Monday, January 26, 2009

Discovering my thoughts on cool

What is cool? I have never really tried to truly define and explain cool, but after hearing F. John's explanation my mind began to wander about my thoughts on cool.  I can see a spectrum of cool being very plausible, but I believe that every person has his own developed views about cool.  F John gave us his spectrum of dissident to transcendent cool.  I understand his reasoning and examples, but this does not exactly match my thoughts on cool as a whole.  Yes, James Dean is dissident cool as much as Bruce Lee is transcendent cool for me, but what about my mom or even my two and a half-year-old nephew? My mom's ideas of cool are fairly similar to my own, but what is to be said for the fact that my nephew is sure his Pops is the coolest person he knows?  It seems there is an age where an individual begins to develop the idea of cool with which most people would agree, but when is it?  When does a person have the knowledge of culture enough to say what is or isn't cool?  When do we lose the capacity to maintain that judgment? 

Cool is just that to me, a judgment.  A nicer way of saying this is that cool is subjective.  Though many people will have similar definitions, each person will vary his own thoughts depending on his age, gender, social class, ethnicity, and general upbringing.  So for me, I have a liking of classic movies, it comes from watching them with my siblings and parents when I was much younger.  One of my favorite actresses from classic movies is Katherine Hepburn, and she definitely qualifies as cool to me.  Her defiant nature as a woman in Hollywood led to a trend in changes in women's wardrobe and her quick wit was bold to say the least. But would every person think of Hepburn as cool? It is doubtful, but maybe this semester will bring more cool individuals to my attention, such as those who have begun to fall out of the world of cool and need only to be rediscovered.  The world of cool is made of only opinions, there is no easy definition or set of individuals and I am sure it will never be that easy.


  1. Is cool really a judgment made by the individual or does there have to be a consensus of some kind within at least part of society?

  2. Ah, Katherine Hepburn. Interesting choice. I'm not sure that I would necessarily consider her cool, because Hepburn seems like she would certainly be beyond that. But therein lies the problem - when women are cool, are they really cool or do they fall under some other sort of "classification"?

    Don't be afraid to use more links in the future!

  3. I love Katherine Hepburn! I think she is such a classy woman, and she is very cool in my opinion. But I also agree with what Whit said. Katherine Hepburn is SO classy, that I think the term "cool" doesn't exactly fit her. But what word does?

  4. I like how you explored the idea of cool changing with age. This is very true. You asked when our idea of cool changes to be similar to those around us, and I wonder if the transformation never occures. What I mean is that your nephew probably views things as cool just like every other person his age...We use to think that toys were so cool, but now, at our age, cool seems to be more ideals than items as I look through our collages of cool...