One of my least favorite things is the phrase “How cool is that?”
That’s partly because I have an Aspie’s inclination to take rhetorical questions seriously. I try to answer them. (My answers to “what’s happening” were especially tragic.)
“How cool is that” is a special challenge for someone with an Aspie’s inclination because, let’s be fair, someone with an Aspie’s inclination has no idea what cool is. Even when they study it as a hard working anthropologist.
But I think “how cool is that” is stupid even as a rhetorical question. Spoken in the recent New York Times TV spot, it just begs for a smart alecky answer. And besides that the Grey lady should associate herself with a phrase like this is just sad. By which I mean, not cool at all.
My friend Leora Kornfeld recently told me that she thinks this is a phrase delivered by people who are trying extra hard to be cool. I like this explanation because it means the speaker isn’t cool and this raises the charming possibility that they are not asking a rhetorical question after all. They really want to know. Happy, happy. “How cool is that” is a question looking to get exactly the answer I’m looking to give.
Now when someone says “how cool is that?” I intend to tell them. “Forty percent.” “Very cool except in Scandinavian countries.” But of course, the right answer is: “you’re asking me?”
Me working on my cool metrics. There’s a lot to consider.