February 20, 2014 by Welcome to the Jungle
What is “Cool”?
by Rob H.
The term “Cool” is a word that society as a whole is enamoured with. But what does it actually mean? According to Google, “Cool” is “Fashionably attractive or impressive”. However, using the term “Cool” in this context leads to the word being a matter of perception, as what is cool to one person may not be to the next. Personally, I perceive the word as being something stylish and chic, such as a nice suit or a fast car, or something extreme and exhilarating, like skydiving.
Cool is often used to describe something that is hip and popular. However, popular trends are in a constant state of change, and new trends appear on a yearly or even weekly basis. Due to this, the definition of what is cool is constantly changing for people. What is cool one week may not be the next week, such as a hairstyle or a style of jeans. The words definition changes on a weekly basis.
The media defiantly sways the idea of what people view cool is. Often, the media will portray cool as not caring about anything or cool is portrayed as a personal vice. The not caring about anything perception of cool is a frequent portrayal of cool. In one “Calvin and Hobbes” comic strip, Calvin is leaning against a tree, arms crossed, and wearing sunglasses. Hobbes asks him what he is doing to which he responds “Being cool”. The portrayal of cool as a vice is also a popular one. Take the television characters Don Draper and Sterling Archer. Both are borderline alcoholics, adulterers, and smokers. However, both are also considered very cool in popular opinion.
What I perceive cool to be generally has something stylish or extreme related to it. I think that fancy suits are really cool, and that sports cars, like a Porsche or Maserati are cool as well. I also think action sports like snowboarding and base jumping are cool, and this perception no doubt fostered my love of snowboarding.
Overall, cool is a vague concept. And that is exactly what it is: a concept. No one can definitively say what is cool or not
. With opinions and popular trends constantly changing, the term cool is in constant state of change as well. The word’s meaning differs from person to person, and therefore the term cool becomes more of a personal notion than a definitive statement.