Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Common Cool

As I have been looking at cool in a new way, I have discovered that cool means different things to different people. As Donna said, cool is kind of like honor; it must be given to you by others. It is interesting that the mainstream is generally in charge of what is considered cool, but generally cool is associated with some form of detachment from society. I think that this is a result of people fantasizing about being someone else or living another life. When the mainstream gets bored of their routine, boring lives, they look at those who have stepped outside of the box and say that’s cool.

I believe this is why superheroes have become so popular lately, in addition to their nostalgic effects. People sitting behind a desk at their 9 to 5 turn on the news or open a paper to see a failing economy, war in the Middle East, and crime everywhere. I think that everyone wishes that they could do something to save the world. Out of this situation comes the popularity of Batman. Bruce Wayne, although extremely wealthy, falls into the mainstream, but when Batman suits up he is transformed. Batman is fights the corruption, crime, and civil unrest in Gotham city that many people wish they could bring to an end in our world. Batman becomes a perfect example of transcendent cool in The Dark Knight (2008). He always does what is right even when he is tempted to kill the Joker, and he is willing to sacrifice his own reputation in the end because that is what is best for the Gotham city.

Although cool is often defined, like beauty, by the eye of the beholder, there are certain experiences and ideals that all or the majority of people have in common that bring us to common idea of cool. Cool cannot be simply a matter of opinion, if so The Dark Knight could never have grossed $997,709,129 worldwide. The reality is that people are more alike than they are different. Although there may be some people that may not think Batman is cool, it is obvious that the overwhelming majority finds something appealing in a superhero that is tough enough to take on the worst villains, but never loses sight of his moral standards.


  1. It seems like cool is only a kind of escapism to you? Can cool ever be more than this?

  2. I think that escapism is what makes us value the things that we consider cool. The idea of living a different life is what draws us to superheroes, gangsters, or whatever else we deem to be cool.

  3. The thing about Batman is that he not only is a very normal billionaire by day (as normal as they get, anyway), but he is on the path of fighting crime due to a tragic event. From the ashes, he arose to forge his own destiny, regardless of his fear. But unlike many men motivated by fear and tragedy, he doesn't kill. He is the ideal law enforcer, striving only for justice and never personal glory.

    Good post!