Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cool Through My Eyes

What is cool? Many people think that very differently about being cool, what is cool, who is cool, or even what makes up that certain factor that denotes cool. I'm sure that if you were to survey ten people to tell you something that was cool you would get at least five different answers. They would probably be from Glam Rock to Madonna and many in between.

Guitar Hero II
Invader Zim
Halo 3
Chuck Norris
Star Wars

Many people see cool as the kind of person that goes against society, the rebel without a cause, someone like the legendary James Dean.

Some people say that James Dean is the epitome of cool. He lived his life how he wanted to, he was famous, he was becoming a big star, and he was a bad ass. One of my favorite quotes comes from him. He said,

Dream as if you will live forever,
Live as if you will die today.

The style in which he lived his live is cool. He would have been a cool person to hang out with, and he definitely did many cool things, but in total I would not think that personifies cool.

So what do I think is cool? That's a hard question because usually what I think of as cool, most people would think of as being nerdy, but I believe F-John said that nerdy can be cool.


I like transcendent cool. I think that the coolest is when someone can build, make, create, modify, or just do awesome things because they have spent a great amount of time practicing and doing what they do no matter how nerdy it might be. In my book, some of the coolest people are the people that can make amazing 3d computer art, the people that can play some video game outrageously well, anyone that goes to the Burning Man festival, and personally anyone that can build or create anything is cool.

This is Bre Pettis. He does video Podcasts about the things that he makes. He creates many things and is very cool. Anyone that can create something from a DIY mp3 player to zombie makeup to a bicycle out of spare parts has something that appeals to me. I don't know if it is my nerdy side or my creative side, but ether side it is it is cool.

Monday, January 26, 2009

New Technology, it is New and it is Cool

In my last post I said that when motion pictures debuted, they were a smashing hit. Instant cool. It was an idea that hit the ground running and is still running as fast as it can go, and what more did the people expect. The short films produced at the time were like magic. Being able to watch motion and not being there, quite honestly I wish i could have been there. Even if I was not there during that historic period of time, I was there when video exploded onto the Internet, and to me that was almost just as big of a feat. To believe that video can be watched from anywhere that has Internet at any time that I want to... wow this is truly amazing.

I know that the invention of streaming video on the web is not the same as inventing video. Sure this innovation was not as spectacular as the invention of motion picture but it was still very cool. It is the same kind of excitement and boom that the film industry had at the beginning. People could not get enough to get the chance to post a video to get their voices heard and to get their faces onto the screen (even if this one was not all that big at times). Thousands of videos hit the web displaying all types of cool and many others that were not as cool. Quite quickly many people became stars in their own rights on sites such as YouTube, MetaCafe, and many others. Not only this, but people can post a video of themselves commenting on the video that they are watching.

The similarities between the earliest films and the start of popular Internet videos and even the sometimes disturbing viral videos. The first popular videos of the start of the film era were short and had many different subjects, it was not until later when films began to get longer. The first short films such as Edison's "Fred Ott's Sneeze" are very short and catch attention. Many clips can be seen on Internet sites that are very short and comedic like Edison's, and there are even modern day magicians like Méliès. I feel that comedy can be expressed in a shorter time span than any other emotion in film. Although short films can be funny and full of emotion, I would never give up the feature length films as far as an enjoyment and fulfillment, but if you want a quick laugh you can always watch the short classify "Internet Nickelodeons" of: Hey Marine!, Star Wars Kid, Afro Ninja, or my personal favorite! Either way, the fad of Internet video might become uncool eventually, but I feel that film will always be cool.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Beginnings of Cool, Film, and the Merging of the Two

This week, we spoke of the origination of coolness. With so many people today striving to be thought of as cool and even so many other people going against the norm that they feel cool is something completely different. So what is cool, and where did it come from? According to F-John, the concept of cool came from the slavery era. Being cool for a slave was to be able to take whatever was thrown at him and still be able to keep his composure. These actions are considered a type of ironic detachment, which has been a key concept of being cool until the present. Cool kept evolving, got picked up by white people, and lead the way for the establishment for different scenes to come along and let people escape from reality. These escapes have led to many different ways that objects in our society can be seen as cool. There are many types of cool that have come to the fore front. Dissident cool (which is associated with people such as James Dean, is about rebellion, irony, and anti-establishment), transcendent cool (associated with impassioned and constructive people), nostalgia cool, geek cool, and the list can go on. Anything that a person sees as cool can be in one or many of these categories. But is there a point where something cool gets to over played and no longer is cool? I answer this question with a resounding yes. Many people know something that they thought of as cool, but when many people start doing it, the coolness just seems to fade away and loose every bit of cool it ever had. Most of the time, this seems to happen when a "cool" idea becomes corporate. It is my feeling that there can be a circular pattern in coolness. When something is obscure it is not cool, but then it gets a small following and poof cool, but then it starts getting too many people liking it and then it is just some played out fad. Later, those things make a rebirth in society and have a sort of nostalgia cool behind them. Cool can be complicated.

We also learned some of the early history of film. The earliest of films were simply made and just a few seconds long. Pioneers such as Edison, the Lumière brothers, and a magician Georges Méliès created the film industry, and it grew very large very fast. Companies started putting out movies at a very fast and almost industrial pace. The film industry learned new techniques very quickly. Many techniques that we take for granted were huge break through when they were thought of. Stop motion, double exposure, close up shots, point of view shots, and many more that we see in every movie that is made now.

So, when the movies came out they were almost automatically cool and very popular. This is usually what happens when something debuts. Most of the time people will find a new advancement very cool and exciting, but then people have time to make there true opinion of the new object. Then it is just a waiting game. Luckily people love the movies and continue to find them cool. So was the creation of the motion picture and the start of the film industry cool? I would definitely say yes.