In Part 1, I covered a lot of ground generally, talking about my belief that we all possess much potential; we’re all special. I discussed how we tend to have funny ideas on what success is and that we sometimes believe in all sorts of things just because the majority does whether we admit it or not (and I mentioned both the safety and danger in doing so). My time is no less strained for Part 2, so this will also be fast and furious with little regard for editing, sadly. Given what’s on my plate, it’s the best I can do. If you liked my last post, I hope you’ll stick around none-the-less. And if you missed my last post, you might want to go back and read it! I currently have 5 writing projects on my lap, a freelance art project, other art that needs doing, and more on top of that, so yeah, time to get rollin’!
This post focuses on the concept of being a rebel and being cool, two things that go together like James and Dean, but the concepts can be not only very misleading, but they also have some negative undertones. Now, don’t get me wrong, I, like just about every guy I’ve ever known, has at some point (or many points) coveted a black leather jacket or trench coat! I’m not sure if James Dean started it all or not, but he certainly glamorized the concept during his short life.
Most of us who haven’t given up on the idea yet, likely want to be thought of as cool or having been cool and like to think that we live outside the box, not so straight-laced as others might think, that we’re a bit of bad boy or girl. Confidence is a good thing; the ability to stand on your own two feet and be a man or a woman who others look up to, rocks! Desiring that is quite natural and not a bad thing per se, so don’t tar and feather me yet! It’s what else that tends to go with the territory that has always bothered me.
I’ve owned a black leather jacket at one point and I currently have a med-length leather jacket that I wear now, and I still kinda wish I owned a trenchcoat, but I’m not wearing my jacket to be cool (it’s not even black), though I have received a number of compliments on it. My wife bought it for me about seven years ago for one of our anniversaries. Trench coats however, are so iconically cool that I’m not sure I could actually wear one without feeling a little like I was wearing a costume, to be perfectly honest. I would probably feel the need to wear dark sunglasses and it would be hard to keep from smiling ear-to-ear, which you generally don’t want to do if you expect people to think you are cool. If you want to be cool, you have to remember to come off like you don’t care. Unemotional is the key. The Fonz broke that image again and again, but he was an early icon and a good guy despite his rebel/cool label.
Now, James Dean was before my time, but I remember the Fonz! (I fortunately missed the episode in which he jumped the shark.) If you are like me, you’ve probably known someone who has gone to great lengths to try and get people to think of them as a rebel or as cool (or both), but while they might look cool, you know it’s a gimmick; you know it’s hiding something else. What was James Dean hiding? The Fonz? Ok, the Fonz was a TV character, but you get my point. You can spot cool people a mile away. What are they selling? Is the image they are attempting to portray genuine, or is it hiding a hurting heart? (I’m not really attacking any of these people. They are just cool, so they made for good examples.)
Half the concept behind being a rebel or being cool is actually distasteful when you think about it. (Um, is that tar in that pot you are heating up?) Who hasn’t wanted to be cool? Nothing can hurt you! Again, remember: exuding a lack of emotions or any concern for another’s well being are very strong elements of being cool. The cliche that girls want to date a bad boy but marry the nice guy? That’s got to be one of the dumbest concepts I’ve ever heard. After all, what does a woman really want? Does she want a guy who understands her feelings, recognizes how valuable and important she is, treat her like a princess, let her know that she is loved and cared for? Does she want someone who will be there for her, who knows how to say they’re sorry when they are wrong? And they ARE wrong sometimes! Does she want someone who is bottling up their feelings and always has the answer, never making mistakes?
How arrogant and proud is this person going to be if they really are like that, and aren’t just pretending? And if they are pretending, what sort of things are going through their bottled up brain if they are playing the role? You see where I’m going with this? How absurd! Why would anyone want to date a person who is acting cool and like a rebel? If they really are a rebel, then that means you can’t count on them being safe, out of jail, reliable.
