Who is an American Cool. From Madonna to Shakur. The meaning of ‘J’

#AmericanCool #Cookednews

Defining who’s ‘cool’ is a slippery enterprise, but that’s never stopped anyone from trying. Bogart? Hendrix? Anita O’Day? Of course. Madonna? Hmmm.

‘Bogart was cool: no one used the word then, but it’s the term everyone reaches for now,’ writes the literary scholar Joel Dinerstein in American Cool, which he co-authored with photographic scholar and curator Frank H. Goodyear

Besides Bogie, the reach of those who make cut in this sleek book of photographs interspersed with essays includes Johnny Depp, civil rights protestors, Miles Davis as he appeared on the cover of Ebony, Elvis, Robert Mitchum, Jack Kerouac, Amiri Baraka, Bob Dylan, Anita O’Day, Madonna, Tupac Shakur, Susan Sontag, Selena, and sundry others.

For years, cool fell into the gray zone of semantics like that on which a Supreme Court justice meditated in consideration of pornography: he admitted that he could not define it, but he knew it when he saw it.

We should hope that the Supremes will attend the American Cool exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (American Cool is the catalog for that exhibition.) This show is an impressive exercise in semantics and a grand slice of national history; the photographs are thoughtfully orchestrated, the ideas behind the concept argued with intelligence and flash.

We can picture the quickening pulse of political and news celebrities in the pagan city on the Potomac, milling about the gallery, wondering why the photographs show none of them. (The Obamas are only mentioned in the text.) But in a city where politics has degenerated into a tawdry suburb of celebrity, the edgy outsider nature of cool doesn’t sync with democracy as reduced to a muddy floor show on the nightly news.

‘Cool figures are the successful rebels of American culture,’ writes Dinerstein, the James H. Clark Endowed Chair in American Civilization at Tulane University. ‘To be cool is to have an original aesthetic approach or artistic vision—as an actor, musician, athlete, writer, activist or designer—that either becomes a permanent legacy or stands as a singular achievement.’

That explains Brando, Duke Ellington, Greta Garbo, Muhammad Ali and of course James Dean. Obama seems to have edged into the text by virtue of being dubbed ‘Mr. Cool’ in a magazine article. The president’s charisma lands him, at least in passing prose, on the same page with an image of Walt Whitman and the front page of Leaves of Grass.

Men far outnumber women in American Cool. ‘It is rare to find an article, website, or blog post declaring anyone ‘Ms. Cool,’” writes Dinerstein, “despite the plethora of cool women in this book, from Georgia O’Keefe, Bessie Smith, and Dorothy Parker to Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, and Missy Elliot.’

Walt Whitman ‘first carved out a space for cool by valuing personal experience and bearing over education and experience.’

The gender tilt lies in “the presumed association between cool and American masculinity,” he notes, and “the persistence of a double standard where independent, sexually confident women are concerned.”

Double standards, of course, are made to be exposed.

American Cool does have curious omissions. Bill Clinton, who played saxophone with sunglasses in 1992 while campaigning on the talk show hosted by Arsenio Hall (who is absolutely cool) and went on to an impeachment drama for his sexual rebellion, did not make the cut. The book does not explain Clinton’s absence, which seems, like, un-cool.

John Wayne had a macho, bravura image that sizzled hot, but he’s in this parade as ‘the stoic tough guy’ who once said, ‘Mine is a rebellion against the monotony of life.’ Cool enough.

But the scandal of this book and exhibition is that Marilyn Monroe is nowhere depicted. One of the sexiest movie stars of all time, the woman who married Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller, is not cool? Says who? And Audrey Hepburn is? And Susan Sarandon, too. No offense to them, but stiff-arming Marilyn Monroe is grounds for—well, not a congressional investigation, we don’t want to get them near this. Let’s settle on a televised debate at NEH.

