Sunday, January 25, 2009

To Start With...

What is cool? Is it standing alone or being one in the crowd? I definitely think that this class is the way to try and find those answers. I mean, what better places to find cool than at the movies? It is at the movies that we see what seems cool and what is cool, what seems a reject, but is really an idea to embrace. Also, we can determine what the mainstream deems cool through the movies that are successful. What made the movie a blockbuster or just a bust? What determines cool?
While going through class on Wednesday, my mind just started going in circles. Through F John’s descriptions, I was concluding that the “cool” are those society doesn’t understand at first. They are the ones that are shadowy and dedicated to something we can’t grasp, whether it is the idea itself or the idea of being dedicated to it. So, is “cool” first rejected?
Then again, we all aspire to be “cool” at some point in time. We don’t want to be rejects. Think about school; how many movies and shows are made about the hierarchy of high school? Let’s see: Mean Girls (and I highly recommend watching the trailer for inflamed examples of High School classes), any series dealing with kids, High School Musical(s)…ok, let’s just say anything with a school and produced by Disney. Is cool simply fitting in with the crowd, doing what is accepted? And yet, all of these movies and shows seem to be telling us to be ourselves and accept others for who they are.
I think there is a very fine line between “cool” and “uncool” in terms of the mainstream. First of all, “cool” needs to be new, or at least different from what the mainstream is used to. It also needs to be a statement, something that will tell the world what and who you want to be. It needs to have a “power” over others, such as pulling a look off better than others, knowing more facts than everyone else, being stronger than everyone else, challenging and not caring about everyone else, being more involved than everyone else, being yourself more than everyone else…However, it is possible to meet all of these qualities and still be deemed “uncool”. To me, it seems that most parts of cool are decided in a fickle fashion; you never know what to expect.
Then comes the question that I still can’t answer or understand: is cool individualistic or social? All of F John’s examples seemed about those not of society. They were individual, but as this “coolness” caught on, it became a society or was integrated into society, commercially. I am still confused; is being cool in mainstream terms good or bad or just another type of cool? Hopefully this class will clarify that.


  1. When asking about whether or not cool is first rejected, we have to ask for just who is doing the rejecting. Is this rejection active or passive? And, just what is done about the rejection?

    Interesting idea...

  2. I believe that cool has a mutual relationship with society and the individual. In order for something to be cool one must find it worthy of emulation, however it also needs a majority to develop to something that is a lasting sort of cool. I also had trouble trying to do decide how cool worked, and that's the simple answer I came up with.

  3. Very interesting and insightful post. I think you have hit on the elusiveness of cool - it is fickle and unpredictable. It's hard to see what might not be considered cool in the end, and there is no true way to predict what will be picked up and what won't.

    Good post! Good use of URLs, though you need to space between paragraphs for readability.