Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You
Greg Gutfeld, former host of late night political satire show Red Eye, put pen to paper once again to bring his audience another book full of social commentary. While he is generally a political commentator, Greg also appears to have a keen sense of people and culture and throughout his book Not Cool, tackles the various issues he sees among the pop-culture crowd. He equates the current atmosphere to high school, where the “cool kids” control the dialogue and anyone who disagrees with them is tossed out into the cold. In what seems like a book of criticism, there’s also a strain of encouragement as he goes above and beyond to dispel the lie that in order to be heard you have to agree with the majority.
He started out the book with three principles, which will be addressed throughout. They are “beliefs the cool use to enslave you,” and they are in the form of statements:
1. If you don’t agree with them, no one will like you.
2. If you don’t follow them, you will miss out on something great.
3. If you don’t give in to them, you will die alone, and unwanted, possibly eaten by your army of starving cats.
The majority of the book sets out to tackle these claims, and put them into context throughout society. Greg Gutfeld looks at these things through the eyes of popular culture, the mainstream media, and even politics. He points out that a lot of activism seems to be coming from a place of wanting to be accepted and liked by the majority, and in the long run it undermines any real change that could be made on the behalf of those who need it the most. He walks through topics like terrorism, malaria, and the welfare system, all to make the point that being “cool” has a tendency to win over being effective.
In the midst of all the bleak claims he makes throughout the book, he concludes it with a positive outlook. It is one thing to point out all the problems in the world, and an entirely different thing to actually offer a solution. In the last chapter before his concluding thoughts, he provides that solution, and it is summarized in a single sentence: “The truly cool are those who achieve greatness without giving a second thought to impressing others.” He goes on to say, “It’s about doing things for the right reasons, usually unnoticed.”
It is a claim that holds true in today’s world. The ones who often make the biggest waves are those who do it when no one is watching. They do it because it is the right thing to do, not because they think it will give them an “in” with their favorite “cool” person, or bring them any sort of external reward. In the world of psychology, these are people with what’s called an “internal locus of control.” They see that they have the ability to control or change something, and have the motivation to do it within themselves instead of waiting for some sort of external motivation to propel them forward.
Over-all, Not Cool by Greg Gutfeld brings up a lot of interesting points about the current dialogue in the media and among everyday people. It speaks to the time in which it is written, as anyone and everyone can share their ideas on the mass platform known as the internet and where everyone’s ideas are considered automatically good if they fit certain criteria set out by the majority. While I could have done without some of the in depth belaboring of opinions and the outline of everything that’s ultimately “wrong” in the world, the conclusion and the over-all message of the book made it worth it. To be cool is to be true to who you are, and to do what is right for the sake of doing what is right. I think it is difficult to argue with that.