From VOICE, July/Aug 2015. Used with permission.
My frequent travels take me to some unusual places, but one that always catches my attention is in central Indiana. There, alongside Interstate 65, is a billboard proclaiming the “Birthplace of Cool.”
James Dean was born in Fairmount, Indiana, in 1931. But it wasn’t until 1955, when his movie “Rebel Without a Cause” was released, that cool was truly born. When that film hit the theaters, youth culture exploded into middle-class white America and so did the concept of cool.
James Dean was edgy, rebellious, a misunderstood loner. He played by no one’s rules but his own. And following this most cool cultural icon came many others for my generation, especially in music. Elvis pushed trans-generational, wholesome pop singers like Perry Como and Pat Boone off the scene much to the delight of his fans. Then rockers joined Elvis and everything exploded as my generation came of age: sex, drugs and rock and roll ruled the 1960s. Read more about The Irreconcilable Pursuit of Christ & Coolness (Part 1)