Posted by: nallen123 | October 8, 2012

Is Hot the new Cool?

In this week’s reading from McLuhan, I was struck by the suggested relationship between ideology, progress, and the potential for numbness within the framework of “hot” and “cool.” While McLuhan’s definition of “hot” and “cool” is explicitly stated and seemingly leaves no room for a blurry gray area of meaning, it is obvious that given the a certain cocktail of social, cultural, and technological cues, a “hot” thing can suddenly become “cool.” In fact, the author even purports that an intense, “hot” experience must become “cool” — by way of censorship or forgetfulness — before it can be learned or assimilated by mass culture. In order for new trends or ideas to be accepted into our mainstream lives, McLuhan contends, we must become numb to their effect (p. 23).

I have experienced this idea illustrated by ever increasing doses of violence in the media in the past few decades. I opt out of consuming violent content, so I’ve not kept pace with the rest of our culture as progressively violent content seeps into movies, TV, video games, and print. Resultant to this personal media sensor, I have witnessed the gradual immersion of our culture and its subsequent desensitization to violence. A formerly “hot” element that has become “cool.” That which once was shocking and fragmented from everyday life, is today accessible to the masses and readily accepted.

Do you agree with the assertion that violence in media has become “cool?”
What are other examples?
Is it possible for “cool” to become “hot?”

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