Playing Doctor

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Tuesday, June 7

Everything I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Junior High

So let’s talk a bit about what we all know about cool.
Cool is insightful and suggests wisdom without repeating half-assed truisms.
Scars, both emotional and dermal, are cool. Spielberg demonstrated this all too well in Jaws, one of his three cool movies, when Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw escalate a show of battle scars while the uncool Richard Dreyfuss looks on. The movie got it so right and made it so obvious, that scars lost their coolness for a while and thus the advent of Disco.

Coolness has to remain partially hidden; If too many people are in the know, it becomes uncool.

For example, last week I heard someone say, ‘This stapler has jumped the shark.’ By which she meant, this stapler has reached the point that it will never be as good as it once was. A cool concept, as evidenced by the ultra-cool Rachel and Todd. But it was about a stapler. I thought, ‘Jumping the shark has just jumped the shark.’
Cool can be catlike or doglike, but tends to be catlike.
While it’s uncool to be arrogant and elitist, coolness itself can be arrogant and elitist. Don’t ask me how that works, it just does. It forces itself underground and is always slightly transgressive. It’s like pornography in that respect.

A few years ago, porn started becoming non-transgressive. Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson became household names, pornstars had walk-ons in sitcoms, and the AVN Awards were covered by Entertainment Tonight. It did what it had to in order to remain transgressive.

Similarly, sometimes coolness will become violent to protect itself from domestication—think Rumblefish and the brokenhearted, heroin-addict Cassandra who says to Matt Dillon’s Rusty-James as she touches his blackened eye, ‘He only broke your arm? I wish he were that kind to me.’
It doesn’t care what you think, but sometimes will do things just to piss you off.
But this, to use popular parlance, is the dark side of cool. Anger can be cool, but remember: Anger works for only so long.
Cool can have flashes of passionate intensity among prolonged episodes of disaffected indifference.
Caring what is cool is so very uncool. Even deciding what is cool—being its arbiter elegantiarum—is not cool.

Being cool is a risk to your health, as smoking—unfortunately—always was, always is, and always will be cool. (As is heroin, but not cocaine—which can sometimes be hip, but never cool.)
Cool is funny and inventive.
Also unfortunately, giving up is cool, or maybe just recognizing your limitations is. Being a winner—or getting accolades for winning anyway—is uncool. This is because mumbling is cool, while calling attention to yourself is not. The important corollary is that while melancholy and loneliness are cool, self-pity and desolation are not.

Living your life, playing the hand you were dealt is cool; Cowardice and excuses are uncool.

Dying for something you believe is the epitome of cool, but a technique that must be used sparingly.

Tomorrow: Uncynical & Cool


Blogger Bewareoftheblog writes:

You're cool for saying we are cool. Cool.


Anonymous Anonymous writes:

Following your passions is cool until your late twenties at which point hanging on to your dreams becomes childish and uncool. Am I right? Also, there's nothing less cool than asking someone else if you are right about what's cool. Am I right or what?


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