If that is “cool”, then what is “way cool”?

OK, sorry … two Russell posts in a row … but he has me thinking again.

He asked a simple question — what is "cool? — and there are heaps of responses and comments. And many of the comments indicate the challenge of defining something that is transitory. What is cool today, afterall, is likely to be uninteresting tomorrow (or at least for a few years until it becomes retro).

But marketers the world over are interested in what is cool. It the next best thing to being authentic. But at the same time, it is sexier than being authentic, because there is a sense of anguish, of existential decay about "cool" that "authentic" simply avoids. All sounding a bit esoteric?

It reminds me of studying philosophy and also theatre. Where the two intersect is in the concept of "presence" — the point for the actor where personal identity and performance identity fuse to create something that is far more powerful than 1+1. Even more confusing? Not really … you know it when you see it — think back on a performance of your favourite band or actor and there will be a turning point in your appreciation that corresponds with a moment of "presence". This is what gives you goosebumps. It is the moment that you clap or cheer unexpectedly. It is the moment that is not just about the message, the messenger or the audience, but about all three. THAT is what it means to be authentic. Being COOL is about telling the story about how YOU were there at that point and experienced it.

Hmm … makes me think that COOL is about story and AUTHENTIC is about being. I’d love to know what Johnnie Moore thinks of this!?


2 thoughts on “If that is “cool”, then what is “way cool”?

  1. Servant, great post. I’m no Johnnie Moore, but I think you are on target!
    I’ve been asked lately how my blog gets people to comment they way they do. (I have a modest number of comments so I’m not talking about quantity). And I don’t know the answer.
    “the point for the actor where personal identity and performance identity fuse to create something that is far more powerful than 1+1” Your words here really get my mind racing.
    I know that my approach has been the use of story. On a good day I tell it in my voice and not that of expert anything.
    I wonder in front of my readers.
    That’s part of it.
    Just thinking out loud in this comment. Thank you for your public reflection that sends me thinking while a pour a bowl of Wheaties.

  2. Hi Servant! Well I guess I am free of Michael’s qualification in that I appear to be at least some kind of Johnnie Moore.
    I too liked your example of presence and authenticity. We know it when we feel it.
    Being “cool” has never seemed that interesting to me. Like you, I think it is more about having a good story to tell. I can think of some events where I’ve been thinking “this would make a good story to tell people” – and that is usually a clue that it’s not really living up to expectations. If I’m off fantasising about telling a story, them I’m not really present at all.
    That spine tingling feeling, for me, is about that sense of being fully present to something moving. And not thinking about who might be impressed by it.

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