You’re cool by what you don’t know

Aloofity (formerly, and less-pleasingly known as aloofness) is cool. It’s the definition of cool. “I am totally satisfied with what I’ve got going on, so I barely noticed what everyone else has been all excited about.” Who’s cooler – the guy that obsessively and obediently bought every Top 40 single of the past buncha years or the guy that knows what he likes and so he leaves just that one orange-y lamp on while he sips his wine listening to his vinyl of Sonny Clark?

But then, that’s not aloofity. Not exactly. It’s aloofity concerning the things that the rest of the world is being told to think about, but that kind of coolness demonstrates an awareness of something. I mean, the cool guy isn’t just ignoring the world for the sake of ignoring it. He’s ignoring the world so he can busy engaging with the things he loves. If he was just ignoring the world for the sake of it, he would be very uncool. If that were the case, he would be allowing the world to influence him in a way that is at least as deep as the fools who blindly obey.

Specialized knowledge seems to mark coolness. American Idol and Top 40 do not encourage specialized knowledge. They know that if you knew what you liked you would stop being spoon-fed by them and you’d spend your money elsewhere. Being cool is knowing what is good in the world and leaving the rest, not believing every stinking ad that crosses your eyes and ears. It’s being in the world but not of it.

Cool people peel off from the world’s tripe, but still manage to engage with the people of this world. That is, they hate the music and have never heard of the TV show you’re talking about, but they’ll talk to you. If there’s anything in you that isn’t defined by the shit you let Lady Gaga and Modern Family tell you about yourself, cool people will probably talk to you. But if you just spout out lines from your dumb shows and hum your inane pop songs, you are not interesting and will be ignored by interesting people.

Checking Twitter and Facebook constantly can just be an expression of the emptiness that pop media creates in you. They don’t feed you anything good. They sustain you on a non-stop sugar diet. Of course you’re going to feel dried out and exhausted socially if you laugh every time some gorgeous person on TV says, “Really” all loud and exasperated. Of course you’ll be tired if you argue with the online article about who wore it best. Slinking into your position as one of the mass of fools, you want to feel important so you hope and pray for a little red globe at the top of your Facebook.

Now, I’m not blaming Facebook or American Idol for ruining your life. I blame you. You went where the party had already started instead of starting your own. Instead of discovering yourself, or even building your self (<–intentionally two words), you shrugged and let someone else do it. Like Homer’s stupid attempt at running Springfield’s garbage service, “Can’t someone else do it?” And you let them tell you what sounded good, what looked right, what feels good. They never met you – how can they know?! I’ll tell you how they know. They know what works for you because they know the kind of person that falls for their traps. “The kind of person that buys this album,” they say, “is the same kind of person that will fall for this scam.”

This goes back to something I have harped on again and again. Who are you?

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