“Cool”: You keep using that word… UPDATE

Apparently, in reaction to the reality that the youth vote is fading on Obama, a memo has gone out from the campaign to the mainstream media, Democrat operatives, Hollywood moneybags, and all the ships at sea. It’s message was succinct: “Obama Hip, Cool! Romney Square. Peace-and-Drones Out, Daddy-O.”

Do an internet search of “Obama cool” this morning and there is an embarrassment of riches:

The New Yorker: Mr. Cool; Obama and the Hip Factor

Chris Cillizza at the WaPo didn’t even break a sweat: Obama is Cool; Mitt Romney isn’t

Julia Louis Dreyfus in the Politico: “He’s hip, he’s young; he’s not square.”

CSM: Obama’s Cool Factor and what Romney can do about it

Gawker: Is Obama too Cool?

There’s more, that’s just a sampling. The snap-to-it-obedience of the press as regards the latest memo is so obvious and so complete that IBD has observed It’s cool to be in the tank for Obama, even as Glenn Reynold’s wonders What makes Obama a “cool kid” exactly:

The raids on marijuana clinics?

The opposition to gay marriage?

The drone attacks?

The Mom Jeans?

Just wondering. . . .

In my column today, I admit to never having been “cool” myself, but I still know it when I see it.

I can only judge by past observation, but it seems to me that the first rule of being cool has always been that if you really are cool, then no one ever has to say it about you, because your “coolness” is as self-evident as the truth that all men are created equal.

If it is not obvious—if your friends in the media have to actually tell people that you’re “cool”; if they actually have to use that word, or “hip” or “square”, then you’re probably not genuinely cool.

The quality of “coolness” contains within it an attitude of discrete detachment, which is not the same as aloofness. It suggests an intellect attuned to a different frequency—perhaps to a higher muse—but still comfortable sharing the ground with the rest of us. Its muted confidence is so supreme that it bears no ill-will and holds no grudge against anyone who doesn’t “get” it, and that makes a cool cat more than likeable; it makes one slightly mysterious, and thus fascinating.

“Coolness” is not thin-skinned; it does not clench its teeth in anger; it does not overreach; it does not flail; it does not indulge in braggadocio; it does not make lists of enemies because its enemies already know who they are—they’ve been informed thusly, face-to-face, and usually with a smile and a perfectly chosen, personally meaningful gift. It does not sweat minutia. Genuine coolness knows it is not perfect and often acknowledges a blown occasion with a good-natured shrug rather than an apology, because coolness understands that not every mistake demands an apology—of others or oneself—and that too many apologies, offered too easily, signals a propensity toward the cheap and the meaningless.

You can read the rest here and see how our “cool” president stacks up against those qualities, and my perhaps surprising thoughts on who the two coolest cats on the world stage might be.

If you have to work at being cool, or surround yourself with sycophants who want to be cool, too, you’re not cool. Deep down, even the Jets knew it, which is why they had to lash out in insecurity and wounded pride.

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UPDATE: The other thing cool does not do? indulge in ego-boosting braggadocio. Particularly when it exceeds reason

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  • ahem

    Obama is a communist dork who wears mom jeans.

  • http://abbey-roads.blogspot.com/ terry nelson

    He’s not cool. Clinton was cool – but Obama is so not cool. That said, I don’t want a cool president, I want a good president – he is not that either.

  • http://ifwemust.blogspot.com/ J Kok

    The “cool” meme is pathetic.

  • CV

    Think I’ll take the dorky, sincere grownup who knows how to fix failing business organizations, thanks very much.

  • Pingback: Bookworm Room » President Obama: “He sexy and the media knows it”()

  • Hepcat

    I fail to understand the whole “cool” thing with Obama. He has always struck me as being a prime example of dorkiness. And I’m not talking about that brand of Bill Gates-style dorkiness (dare I say “Mitt Romney-style dorkiness?) that is laudable in a leader.

    Obama has the “dad-trying-to-be-with-it” thing going in full effect. I think it’s mainly the way he speaks…like he’s testing every syllable to see if anyone is wincing.

    And no one who’s cool uses the phrase “Now, let me be clear…” every time you see them either. That’s what a high school principal says.

    He reminds of the smart-but-continually-agitated types that I knew in school. The ones who thought they were the smartest one in the room (and admittedly, some times they were), but couldn’t handle any challenge of their thoughts or ideas. The kind that would debate a teacher not over a homework due date, but over the existence of dark matter or something like that. Those kids were not cool.

