Friday, October 19, 2007


Today I was informed by my college students that "cool" is no longer used literally. We're talking about arguments of definition, so I assigned them "The Coolhunt" by Malcolm Gladwell. I said, Cool is a good example of a shifting definition because by its very nature it's constantly changing.

Yeah, like how nobody uses it to describe temperature anymore, said Cory.

I laughed kindly and clarified that that part of the definition is still fixed: We still say it's cool outside--that hasn't changed.

Emma raised her hand. She looked confused and concerned. (For me?) I would never say that, she said. Much murmured concurrence.

What? Really? You wouldn't? None of you?

They all shook their heads. One said, My mom would say that. I wouldn't. It just sounds weird.

The weather is rainy and cool. That sounds weird?

A unanimous yes.

I felt both astonished and delighted by the discovery of this generation gap. Be ye hereby warned: Cool as a temperature is the new slacks.

P.S. Here is the salamander Iris & I found hiding under a wet leaf in Forest Park.


Anonymous said...

you know about snowclones, eh?

jra said...

there is little more delightful or hilarious to me right now than the idea that "cool is the new slacks". i am laughing so hard my eyes are watering. and i am alone. this is indeed very funny.