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Why It’s Cool to Be Cool Again

Recent Trends Have Decidedly Old-School Roots

Today’s 30-and-younger adults who were raised with cell phones and gaming devices more technologically advanced than anything used in the Apollo 1 lunar landing mission, probably have no historical idea of the culture they’ve inherited, says rocker-novelist Eli Just.

“It turns out that the movie ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ and Huey Lewis and the News were prophetic – it is ‘hip to be square,’ except we don’t see it in 1980s terms anymore,” says Just, a former physics teacher, musician and author of two serial novels, “Manny Jones” and “The Eddy,”  .

“If you have oversized, plastic-framed glasses, are obsessed with computers and ride a 10-speed bicycle everywhere, you’re no longer a nerd, you’re today’s hipster.”

Just says he likes the change – it makes life more interesting.

“But when you look at the trends, you can see a push in the zeitgeist toward a more traditional flavor of cool.”

Just identifies some of those trends

  • High demand has caused shortages in whiskey and bourbon. Does the kind of liquor you drink say something about who you are? “Yes!” Just says. Whiskey has earned its reputation as a drinker’s drink and has been honored in several songs, including Thin Lizzy’s “Whiskey in the Jar,” which was originally from a centuries-old Irish piece. Ten years ago, vodka was the go-to drink for young musicians and club kids alike, but not anymore. Today, whiskey is the drink for cool kids with an image to maintain. Business is booming globally, too. American whiskey exports earned less than $400 million in 2002; last year, they exceeded $1 billion. But quality whiskey takes time, which companies are struggling to find, along with the oak barrels necessary for proper aging.
  • Our culture hungers for rugged individuality. There have been dozens of “reality” TV shows in recent years that involve some kind of survivalist premise, or programming in which workers earn money under such trying physical circumstances that a mistake could cost a life. And dramas like “Sons of Anarchy,” about a motorcycle gang, have skyrocketed in popularity. “If you’ve never ridden on a bike – and by that I mean a Harley – then you’re missing out,” Just says. “It’s one of the most liberating feelings you can have while remaining within your legal rights.”
    Our culture hungers for rugged individuality

    We don’t want to simply watch others be tough – we want to be tough. That’s why extreme races like Tough Mudder, which involves an obstacle course designed by military specialists, have also grown exponentially.

  • Men embracing their maleness with facial hair. According to Procter & Gamble, a leader in the male razorblade industry, the contemporary trend of guys keeping their facial hair is hurting sales. The company singled out “Movember,” the decade-old tradition of men growing their beards for cancer awareness.

    “My mustache is as much a part of my face as Tom Selleck’s is,” Just says. “Plenty of people wouldn’t recognize me without it. I think women today often prefer men to keep at least some of their facial hair because, to put it simply, it’s part of being a man.”




About Eli Just
Eli Just is the author of several books including the popular “Manny Jones” series and “The Eddy,” ( He has a master’s in history from Southeastern Louisiana University and is a self-taught student of physics, which he taught at the high school level. He is currently working on several projects, including his newest novel, a graphic novel and a rock ‘n’ roll album. As a Christian, Just enjoys exploring themes involving physics and its relationship to religion. He lives in northern Georgia.