Monday, March 30, 2009

"Oh, Behave!"

Spring Break can make you forget things. It’s been known to happen. But after my busy week of relaxation (sounds like a contradiction), I could not forget Shaft’s appeal to women. A private eye who (in my opinion) is not drop-dead gorgeous by any means but stills gets all the girls reminds me eerily of another movie character. Austin Powers.

Austin Powers is NOT attractive. How does he always get the girl in the end, then? I think it is very similar to Shaft’s appeal. Austin Powers has the cool job of being a secret agent, and the fact that he was frozen from the 1960’s and then thawed back to life is cool in itself. Many people think James Bond is cool, and the Austin Powers movies are very similar, with a comedic focus. Austin Powers drives the cool car, possess the womanizing traits that are now prerequisite for becoming a secret agent, and manages to swiftly dodge every bullet that comes his way. As with Shaft, Austin has a way with the ladies, although I believe he respects them more. He even refuses to make love to a woman who is “smashed,” because he does not consider that right. He also makes more of a personal connection to the girls he sleeps with, and even mourns when he discovers his girlfriend Vanessa is a Fembot. However, he quickly recovers, realizing, "Wait a tick ... that means I'm single again! Oh, behave!"

Shaft has the “I-don’t-give-a-crap” attitude that also ups his cool factor. Sometimes I can’t separate his confidence from his cockiness, though. I’ve come to the conclusion, that oftentimes you are cool because other people think you are. How ironic it is that the people who often do not care what people think are made cool because of what those people think. Perhaps the audiences love that individualism because they cannot possess that as a mass.

This reminds me of a recent Fall Out Boy single entitled “I Don’t Care.” In the song, the band claims that they don’t care what people think, as long as it is about them. I’ve never looked at it in this perspective, but what if the cool people are exactly the same way? They don’t care what people think about them, as long as they do think about them. This makes me wonder if this vanity lies behind all cool people who claim to be apathetic to others’ opinions. If this is true, they lose their coolness, because they simply want attention.


  1. I think you've got the right idea going here. It makes complete sense that cool people wouldn't care what you think as long as you do think of them. Isn't that the same principle that celebrities seem to live by? "No publicity is bad publicity." It doesn't matter what the headlines say as long as your name is getting out to the public.

  2. Ah, fantastic! Striking at the root of it all. Push this line of thinking further: do you think vanity is a root of all cool? Whether it's being cool because you got the highest score on Donkey Kong (a la King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters) or because you play a style of music people enjoy and have a weird haircut, there seems to be a stigma of vanity attached to being cool.

    Is this a given? Is vanity a part of all cool? If it is a given, why have we accepted such an unattractive trait as being something we can look to, sigh, and say, "I wish *I* could be her?" If it's not a part of all cool, what sets the "non-vain" apart from the rest?

    I encourage to explore these questions in your next few blog entries. Good job!

  3. I definily think that people find apathy cool. This creates two categories, though: those who REALLY don't care and those who actually do care. It all goes to independence. Don't you think that those who are TRULY apathetic and cool don't even care that people think about them? Those who want people to think about them aren't completely apathetic?

  4. And what is apathy but a form of detachment...