  • http://jscafenette.com Manny

    I’ve never found Obama cool. His “coolness” is superficial. He’s a walking cliche. Has he even had an original thought while president? Coolness is about breaking barriers in thought and style while doing it with elegance. What barriers in thought and style has even come close to?

    Frankly he’s an empty suit. His dependence on a teleprompter is the perfect metaphor.

  • Jenne

    Cool is super fast reflexes when getting a shoe thrown at your head and smiling to boot. Bush was cool that day.

  • Bill M.

    We live in an adolescent culture where bogus virtues like ‘coolness’ are prized.

    In any case, he’s a human bobblehead.

  • jtd7

    My comment applies both to this post and to the adjacent Elizabeth Warren post. I think your ridicule is very well-placed, but I wish we weren’t spending so much energy discussing nonsense like whether Pres. Obama is cool or whether Ms. Warren is middle-class in her heart. I am certain that both Pres. Obama and Gov. Romney care about working people and about the poor. They have different ideas about the best ways that government can express that care. You usually pay attention to those ideas and the policies that spring from them, and that’s what I appreciate about your blog. OK, that and the ridicule (*snork*).

  • Costernocht

    I love your definition of coolness. It’s very similar to the Italian sprezzatura, which Castiglione defined as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”

  • Mark Greta

    Is this really what they think of the young people? If I were young, I would be offended.

    I think the counter to this is the price they will pay for voting cool for the rest of their lives in taxes as this “cool” person spends us to the poor house. Romney needs to put the pictures of his “coolness” into an ad with the total debt month by month since his election that they will be paying forever. Many young love their iphones and ipads and all the apps as cool. What if they cost $10,000,000 each? How about the Obamacare mandate that the young they seldom visit a doctor have to now pay in effect another tax to take care of those who use doctors and hospitals on an almost daily basis? Is that cool? Remember, they are also seeing social security and medicare come out of their paycheck and Obama and his party refuse to do anything to insure either will be around when they retire. Wow, not that is really cool.

  • Teresa

    Of all the possible words to describe Obama, cool is not one of them. My first and lasting impression of him is cold, narcissistic, immature, vindictive. If I had more time I could go on so I’ll just leave it at that.

  • Nerd Alert!

    That photo says, “DORK!” all over it!

    Some reject from the Napoleon Dynamite auditions.

  • nitnot

    There is nothing cool about Obama. The media have their psychological problems. Obama is not cool. He is Steve Urquel with money.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.ca/ Hi-Jack

    To whom “IT” may concern:
    Are some of you Americans implying that Your new President is no longer cool like this video seems to imply. Are you sure that you are not just picking on him for silly reasons? Why can’t you sanction all the good that he’s done and just to name a few, did he not salvage the insurance company from no longer taking advantage of children and women who NOW are protected in many ways and they even get free contraceptive to free them from being slaves to men and also these so called future human who really are not humans until he and/or she is truly out of a human womb. Why can’t you all see that Contraception does not hurt children and woman because these compressed cells are not human yet but a lot of made UP (Christian Reality Annoying Preaching) which says “IT” is.

    I hear ya Anchoress! http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/2012/04/it-was-like-being-in-a-time-machine-obamas-mocking-of-catholics/#comments …. sinner vic, please don’t try feeding the trolls around here also or I’ll tell Victor on ya! :)


  • doc

    This cool meme is wholly a creation of the news/entertainment complex. If the corporate media were to be suddenly brainwashed into believing Obama was a Republican, they’d tear him to shreds in no time. His constant lies would be exposed to the nation, his absurdities would be mocked relentlessly, his cabinet appointments would be heading to jail for the laws they’ve violated. I wonder how any of the clowns at ABCNNBCBS or the major newspapers or AP can look in the mirror and regard themselves as true journalists. Or maybe they’re just thrilled to be the Democrats’ Palace Guard and hope no one will remember their hypocrisy when a Republican is back in the White House.

  • Laura

    I would nominate Benjamin Netanyahu for your cool list, Ms. Scalia. A remarkable man, to say the least. What a contrast standing next to our president–Obama seemed so small, petty. PM Netanyahu had an accomplished father, Benzion, who recently passed away–(at 102!) read about him. Actually, the whole family is truly a fascinating group!