“So, it turns out, many things in life are bullshit. In actual fact there is not damn thing to aspire to in this world unless we make it up for ourselves.
The cool kids, for the most part, are stupid, or just really adept and making their vintage clad, bright colour, same venues club hopping lifestyle appear grand.”
– Gugu Kweli Kheswa (Meditations on Cool Kids and New Age Cow Dung)
This was the first thing I read this morning, it made me smile and inspired me to write this piece. The idea for which had been in my mind for sometime but I was just too lazy to sit down and actually write. So, thank you Gugu :).
I don’t want to be cool, and at the same time, I really want to be cool. It’s quite the tense situation. But wait, what’s the definition of being cool? Just try and think about it for a second, what the hell does ‘cool’ even mean. We use the word so much it’s meaning has become dense and obscure. I’ll proffer a definition. ‘Cool’ in the context that I use it means ‘something that is awesome, appealing without trying too hard, something that has certain panache’.
Cool in its pure state is a quality that emanates from a state of being. Someone who is cool has their shit together in away that they just exude this compelling, charismatic vibe. Fake Cool is slapped on, like varnish on cheap furniture. It may shine, but don’t be fooled by the gloss.
We all want to be cool. As much as I hate it, I want be cool too. Everyone likes the cool guy. Everyone wants to be like him. Like everyone else, I want to look good, I want to command respect and I want to be admired. I want the jealous glares from the haters and the adoring stares from the damsels. I want the cool.
But really, I don’t want to be cool. You want to know why? Because ‘Cool’ has become fucking cliché. I mean, it’s all about the look now right? Give me the right clothes, the right accessories, and some Ray Bans. Hit up a party; pretend to have loads of fun. Quick, get the camera; take a ‘cool’ shot. Launch Photoshop; apply a black & white, sepia or blue green gradient filter. Slap cliché statement or corny ass quote in Helvetica (all lowercase letters)…aannnnd…we are done! WE ARE SO COOL!!!
I hate all things cliché.
But clichés are clichés because they are usually true. So yeah, some of these things are actually cool, the clothes are nice, great design, some photo shots are imaginative and all. But once every Tom, Dick, Harry, Jane, Mary and Lucy are into something, I want out. That’s just how I am.
Cool used to be a thing we associated with excellence, or at least an innate charismatic quality. But we all want to be cool, without the work so we have quickly degenerated to a state of being cool for cool’s sake. It’s a lifestyle right? Cool is a lifestyle.
*I hate anything with the slogan like…’it’s a lifestyle’. (Now when I say I hate, I don’t mean I hate hate, because well sometimes the statement may be true. It’s just that my ‘hate’ is a knee-jerk reaction to statements people throw around without thinking about what they mean)
With the help of Facebook, WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr, & Twitter, we can all now pretend to be cool. We can present a veneer of awesomeness, glitz and shine without the most important ingredient of the ‘Real Cool’ – ‘substance’.
Fame used to be a side effect of success. People knew you because you did some shit, you launched a business, you made great music, you contributed something of value to society, something so valuable a lot of people liked it, and by consequence liked you. However, somewhere along the line, fame=success. Today, you can launch careers by releasing a sex tape. You can be famous without having done diddlysquat.
I don’t want to be plastic. I don’t want to be cool if that means following the latest trends and copying everything I see on the damn screen (any screen – TV, computer, iPad, Blackberry any glowing rectangle). I want to be authentic. I want to be…*gasp*…real. I want to wear the clothes because I like them, because they are well designed, because the level of craftsmanship and detailing on the garments are impeccable not just because they are the hottest things around right now. I don’t mind being trendy, but I want to be real, My cool is more than skin deep. I want substance, I want intellect, I want conscience, I want soul. I want to think free thoughts, appreciate things and hold on to a set of values not dictated by media, corporations or governments.
I want to be real. I want to be me. I want to enjoy good design because it IS good design. I want to read tons of books, I want to sit down and think on them, ponder the finer points of life. I want to write…things that matter, things that inspire. I want to do real shit. I don’t want to be cooped up in the simulacra of academia. I want to get my hands dirty in the world out there. I want to tackle our problems. I want to learn what interests me, I want do whatever I do for the love…of it, of God, of people, of the world.
I just want to be real. I’m sick of the illusions, of the fantasy, of the posturing, of the games and pretense. I don’t want to be cool, I want to be authentic…I want to be real.