Hemingway is shown on p. 89, pensive with rifle at a pheasant shoot in Idaho. ‘He wrote in a terse, clipped style that featured stripped-down dialogue and characters unanchored from society. While he portrayed man as essentially alone, he admired ‘grace under pressure,’ a phrase often considered synonymous withcool,’ writes Frank H. Goodyear III, co-director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, who shows a wise hand and keen eye in arrangement of the images in book and exhibit.

Cool as persona and trait arose in the movies and music of the early and middle decades of the last century; it had a strong African-American stamp. Jazz was outsider music that moved mainstream, and then with bebop moved back on the edges. Musicians such as Charlie Parker, Count Basie, and Lester Young exuded the aura of outsider-as-insider. Zora Neale Hurston occupies a page in a photograph as threshold-breaker, justly so. But Wynton Marsalis is nowhere in American Cool. Maybe he’s too inside to go back outside. He’s still a study in cool.

As sports photographers gave an icon like Ali his heft in the popular culture, the oceanic coverage of rock and roll put stars like Jimi Hendrix on the cover ofRolling Stone, which is always cool.

But there are no pictures here of Scarlett Johansson or Halle Berry. The editors chose ‘a certain triangulation of factors aligned in mysterious balance’ on the selection process, which includes a ten-year period of probation or candidacy consideration for a potential Coolite, a time in which status can crash in scandal or somnolently diminish.

 ‘In the next generation it is likely that women will outnumber men for lasting iconic effect and innovative artistic impact,’ Dinerstein writes. Those who make the potential list include Esperanza Spalding, Janelle Monáe, Pink, Jennifer Lawrence, Tina Fey, Ani DiFranco, Connie Britton—and (drum roll) Michelle Obama and Rachel Maddow. The First Lady will presumably achieve a plateau of cool once she is out of the White House, no longer bound by media expectations of decorum, and free to speak her piece. Michelle and Barack may be the ultimate cool in politics.

But Rachel Maddow is already cool, many times over, by treating political hypocrisy as a form of farce with intellectual agility you don’t find among other anchorpersons. If anyone in the media stands in the front line of cool, it’s Rachel.

Jon Stewart is in American Cool because he is Jon Stewart. But there is no presence for Steven Colbert. Another mystery. Was it something he said?

‘Of the actresses who emerged in the early 1990s with the moxie to walk the line of regular gal and badness,’ continues Dinerstein, ‘there was a cohort including Winona Ryder, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore, Halle Berry, and Uma Thurman. Each of these actresses let the industry shape their careers or cuddled up with the media, became cover girls, or self-destructed.’

There you have it. Media-cuddling can be a kiss-of-anomie for women on the cusp of cool. Men who are cool, or wanna be, can’t be seen as cuddling with the media though they need all the media they can get to stay in the magazines. Goodyear writes learnedly of the role magazines played in capturing those who became cool. Influential photographers who covered jazz, sports, rock, and the movie world were pivotal to this cultural process. Magazine exposure makes a difference, even today as ‘the paparazzi continue to provide largely unscripted images’ that put the cool person in a moment of drama, off-script, in the life s/he enacts.

‘Those who convey this magnetic attraction often feel as though they are living in two bodies—one that belongs to the world and another that is their own and often hides in plain sight,’ writes Goodyear. His analysis also applies to any number of garden-variety celebrities, even Chris Christie, at least the part about two bodies, or let us say “selves,” one hiding in plain sight.

With smaller photographs arranged through the text, more than half of the book is given over to full or half-page pictures of the anointed cool, with short biographical commentary. You might call this the Hot 100 but Top 100 is probably more appropriate. The range of choices is intriguing.

Number 1 is Walt Whitman, ‘who first carved out a space for cool by valuing personal experience and bearing over education and experience.’ The author of the classic Leaves of Grass was also ‘a proto-hippie and sensualist who celebrated the dignity of work, a gay man who wrote lyrically of the male body.’ Cool then, cool now, cool forever, Mighty Walt.

