by Ryan Meehan
Fifteen years ago I was a piece of shit. I drank almost every day, and had no concept of what it meant to be a respectful and productive member of society. Additionally I was also buying into the idea that as long as I was going to college, it didn’t matter what I was doing off campus. I was one of the many individuals who had been sold on the school of thought that college is the single most important thing you can do after the completion of grade sixteen.
Nowadays things have definitely changed for the better. I spend a great deal of time walking, mountain biking, and inline skating which have for the most part fed my dire need for an adrenaline rush in place of simply assuring the fine folks at Seagram’s they would be once again getting hefty bonuses at Christmas time. I have a great job in a lucrative field selling a product that 99.5% of the general public owns. That position also has given me health insurance, as well as a reinforced belief that if I work hard my work ethic will continue to improve on a daily basis. If I could take a look at the 19 year old version of myself, I’d grab him by the throat and there would be a lot of yelling done on my part.
But conversely, if my 19 year old self could take a look at where I am today I know exactly what he would say: He would sigh heavily, disregard whatever worthwhile advice he was being given, then roll his eyes and slam another one. Then about thirty seconds later, after well-showered Meehan had left the building he would simply say…
“That guy’s not cool.”
I started interviewing comedians a few years back. My actual expertise in the industry of journalism goes no further than Mrs. Blackall’s journalistic writing class my senior year of high school, a class in which I did very little other than give back massages to this girl named Erica. But I knew that comedy made me happy, so if I wanted to feel good the most reasonable way to do so was to interview working comics. I scanned every single one of the late night television talk shows, writing down the names of any comedians I could find and would contact them for interviews.
It was during this seemingly endless battle with insomnia and desperate journey to find a somewhat structurally creative outlet that I ran across a television show called “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld”. It ran at 2AM Central, which meant that it was on at 3AM Eastern for those of you who are unfamiliar with how time zones operate. I found an endless supply of hilarious comedians that I found it very easy to communicate with, and slowly found myself falling in love with the show.
There’s probably one more thing that I should tell you about “Red Eye”…It airs on Fox News Channel. Amongst the cool (or the coolerati, as Gutfeld calls them) Fox News Channel is considered to be poison. If Superman played bass for The Arcade Fire, I’m sure some toolbag at the Huffington Post would try and drum up a story suggesting that Rupert Murdoch was plotting to douse the Coachella mainstage with kryptonite. But as someone that still wasn’t quite sure what political party to identify with, I kept watching and I eventually decided to buy Greg’s book “The Joy of Hate”. It was an incredibly fast read, full of depictions of the media’s tendencies to dispense phony outrage over menial subject matter. I was hooked. So late last year, when I heard rumblings that Greg was working on another book, I couldn’t wait. I made sure that my local bookstore was going to have one in stock, and got it straight off the truck. “Not Cool” is the name of the publication, followed by the subtitle “The Hipster Elite and their war on you”.
Both of these phrases are a pretty accurate depiction of how backwards everything has become in America today. Let’s begin with “Not Cool”…Gutfeld (or “Gutters” as I call him when we cross paths at KikicabanaCon, the nation’s only annual convention for young poolboys and the aging men who love them) goes over several reasons that this country has done a total 180 degree turn from the lifestyle that was when the baby boomers started repopulating this great country of ours after World War II. But he doesn’t do so with the same “Greatest Generation” drawl that Tom Brokaw uses, it’s more of a focus on where things went wrong afterwards…almost a “Greatest Degeneration” angle. It’s hard to pick just one reason why everything went south…The hippies of the sixties, the incredibly distracted children of the seventies, and about four-fifths of anything that happened on a global stage after 1991. All of these contribute to what is essentially the redefinition of what’s cool in America.
So what is “cool” in this disturbing reality show that currently passes for the United States today according to Gutfeld? Being a hipster. Hating the right for wanting a stable department of defense. Occupy Wall Street. And it doesn’t stop there: It can be anyone or anything found in the “dome of cool” that happens to house anyone who watches MSNBC, whatever book is currently sitting on Matt Damon’s coffee table, or anyone over 50 who is enamored by the recent news that Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. In short, being a liberal is “cool”.
GG discusses why this might be: “Why would anyone not be a liberal? Think of the rewards! You’re an eternal teenager, always in sync with the cool kids, never a target of scowls…” That’s true. I (like many people I would suspect) was raised liberal as well, and to be honest it was easy. When you imagine rebellion against one’s parents, you’d think that a great place to start would be to pick the opposite political party and trash the place. But seriously, most people are liberals when they reach the age where they are legally able to drive a car. I was no exception.
But over the past five or six years (which I’m sure has nothing to do with the current reign of our seemingly infallible president) I’ve started to have a lot of respect for the people in society who are viewed as “Not Cool”. Expanding on the department of defense comment, there are a lot of people out there that will simply have no respect for our soldiers. Throughout this book, Greg ponders why it seems to no longer be a respectable profession to defend our country’s honor and learn valuable job skills while doing so.
Which opens up another can of worms, because for some reason “working for the man” has become unbelievably not cool. Personally, I’ve never understood the problem people have with capitalism. You work hard, you earn money. I don’t see where the issue is there. But as long as some political cartoonist that works for the New Yorker can draw a caricature of an elephant smoking a cigar made out of a one hundred dollar bill, there will be a huge fragment of the population that will always think “Capitalism sucks”. That ideology has made its way into almost every college-level learning institution in America today. And as Greg says in this book – if you’re a conservative college student preaching the benefits of a capitalistic economic structure in a research paper, you can pretty much forget about getting a good grade from your liberal professor because he’s already decided halfway through the first paragraph that you’re not fucking getting one.
Gutfeld explains the many possibilities as to how things that are not cool might have possibly become cool. Another excellent example is the way that media makes these lunatics who are responsible for terrorist acts iconoclast by putting their faces on publications like Rolling Stone. Greg goes in depth to find that almost all of these nimwits seem to be quite informed of the eternal recognition they would get for pulling off such horrible acts, and that is evidenced by the media attention that previous terrorists (foreign and domestic) have received for pulling off similar acts. For example: Jann Werner for putting the piece of shit who was responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing on the cover of his pathetic rag of buttfuckery. There’s no way in the world that could be a positive thing. In other words, these assholes printing these magazines consider acts of terrorism to be “cool”, and I don’t think I’m out of line by suggesting that they aren’t.
I found this piece of literature to be fantastic. That’s not to say that I agree with everything in the book…I think one of the problems we have with the way we approach politics today is that we’ve become so absolutist when it comes to the values that a person of a certain belief system is supposed to have that we simply don’t allow people to have a mixed set of beliefs. I know plenty of individuals who vote in one manner but don’t necessarily agree with every single one of that party’s political stances. And that’s fine…I’m sure a lot of the church-going folk that voted for Obama don’t hold the same pro-choice views that he does.
This book has a little something for everyone, whether you’re “Gay, straight, or whatever the hell Andy Dick is”, and I thought it was well worth the money. It comes highly recommended for anyone who enjoys the spirit of good debate, and it is an interesting conversation piece no matter what. I’m not going to give away all of the topics discussed, but there’s an interesting tale at the end of this book involving mistaken (for) human identity that is probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever read. Overall, Gutfeld leaves the reader with the skepticism to question what they see, hear, and read within the media; but most importantly the confidence to not feel bad about themselves for realizing when something’s not quite right.
That indeed is a great feeling, and there’s nothing truly uncool about having that feeling at all.
Overall Rating: 9.4/10.0
Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content. Meehan