The Types of Cool
first published 4-26-13
So yesterday afternoon I was thinking about Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
(You have no idea how tempted I am to just leave this blog post at that one sentence...)
For those who don't immediately recognize the name - He first rose to fame as the kid on Third Rock From the Sun, where he made the notable achievement of holding his own with John Lithgow, which is honestly no small feat.
This is him today (well, not TODAY literally, but 'these days')
Stumbled across this the other day, and I suddenly realized.
Joe G-L is Stealth Cool.
He never really fell off the radar, but without us really noticing he went from being 'That Kid Who was Funnier than French Stewart' (I'm sorry, he was) to being unbelievably cool guy in the above video that you did not bother to click on the link for just casually throwing out a cover of Lithium like that's what we all do in our spare time. His is an extreme form of what I call 'Neil Patrick Harris syndrome'.
Which is when it occurred to me how many different manifestations of cool there are.
Neil Patrick Harris Cool
Now, it's no secret that Neil Patrick Harris was, somewhere about 5 years ago, declared Coolest guy on the Planet. The guy makes magic cool. The man more or less single-handedly brought back the word 'awesome'.
He once accepted an award for his role in Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog with the words "I would say that Nathan Fillion is like the most genuine nicest guy to work with, but that would be a lie. Uh, he's a dick. And he pads his junk. Thanks so much!"
This was Doogie Howser
And so he is the living symbol of this type of cool - The 'I was really NOT cool, then you lost track of me and I cam back THE COOLEST EVER'
You know, like how we all wanted our 10 year high school reunions to go down.
Betty White Cool
Betty White has always been pretty cool. Everybody knows that. What is less frequently observed is that she is clearly the beneficiary of what I can only describe as an 'Awsomeness-Tontine' (you'll have to google it) with the rest of the cast of the Golden Girls, taking their cool into her own possession as each of them passed.
Well played, Betty.
Perception Filter Cool
I'm talking about the Tom Petty school of cool here. There has never been a moment when Tom wasn't cool in the last several decades. But, much like the Silence, when you look away from him it is somehow instantly wiped from your mind until the next time you hear the opening riff to American Girl and think, 'Oh yeah- He's really awesome'
I come from a long line of cool
Joss Whedon's father wrote for the aforementioned 'Golden Girls'
His Grandfather wrote for 'Your Show of Shows'
If awesome was money from bootleg whiskey, Joss would be a member of the Kennedy family.
This is the Felicia Day philosophy. By apparently putting absolutely no effort into seeming cool- and indeed by appearing to put effort into NOT looking cool, witness The Guild, she somehow makes everything she does look like the coolest thing ever.
Who else has both sung on stage with Jonathan Coulton AND crocheted a freakin mouse with Colin Ferguson. And yet she's all like 'No big, whatevs' and somehow she makes the term 'Whatevs' cool despite the fact that it clearly isn't.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to disappear for a few hours and suddenly reappear ten times cooler.