Thursday, 27 November 2008

News: Happy Thanksgiving!

Above you can view Charlie Chaplin's Thanksgiving scene from The Gold Rush (1925), in which he cooks and eats his shoe. It sets the tone for a Thanksgiving that has been dominated by echoes of previous hard times. Wary that shoes might be on the menu again soon, much attention has been given this year to thoughts about Black Friday - the now traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping blitz. The Financial Times, at least, is not optimistic:
It is hard to see where consumers' cash will come from. The savings rate is low. Credit is scarce. Mortgage equity withdrawal, which averaged $150bn a month for the past five years, was just $10bn in each of the first two quarters of 2008, Creditsights says. Wage growth is running at just 2 per cent, while 1.2m fewer people are employed compared with last December. Consumer confidence has shown its greatest collapse of the post war period. Happy Thanksgiving.
For some more up-to-date, though no less relevant, Thanksgiving-based comic relief, you can take a look at Sarah Palin's now infamous turkey-massacre interview here. And George Bush pardoned his last Thanksgiving turkey yesterday, and there's got be a joke in there somewhere. Time magazine offers up a brief history of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, whilst EarhCam is going to be streaming the event here. And President Elect Obama? Handing out food to the needy, as if you had to ask. And finally: the Boston Globe looks at the historical development of Thanksgiving celebrations with reference to Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, author of Northwood (1827) and "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (1830), also known as "the Mother of Thanksgiving."

Website: Shelf Life @ Texas

As blogs become an increasingly ubiquitous presence in university life, we're very happy to highlight the University of Texas at Austin's new literary blog, Shelf Life. In their own words:
ShelfLife@Texas is a space for book lovers to discuss literary news and events at The University of Texas at Austin. Public affairs professionals from across campus will blog about books by faculty and staff members, students and alumni of the university. We’ll also feature interviews with writers, and scholarly commentary on publishing trends.
And it looks good too.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Research Seminars: Steven Casey

At this week's research seminar, Dr Steven Casey (London School of Economics), co-editor of Mental Maps in the Era of Two World Wars (Palgrave, 2008), will be talking about "The American Home Front and China's Intervention in the Korean War, November 1950-April 1951."

Monday November 24, Arts 2.51, 5pm. All welcome.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Research Seminars: Martin Halliwell

At this week's research seminar, Professor Martin Halliwell (University of Leicester), author of numerous books including Images of Idiocy (2004), will be talking about "Combat Fatigue, American Psychiatry and World War II."

Monday 10th November, A2.51, 5pm. All welcome.

Friday, 7 November 2008

News: Toni Morrison at UEA

by Katie McFarlane

Last Thursday, October 30th, Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison returned to Norwich to give a reading from her latest novel, A Mercy. A guest of UEA’s Literary Festival for the third time, Morrison drew in a packed lecture theatre as she discussed the enduring legacy of slavery, a theme which runs throughout her work, growing especially prominent in what is now her ninth novel.

In his introduction to Morrison on Thursday evening, Professor Chris Bigsby spoke of “the curse of slavery and its aftermath that ricochets through the centuries.” Morrison’s work delves beneath a surface portrayal of slavery, recognising that the enduring effects of this institution still continue to resonate today.

Truth, Morrison identified, is the most important element within life. Thus, if memories of the past become disturbed or erased then it is impossible to move forward until this has been rectified. Slavery and racism she likened to “a married couple.” The flux and uncertainty that rocked the U.S. during the years of slavery is mirrored now in the endurance of racism in the twenty-first century. It is for this reason Morrison sets her novels in the past, acknowledging that it provides an infinitely rich source material, whilst also comprehending that it is only through addressing the fundamental issues of race, those issues that remain engrained within U.S. culture today, that one can look to progressing towards the future.

Morrison was, of course, speaking on the eve of one of the most publicized and controversial presidential elections in history, and there was a palpable sense that the road to change was opening. As Morrison put it, “the pieces are available, they are just not yet fused.” She nationally publicised her vision for the future earlier in the year in a letter of endorsement to President Elect Barack Obama.

As Morrison revealed on Thursday night, “I am holding your hand all the way.” No one is alone in this battle any longer. Morrison writes both to, and for, the entirety of America, as well as the global community. In the wake of Obama's victory, Morrison's hope that the progress of African-Americans can no longer be held back forever seem vindicated, now that the legacies of the past are being re-acknowledged and addressed.

