Is being cool always the most important thing?

We here at Kill Screen obviously spend a lot of time making sure all things videogame-related that we discuss pass a necessary coolness factor (taste-makers that we are). But is coolness always the most important cultural standard to which we ought to repair? John Cassidy takes a look President Obama’s recent exercises in hipness and comes up with a different idea:  

But for Obama, accentuating his hipness carries some dangers. The essence of being hip, after all, is that you operate on a more refined plane than most people: you are more fashionable, more discerning, and more discriminating than the average boob. For a President who is already viewed by some Americans as an out-of-touch élitist, this isn’t necessarily the sort of image you want to cultivate—especially during a prolonged economic downturn.

“This election is not going to be about who’s cooler,” Peter Flaherty, a senior advisor to Romney, said a couple of days ago at a forum organized by the Washington Post. “The question is going to be, who do you trust to run the economy?” Another Romney adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom (yes, he of the Etch A Sketch gaffe) added at the same event, “You won’t see the governor slow jam the news.”

Of course, the Romney operatives are trying to make a virtue out of a necessity. When you are pitching a former Mormon bishop who uses the diction of a nineteen-fifties preppy, you cannot really hope to compete for the votes of hipsters with a slim groover who uses the word “man” without any irony. (Obama to Newt: “There’s still time, man.”) But as a diligent campaign consultant, you can try to present the other candidate as an out-of-touch élitist who doesn’t understand the concerns of ordinary (read “white”) folks out there in middle America.

Winning isn’t everything, but for the next few months it will be for President Obama. Making a larger plea for cultural and political acceptance may require you to disavow that inner hipster.

[via The New Yorker]