Many years ago, cool was rare. It was hard to find interesting things. You had to read lots of magazines, or find cool friends to hang out with who would show you their cool ways. Cool was cool in part becomes most things were uncool.
But the technology of modern times has made cool is easy. Twitter is an endless stream of things people find cool. So are some of the most popular blogs like kottke.org and BoingBoing. We post on Facebook, we email, we tweet, all with excitement, as if it’s still a surprise to be able to find something cool. “Look at this cool video of dancing robots” or “here’s a cool article on Ninjas”. Cool has become a commodity.
I have this saying I think about sometimes – “Cool is a low bar”.
I’m not sure what it means.
I don’t think cool is bad. I like cool. Cool things are fun. Sometimes cool is provocative and inspiring, or earns a smile from a sad face.
But does something cool lead to anything else?
Would we say Buddha was cool? Or Martin Luther King? Are my favorite people and things in the world my favorites primarily because of their coolness? Would I marry a woman primarily because of how cool she was? What about the friend who understands me in the middle of the night, when I’m freaked out about an old fear – is his coolness, or lack their of, meaningful in any way?
There are other words, and other feelings, I think I’d assign to all of these people. Words and feelings that don’t translate as well on the web as cool things do.
If twitter and blogs are, in part, tools for cool. What are the tools for finding things we need, but would never be called cool?