The Mad Poller What Polls at Midnight (maeincarnate) wrote,
The Mad Poller What Polls at Midnight

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Counterculture Becomes Mainstream

While I will eat up most of the crap that MTV puts before me, I failed to partake in the recent John Kerry appearance. Some may dismiss this as my usual partisan rhetoric, but I think this is bigger than politics. This is about cool.

The other day, HM admitted to me that she feels uncool, as she is rarely aware of the next new thing in music before it is available at Best Buy. A standard position for the cool: that which is cool is inaccessible to the mainstream, and once it becomes accessible, it is no longer the property of a certain hip elite, but of anyone with $11.99. This sort of cool litmus was rampant in the early 90's with the birth of the "sellout". Pearl Jam was cool before they sold out, man. I bet you never even heard of Soundgarden before Superunknown.

We are witnessing a trend that has never occurred in human history: the young generation, on some level, thinks their parents generation is cool. The "cool" of Generation X, Y, etc. find something common, admirable, and what's most unique, cool, in the way their Baby Boomer parents behaved (or at least are historicized to have behaved) in the late 60's. Protesting, hating the President, going to rallies, all of the things Hippies ever did has somehow been elevated to a level of unstainable cool, that the the coolness of the Hippie has outweighed the standard truth that anything one's parents ever did is lame.

In most other cases, to continue with the example of music stated above, coolness is stripped when the public deems it cool. Cool clothes become unfashionable when featured on mainstream magazines. Cool words become uncool when they are used on television. Bands become uncool when their video makes it onto TRL. The cool shun such things to create a new cool, leaving the lame to dwell in a timeless five-minutes-ago.

MTV has launched 20 Million Loud, a campaign that works on the premise that had 20 million more young people had voted in 2000 (assuming they all voted the way MTV says they should), that we'd have a different president right now. John Kerry now has a 1/2 hour special on MTV to show that he is "down" with the young people and speaks for them.

This brings us to a certain unalienable truth. MTV, the self-generated definer of cool is, in fact, the killer of cool. Jerry Springer was a cool underground college irony phenom until he appeared on Spring Break. The cool abandoned him as a sellout soon thereafter. Now, John Kerry, the embodiment of the Anti-Bush cool, is on MTV volleying softballs with Gideon Yago. The counterculture, ladies and gentlemen, is on MTV.

Socratically speaking, then:

Anti-Bushism is on MTV.
That which is on MTV is uncool.
Anti-Bushism is uncool.

The establishment has a new face. Fuck the Man.

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