These days that also means they are more likely to be into experimentation, and that can get pretty extreme. Maybe you are into that, but if you aren’t, being rebellious and being cool doesn’t sound all that hot when you think about it, but the rabbit hole goes deeper still. [Please don't think I'm being insensitive of the hard times some young people face who just want acceptance and approval, those people who just want to be loved and everyone deserves to be loved. This post isn't so much a rant as a wake up call, or reminder if you will.] It seems nobody is immune from wanting to appear cool…
Of course, any post on being cool that leaves out Terminator or the Matrix is probably committing a grievous sin, so here they are, and I’ll be the first to say I wouldn’t have these guys any other way. Love it! In the early 90′s, my wife and I went to Universal Studios where they were featuring a wonderful Terminator 3D live action movie/ride thingy. It was our anniversary and one of the things she got me was a pair of terminator sunglasses that had this red light in it. Very cool. :)
I’m into drama. I run a small drama group that I formed in 2001. I write, produce, direct and even act in some of our productions. I’m writing a script this week despite how busy I am (the show must go on), but there’s something odd I discovered when I was a little boy that has always stuck with me. I become more confident and feel like I can do anything, and be anyone if I’m simply wearing a pair of sunglasses. I don’t know why. It’s just the way it was for me. I still feel that way.
Yes, it’s true, the Matrix featured some of the coolest characters ever to come to the silver screen. Unbelievable! I would not have enjoyed the movie nearly as much if they weren’t being cool. Even if you hated the movie, you couldn’t help but keep watching because when someone’s this cool, you can’t take your eyes away…
When we play the role of someone who’s cool, whether on stage or on the street, we are doing it “right” if we exude characteristics that come off like we don’t care what other people think, like we own the room. We’re doing it our way. We of course attempt to not trip over our own shoelaces or words. We act fearless and try to present ourselves like we’ve got our act together, and when we screw up (because we all do), we keep telling ourselves we’re cool as long as nobody noticed.
We all do stupid things, yet we still like to think of ourselves as cool. So, we try to hide our weaknesses. Sometimes we hide them behind shades, sometimes behind outrageous clothing, implants, tatts and other things (I’m not saying tatts are bad, they are only bad if you are getting them for the wrong reasons, though I don’t care for them myself).
Doing all sorts of crazy stuff to show that we don’t like being told what to do or that we’re cool in most cases, is completely missing the point; at the least it’s usually unproductive and unhealthy psychologically, IMO. Before you totally give up on me, I do think some tatts look especially cool and sexy, but that doesn’t mean I’d ever want one or that I like the idea of what amounts to a piece of jewelry you can never remove. We all change our clothes, so why would we want to wear the same tatt all the time, unless it held some deeper personal meaning, which in some cases it does.
Now, I totally get the desire to fit into the crowd and get along with your friends (or just get friends period), gain acceptance, all of that, but you are already loved and accepted just the way you are (whether you are drop-dead gorgeous or funny-looking). It really comes down to who you are looking for acceptance from? You may not be getting the love and acceptance in the circles you run with, and I’m so sorry if that’s the case, but there are circles of decent folks who love you just the way you are (and God loves you more than your friends do, obviously, since his love is unconditional where as us mortals always put conditions on things. Hence all the divorces. You are very special and precious in God’s eyes, but ignore that at your own peril).
In Stephen King’s movie, Christine, we see this nerdy guy who becomes obsessed with this demonic car and starts to become really cool, which of course meant that he also became a really big jerk. One nice advantage of becoming cool, however, is that your eyesight improves and so does your hair. His jacket was red, not black, but that was symbolic to more closely identify him with the demonic car. Well, I’ve picked on being cool enough and this is getting long, so let me dip into my big beef with being a rebel (at least what most people think of when they say rebel these days).