Fredrick Douglass the great abolitionist, heavyweight boxer Jack Johnson, Georgia O’Keefe, H.L. Mencken, Michael Jordan, Joan Didion, Bill Murray, Angela Davis, Hunter Thompson, Johnny Cash, and Billie Holliday, among others in this sweet romp all stood or stand for life, liberty, and the pursuit of rebellion in American Cool.

Jason Berry’s books include a novelLast of the Red Hot Poppas.

 #cookednews #Cookednews 

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Roger Waters, a Pink Floyd for Peace

Former Pink Floyd frontman sparks fury by comparing Israelis to Nazis #Cookednews

Da martedì 18 febbraio Anzio, passata alla storia per lo sbarco angloamericano del 1944, avrà tra i suoi cittadini onorari un vero mito del rock: Roger Waters, cantante e bassista dei Pink Floyd. Il musicista inglese è da sempre legato a quei luoghi perché il padre, il militare britannico Eric Fletcher Waters, morì nel corso delle battaglie successive allo sbarco. La città è in fermento e attende con impazienza il rocker, pacifista convinto.

Cittadinanza onoraria Il sottotenente Eric Fletcher Waters perse la vita nel 1944 nelle campagne della città di Anzio, in provincia di Roma, nel cosiddetto ‘Fosso della moletta’, quando il figlio aveva appena pochi mesi. Era il 18 febbraio del 1944: un reduce e uno studioso hanno ricostruito il punto esatto dove vennero sterminati i ‘Royal fuciliers’ britannici, tra i quali Eric Fletcher Waters.

Una mancanza importante L’assenza del padre accompagnerà Roger Waters sempre, suggerendogli testi come ‘When the Tigers Broke Free’, la canzone che attraversa la parte iniziale del film ‘The Wall’ (1982). In ‘The Final Cut’, dodicesimo album dei Pink Floyd, Waters è autore e voce solista di tutti i dodici pezzi ispirati al rifiuto della guerra e tutti dedicati alla figura di suo padre.

A few days ago, writing in personal letters and on his Facebook account, former Pink Floyd front-man and songwriter Roger Waters has accused both singer Neil Young and actress Scarlett Johansson of supporting Israel and neglecting human rights. He considers her recent resignation from Oxfam, an organization that fights poverty and injustice, ‘an about-face’.

‘Just to reiterate my position, I am anti-war, anti-apartheid, anti-racist, pro human rights, pro peace and pro self-determination for all peoples. I am not anti-Israel or anti-semitic‘, Waters says in an open letter from Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, The Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Roger Waters continues to give his contribution for Palestine Freedom, also to partecipate in ‘Restiamo Umani – The Reading Movie’, an opera from ‘Gaza – Restiamo Umani’, the constant report of Vittorio Arrigoni, an italian peace activist of ISM in Gaza territory before he was killed in April 2011. The attack from Israeli against Gaza during the period from 27 dicember 2008 to 18 genuary 2009, is known as ‘Piombo Fuso’.

L’evento promosso da A.N.P.I. Aprilia:  Roger Waters in memoria del padre: due difensori della pace

#Palestine#CookedNews, #RogerWaters #TheWallLive,#HumanRights,#StayHuman

Scarlett Johansson stopped SodaStream from Palestine


Scarlett Johansson has stepped down as an Ambassador for Oxfam because of her relationship with SodaStream, a company which operates in the illegal settlement Ma’ale Adumim, in the Occupied West Bank. Scarlett Johansson and Oxfam faced immense pressure from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign who demanded that cut her ties with SodaStream or Oxfam cut their ties with Scarlett Johansson.

Scarlett Johansson described Oxfam’s opposition to her support for a company which operates in an illegal settlement as ‘a fundamental difference of opinion’. Oxfam described Scarlett’s role for SodaStream was ‘incompatible‘ with her work for Oxfam. Settlements are illegal under international law, and an obstacle to peace – therefore settlement production relies on, and supports, an activity that is illegal.

Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Sarah Colborne, said: ‘Scarlett Johansson’s decision to represent SodaStream clearly violated Oxfam’s policy of supporting human rights and justice. By choosing to represent a company that operates in an illegal settlement on stolen Palestinian land, she has already suffered major reputational damage. And by prioritising SodaStream over Oxfam, she has decided to profit from occupation, rather than challenge global poverty. We thank all our supporters who made it clear to Oxfam that they needed to break from Scarlett Johansson or risk facing a haemorrhaging of support in the UK and internationally. 

Sodastream, a carbonated beverage manufacturer is based in the Mishor Adumim settlement industrial zone. Mishor Adumim is an industrial area attached to the residential settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, East of Jerusalem in the Israeli occupied West Bank. Israeli company Soda Club, which owns the Sodastream brandname. Sodastream, a carbonated beverage manufacturer is based in the Mishor Adumim settlement industrial zone. Mishor Adumim is an industrial area attached to the residential settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, East of Jerusalem in the Israeli occupied West Bank.

On 15/02/2014, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Outside John Lewis Dept Storer 300 Oxford Street, London the protest for Free Palestine against Sodastream policy.

12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Outside John Lewis Dept Store
300 Oxford Street
London – 



Cinema: just Married per la ‘Gossip girl’ Blake Lively e l’attore Ryan Reynolds

 La ‘Gossip girl’ Blake Lively ha messo la testa a posto e ha sposato a sorpresa il collega Ryan Reynolds, ex marito di Scarlett Johansson conosciuto sul set di ‘Lanterna Verde’ (2011).

La 25enne bionda attrice, che in Italia vedremo a breve nelle scene hot dell’ultimo film di Oliver Stone ‘Le belve’ (Savages), ha detto sì al 35enne Reynolds, che frequenta da un anno, nel corso di una cerimonia privata ieri sera nella chiesa Boone Hall Plantation a Mt. Pleasant, nella Carolina del Sud, secondo quanto riferito da People.

Al ricevimento, che si è svolto in un tendone bianco, hanno partecipato amici intimi e la star di ‘Florence and the Machine‘, Florence Welch, cara amica della sposa, che ha cantato tre pezzi prima che un dj set desse inizio alla festa. Una torta speciale è stata inoltre trasportata direttamente dalla Virginia. Si tratta del primo matrimonio per Lively, che è stata fidanzata per tre anni, dal 2007 al 2010, con l’attore Penn Badgley, suo collega sul set della serie televisiva Gossip Girl e ha avuto un flirt di alcuni mesi l’anno scorso con Leonardo di Caprio.

Secondo alcune indiscrezioni provenienti dalla Rete, la prossima serie di ‘Gossip girl’ alla quale parteciperà la Lively è prevista per il prossimo mese di ottobre, l’8 per essere precisi e sarà la sesta stagione del telefilm americano. Su Internet corre già il trailer.

The Huffington Post: il Pulitzer arriva in Italia. Da settembre online, con la direzione di Lucia Annunziata

Sarà Lucia Annunziata da ‘In 1/2 h‘ sulla terza rete, a dirigere il sito italiano dell’Huffington Post Italia. A darne l’annuncio è lo stesso Huffington Post Mediagroup che insieme al Gruppo Espresso prevedono ‘il lancio per il mese di settembre’. Qualche settimana fa era circolato il nome di Lilli Gruber, la conduttrice di Otto e e Mezzo, come prossima direttrice del sito italiano del giornale online vincitore quest’anno del Pulizter:  la giornalista è stata presentata come candidata del gruppo editoriale l’Espresso.

