Loner Magazine - Cool or Tool: the June edition

Cool or Tool: the June edition

A look back on the best and worst of June 2015 pop culture.

This is a game my friends and I play when we want a quick opinion on a thing or idea. For example, “Cool or tool: these shoes I just bought?” “Cool or tool: The nick name ‘Soul Train’?” “Cool or tool: Giving yourself the nick name ‘Soul Train’?”

The game is simple. Cool means we like something, tool means we don’t. The words rhyme and that’s why we use them. No need to pull out a dictionary. Alright? Alright! So here’s what was cool/tool from the month of June.

Donald Trump running for president
All the guy has done is publicly announce he’s running for president and already he’s been fired from his own show on NBC (cue hacky news headline “You’re fired!”) due to racist remarks in his campaign announcement. Can you imagine what would happen if he were actually president and in charge of all American diplomacy? I cannot. Maybe he would actually shrink some of America’s debt and create jobs–he’s proven he can do that. But, he’s also proven to be a blowhard and oblivious to how the 99% live. At least SNL will have plenty of material to work with next season. TOOL.

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16:  Donald Trump makes presidential announcement at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Steve Sands/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 16: Donald Trump makes presidential announcement at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Sands/Getty Images)


SCOTUS rules gay marriage legal in all 50 states

COOL.

LeBron James
Has LeBron James adequately paid penance for “The Decision” yet? It’s been five years since the self-indulgent fanfare and broken promises to Miami of eight championships. It was an immature thing to do. I know that. You know that. And, I think LeBron knows that. But even after three tough losses in the finals and a move back to Cleveland, people still love to see LeBron lose. “He’s too cocky.” Well, so is everyone who competes at such heightened skill level–in any aspect of life. “He’s no Michael Jordan.” That seems like a silly reason to dislike someone. I’m no Michael Jordan, either. Even if he never replaces MJ as the greatest player of all time, can we agree that LeBron is good enough to have people root for him? Or at least not hate him? I, for one, hope he can finally win a title for his hometown next season. The guy deserves it. COOL.

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True Detective season two pilot
Season one of True Detective is a hard act to follow. Acting, writing, directing–everything was stellar. Unfortunately for the show, doing an anthology series instead of an evolution of previous seasons allows critics to directly compare one season to another–which is tough when you have as strong of a start as True Detective did. I wasn’t in love with the first episode of season two, but I was intrigued. The second season is taking a different approach to story telling. Instead of using the plot to explain the main characters throughout the story (as season one did), season two opens up with a pretty blunt exposition of who each of the characters are, but tells us very little about the plot. It’s a smart choice. No sense in doing the same trick twice. Curious to see what happens. COOL.

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Obama on WTF

Earlier this month, President Obama drove down to Marc Maron’s garage to be the 613th guest on his podcast, WTF with Marc Maron. Being a fan of WTF, I was excited. I have a general skepticism about broadcast news sources (I think they care more about ratings/views than journalism), so I was particularly pleased to see the President shoot the breeze on a show that is not politically motivated. The conversation wasn’t terribly revealing, but it was fascinating to hear President Obama talk casually for an hour about his kids, comedy, race…and his job. Podcasts are one of the most revolutionary forms of entertainment/broadcasting because they give the listener a “slice of life” for whoever is on the show. That was the purpose of President Obama going on WTF—to give Americans a better glimpse into Barack Obama the person. He didn’t have anything to plug. He was just a fan of the show/platform and wanted to be able to relate himself to America in a more approachable, non-confrontational way (as opposed to what is often seen on news networks). COOL.

Jon Bernthal to play Punisher in Daredevil
Ever since Thomas Jane did that gritty Punisher short film, Dirty Laundry, back in 2012, I’ve been dying to see that character in an R-rated setting. And bringing Punisher onto Netflix’s Daredevil kind of seems like the best-case scenario. Netflix has fewer censorship on content than networks or movie studios. A strong viewership already exists, so the writers don’t have to play it safe. And the themes that can be explored between the justice versus punishment dynamic of the two heroes is extremely compelling. Essentially—the character will be depicted the way he was meant to be depicted. Also, clearly, Jon Bernthal will make an excellent Punisher. COOL.

Karaoke
For the first time in my adult life, I did karaoke last week and found myself in a bit of a conundrum. Is karaoke cool or tool? Reader, I didn’t know the answer. On the one hand, I loved seeing a large bearded man ironically sing “What Does the Fox Say”. On the other hand, I couldn’t emotionally handle seeing nine very drunk sorority girls’ rendition of “Party in the USA”. I still had fun. I sang “New York, New York” by Sinatra. The whole bar sang along. I went off script for a bit and schmoozed with audience members. Probably would’ve ruled this a COOL had I ended the night there. Unfortunately, I later saw a grown man in cargo shorts sing “The Reason” by Hoobastank as if his life depended on it. TOOL.

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Mike Detective with Rob Huebel
Alright, I’m late to the party on this one. This podcast came out in 2011, but it was the highlight of my day when I stumbled upon it this month on Earwolf. The podcast is done in the style of a noir radio drama with comedian Rob Huebel as expert detective, Mike Detective. Each episode (15 total) are around six minutes long, and I laughed audibly to myself in public during all of them. COOL.

(Between McKinney Cops, Confederate flags and the Charleston shooting, June was a pretty sobering month. So just for safe measure):

Racism
TOOL. There. I said it. Bet you weren’t expecting that kind of hard-hitting journalism in this article. I know, I know, it’s a bold stance to take despite what you see on the news lately. Just call me Lenny Bruce….

I’ve been described by some as ‘stately yet goofy’ and by others as ‘having a good vocabulary.’ Living in Austin. Working in a cubicle. Writing for fun.

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