“For at the bottom of the tergiversation of the present age is vis inertiae, and every one without passion congratulates himself upon being the first to discover it, and so becomes cleverer still.”
Kierkegaard. The Present Age p. 34
Being cool means being without any passion or strong feeling, and people nowadays seem to be in an arms race to be as “normal” and passionless as possible, and of course always ready to jump on the person who shows feeling in order to convince everyone that they are a different creature altogether. I can’t say this is true in all communities, because it is not. It gets worse as you get closer to the middle of the social classes, and it gets better as you get closer to Eddystone. That’s why it’s known as Delaware County’s “Seat of Passion” as well as “Pennsylvania’s Eastern Europe.”
For instance, when the kid in your orientation class raises his hand and asks a question about computer networking (and not a very technical question), everyone turns to each other and says “did you understand what that kid just said.” What they are really saying is “Friend! I don’t know about those things (though we both know I really do). I want you to know, since this is a perfect opportunity to tell you, that I don’t know much about computers, because if I did it would mean I am not as virile as the gentleman next to me.”
This example was about computers, but I see people do it a lot, especially in school situations (though you would think it would stop by law school, but that is not the case).
This is just the latest though. I can’t say I dislike any of my law school classmates. I can say that no one is hiding the fact that they are worried about doing well, and prepared to spend a lot of time on things. Undergrad was a game of trying to do well while giving everyone the impression that you are just the dude with sandals and a jeep trying to get drunk.