Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Week 2-3 PPT Spr 2016

American Mass Culture
Week 3
Lessons from the Merchants of Cool

The Construction of Cool

       What is cool?

       Where does it come from?

       Who says what it is and isn’t?

       How does it spread?

       What is the function of cool?

       How does the consumer idea of cool reflect and construct corporate control and organization of culture?


What is Cool?

       Authenticity (but you can’t MAKE it, you have to FIND it)


What is Cool?

       Rebellion against the mainstream


What is Cool?

       Minority/marginalized origin (the myth of mainstream separation from The Authentic)


What Cool is Not





How cool spreads

       Diffusion – the spread of new ideas of technology from person to person

How cool spreads

Famous study:

       Bruce Ryan and Neal Gross's analysis of the spread of hybrid seed corn in Greene County, Iowa, in the nineteen-thirties.

How cool spreads

       Of two hundred and fifty-nine farmers studied by Ryan and Gross:

        1933: only few farmers used the seed

       1934: 16 began using it

       1935: 21 farmers

       1936: 36 farmers

       1937: 61

       1938: 46

       1939: 36

       1940: 14

       1949: 257 total using the seed, all but TWO

How cool spreads

Diffusion terms

       Innovators (the first crazy few, high social status, very social, many contacts)

       Early adopters (copy the wild innovators, high opinion leadership, younger, educated, good social status)

       Early majority (above average social status but not opinion leaders)

       late majority (skeptics who follow the majority, lower social status, fewer resources)

       Laggards (conservatives who value “tradition” with lower social status and education, and a small circle of social contacts)


How cool spreads

How cool spreads

       Only INNOVATORS are cool

       Only a small number of INNOVATORS


       The actual number of cool leaders is small and they differ from location to location

       “Cool is a set of dialects, not a language”

Coolhunters thus….

       Picking the right person is harder than it sounds, though. Piney Kahn, who works for DeeDee, says, "There are a lot of people in the gray area. You've got these kids who dress ultra funky and have their own style. Then you realize they're just running after their friends." The trick is not just to be able to tell who is different but to be able to tell when that difference represents something truly cool. It's a gut thing. You have to somehow just know. DeeDee hired Piney because Piney clearly knows: she is twenty-four and used to work with the Beastie Boys and has the formidable self-possession of someone who is not only cool herself but whose parents were cool. "I mean," she says, "they named me after a tree.“


What is cool

       The PARADOXES of cool:


       Once you make something cool, and everyone does it….. It is not cool anymore.

       Cool can only be observed, and only by other cool people

What is the function of cool?

       To sell young people products of large corporations

       Consider it a kind of technology for getting young consumers to buy products…..  !!!!!

Corporate Construction
of Consumer Culture


       How does the consumer idea of cool reflect and construct corporate control and organization of culture?

       If rebellion is cool and becomes part of product marketing, how can people struggle against the System


Corporate Construction
of Consumer Culture

       Consider the nations of the world…

       Which are innovators of “cool”? Early adopters? Laggards?



No comments:

Post a Comment