Joe Gargery, Original Cool Cat

by John Holbo on September 10, 2009

Now why did my previous post garner scarcely a comment?

The Plain People of the Internet: It hadn’t any McArdle in it!

I: Surely, my good man, we have not come to such a pretty pass as that.

The Plain People of the Internet: But here we are, and here you are.

I: I prefer to think it was due to modesty. False modesty, perhaps. But if it weren’t for false modesty, some people would have no modesty at all. Or so I like to flatter myself.

The Plain People of the Internet: What are you babbling about, you great baby, and bottomless bag of blog posts!

I: In my post, I quoted John Kricfalusi on the baneful influence of cool. “Why do young artists say they like UPA? Because it makes ‘em cool. Hipster Emo time. (It’s also easy to fake) It’s like when teenagers discover communism. They think it’s real cool to go against common sense and experience. But then when they meet the real world head on later, they realize it was youthful folly. You’re supposed to grow out of it. I too fell under the UPA spell for the 3 weeks I wanted to be cool.” But what is it, of which he speaks? A contrarian herd instinct, thus a bleating contradition in terms? An emo knee-jerk? What is the common denominator of Gerald McBoingBoing and the dream of One World Government? In short, what’s cool? Or if you prefer, what does ‘cool’ mean? Compared to this question, the trouble with McArdle’s opposition to health care is but a bagatelle.

The Plain People of the Internet: Blast your eyes!

I: I have been doing some research on the subject. Here is a passage from Charles Dickens, Great Expectations. Joe Gargery – honest soul, who wears his heart on his rolled up sleeve, as he works an honest day at the open flame of the forge – reports on what has become of Miss Havisham’s fortune: [click to continue…]