The word “cool” has been cool for more than 70 years. At Slate, Carl Wilson examines why this slang stuck, and how it’s evolved from being used by beatniks to smartphone companies. “Cool is an attitude that allows detached assessment, but one that prizes an air of knowingness over specific knowledge. I think that’s why it doesn’t become dated, unlike hotter-running expressions of enthusiasm like groovy or rad.” Pair with: Michael Agger’s essay on why we love the “cool story, bro” meme.
The Present Group provides an interactive look at “how artists, cultural producers, and content providers have experimented with funding and support models during the Internet Age.” The scrolling timeline spans from 1998 through 2016, and it outlines the major innovations (and failures) as websites tried monetizing.
Not highbrow, not lowbrow, not even middlebrow - is American culture now dominated by the upper middle brow?