Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Can I Do That? Why Yes. Yes, You Can

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If cool is based upon the idea of imitating those you revere then imitation must be the coolest of the forms of cool…? Well, I don’t really know, but I hope to have a better idea by the time I finish writing this entry. To me it always seemed that people who imitated others were people who couldn’t think for themselves, however as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that it is truly impossible to be original. With so many different people and so many different ideas you are bound to be thinking the same thought or idea as another person thought at some point throughout our existence. So, I guess imitation is a really cool form of cool. Imitation forces us to display our idea of cool in the midst of every other person, no matter what that person thinks of our imitation. We wear our values on our sleeves forcing others to see and accept us everyday no matter what they think.

The coolest form of pop culture to spawn from imitation is Rock ‘n Roll. Music is cool on many different levels. It is cool because it inspires creativity in those who listen to it. It serves as an outlet for people to express their feelings. But above all music is cool because it causes people to imitate it. Every band you’ve ever listened to has had influences whether it’s Queen, Bon Jovi, Lynyrd Skynyrd, or any other type of music you could contemplate. Consequently music is cyclical. One generation of music influences the next, and the trend continues to flow. An example of this is the band Coheed and Cambria. Many of their influences spawn from classic rock such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Police, and Iron Maiden. Although the band sounds altogether completely different from these influences they still have a base in this sort of music because it is what inspired them to make their mark in the music industry. To take that mark even further many of my friends in Lonoke were inspired to learn to play the guitar after they heard Coheed and Cambria’s “Welcome Home.” As you can see musical imitation is a cycle. Every generation throws in their little differences and in the end we get fantastic music.

Another example of Imitation in pop culture is reality television. To me, this is not nearly as cool as music, but it still deserves to be mentioned. The earliest form of reality television was The Real World. From there reality television has grown out of control as shows like Survivor, American Idol, The Bachelor, and many others worthy of mention have come to dominate the weeknight television lineups. These shows have become so popular that more people vote for the winner of American Idol than those who vote in the presidential election. It’s really hard for me to believe that all those shows had their metaphorical seed planted when The Real World aired May 21, 1992. Try as I might, though, I can not disregard these shows. Although they do not acquiesce to my liking I can respect the fact that the majority of Americans find them enthralling.

Things have been being imitated since the beginning of time. Many times it is due to a good idea, however sometimes this imitation is the cause of a reaction in each and every one of us when we find something undeniably, fantastically, awesome. Cool is cool for just that reason it makes us feel like we're awesome. Things and ideas will always be cool it's just a matter of how we feel and what we like. Our individuality is the source of these thoughts and inspires us to find meaning in life.


  1. Oh, awesome. You knew how to open the door to my heart with Coheed and Cambria.

    Good examples of the cyclical nature of cool, and therefore imitation. It's true that cultural tastes go in cycles, or build on precedent. Reality shows are a great example of the latter, but music has an interesting relationship with "cycles." Modern musicians almost always try to reach for something utterly authentic. For many, that means inventing sounds. For many others, that means reaching back to what they perceive as the roots of the art. Claudio Sanchez, when asked about the last Coheed album, said that they were reaching back to Iron Maiden. That was the band's attempt to tap into something that came before them - and went beyond them - to appeal to audiences old and new.

    Good entry!

  2. Great examples and analysis. I believe the truth is that there were more votes for AI than for the president -- but since you can vote as many times as your redial permits, there were undoubtedly fewer voters than those millions might imply.

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  4. So when I was reading about rock and how it inspires imitation I seriously thought, "The others are on Rock Band, why isn't Queen?" As far as imitation goes, this game is it, but it often makes me wonder about how far imitation can go.

    Sure imitation is flattery, but what happens when the imitation is more loved or known than the original? I say this after just getting done talking to a friend who didn't know The Who beyond CSI and Rock Band, just for context.

  5. It happens. I didn't know who they were, but I bought one of their CDs after hearing it on rock band.I've actually boughten a lot of CDs after hearing music on rock band. I did know about coheed and cambria before rock band, however I'm sure that's not the case for most people.

    Also Queen should be on rock band. I would probably explode and die if I could play their songs on there.