Friday, May 27, 2005

Cool Spelling Bee's

Check out the article in CNN on Spelling Bee’s here

It's never been as cool to be a spelling bee geek as now.

Once considered a slightly odd sub-culture of American life, the contests where school children compete to spell words most kids don't understand are now popping up in movies, books, a musical and even advertisements.

George Hornedo was stumped by the word totipotency (the ability of a cell to generate unlike cells and form a new individual or part) at last year's National Spelling Bee and placed 71st. But the 14-year-old will try again at this year's June 1-2 contest, just months after shooting a Hollywood movie about spelling.

"Lots of people have made comments about how spelling bees are geeky ... but now it's becoming cool," said Hornedo, who attends Park Tudor School in Indianapolis and plays basketball, baseball and tennis when he's not studying.

It’s all well and good for the Spelling Bees I suppose, because in my books it was never uncool to be a spelling bee. What I take issue is with the mainstream media making proclamations of ‘What ls Cool’ and ‘Who is Uncool’. What exactly is Cool ? Given a choice to shoot the breeze between Samuel L.Jackson, Tony Hawk, Ken Jennings and Paris Hilton, I think I would prefer Ken Jennings any day. Unless its night, then I might lean towards the Hilton airhead, just out of my natural primal inclinations. It’s fascinating to see who popular media anoints as “cool” by overexposure and arcane society laws of non-conformance or problem with authority. Why is our fascination with cool ? In my world, my parents who served as role models for me to be a decent human being are cool, professors who judiciously imparted knowledge unbiased in schools/colleges are cool, the scrupulous public servants who do the right thing by making millions of lives better should be icons of cool. Not cool are airhead billionaire bimbettes or waif like, overpaid, overexposed performers/supermodels, pedophile dysfunctional rock and rollers or self-centered, multi-millionaire sports icons. They have their wealth and decadence, ergo could do very well without cool.


The media has long played the game of tagging the masses and each one of us conforms to these stereotypes that we have been tagged with. What’s more, even our own perception of others is filtered by what gets fed to us by the elitist media. That, in my mind, is anything but cool. Cool to me is not someone telling me who is , cool is what cool does.


PS: At no point in my life, have I ever been perceived as being cool and there is no shred of evidence or inclination that this perception might change in the near future. That being said, my views expressed above do not, in any way, shape or form, direct any acrimony or antipathy towards the so called “cool and privileged” populace. Nor was I inebriated or doped while expressing my views. It’s merely a rant against “perception by association”.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Vinita said...

I was a geek/nerd/goth chic so I was so not in the "In" crowd at all.

A lot of people who were nerds in school( myself included), and they all tell the same story: there is a strong correlation between being smart and being a nerd, and an even stronger inverse correlation between being a nerd and being popular. Being smart seems to make you unpopular.

So if intelligence in itself is not a factor in popularity, why are smart kids so consistently unpopular? The answer, I think, is that they don't really want to be popular

8:58 AM  
Blogger chappan said...

Thanks for your thoughts Vinita.
But why should it be that if you are intelligent and geeky, you are not a part of the 'in' crowd. I remember talking to a kid on a flight from Frankfurt to Bombay. She was an outcast at school because she was good at acads in school, which I found very surprising. Why this typecasting by the media ? I think it trickles down to the schools and our psyche because of the constant exposure by the media. Why the irrational adulation for someone skinny, pretty or athletic ? Thats the part I dont get.

12:01 PM  

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