The UEA Literary Festival, now in its seventeenth year, is run each autumn semester by the Arthur Miller Centre for American Studies. Guests this year have also included Cherie Blair, Geraldine Brooks and David Gutterson, whilst in the upcoming weeks Richard Holmes, Sebastian Barry and Juan Chang will be presenting their works. For more information and ticket enquiries please contact the UEA box office. Furthermore, recordings of selected previous guests can now be found here.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Election Result: Yes He Can

And the transcript of Obama's Chicago victory speech in full:

Hello, Chicago.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Sen. McCain.

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night.

This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.

It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Election Night Special: Results Map

So you can keep up to date right here:

Election Night Special: Distractions

Tired of waiting? Getting twitchy? A smattering of links to keep you occupied. First of all, the polls. Below, a map detailing when the polls close where:
Next, where are you going to get your results? Huffington Post has a whole host of solutions, though CNN might be the best looking pick. Stay tuned though: Containing Multitudes is going to host an automatically updated google map that will keep you on point with events as they happen. And when are they going to happen? If things fall right, it could be pretty soon. Over at FiveThirtyEight you can find out what we might know by 7pm. Still jittery? You can remind yourself about the journey so far at the New York Times or review a musical timeline of the campaign at Drowned in Sound (or examine musicians' campaign contributions at Passion of the Weiss. You could also give some thought to your election day playlist - "A Change is Gonna Come" might be a popular pick. Yet more? Find out what goodies American voters have been promised at the New York Daily News. And one final story: "Barack Obama for President", by Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic.

UPDATE: If you want some more laptop distractions whilst watching the rolling results, the BBC is liveblogging the election here. But most compelling is Twitter's election site - updating each and every second as soon as someone mentions the election. And boy, are people mentioning the election. History in real time.

Election Day Special: Letter from America: Kirsty Callaghan

Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

The world's media might have decamped to the US for today's election, but at Containing Multitudes, we have our own roving reporters. AMS student Kirsty Callaghan is in Florida for the election, and she sent us back this first-hand account of the Obama campaign in Kissimee:
Yard signs dot neighbourhoods, campaign ads fill commercial breaks, news schedules are filled with stories of candidates’ state-hopping and polling data. The election is well and truly upon us.

Tuesday will see voters electing candidates to a number of positions, with a ballot paper that can take up to ten minutes to complete. The electorate will also decide on Amendment 2 to the state’s constitution, similar to California’s Proposition 8, which would define marriage only as between one man and one woman. If the amendment achieves the support of sixty percent of voters, it will become part of the Constitution of Florida.

Despite the plethora of positions to be filled - members of Congress, local Sheriffs and Supervisors of Elections - it is unsurprising that the Presidential race is the most discussed and debated. Here in Florida, one of the 'battleground states', the outcome is of particular interest. Florida is one of a handful of states for which the result is not already a largely foregone conclusion (although polling in even some of the traditionally strongly red states, like Indiana, is indicating the possibility of major gains for the Democrats). Candidates are keen to keep campaigning here until the last moment: both Obama and McCain and each of their running mates having visited the state in the past week. As home to a high proportion of Latinos, who have tended to vote Democrat (with the exception of Cuban-Americans, who tend to vote Republican), Floridian campaigning materials and ads in Spanish are widespread, such as Obama’s ‘¡Basta Ya! Unidos Por El Cambio’ (‘Enough Already! United for Change’). The state’s large retiree population has also been targeted, through initiatives like ‘The Great Schlep’, a movement organised in part by the Jewish Council for Education and Research, in which young Jewish Americans have visited their grandparents in Florida to encourage them to vote for Obama. The state has gone Republican in all but one of the last four Presidential elections, with 2000 being one of the most memorable and fiercely contested battles in the state’s history, eventually coming down to a ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. Polling data currently indicates a lead for Obama of a few percentage points, although McCain-Palin yard signs in more rural areas and a notable presence on car bumpers show that they are not without support here. Only Tuesday night will show us which way the state has swung.