L’indiscrezione sulla Annunziata è stata data dal quotidiano Italia Oggi e poi rilanciata dalla rete. Con un curriculum di rispetto, Lucia Annunziata inizia come corrispondente dagli Stati Uniti prima per Il Manifesto e poi per La Repubblica e il Corriere della SeraA metà anni ’90 arriva in televisione, su Rai3, con il programma Linea tre, e dal 1996 al 1998 è direttore del Tg3, poi presidente della Rai e direttore dell’agenzia Ap.Biscom. Non abbandona comunque la carta stampata e dal 2004 è editorialista de La Stampa e attualmente è la direttrice responsabile di Aspenia, la rivista dell’Aspen Institute Italia. E’ stata insignita della Nieman fellowship dall’università di Harvard.

A fine aprile erano ‘sussurrati’ altri due nomi di giornaliste in lizza per la direzione del giornale online d’inchiesta. Si trattava di Concita De Gregorio, editorialista di Repubblica ed ex direttore de l’Unità, e Maria Latella, direttore di A e conduttrice di Sky. Sempre ad una donna è andata l’edizione francese del sito. A guidarlo è Anne Sinclair, moglie di Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Prima la Francia, adesso la Spagna: l’Huffington Post alla conquista dell’Europa. Poi toccherà a Italia, Germania e Inghilterra. Il prossimo autunno sotto la guida di Lucia Annunziata, l’Huffington Post che intanto debutta in Spagna, sarà anche in italiano. È stata proprio Arianna Huffington, fondatrice nel 2005 della versione statunitense del popolare portale, a presentare il nuovo sito spagnolo. La  vincitrice del Pulitzer che quest’anno è andato al giornalismo online.

L‘Huffington Post Italia ‘potrà sfruttare le competenze editoriali e la leadership del Gruppo Espresso nonché la formula di grande successo di Huffington Post Mediagroup, che combina notiziari esclusivi, cura dei contenuti, community e strumenti di interazione, oltre a una vivace ed evoluta piattaforma di blogging’ si legge nel comunicato in cui i due gruppi editoriali annunciano la joint venture. ‘ L’accordo è per il lancio de L’Huffington Post Italia, edizione italiana di The Huffington Post, uno dei più importanti siti web americani di informazione. La partnership nasce dall’unione della potente piattaforma dell’Huffington Post  con l’autorevolezza del Gruppo Espresso.

Huffington Post, un colosso da 36 milioni di lettori

La selezione del team editoriale è già iniziata. L’annuncio congiunto viene dato da Arianna Huffington, presidente e direttore di The Huffington Post Media Group, e da Monica Mondardini, Amministratore delegato di Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso.

Il Gruppo Espresso su internet raggiunge un’audience mensile pari a 10,1 milioni di utenti unici (Audiweb dati Panel, novembre 2011) e con Repubblica.it, ‘detiene il primato dell’informazione online in lingua italiana’ è possibile leggere sul sito del quotidiano – dando un’ulteriore importante accelerazione allo sviluppo su piattaforma digitale. Ciò sia per il contributo di innovazione che per il respiro internazionale dell’iniziativa.

The Huffington Post del The Huffington Post Media Group nel settore editoriale, dell’intrattenimento, community e dell’informazione digitale, include insieme a The Huffington Post, anche Moviefone, Engadget, TechCrunch, Patch e StyleList. Il network di siti del Gruppo unisce giornalismo, tecnologia, engagement e video per raggiungere ampie audience in ciascuna piattaforma. Con più di 20.000 bloggers – politici, celebrità, accademici, opinionisti – che intervengono in tempo reale su molte notizie della giornata, a scrivere per The Huffington Post Media Group Nora Ephron, Larry Page, Bernard-Henri Levy, Bill Maher, Robert Redford, Madonna, Alec Baldwin, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Gates e Charlie Rose.

The Huffington Post ha 36 milioni di visitatori unici al mese (comScore dicembre 2011). The Huffington Post UK e The Huffington Post Canada sono stati lanciati quest’anno. L’Huffington Post francese è online da un mese e poco più, l’Huffington Post Quebec in febbraio e l’Huffington Post spagnolo a marzo. In autunno lo potremmo leggere anche in italiano.

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