In most of the cases I’ve seen, being a rebel (and I’m not talking a George Washington rebel, but a modern rebel), amounts to no more than the opposite of the concept of a true rebel. Being a rebel usually ends up meaning you jump off the older generation’s bandwagon and you jump onto a different, and huge younger generation’s bandwagon. You’re just going from one box to another when you dress funny (just like everyone else), try to act like you are cool (just like everyone else), stab in some tatts or implants or wild makeup, (just like everyone else), listen to music not generally considered polite and acceptable to the older generation or that’s loud enough to hurt sensible or at least older ears (just like everyone else). Is that a bag of feathers?
Hey, I am making at least some sense here! I could talk about how colleges tend to breed a certain type of rebelliousness as well, again many who think they are rebels, really aren’t. They are the opposite since they are still jumping on a really big bandwagon.
There aren’t too many people that would call me a rebel. I fall into the older generation, but I feel like a rebel in some ways. I’m a Christian who actually believes what the Bible says, and since Christians who are serious about God are a very small number compared to how many people are out there that are Christians, but aren’t really doing much to grow closer to God, walk in his ways and act a lot like the rest of the world). So, if modern day rebels can call themselves rebels and that’s a huge number of people, then I can call myself a rebel, not that I really care about the term one way or another. Just sayin’. Most of society is going in a different direction than I am, and I’m Ok with that. I’d love it if more went down the path I’ve chosen, but if most people say red is blue, or we evolved from fish, doesn’t make it so.
And because Nick Fury and the gang are looking pretty cool here, and to break up some text, here’s one last pic!
So, in summary, many people who are trying to be rebels are actually being conformists and many who are trying to be cool are missing the coolest parts of being cool. The ones worth being! Those who are trying to gain approval from others just might be trying to please the wrong folks. We need to be true to ourselves (unless what we are is rotten on the inside, in which case we likely need a change of worldview). But we shouldn’t be changing ourselves to conform just to become accepted by a circle of friends. God’s approval is worth far more than someone who refuses to love you if you don’t have the right shade of pink hair, tatts all over, join their gang, drink or sleep around. I’d just go find another set of friends.
Thinking back, smoking became very cool. Doing illegal activities became cool (i.e. being a rebel is cool). Listening to Satanic music became cool though that’s fortunately slipped back in popularity, I think. Doing anything that annoyed your parents was flat out cool. Heck, even doing drugs became cool. Thankfully, many of the things we used to think of as cool are no longer. But some of the questionable elements remain.
Me, I say thinking for yourself is cool, a rebel for the right cause is cool. Being a good husband is cool. Loving your wife and kids is cool. Loving God and trying to be a good person is cool. Working hard and doing your very best is cool. Showing respect and appreciation for other people is cool. If you happen to be wearing a trench coat while doing all those things, well good for you, but frankly the trench coat is optional.
Is that tar ready yet? Excuse me. I have to go to the bathroom (quietly slips out the back).
[Note: Please take no offense by what I said. I certainly don't mean to offend anyone. Yes, I touched on several touchy topics, but if you are offended by my comments about God, for example, think about how your telling someone you are offended by their faith is actually pretty offensive in and of itself as it is basically judging and rejecting a person's most deeply held beliefs. Heck, even that might have offended (sigh). It's impossible not to offend people, sadly. I just want you to know that I am not trying to be mean or judgmental so much as expose some misconceptions and offer my two cents, which you are free to ignore or call stupid if you want, but they came from a heart that wants nothing but the best for you, whether I'm right or wrong or stupid. 'Nuff said! If nothing else, I hope you enjoyed all the cool pics!]
If you are tired of hearing all this controversial talk, no worries, while I had 1 more part I was drafting, I’ve decided to put it off and dig back into Cosmothea goodness! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! And, if there are certain topics you would like me to touch on, especially related to the Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game or Cosmoverse Campaign Setting (or my Arcane Synthesis Kickstarter), let me know and I’ll see what I can do. [My next post will be way shorter. Your welcome. :) ] Have a great week, all!