Monday, June 14, 2010

The Birth (and Death) of the Cool

I was originally attracted to the title, The Birth (and Death) of the Cool, because the Miles Davis recording, "The Birth of the Cool", is truly one of my top ten favorite music recordings of all time. I believe that all great art transcends time and remains fresh and relevant irrespective of when it was made. That being said, the subject matter of this book traces the invention and subsequent iterations of what it has meant to be considered cool throughout the decades from a semi-sociological point of view. It examines the concept's origins and subsequent co-opting by marketing departments and advertising agencies who harnessed, and continue to harness, it's societal cache in the hopes of selling products to highly segmented and targeted consumers. Believe it or not, but there was once a time when being considered cool or hip was all in one's attitude. It wasn't until much later that coolness was artificially defined based upon on the objects one was surrounded by or the clothes one wore.

Similar titles:
Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore That Shaped Modern America
American Culture, American Tastes: Social Change and the Twentieth Century
Teenage Nervous Breakdown: Music and Politics in the Post-Elvis Age
Retro Hell: Life in the '70s and '80s, From Afros to Zotz

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saw the exhibit "Birth of the Cool" at the Blanton last year. The poster kills.

http://www.modernaustin.com/birth-of-cool/

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