The Apocalypzian Hall of Cool: First Inductees
Tuesday/September/29 2009 Filed in: Philosophy / World View
What is It?
In the 1500's, Italians called it sprezzatura, an expression of self-confidence, disdain and detachment. The Mona Lisa -- famous for her enigmatic smile and relaxed posture -- is thought by many to be the first and most famous artistic expression of it.
William Shakespeare wrote about it when describing the dispassionate demeanors of Hamlet and Othello.
In the 20th Century, it may have been manifest in an unflappable yet laid-back refusal to be sucked into the grinding gears of the Industrial Revolution.
More than just an adjective, it taps into something deep and richly textured. It is a mood, a shared cultural perspective, a zeitgeist that has come to mean everything, nothing and yet still something all at the same time.
We're talking about Cool.
But it's been Missing-In-Action for awhile. AWOL.
Shock and Awe
The 21st Century began with a hellish explosion followed by a burning shower of shock and awe that blazed for nearly a decade. As if that wasn't bad enough, we watched, helplessly, as an overheated economy reached flashover and trillions of dollars went up in smoke. Even the planet itself seemed, for some, to be headed for a global meltdown.
But Cool is on the rebound.
We're not so easily fooled by the con-men pitching the latest get-rich-instantly scheme or fearmongers imagining WMD's behind every bush. We're not home-free yet but we seem to be traveling on a better path.
So as we hopefully move away from the panic-button dystopia of the last ten years, let's take a little time to remember some of the icons of timeless cool. They may have much to teach us.
Humphrey Bogart Arguably Invented Modern Cool
Steve McQueen Wrote the Ultimate Book of Cool
Nat King Cole Timeless and Unforgettable
Lauren Bacall Yes, We Know How to Whistle...
Neil Armstrong Moonwalker
Who's your candidate for Apocalypzian Cool?