Sunday, March 18, 2012

What Is Cool?

After work today, we went to Louisville and stopped at two of my favorite places to browse for music.  First was Half Price Books where I flipped through the records for a while before finding a little treasure trove of cassettes - can you believe that??  I don't actually own a cassette player anymore, but I'm searching for two things in particular that were only released on cassette, so I browsed their selection anyway.  (I guess if I ever get my hands on these two things, I'll have to find a cassette player somewhere!) My chances of actually finding either of them in a used book store in Kentucky are slim to none, but that doesn't stop me from checking.  Imagine how excited I'd be if I actually found one of them!!  Of course, I didn't.  In fact, I didn't find anything there which is highly unusual.

So then we went to my favorite part of Louisville and stopped at Electric Ladyland.  I love it there but I can only take it in small doses because it's a head shop at it's core and the incense is kind of overwhelming.  Anyway, after perusing their impressive but fruitless cassette selection, I browsed the records and found Huey Lewis and the News' Sports on vinyl for $5.99.  I was 5 years old when that record came out (no need to do the math...moving on...) so it's just part of my soundtrack.  And it's an awesome part. Just straight up 80's pop music goodness to it's core! 

I mean, even Patrick Bateman (in American Psycho) had this to say about it: "Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He's been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor."

Anyway, some total douchbag (who had just acted like a jerk while arguing with the girl working there about the price of a bong, incidentally) made a snide comment about the coolness of the record I was waiting to pay for.  What makes this funny is that I told my husband that I was going to lose all my cool points for buying that record but I love it and I was getting it anyway.  Clearly, I was correct in that assessment.

So what makes something cool?  Popularity?  Sadly, I think that is a lot of it in today's society.  If something is massively popular, it is somehow deemed cool even if it is fucking terrible and largely without merit.  Of course the hipsters would probably say the exact opposite - the less popular something is, the cooler it is.  But I think to them something being cool in the first place ultimately makes it uncool...or something like that.  Talent obviously has little to do with it because there are a lot of things that a lot of people apparently think are cool that involve no talent whatsoever...except perhaps a talent for packaging and bullshit.

Honestly though, the important thing to remember about coolness is that it doesn't matter.  Not one little bit.  If you find something you love, something that speaks to you, then that's all you need.  That's enough, perceived coolness be damned.

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