The Birth (and Death) of the Cool

The Birth (and Death) of the Cool

by Ted Gioia

Paperback(Second edition)

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It's hard to imagine that "the cool" could ever go out of style. After all, cool is style. Isn't it? And it may be harder to imagine a world where people no longer aspire to coolness. In this intriguing cultural history, nationally acclaimed author Ted Gioia shows why cool is not a timeless concept and how it has begun to lose meaning and fade into history. Gioia deftly argues that what began in the Jazz Age and became iconic in the 1950s with Miles Davis, James Dean, and others has been manipulated, stretched, and pushed to a breaking point—not just in our media, entertainment, and fashion industries, but also by corporations, political leaders, and social institutions. Tolling the death knell for the cool, this thought-provoking book reveals how and why a new cultural tone is emerging, one marked by sincerity, earnestness, and a quest for authenticity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781682750155
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
Publication date: 05/10/2019
Edition description: Second edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Ted Gioia is a musician, author, jazz critic, and a leading expert on American music. His previous books The History of Jazz and Delta Blues were both selected as notable books of the year in the New York Times. 

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction xi

1 Can Cool Ever Be Uncool? 1

2 The Mystery of My Parents' Lifestyle 19

3 How Cool Became So 35

4 The Progenitor of Cool: Bix Beiderbecke 47

5 The President of Cool: Lester Young 57

6 The Prince of Darkness: Miles Davis 63

7 The Signifying Bunny, or the Birth (and Death) of the Cool for Kids 73

8 Everybody Acts Like Miles Davis 89

9 Live by the Swoosh, Die by the Swoosh 109

10 America Loses Its Cool 123

11 The Sound of Postcool Music 131

12 The Postcool Society 149

13 The Birth (and Death) of the Cool: A Timeline 157

Notes 181

Bibliography 187

Index 195

About the Author

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