Best review so far

By far the most comprehensive review of my arguments in The Origins of Cool has been novelist Benjamin Markovits' engaged analysis in the Times Literary Supplement (TLS). Markovits aptly refers to a generation's icons of cool as akin to cultural kites:

 Kendrick Lamar, 2017

Kendrick Lamar, 2017

"There is a lot to be said for 'cool theory' as a way of talking about art and books. Dinerstein uses his cast of actors, writers and musicians as kites that show which way the cultural winds are blowing

"'What’s cool' is a question of taste  whereas coolness depends on the interaction of a contemporary audience.

"That is why jazz matters so much here -- jazz improvisation is supposed to offer an immediate expression of what the audience (in a club) is feeling. It responds, as it were, to market forces, and fame works in a similar way."

We used to call such artists emblems of the zeitgeist (literally, the "spirit of the times"), but that word has become a cliché and fallen out of favor. That's why cool – the word -- remains the password to an American mythos: it is the exclamatory term invoked when pointing to innovative artists groping for a new cultural pattern of individuality for a given audience with consequences for social change.

 The cover of Miranda Lambert's  The Weight of These Wings (2016).

The cover of Miranda Lambert's The Weight of These Wings (2016).

Kendrick Lamar (above) is one such cultural kite -- Black Lives Matter supporters chant his songs on marches -– and Miranda Lambert is another, for her embodiment of a new female country persona (right). Both have galvanized new audiences into being by publicly wrestling with the winds of change. Such artists should not be conflated or confused with celebrities – e.g., Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez -- who are more commodities (whats that are cool) than windsurfers.