Monday, April 27, 2009

Smart People are Cool Too.

Many times you’d think literacy wouldn’t be something that is described by the word cool. To be literate is to be competent in a particular subject. Normally people who are seen to be literate are considered nerds or dorks or something derogatory. However, the film Reservoir Dogs glorified literacy in a way that it could be understood. All the men that were seen in the movie were intelligent crooks. They were all criminals that had been around the block, knew what to expect, and were ideal candidates to be a part of the diamond heist. Even Mr. Orange, the cop, was literate in the attitude of being a crook. He had to practice and shape himself into that character, but he ultimately displayed that practice and the right mindset can make any undercover cop seem like a ruthless criminal. But where can we see cool literacy in places that aren’t glorified for their violence and bad behavior? The Discovery Channel!!!!

Mythbusters is one of my most favorite shows on television. What’s cooler than cracking all the hokey stories that can’t possibly be true? The kind of stories that when you hear them you have to say “No way!” or “I don’t believe that!” Well, Adam Savage and Jamie Heineman live their life doing just that. They exemplify cool literacy to the utmost extent. In order to do their job they must be trained in hundreds of aspects of science, whether it is constructing a lead balloon, throwing a penny off of the empire state building, or building a suction machine that can be used to scale walls they use physics, mechanics, and any other type of physical science to devise a failsafe plan. Although sometimes the plans don’t go quite right, and they end up resorting to methods far more barbaric to achieve the desired goal. However, at the end of the day there are not people more literate is a cooler way than Adam Savage and Jamie Heineman.

Another show that I enjoy, which involves cool literacy is The Boondocks. Although on the surface it appears to be a cartoon, when you begin to listen to the ideas and conversations that evolve throughout the show it is easy to realize that the show is truly a social satire commenting on many of the various stereotypes we place on societal groups. This is cool literacy because in order see the social commentary one must be aware of the ignorance of our society. Aaron McGruder, the developer of the show (and comic strip which the show is based upon) pokes fun at the “gangsta” stereotype in the African American culture. Generating characters such as Gangstalicious to demonstrate the ludicrous behavior and stupidity of rappers and rap culture. But he goes beyond that by bringing back Martin Luther King Jr. in one episode to truly demonstrate the stupidity that is scene in the black community.

All in all I think cool literacy may be my favorite type of cool because in order for it to work one must be educated. The subject is irrelevant. The mere fact that we have to deal with literate people is cause for celebration. More and more people feel as though literacy doesn’t matter. Why learn it because we’ll never use it. Well, I think literacy is the most important aspect of society, and it’s a crime that more people don’t think like I do.


  1. I love the Mythbusters! Really, I'm pretty happy with the Discovery Channel in general. I am totally with you, literate people are cool. I think of my physics professor. He doesn't just know physics, he can relate what we are learning to chemistry, biology, and other everyday things. The class isn't just physics, it's really a broad view of science with an emphasis on physics. I also find people who really desire to learn to be cool...those who are always asking questions and searching for the answer. One thing about cool literacy, is there a line between being literacy cool and just being nerdy or geeky?

  2. I don't think so, but I think I'm a geek and/or nerd so I am not really qualified to answer that question.

  3. Do you sort of feel aghast at people who haven't seen certain movies or heard certain music? For me this is sort of where cool literacy goes too far, but how can we protect ourselves from feeling this way?