Tag Archives | Anti-Heroes

How What It Means To Be Cool Has Changed

The definition of the cool individual has shifted. Decades ago, he or she was a rebel who challenged convention and bourgeois, conformist ideals. Today, it means being friendly, physically attractive, and successful. Via the University of Rochester Medical Center:

Do rebelliousness, emotional control, toughness and thrill-seeking still make up the essence of coolness? Can James Dean and Miles Davis still be considered the models of cool?

Research led by a University of Rochester Medical Center psychologist and published by the Journal of Individual Differences has found the characteristics associated with coolness today are markedly different than those that generated the concept of cool.

“James Dean is no longer the epitome of cool,” Dar-Nimrod said. “The much darker version of what coolness is still there, but it is not the main focus. The main thing is: Do I like this person? Is this person nice to people, attractive, confident and successful? That’s cool today, at least among young mainstream individuals.”

In research that has developed over several years, Dar-Nimrod, currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, and his colleagues recruited almost 1,000 people in the Vancouver, British Columbia, area, who completed an extensive questionnaire on the attributes, behaviors and individuals they associated with the word cool.

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‘Catcher in the Rye’ Author J.D. Salinger Dies at 91

The Catcher In The Rye“People always think something’s all true.”
— J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 2

Hillel Italie writes on the AP Via Yahoo News:

J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose The Catcher in the Rye shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91.

Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author’s son said in a statement from Salinger’s literary representative. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.

The Catcher in the Rye, with its immortal teenage protagonist, the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield, came out in 1951, a time of anxious, Cold War conformity and the dawn of modern adolescence. The Book-of-the-Month Club, which made Catcher a featured selection, advised that for “anyone who has ever brought up a son” the novel will be “a source of wonder and delight — and concern.”

Enraged by all the “phonies” who make “me so depressed I go crazy,” Holden soon became American literature’s most famous anti-hero since Huckleberry Finn.

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