WHEN SOMETHING STARTS TO BE UNCOOL
Most of us spend a lot of time asking ourselves if we are doing the ‘right’ thing: Are we wearing the right glasses? Do we hold the right views? Are we living in the right part of town? Have we given our child the right name? Everyone wants to be ‘cool’. But cool is actually hard to define. Once you do it, it isn’t cool anymore. Because this je ne sais quoi often eludes us, we use status symbols to try and emulate it. And we are not just talking about teenage trends – every age-group, every social class has its own status symbols, the mainstream to the same extent as the avant garde.
In the US there is a way of describing the point at which something becomes passé: it’s jumped the shark. The saying was inspired by the TV series Happy Days, specifically an episode in which Fonzie tries to jump over a shark on waterskis. This ridiculous script idea suggested that the scriptwriters were literally losing the plot: they could no longer sustain the show’s success and were resorting to cheap gimmicks in a desperate attempt to retain viewers. Initially applied to the beginning of the end of a TV series, the saying is now used more generally to describe the moment when something loses its freshness and starts to go downhill.
To sum it up: What fun is it being cool if you can’t wear a (sombrero? Calvin & Hobbes)