Friday, January 08, 2010

881. Uncool

I've been meaning to share a bunch of links that caught my eye. Here's one, from November:

The Death of Uncool

"There are so many cultural trends today that the distinction between cool and uncool doesn’t matter anymore, says Brian Eno. We’re all hipsters now."

It really is true. The world is now like my very unusual high school, where there were a few of every kind of stereotype (Goth, jock, nerd, etc.), but no critical mass of any particular one. So there weren't "in" or "out" crowds, because no one faction could claim to be bigger and better than another. (I loved high school; the real world came as a shock.)

One of my rabbis often says that Judaism is counter-cultural. We rest one day of the week; most people never stop moving. We concentrate on repairing the world; far too many others seem bent on destroying it. But, as Brian Eno wrote, majority cultural opinions are splitting into smaller ones with different points of view—and the core ideas of Judaism seem to be much cooler these days as a result. The concept of Shabbat is less unfamiliar, for example, with other names ("staycations"). Everyone is now "green" and at least pretends to care about global warming. It's a start. In a universe of subgroups, it's harder to convince the masses that one opinion is better or cooler than another—and there's more space, in a world without a mainstream, for the formerly uncool to thrive and grow.

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