It’s so much harder to be cool these days. I don’t chalk it up to me being in my thirties, because I’m not talking about the kind of cool that happens from being ‘with it’ and knowing what’s popular these days. If I was able to have an extended conversation with a 20 year old about dubstep or I-phone apps, for instance, I would feel sorry for myself for having wasted my time knowing about these things. I only care about being able to consider myself cool, and I’m not measuring it by my tastes in things or my sense of aesthetics, which I feel to be just perfect (I never feel uncool, for instance, for owning a bunch of action comedies – instead I feel like I’ve earned the right to chuckle at a Bruce Willis quip, considering all the hours I’ve spent enraptured with huge downer films like Melancholia or Badlands). What type of coolness concerns me is a cool mindset, and being able to stand behind my actions.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook has ruined my coolness. Facebook approval (hyperlink) is the same kind of thing for me as when the internet didn’t exist and I’d sometimes seek face-to-face approval by saying “Oh, I know!” about things I didn’t agree with. I can remember living in Olympia, where there was a really prescribed set of cool standards (only highwater pants, only dyed black hair (no purple or green etc because that’s trying too hard), no favorite Grateful Dead songs (only favorite Chuck Berry classics or the deep cuts from the Nuggets Psychedelic Era box set, early Rolling Stones, The Vaselines – these are a few examples of the approved regimen when I lived there). Sometimes I’d find myself joining in a conversation about the new arrival trying too hard to get friendly with everyone, and I’d inwardly be thinking “Aw, she reminds me of me last year. Not cool, Robin.”
Similarly, I feel kind of ashamed of myself when I have recently posted a picture of myself on Facebook and check my Facebook page over three times that day. I admire people I know who are not on Facebook, but if I canceled my FB account, I would not know what was going on with several of my family members or old friends I’ve been curious about before I was on social networking sites. I feel seriously and profoundly dull and bored when I go on Facebook, though. When I post videos of a live Thin Lizzy performance or an old Pretenders song, I think, “Why am I not just listening to the record right now?”
my idea of cool, a pictorial
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