Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cool Is

Cool is indefinable. Cool is completely subjective, therefore giving it much room to transform and evolve. Everyone has a different idea of cool because they have different points of view, different interests, and different experiences. All these differences among us ultimately lead to many kinds of cool. It’s amazing how when we see something we enjoy or something we think is worthy of imitation we immediately think “wow, I really wish I could do that.” So, what is cool?

Cool to me are video games. Yes, I’m a nerd. I love video games. Not all games to me are cool, but I can give most of them a fighting chance. My favorite two games would have to be the Rock Band series and Halo 3. These games are especially cool to me because by the wonderful invention of internet, games have become competitive. It’s no longer about having fun, but more about who has the most skill. Video games to me are a true release. When I’m playing a game there is nothing to do but play the game, think about the game, and become the game. The stress of the world is gone when I begin playing because I can give that game my complete attention. Now, don’t judge me because I spend my free time playing video games. It is merely a hobby that I enjoy. The reason why I’m particularly drawn to the competitive side of gaming is because I was diagnosed with a heart condition when I was 12. Growing up with this heart condition I was not allowed to play sports. Consequently all the guy vs. guy rivalry, “I’m better than you are” type of thing was eliminated from my life. So, what could I do? I found my competitive side playing video games, always attempting to be the best. Whether it was football, racing, baseball, fighting, or even more recent games such as Guitar Hero, I wanted to win. Video games hold more than just a nerdy type of cool to me.

Video games also encompass a nostalgic sort of cool. Memories of sitting in the living room with my dad at the age of 4 watching him play Super Mario World asking him “when is it my turn, dad?” More importantly though the day when he finally taught me how to play. I remember him taking my hands and putting the controller there telling me how the different buttons on the control allowed Mario to do different things, slowly leading me through the George Foreman’s K.O. Boxing game, and showing me how to shoot monsters in RoboCop. Games hold a deeper meaning for me than for most people. They give me a form of stress relief in their competition, as well as their holding a deeper meaning to my past. I couldn’t imagine myself without having some sort of videogame background. I would be incomplete.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The comedic medical series, Scrubs is one of the few television sitcoms I can enjoy. Anymore it seems as though sitcoms are out to portray reality to viewers who are part of that very same reality. What enjoyment can be achieved through watching the same drama that you experience day in and day out? Specific examples of television that I can’t stand to watch are The Real World, The Hills, Survivor, and all other examples of television that are out to pit people against each other. I despise these shows because I get to see the worst in people everyday. The depressing dog eat dog reality of our world. Competition is rampant among the world’s competitors, and the last thing I want to do when I watch television is see that type of behavior glorified. Thankfully, people like John Dorian and Chris Turk, from Scrubs, can re-instill my previous faith in the world.

John Dorian (or J.D.) displays a quirky sort of nerdy, cult cool. His can-do attitude and vigilant persistence develop a character to be respected, as well as revered. He deals with the same problems any other person faces but the manner in which his character responds to the situation is that of an innocent child. His naivety lends him the quirkiness that incorporates his specific type of cool. Chris Turk, plays Dorian’s nerdy counterpart. Chris Turk is special to the pair because he is the typical sort of “jock” cool. However, he is different from most jocks in that he would never abandon his buddy, J.D. He tries his hardest to keep J.D. feeling as though he is part of the crowd even though his dorky, awkwardness keeps him from completely relating to Turk’s jock-like, surgical buddies. Although separately the doctors are special in their own way, it is when they are brought together that you can truly appreciate the pair.

Turk and J.D., to me, are significant because they display more than just one type of cool. Sure, they both have their nerdy/jock-like personalities, but deep down their cool is bound within their friendship. I honestly can’t find a descriptive word to fit the relationship the two friends have with each other, but I think the most suitable term would be committed cool. Their support and honesty with each other is a characteristic strong enough to spawn jealousy in those who do not have this type of bond with a significant friend. Every time I watch the show and see the bond between J.D. and Turk I am reminded of the goodness the world has to offer. Scrubs helps me feel better about myself, as well as those around me. Many things in this world display goodness. However, Turk and J.D.’s friendship is a priceless type of awesome one can only hope to find in his or her lifetime.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Week 1, Blog 1: The Idea of Cool

This week in class we discussed different types of cool. The types of cool we discussed ranged a spectrum of diversity. Beginning with the slave's type of necessary cool and spanning all the way to modern-day musical influences on cool; such as glam metal and grunge rock. More importantly, though, we discovered themes of cool. Each specific type of cool had a different background leading to a different importance. Every type of cool ever seen has been cool because it stood for a cause. Whether the cause was the hippies “everything is cool” attitude or the punks “damn the establishment” ideals, each attitude came from a conviction that people had in common. Consequently, people were relating to these different types of cool helping them to find their niche. All types of cool have had a significant influence on society and modern culture.

By introducing different types of cool we have also introduced different types of attitudes in society. The slaves depicted the art of ironic detachment. By making their unfortunate societal position seem as though it was insignificant they were able to focus on the brighter side of life. This type of attitude can still be seen today by many unsatisfied students at school. They display the same type of disregard for their authority, although for a far different reason than the slaves, to seem as though they are unaffected by something that is only trying to help them. Another attitude that has introduced itself into society is the passionate attitude that comes from the transcendent type of cool. An example of the transcendent type of cool that we can see in society is the popular television series, House. Gregory House, the star of the medical drama, parallels the transcendent type of cool because he is always willing to push boundaries in order to solve a case. In this particular episode he defies the court, lawyers, and even a patient's personal doctor in order to figure out the patient's illness. By doing so he effectually solves the patients paralysis, as well as his muscle-deteriorating disease. He, because of his passion to solve medical problems, was able to go beyond the personal doctor’s scope of intelligence to give his patient the life he deserved. Cool deserves to be defined and studied carefully in order to better understand its affects on the world.

The course makes me think about the origins of cool. What is it that makes something cool? In my opinion, cool is a form of respect that we pay to something that seems worthy of emulation. Consequently, cool becomes a generality among society, and as cool becomes more and more generalized we begin to lose the respect that we once held for the idea that made it seem worthy of mimicry. Whatever the purpose of cool, I hope to find it’s true meaning by the end of this semester.