Not Cool is described pretty well in its tag line "The Hipster Elite and Their War On You". Being a person who has long touted how ridiculous our pop culture is and how detrimental it is to those who don't pay attention, the title intrigued me. I'm definitely "not cool" - always have been - and I have learned to wear it like a badge of pride, letting my "freak flag fly" so to speak :) In this book, Gutfeld points out specific instances that the desire to be viewed as cool has caused major societal problems, even leading to deaths on a massive scale. We allow people to commit horrible acts of violence and evil, justifying it for them because we don't want to be seen as going against "the coolerati". Some of the examples he uses are: the Angela Davis/George Jackson craziness in the 70s, the Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccine movement, the movie Elephant about the Columbine shootings, Rolling Stone's pretty-boy cover photo of the Boston Marathon Bomber, and much more. Gutfeld does make an interesting point: our modern society is more concerned with "understanding" these mass-murderers and criminals than remembering their helpless victims and their families. It's an interesting notion and really is messed up when you think about it. How many films have been made about various disgusting serial killers, yet how many have been made about their victims? It's horrible to think about. That's just one small piece of Gutfeld's ammo again the cool in this book.
Like I said, this isn't a book that I would normally read. This isn't because I don't agree with Gutfeld's politics - he is a libertarian, and I sway toward that party myself on most issues. Mostly I don't read books like this because I tend to agree with their point of view, so I can't necessarily learn much. Not Cool did point out many facets of each of the example instances that I hadn't known about before, mostly because our media didn't report on it because it was counter to what they wanted us to think. Gutfeld makes references to several celebrities and politicians throughout the book, some of whom I'm not familiar with because I don't care to watch the news. I won't pretend that this is an unbiased account of modern history. His opinions are unvarnished and accusatory, with the occasional uncouth joke or insult thrown out about those he criticizes. It was interesting to read things through his eyes, but still not my usual speed of book. Normally I don't put a lot of quotes in my reviews, but the final paragraph of this book really did a fantastic job of rounding it all off:
It is a mistake to worry about how others view you. Other people are like images created in your mind - it is only your desire to appease or impress them that makes them meaningful. I refer specifically to peers you want to impress, not your family. If they're impressed, you've done your job, and if they're disgusted, you should listen. By pretending that the cool are mannequins, you can disarm the desire for cool and eliminate the need for acceptance. You reclaim your authority. You don't need their observation or approval. You're already observed by those who matter: your family, your friends, yourself. Don't let the cool replace those things. Who needs it? You don't. Really, you don't. It won't help you one bit. We all have the feeling that we are being watched, but by what? Your conscience? Who knows. What we have to learn is that it is better to imagine being watched by something moral and good than by something who's criteria are amoral. Your ego will be fed, but nothing cool will provide that sustenance.It was also a big boost to me that I pretty much fall into his description of uncool, which I strive for to be honest, lol. It was also nice to have my church described so accurately when he used it as an example of a true, functioning charity (but we are most definitely "uncool"). The truth is that most of the "cool" people in the world have done nothing to deserve their status except make the rest of us feel lesser. Once they have our attention on their "coolness", they try to spread their influence on topics they don't understand and have done no research on, but for some reason they still get the spotlight and a large chunk of our population usually takes their opinions as real facts. This is poisonous at the very least. This books just made me a little more proud that I am completely uncool :) I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.