The Fonzarelli Effect
When I served my time as a schoolkid in the seventies and eighties things were different. Parents weren't cool. There were no MILF moms and 40 year old dads in punk rock bands. Hell, in the entire frickin' universe there probably only 700-800 people tops who were considered "cool." And they had done extensive work to become so. Lunch boxes proved it. You got the wrong lunch box you took a beating. In 1978 it was Evel Knieval, John Travolta and The Fonz.
What's my point? I'll tell you my fucking point. If you wore Chuck Taylors to school in 1978 it meant you couldn't afford blue Adidas with the three stripes and you took a beating. If you wore brown Toughskins to school in 1978 you might as well have â€¦. well, something bad. You remember Toughskins from Sears. A fucking robot couldn't wear them out so what chance did you have to ever be rid of these monstrosities.
What's my point? I was recently forced to attend an event at a "trendy" night spot. Everyone there was significantly cooler than me. I know this is true because they drank nothing but Pabst Blue Ribbon and wore the same awful military style black frame nylon glasses I was issued as a defenseless seven year old and wore until I was sixteen. More than this they had managed to find a lost consignment of brown Toughskins somewhere at a forgotten torture facility and were sporting Old School Chuck Taylors. I suffered flashbacks and had to remove myself from the suarez before I started stabbing everyone in the jugular with the shards of an Appletini glass.
What's your point, Thomas? I'll tell you. In 1978 I wasn't cool in my brown Toughskins, Chuck Taylors and black nylon military style glasses and neither are you in 2006. Pabst Blue Ribbon is horse piss and always has been. My father drank PBR for forty years and he's far from being one of the cooler people on the planet.
So, The Fonzarelli Effect. What is it? As I mentioned in 1978 no one on the planet was cool. 700-800 people tops. And the rest of us accepted that. There was only one cool table and we weren't at it. When Dungeons and Dragons came out we played it. When Devo made albums we bought them. We were known as geeks, dweebs and nerds and treated accordingly. There were no television shows glorifying us.
Flash forward to 2007 and of the 6.5 billion people on Earth roughly two-thirds of them are now "cool." Everyone gets it. Everyone has a cell phone and a blog and a My Space site. Pretty much everyone in the entire world is in a punk band and everyone else is a tattoo artist. Every trend is transmitted to everyone simultaneously so no one has to do the hard work of being an individual. Everyone gets it. Even the last examples of uncoolness on the planet, the nerds, geeks and dweebs are now hip.
The Fonzarelli effect states that if everyone is cool no one is cool. Cool isn't the right lunchbox, awful pants, bad music and deluding yourself into thinking Pabst Blue Ribbon is a palatable beverage, cool is a T-shirt with The Fonz giving you the thumb and saying "AAAAAYYYYYY" just be yourself. Cool is not getting that dumbass tattoo and looking to past generations for ideas and slogans and trends to steal instead of creating your own.
You know what else isn't cool? Harley Davidsons. The entire biker culture. Not cool. It's a medival costume party for over the hill middle managers. Here are a few other things that aren't cool: lists, Hooters, Green Day, storm chasers, crocodile hunters, profilers, mobsters, gangsters, athletes, The Onion and Emmylou Harris. If you're on this list you ain't cool.
When did everyone decide sharing a small part of a global brain and identity was preferable to living a large and adventurous life at the periphery of societal norms and standards? When did everyone become too clever for the room?