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The Death of Cool

October 31, 2013

Lou Reed tried to be cool and succeeded. He nakedly wanted to be cool and he was. And so his death marks the end of era. Because who can imagine that now? Today the aspirants of cool are mocked and ridiculed, not by the uncool, as has always been the case, but by the connoisseurs of cool themselves — as has always been the case, yes, but not so blindly, totally, with the nihilism of a corporate recruiter or sensitivity trainer. Now the Hipster Slur rules over all, panoptically, with its laser cannons and disintegration rays that no pair of shades are dark or stylish enough to deflect. In Lou Reed’s day New York City was a land of opportunity for those seeking the freedom to practice their coolness as they saw fit. He was part of a great migration of young middle-class Jewish refugees who came over from the suburbs seeking a cooler life for themselves on the mean streets of Manhattan. Have you been to New York recently? I have not, but from what I hear I am pretty sure the last cool guy there just died. It is Mayor Bloomberg’s final triumph.

Remember that Neil Young line about the kid who would never get to grow up and be cool? Because he was dead. Now it is true of the living. Have you noticed what square little shits kids are these days? Even the delinquents are lame. The arty ones are creative. They work really hard on their little projects. God help us! Lou Reed wasn’t creative. He didn’t work hard. He didn’t have projects. He was cool. He was cool, and when he picked up his guitar and leaned into the microphone his cool became ours. And we felt something. Because that is what cool is about, feeling something, having the space to feel something, paying the price to feel something, taking that risk which takes a fortress and fells a fortress. Lou Reed understood. He was an asshole for our sins.

Now the right hand must always know what the left hand is doing, and nothing is hid and no one honest. Punishing sunlight wilts the bold, no shadows allowed, no shades. What’s underground? Fiber optics.

His time had already passed. It’s good think he was so wrapped up in himself that he didn’t even notice. He was cool like that.

Dark party bars, shiny Cadillac cars
and the people on subways and trains
Looking gray in the rain, as they stand disarrayed
oh, but people look well in the dark

And if you close the door
the night could last forever
Leave the sunshine out
and say hello to never

All the people are dancing
and they’re having such fun
I wish it could happen to me

Cause if you close the door
I’d never have to see the day again
I’d never have to see the day again, once more
I’d never have to see the day again

 

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