The Hip, the Cool, and the Edgy, or the Dominant Cultural Logic of Neoliberal Capitalism
Fredric Jameson’s 1984 essay “Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”, was an enormously influential work that offered a way of attempting to understand cultural production in the era of “late capitalism”. Jameson’s articulation of postmodernism as the “dominant cultural logic” was widely cited and employed, but ultimately waned through overuse of the term “postmodern”, and with that overuse came the disuse of Jameson’s ideas. Today’s dominant cultural logic is the hip and the cool, two terms that are in near constant circulation in the cultural industries but which are seldom defined; “hip” seems to be older and ironic, while “cool” is somewhat similar but more associated with youth. The rise to hegemony of this cultural logic is the result of the dominance of the advertising and marketing industries in the US, which in the 1960s attempted to appropriate the hip and the cool from the baby boom generation. Today, coolhunting has become a major industry, affecting the production and consumption of virtually every commodity, including cultural commodities such as music. This paper offers the beginning of a theory of the hip and the cool as the dominant cultural logic of neoliberal capitalism.