Are you ready for a shocking truth? There are many, many young people, even college age, who don’t know who Kurt Cobain is.
They only know Madonna as a 50 year old. They know James Franco, but not James Dean.
We live in a time when tattoos aren’t just images of skulls and Celtic knots. They are also comic book characters and Star Wars themes. This is the ultimate Revenge of The Nerds.
With the advent of computers, technology and the success of Silicon Valley, Nerd Culture has become the new Cool. Or, more accurately, Anti-Cool. Of course, it’s a reflection of the zeitgeist and all that, but if Cool is dead (which I don’t for one second believe) it shouldn’t wither and fall and break a hip and forget who it was. It should go out slowly and burn ferociously like a dying planet.
I don’t actually know if that’s how planets go out because I’m not a nerd.
Is Cool Such A Relic That It’s In A Museum?
Recently the Smithsonian Institute had an exhibit of photographs called American Cool. There is a related site here that chronicles the development of Cool.
This site is really interesting. In the “Birth of Cool” section, it reads:
“Being cool was a response to the rapid changes of modernity: it was about maintaining a state of equipoise within swirling, dynamic social forces.
The legendary jazz saxophonist Lester Young disseminated the word and concept of cool into jazz culture in the early 1940s, and it quickly crossed over as a rebel masculine sensibility.
When Young said, “I’m cool,” he meant, first, that he was relaxed in the environment and, second, that he was keeping it together under social and economic pressure as well as the absurdity of life in a racist society.”
According to the creators of the exhibit, the subjects were selected using four criteria.
- They had to have an artistic vision and signature style
- They were perceived as a cultural rebel
- They had high profile recognition
- They have a recognized cultural legacy
In other words…
Cool does not follow along blindly. It questions, it envisions, it gets pissed off and creates something new.
This blog is dedicated to cool in all its forms and variations. It’s dedicated to style, music, art and creativity.
It is also dedicated to my vintage and handmade business, so let’s not forget about that. Until next time, stay cool, Boy (and Girl).
Who do you think is cool?
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