EnRoute laments the death of Cool in its latest cover story.
Neophilia and non-conformity, not to put too fine a point on it, is the early 21st-century mainstream, a fact of abiding interest to University of Toronto philosophy professor Joseph Heath. He argues (in person and in his upcoming book There Is No Alternative: Style, Rebellion and the Myth of Counterculture) that we (the so-called mainstream) consume rebellion and individualism, just as in the 1950s, we consumed products that made us appear wealthy.
“Cool has merely replaced conspicuous consumption as the status hierarchy of contemporary urban society,” he tells me. “The desire for distinction now drives consumerism.”