I took the opportunity to visit the Democrats of Osceola County Obama Office in Kissimmee three days before the election to witness some of the campaigning first-hand. Nilsa, a mother of ten (four her own, three adopted and three more raised by her!), originally from Puerto Rico but resident in the US for 50 years, has been volunteering at the office since the beginning of August. I asked her, a first-time campaigner, how and why she got involved this time. She first explained that her children have now grown-up and she has recovered sufficiently from recent heart surgery. When she was invited to volunteer, she initially spent just a few hours working in the office, gradually getting more and more involved, to the point where she now feels out of place at home. As we spoke, the campaign office bustled around us, with phones ringing, yard signs being carted through the building and a whiteboard saying that home-cooked food for those working on the main volunteer floor upstairs would be greatly appreciated. The diversity of Democratic support was demonstrated by the variety of materials around the office and the parking lot outside, with posters and bumper stickers bearing slogans like ‘Women for Obama’ and ‘Arab-American Democrat.’ One of the volunteers sported a ‘Teamsters for Obama-Biden’ t-shirt.

Nilsa, in discussion with another volunteer, said that on election day they would be providing water to all the voters in line at the Polling Places – Republicans, Democrats, whoever – “we don’t discriminate”. Long lines have been a great issue even in the days up to the election, with many voters taking the opportunity to vote early but still having to wait up to ten hours in line. Nilsa spoke of her desire for a new kind of President: “we need an intellectual, a smart man. I’m going to send him a lot of Puerto Rican food – rice and beans!” Asked about how confident she feels, she said “I’m not singing yet. I’m behind the curtains, gargling warm water with salt… We don’t look at the TVs or the polls – we can’t.” And if Tuesday goes well? “We’ll be cleaning up, celebrating and continuing our progress.”

“Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could stand. Martin Luther King stood so Barack Obama could run. Barack Obama ran so our children could fly” – from a leaflet in the campaign office.

It’s 00:15 Eastern Time, November 4th 2008 – the first results in the US Presidential Election 2008 have just come in from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire - a small village of just 21 registered voters, which has not voted Democratic since Humphrey in 1968. McCain: 6, Obama: 15. So the election begins…

Election Day: Watching History

Everyone knows that today is the last step of a long journey, and the first step of another one. Containing Multitudes has been along for the ride, and you can review our extensive election coverage here. Attempting to summarise today's media storm would be quixotic. So instead, here's Larry David from the Huffington Post:
Five times a day I'll still say to someone, "I don't know what I'm going to do if McCain wins." Of course, the reality is I'm probably not going to do anything. What can I do? I'm not going to kill myself. If I didn't kill myself when I became impotent for two months in 1979, I'm certainly not going to do it if McCain and Palin are elected, even if it's by nefarious means. If Obama loses, it would be easier to live with it if it's due to racism rather than if it's stolen. If it's racism, I can say, "Okay, we lost, but at least it's a democracy. Sure, it's a democracy inhabited by a majority of disgusting, reprehensible turds, but at least it's a democracy." If he loses because it's stolen, that will be much worse. Call me crazy, but I'd rather live in a democratic racist country than a non-democratic non-racist one.
Stay tuned for an election day special.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Letter from America: Myles Oldershaw

Myles Oldershaw is currently spending his year abroad at Reed College:

Seattle, the oldest and biggest city in the Pacific Northwest, was our destination as we left campus in minivans at five-thirty in the morning. As part of fall break, the international student group of Reed College had arranged a day trip to Seattle, and twenty-eight of us made the uneventful four-hour trip up Interstate Five between Portland and ‘The Emerald City’. Seattle is the third American city I have seen, after New York and Portland, and the immediate impression when we arrived downtown was that Seattle was more like the former. The tall buildings and wide roads of the business district were much more reminiscent of midtown Manhattan than of any area I have yet seen in Portland.

Our first stop on the tourist trail was the Space Needle, Seattle’s landmark ‘pointy tower’ built for the 1962 World Fair. From the observation deck, which is above a rotating restaurant that sells $25 salads, we could see all of downtown Seattle and some of Puget Sound, the network of inlets and rivers to the west of the city. We could also see the Olympic sculpture park that we later visited, a free outdoor collection of sculptures on the river bank. In the same complex as the Space Needle, reached by a monorail, was the Experience Music Project, a rock and roll memorabilia museum celebrating the musical heritage of a city called home by both Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain.

