common martial arts and proved that it could be so much more. If I can find something I am incredibly passionate about, maybe I can be cool too! There is hope in this world.

 When we discussed the different subcultures of coolness, I begin wondering whether everything will one day be considered “cool.” Think. We have nerdy-cool, punk-cool, grunge-cool, jock-cool, cheerleader-cool, novelty-cool, and class clown-cool. The list could go on. Eventually, every aspect of the social circle will somehow be considered “cool” by some definition. And when everything is cool, nothing is. This made me believe that cool cannot have a set definition for every human being, because all our views of cool are different. The nerd may not see the jock as cool because he has no desire to be a blockheaded 2.0 with ‘roid rage. The cheerleader may not see the punk as cool because she has no desire to be associated with someone who wears as much eyeliner as she does. And the punk may not see the nerd as cool because anyone who knows the theme of Battlestar Galactica better than his music has no worth whatsoever. My definition of what is cool is different from your definition of cool, which is different from my mother’s definition of cool. You see the pattern. 

“Cool” is like The Sound of Music’s Maria. How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? It’s not possible, just like stating that something is universally cool proves to be impossible. Becoming cool could be as easy as deciding for yourself what cool is. For me, cool is someone who has an extraordinary talent. I’m not one for the rebels…although a little daredevilism now and then is okay with me. As for those “rebels” with detention every day of high school…well, that’s just not cool.


  1. I completely agree with you in that I believe there is no limit to what can be seen as cool. What you like might not be what I like and vice versa. However, there are other people who can agree with our views. Many times those are the people we set ourselves with in the social hierarchy, people we call our friends. I, on the other hand think that transcendent cool can be dangerous. (mainly because I watch House) House is so involved with his medical work and his attempts to save the world that he has no time for anything else. His life is the hospital. I think if everyone had this type of eccentric passion the world wouldn't cooperate well. Imagine every single person trying obsessing over one specific thing. There would be no room for anything else, and would, in my opinion, lead to a lackluster life. I really liked your entry though.

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  3. What is it about rebels that you just don like? Do you have something against leather jackets?

  4. Something's weird about your template. The comment box didn't appear last night and I don't know what I did to make it appear. Magic!

    A very interesting social look at what "cool" is. You're going to find that a lot of what "cool" is depends on those social groups. It'll be interesting to see you dissect the movies we watch to that level.

    Good use of links! Don't be afraid of using more as you go on.

  5. I think I agree with your taste of cool. I'm not really one to go for the "bad boys". I also agree on the impossibility to truly define what is cool in its entirety.