What makes things cool? A very good question especially since America is such a trendy what's hot now and cool society where everyone who wants to be cool seems to follow whatever the latest trend is even if they look ridiculous, (like wearing cowboy boots and running shorts with a mink coat) talking or looking like that, or could feel like they're dying when they try to drink the latest drink or eat the latest dish.
Americans by enlarge and there some exceptions of people who have a healthy degree of self-confidence and are very comfortable being themselves even if their best friends are following their favorite celebrities like cult followers follow their leaders. And even with some Americans who are simply cool, because they are themselves even if that makes them different, but by enlarge feel the need to be like everyone else who is considered cool at the time.
With Jim Morrison of The Doors from the late 1960s being a perfect example of an exception to this rule. Marilyn Monroe from the 1950s would be another great example of that. Sean Connery at any point of his career has always been Mr. Cool, or is that Steve McQueen, but both of these men were always themselves. With the personal attributes, looks, intelligence, charm, humor. These two men were always themselves and if anything drove other men to be like them. Instead of these two guys trying to be like some other hot celebrity of that time.
Pop culture and what's seen as cool drives Americans more than just about anything else. We have a lot of Americans especially young Americans who rather be seen as stupid, instead of intelligent and willing to step out on the ledge (in pop culture, not in actuality) and risk not looking and sounding cool. And young adults and even teenagers if they're into something, than people who are just older than them and even much older than them try to get into the same things. And what drives young people today in pop culture is new technology, because it makes their lives much easier and the ability to communicate so much easier than it was even more my Generation X when I was growing up in the 1980s and early 1990s. And the other thing being celebrity culture including talentless celebrities whose only ability has to do with cursing people out and expressing deep anger in public.
Derek Thompson in his video gives you the more scientific explanation of why things are cool and things become trends. But when it comes to Americans it's about trends and faddism. What are the cool people doing meaning the popular people in pop culture and that is who people who are not famous, but perhaps want to be or just want to be part of the cool and party scene in their local community and where they work and so-forth.
And most pop culture today has to do with new technology and people feeling this need that they may die if they don't get the latest iPhone the day that it comes out, watch the last episode of their favorite reality show or drama on cable, or what have you. And keeping up with the pop culture tends and having this feeling of coolness and being in is what drives the happiness of a lot of Americans. Way too many from my point of view.
The Atlantic: Derek Thompson- What Makes Things Cool?