The rest of the day was spent exploring other areas of downtown, along with the Gasworks park in the Fremont district, a hilly park built around the site of a still-standing redundant gasworks, and the University district in Northeastern Seattle. The area, known as the U district, felt infused with the University in all its aspects in a way completely different from UEA and its surrounding environment. By the end of the day, the whole group was exhausted, but we still felt as if we had seen only a small amount of what Seattle had to offer. What we did see of the city made it seem a very welcoming place, with a recognizable, walkable downtown full of the coffee houses that are such a cliché of the region. Our impressions may have been helped by the fact that another cliché of the region, rain, was unseasonably absent on the day we visited. However, Seattle still appeared as a lively, friendly, green city worthy of its popular status in the ranks of America’s metropolises.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

The Cool Kids: They Got the Dyno with the Black Mags

by Jack Ramm

Hip Hop is a concept that carries multiple meanings. Perhaps because of this we feel compelled to subcategorise the genre endlessly. My iTunes player currently lists countless variations on the theme that is Hip-Hop: I have Old School, Hip-Hop/RnB, Electro-Hop, Cocaine Rap, Gangsta Rap, Crunk, Horrorcore, and Jazz Rap - and many more. Recently, though, something new appears to be cropping up all over the blogosphere and filling my computer with two interesting new subgenres: Hipster Hop and Hipster Rap.

To examine this new wave, we're going to concentrate on one of its main players. The Cool Kids have just dropped their first physical release (on a record label and everything) after amassing a vast internet created fan base. Despite reservations from some, the Bake Sale EP has been largely met with critical acclaim - critical acclaim, indeed, from particularly areas of the internet. Both and gave the EP glowing reviews, meaning that their target demographics (young, white, educated and indie) who had somehow missed the hype became aware of them. The effect that this has on the market place is significant: it introduces individuals from social groups not traditionally affiliated with hip-hop to the medium. As Chuck, one half of The Cool Kids, notes: “That is probably the biggest accomplishment we could've done, to take people that wouldn't necessarily have been at a hip-hop show and they'll enjoy it, not just watch.” Cross over appeal has, for the longest time, been the mainstay of popular hip-hop, but this kind of underground momentum represents a growing area within American culture.

The internet has forced musical elitism into decline, it is hard to be obscurist when the freshest, newest and strangest underground music is merely a google search away. Independent music is, for the first time, so accessible that the tag has lost some of its former meaning. Indeed the only way to have truly au contraire musical tastes is to reclaim what was once considered uncool. Hence 80s nostalgia. Hence the bizarre cross genre spanning of MIA and Santagold (or anyone from the Diplo/Switch stable) and the current view that this is acceptable.

The Cool Kids are all about nostalgia and reclamation. Old School beats, “we’re bringing 88 back” and the classic tagline of “new black version of the Beastie Boys” cement their sound in a very specific period of hip hop’s development. Critically different are the thrust of The Cool Kids lyrics. Unlike most of the hip hop their sound emulates it is entirely without political agenda. Think Public Enemy without the enemy part. It seems that 21st century youth culture, particularly (though not only) in America, is growing increasingly uncomfortable with divisive, politically charged music. The war in Iraq produced few memorable protest songs; Barack Obama’s white house struggle has been marked by a wealth of rallying gigs but the music played lacks the head on qualities that typified 60s protest music (even if hip hop has responded to the campaign in a variety of ways); Live Earth was boring and hypocritical.

The Cool Kids fit into this ethos of apathy well. They bring an escapist element that is easier to bear then the grinding drones of ill informed, juvenile protest songs. Our generation’s protest is that of the basement party. In the face of impending economic crisis, hip hop shifts from a fetishism of money to a fetishism of cool. Gangsta Rap is over, and its logical conclusion is a more accessible form. Surely a band that calls themselves The Cool Kids are an evolution of the posturing of the last era. Whereas late 90s/ early noughties hip hop was often concerned with wealth, gain and the material, The Cool Kids are more transcendental. They even tease the intense jockeying that typified the last wave of hip (check: “I can go catfish fishing and come up with a whale”). The focus has become being cool, knowing what is cool before anyone else, being a cool kid. And The Cool Kids are cool kids.