Back in the 1970’s, as any university student should, I spent a fair amount of time and concealed effort pondering what was cool. Part of it (I readily admit now) was that the young ladies seemed smitten by cool stuff. So one had a pretty strong incentive to figure out what being cool was all about.
So what was it all about? Looking back, I can discern a few elements. First was the rejecting part. To be cool, one had to be free (and show that you were free) of unwanted adult influences. To own your own space. This was worth fighting about, or at least making a visual demonstration about (like growing long hair, beards and wearing fairly grungy clothes). Second, was the embracing part. To be cool, one had to embrace doing new stuff (rather than things that were done for you). So it was cool to make music rather than just buy and listen to it. It was cool to make bread. To make pottery. To make love? (well … you get a sense for the argument) And third, to be cool you lived in and supported a community of hipsters who shared your obvious coolness. A certain amount of loyalty was required to your group (we call them “tribes” these days). And it was very cool to live in communal space that you could shape as a group (giving full rein to rejecting yucky outside influences and doing cool stuff together).
To sum up, you rejected yucky adult stuff, embraced doing authentic stuff and showed loyalty to your friends. And today, as I read about Nashville’s new hipster food culture I could see all three of these traits in action. Very cool.
So, errr … was I cool? Stay tuned. I will write about that anon. Anon? Get with it! Anon is not a cool word, dude.